Simple Appetizers and Snacks to Serve at Your Next Party
These finger foods are easy to nibble and will be a delicious addition to your next party.
The best snacks at a party are sometimes the simplest—but no matter what, you want to be sure that guests can easily nibble on what you’re serving, whether they’re sitting, standing or mingling. And if you’re throwing a last-minute party, it’s always good to find simple appetizers to add to the menu, giving you more time to do a little last-minute cleaning or put together a playlist.
Caramel Snack Mix
This crisp mix is always a party pleaser. The sweet caramel coating adds just the right twist to a combination of nuts, pretzels, dried cranberries and two kinds of dry cereal.
PREP: 25 min STAND: Overnight
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons light-color corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups round toasted oat cereal
2 cups miniature pretzel twists
2 cups bite-size square corn cereal
2 cups almonds, cashews, or peanuts
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
- Line two 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pans with foil; coat foil with cooking spray. Set pans aside.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda. Stir in oat cereal, pretzels, corn cereal, almonds and, if desired, cranberries until coated.
- Divide cereal mixture between the two prepared baking pans; cool. Break mixture apart into bite-size pieces. Transfer to sealable plastic bags or storage containers; seal or cover tightly. Let stand at room temperature overnight.
- Serve snack mix at room temperature.
Makes: 22 servings, ½ cup each
Per serving: 176 calories, 9g fat, 3 g sat fat, 3 g protein, 11 mg cholesterol, 23 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 246 mg sodium.
Blue Cheese-Apricot Bites
Mix the sweetness of dried apricots and the tangy appeal of blue cheese to create tasty nibbles with crunchy toasted walnuts sprinkled on top.
START TO FINISH: 25 MIN
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, finely crushed
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola, Roquefort, or other blue cheese (1 ounce)
1 ounce cream cheese
16 dried apricots
Snipped fresh rosemary (optional)
- In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add walnuts and sugar; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until walnuts are lightly toasted. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary; cook and stir for 30 seconds more. Transfer nuts to a foil-lined baking sheet; cool.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine Gorgonzola cheese and cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
- Spoon about 3/4 teaspoon of the cheese mixture on top of each dried apricot. Sprinkle with nuts. If desired, garnish with additional fresh rosemary.
Makes: 16 appetizers
Per serving: 33 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 1 g protein, 5 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 24 mg sodium.
Artfully arrange Italian meats, olives, pickles, spicy mustard and toasted baguette slices for a party tray that’s pleasing to both the eye and the appetite.
START TO FINISH: 2 HRS 50 MIN
- On a very large serving platter arrange thinly sliced Italian meats like prosciutto, sopressata and mortadella. Create small piles of cornichons, mixed olives and cocktail onions (if desired). Add a small ramekin with mustard, baguette slices and/or crackers and lemon wedges.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Remove tray from refrigerator and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving to bring out the fullest flavors.
Rich avocado and sweet soybeans meld for a luscious twist on standard guacamole. A sprinkling of chopped tomato adds bright contrast to the pretty green dip.
START TO FINISH: 20 MIN
12 ounces frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 medium avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped tomato (optional)
Pita chips or tortilla chips
- In a food processor combine edamame, avocado, onion, lemon juice, pesto, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Process until well combined and nearly smooth. Place dip in an airtight container; cover. Chill until serving time.
- To serve, top with tomato and additional sea salt and pepper. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.
Makes: 20 servings, 2 tablespoons dip each
Per serving: 48 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 2 g protein, mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 74 mg sodium.
Melty Cheese Puffs
Flaky puff pastry wraps gooey cheese in a made-to-mingle party snack. Assemble the puffs well ahead of the party. Pop them in the oven in time to serve these cheesy puffs at their toasty best.
START TO FINISH: 45 MIN
1 17.3-ounce package puff pastry, thawed
1 5.2-ounce package semisoft cheese with fines herbes
1 egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll into an 11-inch square. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, cut circles from sheet. Repeat with the remaining sheet of puff pastry.
- Place half of the circles on prepared baking sheet. Spoon 2 teaspoons semisoft cheese into the center of each circle; brush edges of pastry circles on baking sheet with some of a lightly beaten egg.
- Top each circle with one of the remaining circles. Using the tines of a fork, seal edges of circles completely. Brush with the remaining lightly beaten egg.
- Bake about 20 minutes or until tops are golden. Serve warm.
Makes: 16 puffs
Per serving: 210 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g sat fat, 3 g protein, 14 mg cholesterol, 14 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 135 mg sodium.
Crunchy Asian Snack Mix
With wonton wrappers, crisp pea pods, sesame sticks and a coating of Asian-inspired spices, this snack will be an unexpected favorite with party guests.
START TO FINISH: 50 MIN
12 wonton wrappers
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 3.3-ounce package crisp pea pod snacks or 4 cups crisp mixed vegetable sticks
2 cups bite-size rice square cereal
1 cup sesame sticks
1 cup whole unsalted cashews
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place wonton wrappers on a baking sheet. Brush both sides of wrappers with sesame oil. Bake about 5 minutes or until golden; cool. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F.
- In a large bowl combine pea pod snacks (or vegetable sticks), rice cereal, sesame sticks and cashews; set aside. In a small saucepan heat butter until melted. Stir in soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Drizzle butter mixture over cereal mixture; toss gently to coat. Spread cereal mixture in a roasting pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread cereal mixture on a large sheet of foil to cool. Transfer to a large bowl. Break wontons into large pieces and stir into cereal mixture. Serve within 24 hours of preparation.
Makes: 12 servings
Per serving: 211 calories, 13 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 5 g protein, 11 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 264 mg sodium.
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