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Retro hors d'oeuvres

I want to throw a party with classic cocktails and retro hors d'oeuvres. Here's a list of nibbles I've come up with. Any other suggestions? Something with sliced olives? Hot crab dip with toasted almonds?

1. Deviled eggs
2. Cheese balls
3. Swedish meatballs
4. Pigs in blankets
5. Mini quiche Lorraine
6. Baked brie in puff pastry
7. Spinach dip served in hollowed-out loaf of bread
8. Cheese sticks
9. Celery stuffed with cream cheese


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  1. Well there's the Bacon wrapped water chestnut thingy that you're missing from the Classic lineup!

    2 Replies
    1. re: King of Northern Blvd

      do you mean rumaki? isn't that some sort of chicken liver/chestnut/bacon thing?

      Another idea is this recipe in the big yellow gourmet cookbook for whole green olives (like the juicy big ones with the pimento) baked in a cheesy dough that are awesome and tres retro (to me at least).

      1. re: WineWidow

        there are a bunch of classic bacon-wrapped things: devils on horseback (cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon), angels on horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon), rumaki (chicken livers and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon), bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, and bacon-wrapped smokies (cocktail weenies).

    2. Looks like it's time to dust off the old fondue set for some melty-cheesy retro fun!

      1. Jello retro style...shooters ?

        1. Angels on horseback - scallops, oysters or shrimp wrapped in bacon - 1/3 slice bacon, top with seafood, sprinkle of fresh parsley and paprika, secure with toothpick and broil in oven.

          1. I am a caterer and thi was a menu I did for a retro party. Sorry if I repeated some of your items.

            Mini Meatloaf Sandwiches on Petite Soft Buns with Crisp Bacon and Spicy Mayonnaise
            Mac n’ Cheese ~ Elbow Pasta baked with Creamy Three Cheese Sauce with Buttery Crumb Crust
            Pigs in Blankets ~ Mini Hotdogs served with Honey Mustard Dip
            Golden Triangles of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Demitasse Cups of Tomato Soup for dipping
            Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Horseradish Cocktail Sauce
            Deviled Eggs
            Potatoes Au Gratin ~ Creamer Potatoes layered with Gruyere and Cream with a touch of Nutmeg
            Wedges of Iceberg Lettuce drizzled with Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing and sprinkled with Crumbled Bacon and finely diced Red Onion
            Rice Krispy Treats half dipped in Chocolate
            Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches ~ Vanilla Ice Cream between Petite Chocolate Chip Cookies

            1. My mom used to roll out white bread thin and coat with mayo, then sprinkle with parmesan and green onion and put them under the broiler. I remember liking these as a child in the 70's.

              And any kind of cheese spread on Ritz crackers garnished with a pimento stuffed olive.

              Then there are the classics like Chex party mix, sausage balls, potato skins.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lisaf

                That reminds me of one my mom used to do; she rolled out white bread (crusts removed), spread with (I think) a bit of mayo, placed one spear of asparagus inside, rolled up, brushed with butter, and broiled till hot. They were the cat's meow for some time way back when.

              2. Cocktail meatballs (the ones with the grape jelly).

                1. If you feel like being creative, you can make a visually attractive canape with round crackers, another round of canned tomato aspic, topped with a pimento stuffed olive. A layer of cream cheese mixed with a couple drops of hot sauce tops it off. You can probably come up with other ideas like this.

                  1. Mini hot dogs in equal amounts of heated currant jelly and yellow mustard served in a chafing dish. Very nostalgic.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Kaisgraham

                      These bring back hideous memories, but what was served was not even "mini hot dogs" but CANNED VIENNA SAUSAGES (Ptooey! Yuck! Ick!) in grape jelly with yellow mustard. Even today, 30 years later, I wake screaming in the night thinking of this.

                    2. i used to make pork sausage balls cooked in catsup and beer. It was really simple and well loved. Just empty quart bottle of beer into a pot and add an equal amt. of catsup. Roll a couple of lbs. of pork sausage into bite size balls and drop into the catsup/beer mixture while bringning it to a boil. Cook until the sauce has thickened. These can be doen ahead and reheated in a slow cooker to serve.

                      Cheese Wafers

                      1/2 C. room temp. unsalted butter
                      2 C. sherp cheddar shredded
                      Worcestershire sauce
                      Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper
                      1 C. flour.

                      Mix it all up in a food processor or in mixer. Form into a log and either freeze for later or refrigerate until firm and then slice about 1/4" thick rounds and bake at 350 F. 12-15 mins and serve. i sometimes top them before baking with a toasted pecan

                      Then there was the old clam dip made with a small packet of cream cheese combined with a can of drained chopped clams and Worcestershire, onion and garlic powder to taste and a bit of lempn juice. You could lighten it with some good mayo too. Serve as a dip or pile on to toast rounds and broil.


                      1. Crab Rangoon of course!
                        Chex Party Mix
                        Port Wine Cheese and Horseradish Ball ... the one rolled in nuts.

                        1. Hell, I still do the spinach dip in bread for football and it is the first to go! With that said, mt mom used to make this thing called a Czar's crown? It was this egg salad type dip with sour cream and caviar on top! Also, who remembers dried beef...creamed chipped beef on toast...otherwise known as SOS??? Along with the czar's crown, i have a recipe for dried beef and mushroom dip. You HAVE to do some sort of mold..a jello shooter mold...with embedded fresh fruit instead of fruit cocktail....oh yeah baby!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rHairing

                            I've been searching for a recipe and picture of Czar's Crown. A friend from the south gave me a recipe but there is no picture and I'm dying to see this thing in action. It's hard to believe it's not on the internet... I thought you could find everything on the internet. many thanks, Michelle in NYC

                          2. Where's the canned cheese whiz?????

                            Don't forget retro decor! Wear a frilly apron and use those wildly colored toothpicks, sticking as many things as you can on them and sticking them all into some crazy retro shaped styrofoam centerpiece!

                            1. Cheese whiz on a Ritz! MMM...good cracker! Oh God I'm old...no...retro..with style!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: rHairing

                                Yes, with a bit of pimento-stuffed olive on top ;)

                              2. These rock:

                                BAKED CHEDDAR OLIVES

                                2 cup grated Sharp cheddar
                                1 cup flour
                                1/4 t cayenne
                                4 T softened butter
                                40 small pimento-stuffed olives, drained and patted dry

                                - Preheat Oven to 400
                                - Stir 1st three ingredients together
                                - Work in softened butter to form dough
                                - Drop dollop of dough on wax paper and place olive in middle
                                - Flour hands and roll olive in between your palms to cover olive
                                - Place all olives on a cookie sheet
                                - Bake 15 minutes
                                - Serve warm

                                Note: prepared olives can be kept in the fridge 2-3 hours before serving. Bring them to room temp. before baking.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Tom P

                                  I used to make the baked cheddar olives too - they're really good!

                                2. French onion dip with chips. Gotta use Lipton onion soup mix and REAL sour cream. Chips must not be any fancier than Ruffles (plain).

                                  1. Cocktail weiners in a crockpot with that weird grape jelly-ketchup mixture sauce.

                                    My grandma used to slice whole dill pickles crosswise (about 1/4-1/2 inch thick), poke out the middle part with the seeds, and fill the hole with some sort of orange cheez product.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Mill City Modern

                                      my mother used to make the cocktail weiners with jelly-mustard sauce. it was my favorite party snack when i was a kid. instead of using grape jelly, though, she used currant. i still make them from time to time and although everyone pretends to enjoy them from an ironic perspective, they get eaten REALLY fast.

                                      1. re: wleatherette

                                        for a variation on your theme, i use one bottle of beer and one bottle of chili sauce....reduce in a pot until it would coat the cocktail franks...put in franks and heat...serve with toothpicks...they always get eaten, so be prepared to make several batches

                                        1. re: kleinfortlee

                                          instead of beer, my mom used Wild Turkey for a little extra kick, and honestly, i could eat these little wienies all day! Just made 'em for a potlock a few months ago!

                                    2. 7 layer dip of course-made w/ canned bean dip.

                                      I'm also partial to chili cheese dip in the crock pot-velveeta & hormel hot no beans.

                                      A texas variation on this is a can of Rotel, velveeta, and browned spicy roll sausage.

                                      Fritos w/ all of these!

                                      1. Retro? Most of these sound exactly like the menus at the holiday open houses I went to in December!

                                          1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                            That's what I was going to mention :)

                                          2. don't forget to put out some plain ole peanuts! ;)

                                            1. Relish plate!!!

                                              Olives, celery sticks, sweet pickles, radishes served in an oval bowl.

                                              This was usually out on the cocktail table or near the nuts, Or for a dinner party, it would be out on the table before the appetizers came out.

                                              It was not an event at my aunt's house without this. My grandmother would serve this too.

                                              1. Sausage cheese balls (bisquick, cheese, sausage, bake)

                                                1. cheez whiz on a ritz! with the garnish of sliced olive of course. how classy is that huh?

                                                  1. What about cubed cheddar, olives and/or gerkin pickles on toothpicks? (the toothpicks HAVE to have the plastic colored frills on them)

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: troutpoint

                                                      don't forget to add a cube of ham to the skewer.

                                                      1. re: wleatherette

                                                        See, I was thinking that there was some sort of meat on them too, but I couldn't decide whether it was ham or pepperoni/salami...

                                                        1. re: troutpoint

                                                          i think it could be anything, as long the meat is cube-shaped.

                                                    2. dates stuffed with peanut butter and rolled in powdered sugar. No clue what they're officially called but they're really good lol

                                                      1. Back in the 70's my mother was quite the party hostess and I recall some of her stapels were:
                                                        Deviled eggs
                                                        Swedish Meatballs
                                                        Cheeseballs rolled in nuts and herbs
                                                        and my personal favorite..... pickled sweet watermelon rinds wrapped in cream cheese smeared salami slices YUMMI!

                                                          1. cream cheese balls rolled in crushed walnuts

                                                            1. Cheese "things" as my friends and I call them:

                                                              2 c or so of grated sharp cheddar
                                                              3/4 c mayo
                                                              tbls or so of mustard
                                                              a few splashes of tabasco
                                                              splash or two of worcestershire sauce

                                                              Mix all together, spread on white bread squares (slices with crusts cut off and quartered)

                                                              heat under the broiler until hot, melty, and DELICIOUS!!

                                                              1. I second the suggestion of California dip!! (aka Lipton onion soup dip) Also, terrine-style loafs with gelatin (canned salmon mousse loaf, carrot loaf). And definitely pigs in a blanket (as you've already mentioned) Swedish meatballs is a classic, but why not go polynesian with "Waikiki meatballs"? :)

                                                                When I was a kid, we had a booklet that was full of recipes for cooking with Tang.
                                                                But if you can get your hands on one of the old betty crocker picture cookbooks, you're all set.

                                                                1. A brick of cream cheese covered w/ hot pepper jelly or that shrimp cocktail in a jar from the refrigerator section of the grocery. Serve w/ Ritz crackers.