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your best make ahead hors d'oeuvres

  • r

Am having about 30 - 45 people for an open house and am desperately seeking make ahead apps - as in, 2 weeks ahead and can put in the freezer and then reheated the day of, on as needed-basis.

Have an idea or two for 2 days ahead (hummus and salsa). and only one for the freezer (spanikopita). oh - and yes - party dogs! (hillshire farms lil smokies and pillsbury crescent dough...)

Just don't want to do much the day of - cept socialize!

PS- "entree" will be Philly's famous roast pork from Tony Lukes...so, the theme is not fancy schmancy

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  1. Along the lines of the spanikopita - you can do a filling with black beans, goat cheese and cumin wrap them in phyllo and freeze - reheat as you would spanikopita. If you have any Greek markets around - you can also buy a large can of stuffed grape leaves - before serving rinse, add fresh dill and lemon.

    1. I'm in the exact same situation. Party in two weeks and I need to get ahead of the game.

      I made Gougeres / Cheese Puffs and stashed them in the freezer unbaked. Used the Martha Stewart Baking Recipe but I've include one that is similar (with addition of thyme, paprika, parmesan and chives).

      Will stuff them with cheese and chutney or grilled sausages or just on their own.

      Anxiously waiting to see what replies you get. Have fun at your party.

      Link: http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/spe...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Mila

        You can bake and freeze gougeres. They warm up beautifully. I have never frozen the dough before. Do you defrost it before baking or just pop it frozen into the oven?

        1. re: Candy

          I did a few test ones and baked them right from frozen. Mine are small, so added on about 3 minutes to the 13 minute cooking time.

          Extra time saving to not have to worry about thawing.

      2. I've had good luck freezing rumake. The chicken liver suffers a tiny bit but because of the broiling it's not objectionable.

        1. Treats to go with crackers or thinly sliced bread: smoked salmon, pates (meat, smoked fish, seafood, veggie). Other dips: muhammara, tarator, baba ghanoush - all great with pita or pita chips. Vietnamese spring rolls - veggie or shrimp, with peanut dipping sauce. All these are served cold or room temperature so can be purchased or prepared ahead of the party.

          8 Replies
          1. re: cheryl

            have made spring rolls before - but for small parties. and just got a supply of rice paper, in facat, but i worry that if I had to make, say 50 of them, how to keep them amply moist for a few hours til the gig begins?

            1. re: rumdrinks

              I have mde the Vietnamese fried variety, and fried and froze them. They reheat beautifully and come back all crispy and nice. They are fun to eat wrapped in a lettuce leaf with herbs and a dippping sauce.

              1. re: Candy

                am not good with frying things...fearful of the wrong temp for the oil and then ending up with scorched - or oil-drenched foods. Did you make your fried ones with rice paper? if so, how hot was the oil?

                1. re: rumdrinks

                  I've never fried Vietnamese spring rolls, only made the fresh kind. If you prep all the fillings beforehand you should be able to assemble the rolls a few hours before and keep them covered with moist towels or saran wrap. Try an experiment, seeing you have the rice paper on hand. A friend served these at a party and said she had made them the day before so I assume it can be done successfully.

                  1. re: cheryl

                    They definitely can be done at least the morning of the party if not before. I buy them from a Vietnamese sandwich shop occasionally and they are placed on a styrofoam platter (like meat that you buy in the supermarket) and the entire thing, platter and all, is well wrapped in plastic wrap.

                    1. re: farmersdaughter

                      I have made several times "spring rolls out of filo dough. Same concept. cook your filling and cool. Layer about 3/4 sheets of filo, brushing with butter each time. Roll up just like a spring roll and you can even freeze. Take them out, brush tops with butter and bake at 375 about 10-12 min.

                  2. re: rumdrinks

                    I fry them in my wok at about 360-375 F.

                    Yes they are wrapped in the rice papers, I like to use the triangular variety for these. I often will make up 50-100 to have on hand and while you are rolling them is is good to keep them moist under a damp towel.

                    The filling I use is as follows:

                    Soak 2 oz. of cellophane noodles and 1 oz. of dried cloud ear mushrooms (in seperate bowls of course) in warm water and drain when soft and pliable. Finely chop and placein a mixing bowl and add 1 lb. ground pork, or crab or shrimp or a combination of all 3 any way you like, a medium minced oinon, a minced garlic clove, a grated carrot, 1 egg and salt and pepper. Mix it all well, using your hands is best.

                    Soak about 4 papers at a time and place them on a towel. Place a heaping tsp. of the filling on the broad end about an inch from the edge then fold that edge over and then the sides roll to the pointed end, tightly enclosing the filling. Repeat until all are made and then fry a few at a time until golden and drain. Serve with leaves of butter lettuce and shredded carrots, cucumber shreds and some mint leaves and cilantro are nice.

                    Make a dippping sauce from 5 Tbs. sugar, 3 Tbs. water, 1/3 C. Vietnamese fish sauce, 1/2 C. lime juice, 1 large crushed garlic clove, minced Thai chilies to taste. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Serve that at room temp. Some add some minced shallot to the sauce, i do occasionaly.

                2. re: rumdrinks

                  You can definitely make fresh Vietnamese spring rolls early that morning. I have even revived spring rolls that had already dried out and no one noticed. Here's how:

                  If you take a big pot and put about an inch of water in it, then take a strainer and put it in the pot and put your spring rolls in it, so that they're not sitting in the water, and then cover the whole thing with a lid or saran wrap, then your spring rolls should lose almost no moisture, and should be juicy enough even to uncover them and platter them an hour or so before the party without having them get too dry.

              2. Make ahead mini quiches are so easy and the flavor choice endless. They reheat wonderfully. I use premade pie crust and a small biscuit cutter. Line mini muffin tins w/ the dough. You can then make a big batch of the custard base first and then pour into separate/smaller mixing bowls to flavor. A few ideas: classic quiche Lorraine, spicy cheddar/jalapeno, swiss/spinach, goat w/ caramelized onions. After they are baked pop them out of the tins and let cool on a rack, freeze them on a cookie sheet and then when frozen you can put them all into an airtight plastic baggie until ready to use.

                Also- don't forget bowls of mixed nut and/or corn nuts. Easy fillers.

                1. Below is a link for crabbies. They are cheesy goodness. We put the mixture on the english muffin, freeze for 1/2 hour, cut each english muffin into 1/8s, put in plastic bag and freeze. Broil when you are ready to use them. We almost always have some of these in our freezer in case of emergency.

                  Link: http://seafood.allrecipes.com/az/Crab...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MalinDC

                    this is an old favorite from my family too; even the kids love these. My recipe always adds a little seasoned salt too.

                  2. h
                    Hungry Celeste

                    Savory palmiers are super-easy. You can make 'em ahead of time--all except for the baking. Freeze on cookie sheets & then bake a couple of hours before the party. They look fancy, but are simple. Buy prefab puff pastry; defrost according to directions on box. Meanwhile, finely chop a pound of mushrooms and finely dice one medium onion. Saute the onion in 2 T butter until browned, then add the mushrooms; continue to cook until the most of the liquid is reduced from the mushrooms. Next, add a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of worcestershire, and cayenne pepper & black pepper to taste. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon flour & 2 tablespoons finely grated pecorino romano, and cook & stir over low heat until the filling tightens up a bit. Allow the filling to cool for 5-10 minutes. Unroll the puff pastry & spread the filling evenly over the pastry sheet, all the way to the edges. Next, roll each of the short sides of the rectangle toward the middle of the sheet, pressing the two halves together in the middle (you're making two spirals that will bump up against each other). Slice the rolled pastry into 1/4 inch slices and bake at 400 degrees until well-browned.

                    This sounds complicated, but it's really easy. You can make several batches of filling at once, and you can make the filling ahead of time to spread the work out over a couple of days. The resulting baked palmiers look far fancier than you'd expect for the amount of work.

                    1. A ridiculously simple old favorite which can be made with lil smokies or balls of breakfast sausage is to combine equal amounts of catsup and a full bodied beer. Bring to a boil and drop in the sausage cook until thickened. That is it. If you are using breakfast sausage don't cook it first, just roll into 1" balls and drop in. They will cook thoroughly in the sauce and i have had people looking for bread when the sausage is all gone to get every last bit of the sauce.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Candy

                        My Dad makes a similar thing with equal parts ketchup and grape jelly. Sounds so gross, but is really good.

                        1. re: MalinDC

                          My mom uses bottle chili sauce and grape jelly. You are right that it sounds gross but everyone loves it.

                      2. I also do many of the ideas already mentioned with great success before the holidays, but here are a couple more:

                        ~ An oldie but goody that is often the first to go -- olive cheese balls: a pimento-stuffed olive encased in a cheddar cheese pastry. Bakes great right from the freezer.

                        ~ The Creamy Chicken and Jalapeno Nachos recipe from the old Silver Palate Good Times cookbook: a spiced, cheesy chicken topping spread thinly on split pita rounds and cut into wedges before baking. I spread these on a cookie sheet and freeze unbaked, and slide into a ziptop bag. They also bake straight from freezer. I find that this recipe, as written, needs more spice for my taste and that the cooking time needs to be increased significantly to make the wedges crisp enough.

                        ~ Another use for filo dough are Goat Cheese Kisses, also from the Silver Palate Good Times cookbook: buttered layers of filo cut into squares, a dab of flavored goat cheese in the center, twisting the filo around the filling to look like a Hershey's kiss. Again, freeze separately on a cookie sheet and then place in a container (use something more sturdy than a ziptop bag for this one so you don't break the filo). Bake straight from the feezer. Just a note on this -- when I first made it way back when, goat cheese wasn't commonly found and I was too poor to use it in volume, so I blended half cream cheese and half feta cheese and flavored the mixture with garlic and fresh herbs.

                        If you don't have recipes available for the ideas above, please let me know and I'll be happy to share them. Also do yourself a favor and don't feel that you have to make everything yourself!

                        Enjoy your party!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Terrie H.

                          I would your idea of the goat cheese kisses. I've used it many times so am familiar with it. What temp and how long do you bake them? I'd appreciate that info and thanks so much.

                        2. f

                          Cheddar cayenne coins. The dough can be made way in advance and frozen, and you can even make the coins the day before and serve at room temp or refreshed a bit in the oven. Or you can make the coins way ahead and freeze the baked coins.

                          6 oz (1 1/3 cups) all purpose flour
                          3 oz (about 1 1/4 cups) finely shredded sharp cheddar or half cheddar, half parmesan
                          1 tsp table salt
                          1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne
                          4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces, chilled
                          1 large egg yolk
                          2 T water
                          1 1/2 oz (1 1/3 cups) medium finely chopped walnuts (pine nuts or pecans ok)
                          kosher salt for sprinkling (optional)

                          Combine flour, cheese, salt and cayenne in food processor. Process until just blended. Add butter pieces and pulse until dough resembles coarse crumbs. Stir yolk and water together with a fork and drizzle over the mixture. Pulse until dough begins to form small moist crumbs. Add chopped nuts and pulse briefly until crumbs begin to come together. Pile on unfloured work surface. With the heel of your hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. Lift up one edge of the dough with a scraper or spatula, and fold it into the center (dough will still be rough, so don't expect a neat, smooth fold). Repeat with opposite edge, like folding a letter. Turn dough 45 degrees. Give dough another smearing and shape it into a 14" log that's 1 1/4" in diameter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hrs or up to 2 days. Dough may also be frozen for up to a month and then thawed for about an hour on the counter or in the refrigerator overnight. Heat oven to 375. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the log into scant 1/4" slices. Arrange about 1/2" apart on prepared sheets. Bake until medium to deep golden around edges, 15-20 minutes, rotating the sheets as needed for even baking. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt just as the sheets come out of the oven, if desired. Set the sheets on racks to cool. When completely cool, store coins in an airtight container. Can be made ahead; wrap short stacks of baked coins in plastic, pack in plastic containers and freeze. Thaw at room temperature (or put frozen coins right in the oven) and warm them for a few minutes at 325 to refresh them. Yields about 4 dozen 1 1/2" coins.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: farmersdaughter

                            They should come with a warning: If you plan to make these coins, do not plan on leaving your kitchen. These are a staple hors d'oeuvres of some friends of mine, once they start making them the guests hover around the kitchen and my friends usually have a phenomenal spread. They get devoured like hot cakes.

                          2. Had these recently and they are from "back in the day", totally retro type of hot appetizer involving crabmeat, Old English cheese and English muffins...but I was reminded by my sister that they are great to freeze before cooking...might be perfect for your party!

                            Link: http://www.texasgulfcoastfishing.com/...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Val

                              My parents make this with canned baby shrimp. It's been a family standard since the 70s and they always make them ahead and freeze them.

                            2. If you have a middle eastern market in you area they have tins of dolmas that can be drained and perked up with some lemon juice.

                              I threw a graduation party about 6 years ago and used the book linked below for two of the apps. It has recipes for all kinds of turnovers. Really easy and delish. Many can be made ahead and frozen. I remember back then I wishing i could afford the Martha Stewart Handbook of Apps, now I have it but refer to the Edible Pocket book more often

                              Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1558...

                              1. r

                                I had good luck with a spinach frittata. I baked it, cut it into triangles, then froze them. Reheated them at about 350 for a few minutes just to warm up. They were really pretty on a cut glass canape tray. I still have some in the freezer (a year and half later) as I had doubled the recipe and ended up with too much. They're still good!

                                1. Mini Empanadas. They freeze beautifully.

                                  Maybe even buy the dough wrappers from the local Latin store to save some time.

                                  Serve with spicy, fresh made salsa with loads of lime and corriander.