Gourmet Finger Food Ideas
Planning A Party?
Each year brings about several occasions for parties. With the kick-off of New Years Eve, Super Bowl and St. Patrick's day in the Winter to outdoor parties in the summer and finally end of the year holidays, there seems to always be something going on. This is not to mention everything in between like graduations, birthdays, and bridal or baby showers.
Most of the time, when entertaining a large group, easy finger foods come to mind. Not only are many of them easy to prepare but they look elegant and festive. They are also easy to serve and easy for your guests to carry off and consume.
Serving Food At The Right Temperature:
Displaying your gourmet finger foods attractively is just one part of your buffet equation. They must be served at the proper temperature. Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold may seem like too big of a challenge but there are some wonderful products to make this job easy.
Crock pots are wonderful to use for hot foods. There are many recipes for meatballs, chicken or shrimp appetizers that can be kept warm in the crock pot and served with tooth picks. Any dips for crackers of chips can also be kept warm for hours in a crock pot.
For my daughter's graduation party, I purchased vented serving trays which sat on ice compartments, which kept finger food cold for hours. I thought this was the greatest invention ever! I have recently discovered hot/cold thermal serving trays that you either stick in the oven or the freezer for several minutes and then they keep food hot or cold for about an hour. You can also use warming trays to keep food hot.
Whatever option you use just make sure food is maintained at the proper temperature and there aren't any cords hanging for guests to trip over.
Serve A Variety Of Food Types:
Not only is it good to have a combination of hot and cold items, it is also good to have a variety of choices from different food groups. You don't want to have all meats especially if one of your guests might be a vegetarian. Also, having too many rich appetizers can get sickening so combining fresh fruit and vegetables is a great idea. Being creative in your displays can make the serving of fruits and vegetables just as elegant.
I have picked some of my favorite gourmet finger food recipes that will cover a variety of food types and preferences. Try these at your next party and enjoy the responses from your guests!
Elegant Alpine Chicken Puff Recipe
I have tried several different puff recipes and this one is my favorite. The fact that Swiss cheese is included in the actual puff makes them particularly tasty!
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground white pepper
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
- Lemony Chicken Filling (recipe follows)
Heat milk, water, butter, salt, nutmeg ad pepper in 3-quart saucepan over medium high heat until mixture boils. Remove pan from heat; add flour all at once, mixing until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture leaves sides of pan clean and forms a ball. Remove pan from heat.
Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth and shiny after each addition. Continue beating until mixture loses its gloss. Stire in 3/4 cup shredded cheese.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of cheese batter one inch apart onto two large greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffs are golden. Cool completely on wire racks and prepare chicken filling.
Cut top off each puff and pull out and discard any moist dough from centers. Fill puffs with Lemony Chicken Filling. Cover with puff tops. Bake on ungreased baking sheets in preheated 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until just heated through. (Puffs can be filled and refrigerated for up to an hour without becoming soggy; You can prepare the recipe a day ahead of time without filling the puffs, just let the puffs stand uncovered in a single layer at room temperature and refrigerate the filling.)
Lemony Chicken Filling:
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 T. dry vermouth
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 1/4 cups finely chopped cooked white chicken
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, vermouth, mustard, lemon peel, salt and pepper in a medium bowl just until smooth. Add chicken, bacon, celery and green pepper, stir lightly to mix.
Fresh Fruit Displays
Every finger food buffet must have a fresh fruit display. I love creating displays for different occasions. A simple and attractive idea is to skewer fresh fruit onto long eight or nine inch bamboo picks, leaving about an inch and a half to two inches open at the pointed end of each pick.
You can now create a fruit centerpiece by poking each fruit skewer into either a full pineapple or a styrofoam shape. At Christmas time I like to use a tall cone shaped styrofoam base so that my finished display takes on the look of a Christmas tree.
Use seasonal fruits and vary the colors for an eye appealing display. Guests will simply pull a fruit skewer from the centerpiece and walk away with an easy to eat finger food. I like to have several fruit skewers laying at the base of the display so that the centerpiece lasts a little longer into the party!
Easy Meatball Recipe With Sauces
Meatballs are always a hit at parties and are an easy food to keep warm in a crock pot. Serve with some festive picks and great sauces and they are the ultimate finger food.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Mix all ingredients together and form into one inch balls. Layer in single rows on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. Transfer to a crock pot with sauce.
- 12 oz. jar chili sauce
- 10 oz. jar grape jelly
Heat chili sauce and grape jelly together in a saucepan until jelly melts. Transfer to crock pot. This super easy sauce is so tasty no one would guess it is just two ingredients! If you prefer a white sauce, the following recipe is also very easy and tasty:
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 16 oz. sour cream
Just mix the ingredients together and place in crock pot. Simmer meatballs with either sauce on low, stirring occasionally throughout your party.
Cream Cheese And Tortilla Pinwheel
I love the look of this appetizer! I have made this over and over again with slight variations and it is always good.
- 2 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Original dry mix
- 2 green onions, minced
- 4 (12 inch) flour tortillas
- 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1 can black olives, drained and sliced
Mix cream cheese, Ranch mix and green onions together. Spread on tortillas and then sprinkle with the remaining ingredients. Roll each tortilla up tightly and wrap in tin foil. Chill for about two hours. Cut off roll ends, then cut roll into one inch slices. Makes approximately 3 dozen pinwheels.
Special notes: You can add a variety of veggies, shredded cheeses or meats. Remember to keep a little color to the items included. Pimentos, chopped nuts, ham, and peppers are all good in this.
Cherry Tomato Appetizers
These are delicious and show very well!
- 16 to 20 cherry tomatoes
- 1 lb bacon fried and crumbled
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup finely chopped green pepper
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
Cut the tops off of the cherry tomatoes, Turn the tomatoes upside down on a paper towel to drain. Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Fill the cherry tomatoes with the mixture with a press or small spoon, Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
This recipe is delicious served with crackers of crusty bread. You can keep it warm in a small crock pot or dish with a warming tray.
- 1 (8 oz) cream cheese
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Transfer to a small crock pot or warming tray.
Savory Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffed mushrooms are a popular appetizer and this recipe is especially tasty. The seasoned stuffing, I think, is a key ingredient.
- 24 medium to large mushrooms
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 (3 oz) cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 1 cup seasoned stuffing
First, remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop enough to make one cup. Melt two tablespoons margarine and brush the mushroom caps. Place them top side down in pan. Heat the remaining margarine. Add chopped mushroom stems, onion and garlic powder and cook until tender. Stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Add stuffing. Spoon about one tablespoon of stuffing mixture into each mushroom cap. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until mushrooms are heated through.
Thermal Serving Trays
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