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Light Appetizers for a Heavy Christmas Dinner

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OK. So I know what the dinner will be--Starting off with a gumbo, then Rib Roast, the Celery Root Gratin courtesy of Chowhound Recipes, Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Kale, Butternut Squash. Desserts are Pumpkin Roulade, Buche de Noel, Chocolate cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting (I'm totally obsessed with this frosting), Red Velvet Cupcakes/Creamcheese frosting, a nutella tart and an apple custard tart. (We are having extra guests for dessert).

That all listed, I'm really having a difficult time coming up with some appetizers that are light and not heavy. I don't want everyone loading up on apps before the dinner. The only appetizer I'm sure of is Shrimp cocktail--I serve it every Christmas. So...can any of you really nice Chowhounds give me any ideas or light apps? It would be sooooooo much appreciated! Joyeux Noel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  1. I would keep it simple and go with some vegetable crudite and maybe a side of smoked salmon and a couple of cheeses. This can be done very elegantly but very simply at the same time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jpc8015

      Thank you so much. This helps!

      1. re: jarona

        With a meal like that I would keep it quite light on the apps, I like the veggie idea but to make them special maybe pickle/marinate them a bit, radishes with butter and salt, maybe marinate some chickpeas in lemon juice, olive oil, diced red onion and cilantro or parsley...serve on little spoons or in little cups, Chunks of Parm and mixed olives...stuff like that, go low carb so people don't fill up early

        1. re: bubbles4me

          I also like white beans with vinegar, rosemary and olive oil--same idea as your chickpeas.

    2. In line with my new soapbox regarding eating seafood ethically, instead of the salmon, I'm serving smoked oysters and smoked trout with crackers . (I've given up shrimp too, I'm sorry to say, cuz I love 'em. It's scallops instead.)

      1. An antipasti platter. Arrange cheeses, salami, marinated artichoke hearts, olives etc on red lettuce or purple cabbage. It would be light, yet if arranged properly, would look lovely.

        1. Spiced nuts. Tasty but not too filling

          3 Replies
          1. re: JerryMe

            Thanks all. I really like the veggie things--and the antipasti. Isn't it funny how we can go through all the trouble with a main meal and dessert and totally be ignorant over appetizers? Well, maybe not you but me! Yikes!

            1. re: jarona

              I am guilty of this as well! I may grab some of these appetizers ideas.

            2. re: JerryMe

              I like the nuts. You could do a sweet coating and a spicy/savory. I like them in combination with dates filled with blue cheese and... if you want wrapped with a long piece of prosciutto. That combo - the nuts, dates and cheese are just so good and satisfy all the taste buds but are not so much that people are not hopping to when you ring the bell for dinner.

              ps - your dinner... GOD!

            3. I would make some filo mini tart cup apps. The tart cups come 16 or 18 per box, and all you have to do is thaw and fill. Make fillings like ham or salmon or crab salad, mashed white beans or chickpeas with herbs and spices, drained fruit cocktail mixed with yogurt, etc...

              1. if you want to go really really light on the Apps, there was a chowhound (sorry, I can't remember who), who did different flavoured popcorns. This is a light and delicious idea. Other thoughts for things that we had out at a Christmas party over the weekend was cippolini in balsamic vinegar, grilled artichoke quarters, some potstickers, and cured black olives.

                1. deviled eggs can be made with a yogurt instead of mayo to lighten them
                  frozen grapes with soft cheese
                  cucumber cups filled with minced olives
                  orange, grapefruit and tangerine sections with a light splash of almond liquor

                  1. another easy and light app would be similar to the antipasti platter but mini skewers of cheese, olives, grape tomato, tortellini, basil, marinated mush, etc. each could be a little diff.

                    Love the salmon/cream cheese as well but unfortunately many don't enjoy as much as others

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lexpatti

                      I do fruit and cheese together, this time of year it would be apples and pears.

                    2. dates stuffed with parm and a dot of balsamic, radishes with salt and sweet butter for dipping (surprisingly good), smoked trout on green apple, cucumber rounds topped with roasted chicken and sweet/spicy chili sauce-- yum!

                      1. I am doing a simple buschetta for my appetizer. It is relatively light and the tomato, basil, garlic mixed together give it a good Christmas color theme.

                        1. I recently did a Citrus Crab Salsa in Phyllo cups, very light and fresh taste. No cooking, easy quick put together too since your meal sounds fantastic and likely to take most of your efforts.