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What would be a good appetizer for a fried chicken dinner?

I am having a dinner party Saturday night to celebrate several occasions at once: 2 sons have June birthdays, 1 son just graduated college, and 1 of the birthday boys is home from the Army on a short leave, and school is out for summer for the other birthday boy! Lots happening.
Their all-time favorite meal is fried chicken, potato salad, collard greens, and biscuits. I'm doing sliced heirloom tomatoes and a pineapple and cucumber salad.
Since I am having other people in for the party, I want to have appetizers before the meal so we can enjoy cocktails before dinner. Can anyone recommend a couple of appetizers that would go with a fried chicken meal?
As a side note, my friend is going to make a sheet cake, iced with a solid color frosting, and she's going to bring a variety of colored icings and pastry bags so we can all write messages of congratulations on the cake. We'll take pictures before we devour it.

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  1. you can make mini cupcake meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
    Make the meatloaf in mini muffin tins, meashed potatoes for frosting and sprinkles- chifes and bacon!!

    1. Sounds like picnic fare, so I'd suggest a tray of deviled eggs, baby sweet pickles, radishes or scallions, and fat pretzel sticks.

      4 Replies
      1. re: weezycom

        That's a good idea. Pack in more veggies with a meal like that. A crudite platter with some southern flair perhaps? Green tomatoes in ranch dip are a fave of mine, but you could add in radishes, blanched green beans, whatever.
        Love weezy's idea of deviled egges. Very fitting.
        And finally, what about some "texas caviar" aka, black eyed pea salad/ salsa type thing served with pita chips.

        1. re: hollyd

          I think vegetables with dip is always good.

          1. re: Lewes17266

            Forgetting the fact that it may be a southern inspired theme, or not....

            My suggestion was going to be for a crudite platter with a different types of dips as well, coupled with a cheese platter or an Italian Antipasto tray of sorts.

            1. re: Lewes17266

              homemade fried onion dip! I made it for mother's day and it was a HUGE hit!
              2 large yellow onions
              4 tablespoons unsalted butter
              1/4 cup vegetable oil
              1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
              1 teaspoon kosher salt
              1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
              4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
              1/2 cup sour cream
              1/2 cup good mayonnaise
              Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.

              Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

        2. My mother-in-law used to hollow out a watermelon, then fill it with balls of watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew. It was so attractive and delicious.
          Since your menu is Southern, cheese straws would be nice too.

          1. Try a corn salsa and chips, made with corn, black beans, red/green peppers, onions (mushrooms if you want) with a dressing of sherry vinegar, sugar and oil heated together for a few minutes and poured over the salsa. Mango is delicious in this as well.

            1. pimeto cheese dip with pita points, beer cheese dip with crackers,celery,and carrots, cheese straws...very southern and great with cocktails.

              1. Epicurious has a recipe for "mini hot dogs," which are basically cocktail franks that are bakes on strips of pate a choux. They look like hot dogs, but are a big more grown up.

                1. The ultimate chicken appetizer is Trader Vic's Rumaki - Chicken Livers and whole Water Chestnuts wrapped in bacon, toothpicked, and baked until the bacon is crispy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: KiltedCook

                    The ultimate chicken appetizer is Trader Vic's Rumaki

                    Kids across America would disagree......for them it would be chicken fingers ;0)

                  2. Pretty easy and quick are baby frittata muffs topped w/sour cream. They're as good room temp as they are hot - and I'd not add the sour cream until they'd cooled some anyway. Using mini-muffin tins, you get about 4 - 5 frittats/large egg.

                    Preheat oven to 375

                    6 eggs
                    about 1/3 cup milk
                    salt and pepper

                    Your own preferred additions - cheese; meat - chopped somewhat fine; parsley; onion, scallion, peppers (these, I'd saute first); hot sauce/cayenne; and whatever else suits you -

                    Spray mini-muffin tin with your oil preference. Fill tins to about 3/4 full and bake about 8-ish min. or until center of muffin has just set. Remove to platter and surround with fruits. Garnish with additional cheese or sour cream.

                    1. How about a big crock of Pimento Cheese along with celery sticks, crackers or slices of baguette. Pickled shrimp could be good too.

                      1. Thank you all for your responses. Everything sounds wonderful and I want to try them all. I'll ask the kids to vote and let you know what I make.

                        1. Mini corn dogs are always fun, especially if you already have oil for frying the chicken.

                          I use Jiffy Brand Corn muffin mix, and Oscar Mayer Lil'Smokies. Sometimes, I'll add chopped pickled jalapeno and cheddar cheese to the cornbread mix.

                          Serve with Mustard and Ketchup.

                          1. At the risk of coming off as a smart-alec (who, ME??) I'll say, quite truthfully, that the "appetizer" that works for me with a fried chicken dinner is to see the chicken frying! Side from that, I'll go with the deviled eggs...

                            1. Since the principal or secondary goal of the appetizers is to facilitate the absorption of alcohol so that the the major chowdown surrounds the main meal of chicken...

                              - Pimento cheese sandwiches on white bread, quartered

                              - Deviled eggs (slowly rationed... there are those diners who will eschew the later pleasure of the real meal of fried chicken and will stuff their face with all your eggs.)

                              As palate cleansers for the above alcohol absorptives: sweet baby gherkins, and radishes, both sliced on the mandolin and fanned for presentation.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                That Pimento Cheese is also good stuffed either into cherry tomatoes ( a bit of the top sliced off and insides scooped out) or celery stalks.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Yes, and these beauties stuffed, too:

                                  I will confess that my mind went straight to the Wonder Bread out of respect for its spongy, alcohol absorbing capabilities. Those pre-frying cocktails could lead to intoxication, which can often result in diners snorting, hogging more than their share, and perfectly fried breading being sprayed from chortling mouthparts.

                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                    I have peppadews on hand and was thinking to give them a try in PC. They might add an interesting sweet zip.

                                    1. re: Candy

                                      I use them IN, as a sub for canned pimentos or roasted peppers, and also as the hollow medium for stuffing with the pimento cheese.

                              2. strawberry/goatcheese bruschetta - but then again, lots of kids don't like goat cheese (I'm finding out). I say do things lite as your meal is hearty and you don't want everyone full by meal time. Maybe mots cheese/tomato/basil skewers or cheese/kilbasa skewers - like these (always pretty too):

                                1. Cheese straws. Also, cream cheese topped with pepper jelly!

                                  1. "a pineapple and cucumber salad"

                                    I never heard of that , yet sounds pretty interesting, woudl you post your recipe for us?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Quine

                                      Pineapple Cucumber Salad

                                      1/2 pineapple
                                      1 cuke, peeled
                                      1 red onion, sliced
                                      2 chiles
                                      10 mint leaves, torn
                                      1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
                                      2 Tbsp lime juice
                                      2 Tbsp rice vinegar
                                      1.5 Tbsp sugar

                                      Cut pineapple and cucumber into strips, 2" long by about a half inch thick. Combine everything in a bowl. Stir, salt to taste. Beware that it gets hotter as it sits.

                                    2. alkapal must be busy cooking or napping so i will help her:
                                      Knorr's Spinach Dip in a bread bowl.

                                      1. Fried pickles with ranch!

                                        1. I have taken careful notes on all the fabulous recommendations from everyone. Thank you!
                                          We ended up with (kids' choice) a BLT dip which consists of equal parts mayo and sour cream mixed with some ranch dressing powder, then spread in the bottom of a serving dish to a depth of about 3/8". Then sprinkle with chopped lettuce, followed by a sprinkling of chopped tomatoes then crumbled, cooked bacon. I serve it with bagel chips, but pita chips or something like that would be good too.
                                          I have made it with lite mayo and lite sour cream and nobody has noticed.
                                          This was a huge hit.