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Cocktail Menu help

  • l

I've invited a bunch of co-workers for cocktails and appetizers, most of them have pretty basic tastes. What should I make? I love to cook ethnic dishes but I think it may be too different for them. Share your favorite all American appetizer ideas.

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  1. I would think that you couldn't go wrong with cocktail meatballs or some type of mini pizzas. I love artichoke or artichoke spinach dip too, but is that pushing it?

    1 Reply
    1. re: lrbarbie

      I also have co-workers that don't love the "weird" foods that I like... I once used a 2 inch cookie cutter to make mini quesadillas- I used chicken and veggies and they were hit. It was labor intensive because I used a panini maker to cook them but since they were so small I didn't want to fuss with flipping them in a pan. I made them in advance and reheated them in the oven. Making regular sized quesadillas and cutting is the most efficient method. Something like this would allow you to make a few varieties- some "normal" and some "strange".

      1. I made a new appetizer earlier this year and now get dirty looks when I arrive somewhere without them. (I've made them over 10 times now!)
        It's a jalapeƱo popper. You stuff halved jalapeƱos with cream cheese, wrap them in bacon and then bake them.
        They are supper yummy and great because they can be made ahead. Not very 'classy' looking but a real crowd pleaser! Let me know if you want more info!

        9 Replies
          1. re: LaLa

            Go to the store and buy small jalapenos, preferable with rounded edges.
            Cut off the stem but make sure to not cut off the end of the pepper
            Cut in half lengthwise and take out all the seeds and membranes (or leave some in for super spicy ones!) You should have a mini pepper boat.
            Fill with cream cheese. (I have used plain and flavored, both work well.
            Cut your strips of bacon into thirds. Halved is your peppers are on the big side.
            Fill each pepper with cream cheese until full, then wrap the middle of the pepper with a slice of bacon, you can stick a toothpick in it for easy eating but they don't need one.
            Place finished peppers on a parchment or tinfoil covered cookie sheet and bake at 425 for approx 15-20 minutes. Bring them out when the bacon is a crispy and enjoy!
            I have also frozen these before cooking many times. They work great. Cook from frozen. I usually watch and cook for 25-30 min.
            They are super yummy. Like I mentioned before - a big family favorite. I found this recipe because I am gluten free and can't buy the pre-made ones.
            I hope you enjoy them LaLa!!!

            1. re: bacchus_is_watching

              Thanks! I am going to try them this afternoon!

                  1. re: LaLa

                    I'm glad you liked them!
                    Now do you understand why I have to take them everywhere I go!

                    1. re: LaLa

                      LaLa and bacchus, now you have my mouth watering... my friends are "spicy intolerant"... just how spicy are the poppers (I would imagine some of the spice would fade into smokiness with this rec ipe)...?

                      1. re: ideabaker

                        If you scrape out all the seeds and membranes (is that what they are called?)I don't find them spicy at all! I usually leave a bit in if I know the crowd likes a bite but they are too spicy for me like that! The the bacon and cream cheese help to cool as well...
                        Just make sure to wear gloves when you do all this - My hands were burning for 6 hours the first time I did this without any!

                        1. re: bacchus_is_watching

                          bacchus_is_waiting, I'll get rid of the membranes and seeds on most of them, maybe will mark the "spicier" ones with a piece of red bell pepper. Thank you SO much for the warning about using gloves. I can just see myself wiping my eye or going to the bathroom hours later, and writhing in pain while everyone else enjoys the party :-).

          2. My favorite? Shrimp cocktail. I always do pretty basic appetizers, like a cheese board, meats, roasted vegetables, hummus, etc. I am usually always cooking and don't want to worry about anything needing to be hot. That said, I am a HUGE fan of the crab cake recipe at Saveur (you can look it up on the website). Pair with a basic aioli. Delish!

            2 Replies
            1. re: chowkari

              Stuffed mushrooms, sausage, Cheddar and Bisquick balls (very retro & very good). I'll post the recipe if you are interested.

              1. re: chowkari

                Something I got to try with seafood cakes was a wasabi remoulade. I wasn't sure about it just looking at the recipe, but after tasting it I'm hooked. I may have to make a batch for a Build Your Own Burger get-together. Just mix 1/4 cup each of mayo and ketchup, a tablespoon each of wasabi paste, minced capers, and minced parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Dead simple, and wickedly addictive.

              2. Cheese straws are easy and make people very happy.

                1. I make stuffed mushrooms frequently. Take the stems off and chop them in a food processor with thyme and breadcrumbs. I also add a bit of either dry vermouth or white wine. Fry the stuffing mixture in a pan in butter (sometimes I add a little onion). Brush the caps with a little olive oil, stuff them with the mixture then pop them in an oven until the tops get brown. They are really good with martini's and manhattans for some reason.

                  1. Also cucumber slices with a bit of cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon is great.

                      1. If they aren't adventurous, here a couple of suggestions:

                        Hot Sausage Dip - 1 roll of sausage (like Bob Evans), 1 1/2 boxes cream cheese, 1 small can diced chile peppers, 1 can Rotel tomatoes with peppers and 1 tsp. cumin.

                        Mix together, heat up and keep warm in a little crockpot. Serve with tortilla chips or those scoopy kind of chips.

                        Very simple and people seem to love it.

                        Another might be spinach dip (on the back of the Knorr's dried soup box). Serve it in a hollowed out round loaf of bread, along with the bread cubes and crudite.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: anni

                          Easy bruschetta...Store bought French bread, cut on an angle, lightly toasted, brushed with good EVOO., top with store bought tapenade ( I used Trader Joe's). If you want to be decorative enhance each toast round with some shaved Parmesan.

                          1. re: anni

                            I was thinking spinach dip too! My favorite is one from Cook's Illustrated that blends in blue cheese and bacon. I think the recipe says two strips of bacon... use four ;-)

                            1. re: anni

                              That dip is the greatest. It's so good I nearly want to eat it for lunch. I've never put cumin in it...it's great as is.

                            2. Mini corn muffin half topped with slice of turkey sausage (or keilbasa). Can use some kind of special sauce for dressing if you want (recommended). I use a creamy smokey horseradish sauce. Make a moist, soft cornbread muffin mixture (like Marie Calendar's corn bread).

                              Special equipment: mini cupcake pans

                              1. Yes. mini-meatballs are a crowd-pleaser. If you need more ideas, here are a bunch:


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mpalmer6c

                                  chicken wings of course! marinate some wings in hot sauce and some in bbq sauce. use broiler pan (line bottom pan with foil for easier clean up). If you want to get fancier change up the sauces, use your ethnic cooking influences. Broil at 500 and keep an eye on them, flipping once, they take about 20 mins to cook.

                                2. Here is a great time saving "cocktail meatball" recipe.

                                  Don't laugh at the ease, because these fly off the table and no leftovers!

                                  1 jar chili sauce
                                  1 jar grape jelly
                                  2 - lb. bag frozen meatballs ( I buy Italian)

                                  Put all together in a crockpot or oven and cook 250 (covered) for a few hours. Every now and then stir them

                                  1. Mini quiche bites

                                    Chicken sausage wrappped in puff pastry, baked, then cut into bite-sized pieces - serve with mustard dipping sauce

                                    Mini crab cakes

                                    Phyllo tartlet shells (Athenos brand can be bought at grocery store) - fill with Brie and any preserves - then heat 5 minutes in oven

                                    Potato skins - mini skins filled with cheddar and bacon

                                    Sliders - turkey teriyaki or beef and cheddar on small potato rolls


                                    1. a borrowed canape recipe -

                                      Endive boats with blue cheese, pomegranate, and a strip of prosciutto.

                                      1. I made this recipe for bacon and cheddar deviled eggs a while back: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bacon-Ch...

                                        Here in the Midwest (read very basic tastes) they flew off the plate two at a time! While sadly, the sliced pear platter with walnuts and blue cheese crumbles sat ignored for the night.

                                        For a step-by-step preparation of the bacon wrapped jalepenos, Pioneer Woman Cooks has a fanatastic recipe. I made these and people swooned (as much as midwesterners swoon that is). http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...