Horderves- Dozens of Quick and Easy Appetizers

 

My mom and I have probably spent hours over the years discussing appetizers and party foods.  She belongs to the Women’s “Circle” Group of her church.  Once a year she hosts, and it’s almost like a competition the way these ladies try to outdo each other with new and surprising treats. 

These are some ideas I put together for quick easy appetizer recipes.  Some are so easy, they don’t really need a recipe. 

Baby carrots w/ ranch, sausage in brown sugar mustard sauce, olive skewer, tomato skewer, cocktail meatballs in balsamic soy, tortilla w/ cheddar, tortilla w/ Costco's Bruchetta, Costco Shrimp (Salad), Triscuit w/ Jalapeno Jack
Baby carrots w/ ranch, sausage in brown sugar mustard sauce, olive skewer, tomato skewer, cocktail meatballs in balsamic soy, tortilla w/ cheddar, tortilla w/ Costco's Bruchetta, Costco Shrimp (Salad), Triscuit w/ Jalapeno Jack
Guacamole made with avocado with chopped sweet onion
Guacamole made with avocado with chopped sweet onion | Source
Cut open avocado and mash wth a fork.
Cut open avocado and mash wth a fork. | Source

Dips and Spreads for Chips and Vegetables


Even for a small gathering it’s still nice to have several dips or spreads for tortilla chips, potato chips, wheat thins or raw vegetables. For large parties, I say “Smorgasbord!”


Guacamole: If you’ve never bought avocados and made your own guacamole, don’t be intimidated! Buy 2 large or 5 small avocados. I’m not encouraging you to bruise the produce, but they should be slightly soft, and “give” a little when you hold them firmly. The seed is large and very hard. Run your knife lengthwise around the avocado, then give it a twist and one side should pull away, leaving the seed on the other side. Remove the seed. Use a spoon to remove the soft flesh of both halves. Mash the avocado with a fork. Add about ½ cup chopped sweet onion and a little salt. Stir to combine. You can add chopped, drained fresh tomato, but we like it with just the onion at our house. Serve with tortilla chips.



Salsa: I suggest you buy a jar of your favorite salsa. Then add a bit of chopped cilantro, or chopped sweet onion. This is quick, but seems a little more homemade. Serve with tortilla chips. Sam’s Member’s Mark Bruchetta is really good with chips too.



RoTel tomatoes
RoTel tomatoes | Source


Velveeta RoTel Dip: Take an 8 to 12 oz block of Velveeta Cheese and melt it down stirring constantly. Add one small can of rotelle tomatoes. Stir to combine. You could do this in a small crock pot, or transfer it to a crock pot to keep warm for your gathering. Serve with tortilla chips or other favorite chips.





Refried Beans: Heat one large can of refried beans. Add water if necessary until creamy. Mix in a little sour cream if desired. Place in serving dish. Top with cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese. Heat to melt cheese. Serve with tortilla chips or other favorite chips.




Dill or Chive Dip: Take one pint of sour cream. Buy fresh herbs, such as dill or chives, from the produce department of your grocer. Finely chop herbs and mix thoroughly into sour cream. You could use half sour cream and half yogurt, or yogurt instead of sour cream, but use Greek yogurt since it is thicker. Serve with chips, crackers, or raw vegetables.



Spinach Dip in Bread Bowl

Spinach Dip made with Knorr soup mix.  Served with sourdough bread and carrots.
Spinach Dip made with Knorr soup mix. Served with sourdough bread and carrots. | Source


Spinach Dip: Buy Lipton or Knorr dry Vegetable Recipe mix. Follow package directions. Both call for 1 box frozen chopped spinach and 1 cup mayo. Knorr calls for 2 cups sour cream and Lipton calls for 1 cup. Both call for 1 can water chestnuts, which I never use. This dip is always a crowd pleaser. If you want to really make an impression, buy a large round Hawaiian bread and hollow out the center for the dip. Cut the bread you removed into cubes to use with the dip. Also good for chips, crackers, and raw vegetables.




Ranch Dip: Who doesn’t like Ranch Dip? Mix one package of Ranch Dressing or Dip mix with 2 cups of sour cream or Greek yogurt. Good with chips or raw vegetables.




Chili Con Queso Dip: This is a dip mix I started buying from Hampe House in Gruene, Texas 10 years ago. Hampe House is now out of business, but my brother tracked down the company who packaged the dips, Country Home Creations. Looks like they no longer carry it, but I found Chili Con Queso mix at The Old Mill. I make my queso dip with 1 ½ cups plain yogurt and ½ cup sour cream or mayo. You could certainly eat it on chips, but I love this dip on baby carrots. Order some to keep on hand!




Country Home Creations Sweet Dips and Spreads: Another favorite dip is the Cherry Almond. We just had some shipped to Mom for her Circle Meeting next month! I can also personally vouch for the Blueberry Walnut Dip. Take a look at their sweet dips, and consider keeping some of these on hand for your gatherings too. Most of the sweet dips are made with cream cheese and sour cream.



Fruit Plate
Fruit Plate | Source

Dips for Fresh Fruit

 

Yogurt:  Get vanilla yogurt as a dip for fresh fruit.  Blend in a little softened cream cheese to add texture. 

Pudding:  Try chocolate pudding for fruit dip.  Stir in some powdered sugar if you want to make it a little sweeter and more textured. 

Caramel Dip:  Combine 8 oz softened cream cheese with one container of caramel apple dip. 

PBJ Dip:  Blend together approximately equal amounts of peanut butter and jelly. 

Cream Cheese:  Blend together 1 cup mayonnaise and ¼ cup lemon juice.  Then blend in 8 oz softened cream cheese.  Add more lemon juice if needed for desired consistency. 

 

Cicik or Tzatziki
Cicik or Tzatziki | Source

Breads and Spreads

Cucumber Spread: The Turks call it Cacik and the Greeks call it Tzitziki. Since I lived in Turkey for 3 ½ years, my version is Turkish-inspired. Chop 2 baby cucumbers with skin. They should be relatively dry, but pat off excess moisture with paper towels. Combine cucumbers with 1 pint of Greek yogurt. Mince 2 to 3 cloves of garlic. Add garlic and 1 tsp of dried mint. Combine thoroughly. It is important to use Greek yogurt because it is thicker. You don’t want this to be like a soup for a party. Provide pita quarters for cucumber spread. Flour tortilla quarters would do in a pinch.


Hummus topped with Warm Oil with Cumin

Hummus with cumin in olive oil
Hummus with cumin in olive oil | Source


Hummus: Buy your favorite commercial hummus flavor and serve with pita or tortilla quarters. Some people make their own with canned chickpeas processed in a food processor. I find the canned chickpeas are too firm. I use garbanzo powder or flour and follow the package directions with a Turkish slant. This usually entails adding water, tahini paste, minced garlic and lemon juice. Heat some cumin in olive oil and pour over the top of your hummus on a plate. Serve on pita or tortilla quarters.



Cheese Ball with Water Crackers

Cheese Ball with water crackers
Cheese Ball with water crackers | Source


Cheese Ball: The basic cheese ball is usually made with cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese. Place two 8-oz packages of softened cream cheese in a bowl. Mix in 2 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese. You could add something like ranch dressing mix, or chopped herbs such as chives or dill. Mix well and form into a ball. Roll in 1 ½ cups of chopped pecans.




Cocktail Meatballs in Grape Jelly Sauce

Meatballs simmered in Grape Jelly sauce
Meatballs simmered in Grape Jelly sauce | Source

Meat and Seafood


Cocktail Meatballs: Combine 1 ¼ c grape jelly with one 12 oz bottle of tomato-based chili sauce. Alternatively use 1/2 cup mustard instead of chili sauce. Add 1 1/2 lbs of meatballs. Simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. Transfer to crock pot to stay warm or prepare in crock pot allowing 4 to 6 hours on low.


Cocktail Weenies in Grape Jelly & Mustard Sauce

Cocktail Weenies in Grape Jelly & Mustard Sauce
Cocktail Weenies in Grape Jelly & Mustard Sauce | Source

Cocktail Weenies: Cut 1 to 2 lbs of wieners into ½” to ¾” rounds. In a saucepan combine wieners with one bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce, enough to coat wieners. They do not have to be completely submerged. Cook as for cocktail meatballs.

Lit'l Smokies in Barbecue Sauce

Lit'l Smokies in Barbecue Sauce
Lit'l Smokies in Barbecue Sauce | Source

Cocktail Sausage: Combine ½ c packed light brown sugar, ¼ c yellow mustard, and ¼ c water per 12 oz package of little smokies sausage, or other favorite sausage cut in rounds. Combine sausage and sauce in saucepan. Cook as for cocktail meatballs.


More Sauces for Cocktail Meatballs, Weenies, and Sausage: See my hub for over a dozen more sauce ideas.


Super Bowl Smokies

Lil Smokies sausages wrapped in bacon, and sprinkled with brown sugar
Lil Smokies sausages wrapped in bacon, and sprinkled with brown sugar | Source


Super Bowl Smokies: Cut bacon into 1/3 to ½ slices, about 4 inches long. Wrap bacon around Lit’l Smokies sausages and secure with toothpicks. Place in pan and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes.


Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad with pineapple and nuts from Jason's Deli
Chicken Salad with pineapple and nuts from Jason's Deli | Source

Chicken Salad: Cook chicken until it easily falls apart. I cook chicken in crockpot overnight, and it stirs apart with no need for chopping. Stir in an 8 oz carton of pineapple cream cheese spread, ½ cup chopped walnuts, and ¼ cup dried cranberries. Serve on crackers or melba toast.

Ham Pinwheels: Soften 8 oz of cream cheese. Blend in ¼ cup mayo or yogurt. Spread a thin layer of mixture on slices of boiled ham. Roll ham and secure with toothpicks. Refrigerate to allow cream cheese to become firm again. Cut like cookie dough, about ½” thick. Secure with toothpicks or serve on top of crackers.

Shrimp: Buy precooked shrimp, deveined, shelled, tail off, size 40 to 50 per pound or larger. Run under water to thaw. Stick with toothpicks to serve. Costco shrimp salad would also work well. It has a light coating of dressing and tiny diced celery.


Homemade Tuna Salad

Homemade tuna salad with mayo, boiled egg, pickle relish, and chopped onion
Homemade tuna salad with mayo, boiled egg, pickle relish, and chopped onion | Source

Tuna Salad: Drain a large can of tuna. Combine with sweet pickle relish, 1 mashed boiled egg, and ¼ to ½ c mayonnaise. Serve with crackers.



Deviled Ham Spread: Combine 8 oz softened cream cheese, ½ tsp prepared mustard, ¼ c mayonnaise, 1 small can deviled ham, and 1 mashed boiled egg. Serve on bread, crackers, or with raw vegetables. One of Mom's favorites.

Crab Dip: Combine 1 ½ c mayonnaise, ½ c grated cheddar, 1 tsp horseradish, 4 Tbsp French dressing, and 1 c crabmeat. Drained canned crab would work, but try to get crabmeat from the refrigerator section. It comes in 8 oz and 16 oz cups, and various grades of meat, with claw meat which is reasonably priced, to premium lump meat which is about $1 per oz! Serve with crackers.

Shrimp Dip: In a food processor or blender, combine 1 medium onion, 3 oz cream cheese, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, ¼ c milk, ¼ tsp garlic salt, and 8 oz cooked shrimp. Serve with crackers.

Fruit picks
Fruit picks | Source

Toothpick Treats


Fruit, Vegetable, and Olive “Kebabs”

Make “Mini Kebabs” on toothpicks or skewers. This is an especially good idea if you want to make your fruits, vegetables, and olives into finger foods, instead of having trays of them, with some items requiring forks. Mix and match on the skewer within categories. You could have skewers alternating tomatoes and cucumbers, or alternating colors of peppers. Try three olives on a toothpick, all green or all black, as well as some with alternating green and black. The combinations of fruits are endless.

Vegetables: grape tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, celery

Fruits: pineapple, strawberry, mango, melon, seedless grapes

Green and black olives



Olive, Chorizo and Cheese Picks
Olive, Chorizo and Cheese Picks | Source

Other Toothpick Treats

Tator Tots: These minced potatoes shaped into little cylinders are in the frozen section of the grocery store. Bake according to package directions. They are very popular, especially with kids. Serve on toothpicks. Have ketchup on the side.

Gherkins or other pickles

Cocktail meatballs, weenies, and sausages: See above for sauces and tips. While these foods could be served on a plate and eaten with a fork, any of them could be served on toothpicks.

Cheese cubes

Cheese Cubes
Cheese Cubes | Source

Snacks served in Mini Cupcake Papers

 

Try using the miniature sized paper cupcake and muffin liners to serve dry items.  This may be especially helpful if you are having a large gathering and you want to help the serving line move along. 

Nuts

Mints

Goldfish crackers

“Movie theater”: candies:  Junior Mints, Milk Duds, SweetTarts, Skittles, M & Ms, Reeses’ Pieces

Hershey’s Kisses

Hershey’s Minatures

 

Guy Fieri’s Super Bowl Appetizers

A Few More Easy Classics

Nachos: Spread a single layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese. Heat until cheese melts. If you’re feeling a little more adventuresome, drizzle your favorite canned chili, then cheese. Heat, then top with salsa.

Cheese and Crackers: Buy a package of mixed cheese. Sam’s, Costco, and many grocery stores carry trays with four kinds of cheese cut into strips. All you have to do is cut each slice half, or into three pieces. Serve with an assortment of crackers such as Triscuits, Wheat Thins, and Sociables.

Celery with Cheese: Buy celery hearts. Cut stalks into 3” pieces. Squirt Cheese Whiz into rib.


Chex Party Mix
Chex Party Mix | Source

Chex Party Mix: In “the old days” we had to buy Chex cereal, pretzels, and nuts and drizzle with butter and heat to make this. Now you can buy Chex Party Mix that you just pour out of the box.


Candy Cookie Combo

Cookie dough with Hershey Kisses and Reese Peanut Butter Cups
Cookie dough with Hershey Kisses and Reese Peanut Butter Cups | Source

A Few Easy Homemade Items

 

Cupcakes or Muffins:  Buy a package mix for cupcakes or muffins.  Bake in miniature muffin pan. 

Kiss Cookies:  Buy sugar cookie dough in the refrigerator section.  Cut cookies, place on baking sheet, press unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss into center.  Bake according to package directions. 

 

What Do You Serve?

What's your "go to" party food?

See results without voting

© 2010 rmcrayne

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9 comments

judydianne profile image

judydianne 6 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

These suggestions are simple, easy and fast. I think I'll try the caramel dip. Sounds really good!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

This is great for little get together. Nice!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Looks great! Thanks!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

judyd, I haven't tried the caramel dip yet. I got it from my family's church recipe book. Can't beat country church ladies when it comes to food, right?


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks Sandy and Paradise for your ongoing support!


gr82bme profile image

gr82bme 5 years ago from USA

Great ideas and simple. Duh, why didn't I think of that. Love the recipes. Thanks for sharing

voted up and bookmarked. Also shared


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 5 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks so much gr82bme. I think it's a great little hub, but has seen very little traffic until recently.


Kim Anderson 5 years ago

Great ideas thanks!


Sandy 20 months ago

Great ideas for the party

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