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Chill Out With Cold Party Finger Food

The air is thick, the temperature is warm and all you want is something refreshing. But what's spread before you is a hot, gooey selection of nibbles that do nothing to tempt you. What wouldn't you give for some cold party finger food right now?

Entertaining in the heat of summer, especially if the event is outdoors, is a challenge. Many favorite party dishes are baked and best served hot. You may already have the grill going, which is generating some serious heat. What you need in the mix are cold appetizers that are as tempting and inviting as a cool pool on a hot summer day.

You may be wondering just how many cold dips and veggie platters you'll be putting out – but stop right there. You can find a lot of variety in chilled nibbles, and even create a cooler atmosphere for serving them.

The food

Just like your hair, food left outside in the heat and humidity can wilt. Plan your spread with some sturdy cold fare. Here are a couple of suggestions for some delicious party finger foods that will hold up to the heat.

a-taste-of-the-cold-300x294.jpgAntipasto Kabobs:

  • 1 pkg refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 40 pimento-stuffed olives
  • 40 large pitted ripe olives
  • ¾ Cup Italian dressing
  • 40 thin slices pepperoni
  • 20 thin slices hard salami, halved

Cook tortellini according to pkg directions, drain and rinse. In a plastic bag, combine tortellini, olives, and salad dressing. Seal and shake gently – refrigerate for 4 or more hours.

Drain and discard marinade. Thread a stuffed olive, folded pepperoni slice, tortellini, folded salami piece, and ripe olive on a toothpick or short skewer.

Or try these deliciously cool treats.

Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls

The serving

There's nothing worse at an outdoor gathering than spying a platter filled with mayonnaise- laden seafood dip that isn't over ice. There might as well be yellow caution tape strung up around the table.

Have plenty of ice in coolers for people to scoop into drinks, and place party finger food dishes in trays filled with ice.

Don't leave any food that isn't on ice out for long. After 2 hours, refrigerated foods need to be packed away. If you're anticipating a long affair, put out small quantities and restock when plates are low.

The setting

like-a-summer-breeze-300x205.jpgDepending on your space, you can create "cool spots" for your guests. Obviously shade is a necessity, so if you don't have a covered patio, try setting up a cabana, or get some rolls of plastic table covering and weave it over a pergola if you have one. Fans are great so here's a tip – place a shallow bowl of ice in front of the fan so you aren't moving hot air.

Keep your cool this summer by creating an event that is simple, comfortable, and refreshing.