(Family Features) Red or white, sweet or dry, wine lovers are often entertainers at heart. When inviting guests to share your personal favorites, nothing enhances a tasting get-together quite like complementary snack and wine pairings.

The next time you find a wine party on your schedule, consider these simple yet delicious recommendations from sommelier and founder of “The Lush Life,” Sarah Tracey, who partnered with Fresh Cravings to create “Dips and Sips.” Aimed at reinventing wine and cheese parties, the movement focuses on simplistic recipes, easy dip pairings and suggested wines.

“When I entertain at home, I’m always looking for ways to impress my friends with fresh, creative bites I can pair with wine,” Tracey said. “My favorite hack is finding great products with high-quality ingredients then creating simple, elevated ways to serve them. The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I get to spend with my guests.”

Tracey relies on the versatility of Fresh Cravings’ array of dip options and crowd-pleasing, bold flavors worth celebrating. With authentic-tasting chilled salsas offering a vibrant alternative to soft, dull blends of jarred salsa and flavor-filled hummus made with premium ingredients like Chilean Virgin Olive Oil, these dips elevate both traditional and reinvented recipes.

For example, Tracey’s recipes for Polenta Rounds with Pico de Gallo Salsa and Crab, Spiced Butternut Squash Naan Flatbreads, Cheesy Tortilla Cutouts with Salsa and Hummus-Stuffed Mushrooms offer flavorful, easy-to-make appetizers that can make entertaining easy and effortless. Plus, these crave-worthy morsels are just as tasty and approachable for guests choosing to skip the wine.

Find more recipe and pairing ideas perfect for enhancing your next party at FreshCravings.com.

Hummus-Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey

Total time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

  • Nonstick olive oil spray
  • 16 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed and gills scooped out
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 container Fresh Cravings Classic Hummus
  • 1 jar manzanilla olives stuffed with pimientos, cut in half
  • 1 jar roasted red pepper strips
  • Oregon Pinot Noir

Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare sheet pan with nonstick olive oil spray.

Place mushroom caps on sheet pan, spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Roast 7-8 minutes then let mushrooms cool to room temperature.

Fill each mushroom cap with hummus and top each with one olive slice.

Thinly slice roasted red pepper strips and arrange around olive slices.

Pair with lighter bodied pinot noir with cherry tones from Oregon.

Cheesy Tortilla Cutouts with Salsa

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey

Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • 16 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1 can (4 ounces) green chiles, drained
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 container Fresh Cravings Restaurant Style Salsa, Medium
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place large flour tortilla on sheet pan. Top with handful of grated cheese.

Sprinkle chiles on top of cheese layer. Add chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with additional cheese.

Top with another tortilla. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Work in batches to make three sets of cheese-filled tortillas.

Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Serve with salsa and pair with sauvignon blanc from New Zealand with zest and zing.

Spiced Butternut Squash Naan Flatbreads

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey

Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 container Fresh Cravings Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • 1 package mini naan dippers
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary, minced
  • La Veielle Ferme Rosé

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Chop butternut squash into 1/2-inch chunks.

Toss squash with olive oil, maple syrup, cumin and chili powder.

Spread on sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.

Spread hummus on naan dippers and top each with squash and fresh rosemary.

Pair with deeper, savory and earthy rosé.  

Polenta Rounds with Pico de Gallo Salsa and Crab

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1 tube (16 ounces) prepared polenta
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • salt, to taste
  • 8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 1 container Fresh Cravings Pico de Gallo Salsa, Mild
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
  • Mateus Rosé

Heat oven to 400 F.

Slice polenta into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Arrange on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt, to taste, and let cool.

Combine jumbo lump crabmeat with salsa.

Top each polenta round with crab salsa mixture.

Garnish with finely chopped fresh mint and pair with vibrant, fruity rosé.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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