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Best Tasting Appetizer that is ......

Store Bought!!! Yes, shame on me, but I have a crowd coming for the holiday, and I'm looking to take some stess off. If you can't cook, and you like to do things right, what store bought appetizer is your favorite to serve? I'm looking for simple but tasty here....

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  1. Completely, or is heating in the oven fine? For heating, things that have worked for me: IKEA meatballs, Costco scallops wrapped in bacon, Costco's artichoke crabmeat dip, hummus and garlic puree from my favorite lebanese restaurant w/ pita and veggies.

    1. I agree, costco is your friend at times like these :)

      1. I'd set out a tray of smoked/cured/pickled fish, a thoughtfully selected cheese tray, variety of crackers and some dips (hummus, etc.) Maybe a few types of olives.

        Some of this shows up at our various family holidays. I would prefer it to the frozen stuff like quiches, meatballs, etc.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MSPD

          Pickled herring is a Scandanavian favorite.

          1. re: Sharuf

            True. Also Jewish. I (of eastern European ancestry, half Jewish) married into a Swedish/Norwegian family. Throw in northern Minnesotan and my in-laws' Thanksgiving appetizers include pickled herring and northern pike, smoked trout, venison sausage, pickled deer hearts, lefse, crackers, cheese and a old-fashioned relish tray. (The lutefisk doesn't show up until supper starts).

        2. If you have a good butcher, deli, cheesemonger or charcuterie in your nabe I'd do an antipasti platter. Salami, pate, ham, cheese, maybe some fresh radishes. Just slice, assemble and serve.

          1. Fine cheese & meat tray

            1. I love finding myself at a party with expensive cheeses. I never miss the homemade stuff. However if it were my party, I'd serve hummus, dolmas and a variety of olives.

              1. Cosco's jalapeno artichoke dip is fantastic. It's a constant presence at my parties (alongside plates of homemade goodies, of course!)

                Other than dips, I wouldn't go with anything frozen though. Frozen pastries and such are always kinda gross. I second the antipasti platter. Or a nice cheese plate with some fancy crackers.

                1 Reply
                1. re: scoobyhed

                  That's the dip I meant, above, not crab.

                2. I always have Trader Joe's spanakopita in the freezer for last-minute guests.

                  I like the antipasti platter idea as well (and no heating, even!).

                  1. Costco shrimp cocktail platter. No muss no fuss, just flip off the top and its ready to serve.

                    1. Two things my guests have always enjoyed: good pate, and (inexpensive) caviar.

                      You can get two or three varieties of pate, put them on a board, and have plates of crackers or breads (Paris Toasts and pumpernickel squares are great), and my secret: black currant jelly. If you have the inclination, a little chopped onion and/or gherkin works too.

                      As for the caviar - I'm talking domestic lumpfish, but that means you can usually get dark, yellow, and red varieties, which makes for a beautiful presentation. (Keep the plates on ice!) Toast points are traditional, but crackers, square breads, etc. work fine as well. An ice bucket with bottles of Stoli Vanilla and Stoli Lemon next to the spread will set the whole thing off magnificently.

                      1. Smoked salmon. A nice assortment of crackers, cream cheese (w/ dill??) and capers. Perhaps if you have time, you can very finely mince some red onion.


                        1. This is scary simple and always a hit.

                          In a pie plate layer:
                          A container of hummus.
                          A container of olive spread (or sun dried tomato tampade)
                          A container of feta.
                          Diced tomatoes and cucumber (small dice, seeded)
                          Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil

                          Serve with pita chips.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                            Janet, I've been charged with bringing an "easy appetizer" to my sister's Thanksgiving dinner, and this just might be it! I've already got the garlic hummus and TJ's sun-dried tomato tapenade...I could sub goat cheese for the feta, and all I have to get is some vine-ripened tomatoes and an English cuke, and I'm good to go - thanks!

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              It's easy and good and adaptable. Bill has decided he's making French Onion dip from scratch (see: no soup mix). I'll let you know how it turns out.

                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                Having read about Bill's past holiday meal endeavors, I'd bet it's going to be better than any Lipton soup mix could ever dream of being. :-)

                          2. I have to agree with most of the posts here. IMO, the best thing to do would be to serve the following:

                            1. A terrific antipasto plate, always a fave around my house. My husband and I sometimes do an abbreviated version for dinner as an appie/ football or movie night. Good bottle of wine and you are all set.

                            2. Fish sampler platter: lox or gravlax, sable, trout, shrimp cocktail, etc. with the proper accoutrements (sp?) for a holiday/ evening party (as opoosed to weekend brunch with bagels and cream cheese). You can throw in the caviar here if you like. Again, always a fave around here.

                            3. As for heated items, I ALWAYS serve pigs in blankets (Hebrew National BIG box) and no matter what style of party, they are the biggest hit!

                            4. Cheese plate is a no-brainer. Great bread, crackers, bread sticks, fruit, etc.

                            Sounds like a party I would want to attend. :-) Whatever you decide, have fun!

                            1. i buy a good smoked salmon, and serve it with crackers and cream cheese, it presents well too

                              1 Reply
                              1. If you get spinach dip from Costco or a supermarket, add some extra spinach (frozen, thawed out & squeezed dry) to the dip. Usually spinach dips are too creamy and white w/ not enough spinach, IMO. I have had several compliments on the dip, hahaha.

                                1. A few ideas off the top of my head:

                                  1. The smoked salmon from costco is great. I just put it with a wedge of brie and some good crackers.

                                  2. Blue cheese wedge with Quince Paste (YUM---I buy the paste from Whole Foods but many places will carry it).

                                  3. Thin focaccia, rubbed with pesto, with small triangles of brie heated in oven 5 minutes. Cut into triangles.

                                  4. Olives, olives, olives.

                                  5. Awesome artisan bread with my fave dip (turns bread and oil into a bonafide appetizer): olive oil, balsamic, garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh italian parsley.

                                  I will resist writing the next five---this is one of my favorite topics! Oh, and loved the above comment by Janet: "scary simple." I love scary simple!