Summer Entertaining July 2 Feature Image

Moll Anderson’s Guide to Easier-Than-You-Think Summer Party Foods

Change Your Home, Change Your Life® (2006)

When you think of summer entertaining, don’t think you suddenly need to transform yourself into a gourmet chef to make your get-together a culinary success. Pay attention to just a few simple details and you can add just enough flair to dress up any party—whether it’s planned in a few weeks—or just a few hours—in advance!

Whether you’ve got a from-scratch meal on the menu or you’re relying on store-bought hors d’oeuvres, incorporating any of these elements will instantly add that little something extra that will make your guests feel welcome and special in your own seductive home. After all, they are the most important ingredients to any party!

Colorful Fruits and Veggies
Add color and healthy finger foods to your table by serving trays of fruits and veggies. Be sure to mix in something exotic like kiwis or pomegranates in with peaches, pineapple or strawberries! For a cold treat, you can also freeze raspberries, grapes and strawberries and use them as ice cubes in refreshing beverages!

Say Cheese!
Nothing dresses up a table like a cheese plate—and nothing is easier to prepare. In fact, this party-ready purchase will just about serve itself! For a very chic touch, add garnish with red and green seedless grapes.

On their own, olives instantly lend a little luxury to any party spread. There’s plenty of options out there, but opt for ones stuffed with delicacies like jalapeños and blue cheese for extra decadence! In my opinion, the spicier the better!

Dips and Salsas
Banish the blah from your table by opting for dips and salsas a step above everyday standbys. Think a chipotle ranch rather than just ranch or a salsa flavored with hints of summery mango or pineapple.

Frozen Appetizers
Even if you don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen, you can impress your guests with an assortment of thaw-and-bake treats. Provide decadent garnishes or dips and serve on a great platter.

Cocktail Napkins
Forget boring white or solid color napkins. Opt for funky patterns or fun sayings to add a little personality to your party—and maybe even get the conversation going!

Create Your Own…
Whether it’s mini pizzas, tacos or ice cream cones, allow your guests to express their personalities on their plates. They’ll love the personal touch, and providing lots of options and toppings is simple!

Presentation is everything! Even if you whip up something at the last minute, you can make it look gourmet by serving it on a beautiful platter or in some other unique way, like serving fruit in a scooped out melon or fill colorful peppers with dips.

Remember that you set the tone for your get-together. It’s your party, from what you wear to what you serve. Be the hostess with the mostess, always let your guests know what the attire is and the type of vibe you are going for in advance.

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Moll Anderson

About Moll Anderson

Moll Anderson is an accomplished interior designer and lifestyle expert who infused the interior design world with a fresh new way of thinking with her first book, Change Your Home, Change Your Life®. She is known for her sensory-scaped approach to design featured in her newest book The Seductive Home™. Anderson, an Emmy-winning entertainment reporter, has served as guest and designer on national television shows and has been featured in popular women’s magazines. Get to know Moll Anderson at

  • Cindy Maxson

    Moll, Love “creating your own” ideas. I find that just the act of choosing your own toppings for an entree or appetizer can help break the ice between strangers and friends and get people talking, laughing and sharing their favorites.

  • Moll Anderson

    I’m so glad you get it! Let me know how your personalized food festivity goes next time you throw a summer soiree!