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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.
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.
Add a Homemade Touch to Your 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.
Velveeta & Ro*Tel Tomato Dip
Take a 16 oz block of Velveeta Cheese and melt it down stirring constantly. Add one small can of Ro-Tel 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
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 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. That's where I ordered my dip mix from, but you can also get 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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 on Butter Crackers
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 $2 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, 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
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.
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.
“Movie theater”: candies: Junior Mints, Milk Duds, SweetTarts, Skittles, M & Ms, Reeses’ Pieces
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: 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
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?
© 2010 rmcrayne