Lemon Pepper Parmesan Crackers

Photo: VeselovaElena/Thinkstock

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Idea #3: Build Your Appetizer Spread from Scratch
Even when we're making a homemade meal, we often rely on (pricey) store-bought conveniences for cocktail hour. Yet, throwing some canned chickpeas, lemon, olive oil and garlic in a blender for hummus is not only cheap, but fresher-tasting than the premade kind (you can eyeball the quantities, but here's a guideline: one 15-ounce can of drained chickpeas, a garlic clove, the juice of a lemon, a quarter-cup each of tahini and water and a spoonful of oil). Crackers, too, can add up, especially if you want to put out something more special than saltines. Make your own and you can tweak the recipe however you like it (more Parmesan, less lemon, whatever herbs you have on hand).

Get the recipes: Lemon Pepper Parmesan Crackers
Cost per serving: $.30

Cost per serving: $.48