Whether you're hosting a knockout bash for 200 or an intimate get-together for 25, food is a must. Most guests don't arrive expecting a full meal, but if you want your party to be memorable in a good way, you need more than a plastic tub of onion dip and a bag of chips. Creating delicious and attractive appetizers doesn't have to mean slaving in the kitchen all day though -- a few simple selections using fresh and colorful foods are bound to make the right impression at your next soiree.
Nothing says party like a selection of dips for chips, veggies or crackers. Keep things simple by offering variations on the dips; for example, a selection of salsas ranging from mild to five-alarm hot will both tantalize guests' taste buds and spark conversation, and maybe some friendly competition. Satisfy less adventurous taste buds by offering different types of ranch, bean, veggie or cheese dips. Presentation is everything, so even if you're serving your favorite store-bought dip, transfer it to a pretty bowl and add a garnish before displaying it for guests. Or serve a rich cheese or spinach dip in a bread bowl. Remove the center from a large, crusty loaf of sourdough or pumpernickel bread, and cut it into chunks. Fill the hollowed center with dip, and arrange the bread chunks around the bread bowl for dipping.
Serving appetizers on skewers is not only attractive, but it makes food easier to eat as guests mingle. For a pretty and light Caprese salad inspired appetizer, skewer colorful cherry tomatoes with fresh buffalo mozzarella. Add a fresh basil leaf or two between the tomatoes and cheese, and drizzle the skewers with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Or, instead of veggies, create fruit skewers with strawberries, pineapple or mango. Use craft sticks instead of pointy skewers for kids. For the meat eaters, offer marinated and grilled chicken tenders or tender beef strips on skewers; teriyaki is always a crowd pleaser, but any of your favorite marinades will do.
Mini pinwheel sandwiches are quick and easy to make before a party, and are often a crowd pleaser. Spread hummus, cream cheese or creamy dressing on a whole wheat tortilla, and top with cheese, turkey and ham. Roll up the tortilla and slice it crosswise for bit sized sandwiches. For a veggie version, mix finely grated carrot, baby peas, finely chopped peppers and steamed and chopped broccoli with light cream cheese, and spread the mixture on the tortilla. Packaged crescent rolls also serve as a base for tasty appetizers. Unroll the entire package of rolls into a rectangle, and spread a filling, such as the cream cheese and veggie mixture, all over the dough. Roll the dough lengthwise, cut it crosswise into 1-inch sections, and bake according to the package directions. Experiment with different fillings; a mixture of cream cheese, cooked bacon and two sliced green onions is a tasty appetizer.
Serve mini-pizza appetizers at your next party and chances are they'll be gone before you know it. Start with a ready-made pizza crust, or use a pizza dough mix. Spread the dough into a large baking pan so the crust is thin, and then top with your favorite ingredients. Think beyond the standard pepperoni; for example, top the pizza with salsa instead of sauce, and add shredded chicken, olives, cheese and cilantro for a Mexican inspired pizza. Add tomatoes and sliced fresh mozzarella for a Margherita pizza, or pile on the fresh veggies and fruits for a farmers' market pizza. Once the pizza is cooked, serve it in small slices.
Like This Article? Let Us Know!
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images