Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Holiday Appetizers to Whet Your Appetite

Print
It's party time and as folks are gathering around, what do they look for? Appetizers! I'm a big fan of appetizers and can easily make a meal out of a handful of them. For me, a good spread of appetizers balances out different textures, flavors, colors and even temperatures. Here are 10 Holiday Appetizers to whet your appetite for the upcoming gatherings this season!


These will go perfectly with a few wedges of good cheese, fresh fruit, toasted nuts and maybe a few slices of prosciutto, sopressata or even summer sausage. Pairing these cheese straws with these items is nearly effortless and allows you more time to focus on your holiday meal.

If you love the classic Greek dish, Spanakopita, you'll love this bite sized version. Spinach and feta cheese are combined and baked into buttery layers of phyllo dough in a mini muffin tin. You can prepare these in advance and bake just before your guests arrive so they're nice and hot when served.

When you're hosting a party, convenience is an important factor right? With these tartlettes, take advantage of store bought phyllo shells which will save you time. There's nothing but a simple assembly to create these tartlettes - just fill the phyllo shells with your favorite creamy brie, toasted walnuts and a sweet drizzle of honey.


It's this time of year you'll see a lot of puff pastry used in making appetizers. It's no wonder since the buttery flavor and crispy texture makes it a great ingredient to work with for both sweet and savory tastes. In this version, I used homemade pesto, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts and a blend of Italian cheeses. Feel free to use what you have on hand and be creative!

Vegetable crudites always seem to find a place at holiday parties right? Why not offer up this bright and refreshing hummus instead of the usual cold, refrigerated dip? This hummus is one you can make in advance so that the citrusy flavors can shine through. It's great with both fresh veggies and pita chips, which you can also make in advance with this recipe for homemade pita bread! Another hummus recipe I recommend is this Spinach & Artichoke Hummus too...

I love hot dips and this is one of my faves. Spinach and artichoke is a classic dip and this version can be made in advance and popped into the oven before guests arrive. You can also adapt this to warm in a small crockpot so that the dip stays warm throughout the party. Just prepare the recipe and transfer the dip into a small crockpot, turn it on about an hour before guests arrive and watch folks scarf it down!


Forget those sodium laden packets of onion soup mix to make that ever popular french onion dip. Instead, caramelize onions on the stovetop for a richer flavor to make the dip from scratch. Besides, if you make a big batch of caramelized onions, you can use some in the holiday dishes you're already preparing!


If there's one appetizer that doesn't last very long at our house, it's these stuffed mushrooms. Filled with a blend of cheeses and crumbled Italian sausage, it's no wonder they're addictive! This recipe uses large portobello mushrooms instead of the usual white button mushrooms, but you can definitely use white or cremini mushrooms if you prefer. Regardless, it's the stuffing that makes it so good!

Everything is better with bacon, right? Well these dates certainly are! Sweet dates are paired with crispy, salty bacon for a real contrast in flavor. These can be made in advance and popped into the oven before guests arrive and these will be a hit at any party for sure...

This is one of my favorite recipes using goat cheese because it's just so easy and delicious. Fresh herbs are chopped and mixed with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes. Chill this mixture to allow flavors to meld and spread on crostini, bread or crackers. It's a guarantee guests will love it...

Whatever appetizers you decide to serve guests this holiday season, keep in mind a balance of warm and cold options, meaty and vegetarian choices, crispy and creamy eats, and a spread that's also colorful and inviting. Appetizers shouldn't require too much effort either since you'll want to spend more time on the main and side dishes on your holiday table. So have fun and whet those appetites with something delicious!

6 comments: