Step 1. Open jar of Bellino Bruschetta Tomato Topping.

Step 2. Open bag of bagel crisps.

Step 3. Spoon bruschetta onto crisps.

Step 4. Hide bag and jar, and adopt Italian accent and regale guests with stories of your nonna's "secret ingredients".

Some people are able to pull of the perfect after-work party, breezing in from the office, twisting their hair up into an effortless updo, and pulling out their homemade dumplings from the fridge with one hand while mixing a classic martini in the other. I am not one of those people.

Therefore, I resort to lying. I don't tell people that my appetizers are homemade, I just don't acknowledge that the last produce market these tomatoes saw was in my local Publix. In poker, it's called bluffing. I prefer to think of it as preserving what southern grace my mother managed to instill in me.

If you're the kind of person who relishes last-minute gatherings, but would rather avoid the preparation fuss, stock up on this easy bruschetta topping, usually found in the canned veggies or tomato sauce section, and a few bags of bagel chips. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and nuke for a few seconds for a party-ready appetizer that's ready in less than a minute. The topping is packed with chunks of tomatoes, bright herbs, and a hint of olive oil. Plus, the jar has just enough topping to cover all the crisps in one bag of bagel chips, which I prefer to think of as God's blessing on my less-than-homemade appetizer display.

Call your friends and tell them the party's at your place tonight, and let them bring the wine. Mangia tutto!

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel