Short on Time, Big on Flavor. Snack Dinner.

It happens every year. Back-to-School season sneaks up and brings with it lots of time-consuming activities, like forms for filling, clothes for buying, and sports practices for shuttling to and from. After the slower days of summer, it can be hard to adjust. When it comes to question, “What’s for dinner?” are you fighting off the temptation to yell “Every man for himself!” in response? The answer is simple: Snack Dinner.

You heard right. Here’s our take:

Step 1: Prepare a few simple snacks. Make them delicious. Ingredients are the key here.

Step 2: Set everyone loose to fill their plates with what they want.

Step 3: Bask in the bit of extra time you have from no cooking and way fewer dishes.

The beauty of snack dinner is that it can be made up of virtually anything, from all the odds-and-ends in the crisper drawer to leftovers from yesterday’s lunch. But in case you need help taking it to the next level, here are a few of our favorite meaty, satisfying snack dinners to get you started.

North Country Smokehouse Sausage

Stack it Up

You know how at fancy parties, they serve things skewered on toothpicks? One of our favorite ways to make snack dinner even more fun is to skewer a couple tasty morsels on a toothpick to grab and munch (no black tie required). A classic combination (inspired by summer) is a slice of our double-smoked pepperoni, a ball of fresh mozzarella, and a cherry tomato on top. The smoky pepperoni lends a spicy punch to the mild cheese, punctuated by the bright burst of sweet tomato. It’s the perfect, balanced bite. But use your imagination and create your own stacks: Swap a bit of ham or smoked chicken for the pepperoni, or an olive for the tomato. Better yet, make a few of each so everyone can pick what they like.

North Country Smokehouse Pigs in a Blanket

Pigs in a Blanket 2.0

Those little sausages wrapped in dough aren’t outdated, they’re “time-tested.” Ever brought a tray to a gathering? They’re the first to go for a reason: they’re really dang good. The bold flavors of our Tomato Basil Sausage or Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage will take them to the next level. Wrap them in a piece of store-bought pastry, slice them up, then bake until the pastry is golden and the sausage has flavored it with its deep, smoky goodness. Cook up a few trays, call the troops, and watch them disappear before anyone can even manage to ask what you’re feeding them tonight.

North Country Smokehouse Deli Meat

Keep it Simple

For the busiest nights, stick with a classic. Slice up some vegetables, add a few of your favorite cheeses, and don’t forget to pile on the deli meat. Olives, nuts, and berries make perfect additions, too. The key to making a snack tray that will get gobbled up instead of picked at? Flavor, of course. Our maple-marinated, spice-infused deli ham and turkey lend incredible smoky flavor that will make this snack dinner intensely satisfying.

Next time you’re tempted to throw your hands in the air and admit defeat to your local fast-food chain, pause. As long as you have a few smoky, savory staples in your fridge, easy, delicious dinner is only a few minutes away.