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Your Own Backyard Escape

Host your own Happy Hour with these tasty snacks and refreshing mocktail drinks.

Enjoy Happy Hour at a restaurant? That’s okay as a special treat, but it’s probably less expensive to kick back in your own backyard. It’s also easier to stick to your eating plan when you’re the one selecting the recipes and ingredients. Plus, with the quick-fix recipes mentioned below, you’ll spend less time in the kitchen than you would waiting for a free table at your favorite eatery. And you’ll control exactly when you sit down to eat. (Plan your At-Home Happy Hour to coincide with a usual snack or meal time.) Here are some ideas for entertaining with ease.

Choose a Designated Pitcher

You don’t want to spend all night serving, so make up a pitcher each of Citrus Margarita Cooler and Raspberry-Orange Sangria Punch before guests arrive. Each of these mocktails takes just 5 minutes to prepare and makes plenty to go around. For fun, post a sign declaring them the “Drinks of the Day.” Kids coming too? Make some Lemonade Slushies: Little ones love ’em.

Offer Easy Appetizers

In about 10 minutes, you can whip up a tray of Cheesy BBQ Chicken Bites. They’re better for you than BBQ wings at a bar—and less messy to eat! (To keep the kitchen cool, use your microwave to melt the cheese.) In the mood for a fiesta? Serve Quick Quesadillas (ready in 5 minutes) or Mexican Layered Dip, which takes just 10 minutes to assemble but needs some time in the fridge to chill.

Serve Simple Snacks

Ones that include fruit or veggies are a good way to meet your goals for good eating—and they’re economical when so many types of produce are in season. Assemble some Carrot Pinwheels or Salsa Roll Ups ahead of time…or just set out the ingredients and let guests make their own. Or switch things up and serve some dessert-style “snacks” like Two-Minute Banana Pie Cups (they’re possibly the world’s easiest parfaits!) or a decadent-tasting Four-Layer Dessert, made with better-for-you goodies like JELL-O Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Pudding and COOL WHIP Sugar Free Whipped Topping. Note: This one needs a few hours to chill before serving…so you can use that time to chill out, too!

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