December 05, 2014 15:59 ET

Holiday Entertaining With Chef Jamie Gwen

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Dec 5, 2014) - Chef Jamie Gwen shares her tips on revamping your holiday party this year.

Start with appetizers -- everyone loves dips and cheese. It's simple to set out before guests arrive or to grab as a snack on your way out for holiday shopping. Heluva Good! dips and cheese have big, bold flavor because they're made with the best seasonings and ingredients. They're delicious with vegetables, chips, and crackers to satisfy any craving.

Gifts don't have to be complicated or expensive. Everyone loves the ultimate snack -- popcorn . It makes a great hostess or holiday gift because it's quick, easy, and inexpensive. You can package kernels, seasonings or mix-ins or create your own homemade snack. It's so versatile -- you can try kettle corn, cheddar, or butter so it fits everyone's taste. Plus it's a whole grain, so it's a healthy gift too!

California Raisins are a great ingredient to add to spice up traditional holiday favorites. They add flavor and you can feel good about using them as they're all natural with no added sugar and zero fat. The label says it all: Raisins. For holiday cooking and baking this season, add them to side dishes like Butternut Squash with golden raisins. They're great for pies and cookies, like a traditional holiday cookie with sweet raisin filling.

We've all heard of ugly sweater parties, why not bring this theme to your food? Another great way to spruce up your holiday gathering is with this Ugly Sweater Cake Pan by Wilton. You only need one box of cake mix, it's fun and easy to decorate, just add sprinkles or icing, and you'll have a fun conversation started and yummy dessert at your next party.

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