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Need help in selecting high quality frozen appetizers

In a few weeks I will host a cocktail party for about 50 people. I intend to offer about eight different passed appetizers. Some will be made at home, and some will be frozen, for convenience sake. I plan to do some prep work ahead of time for accompaniments to the frozen appetizers, if necessary. I figure that some will be improved by adding fresh herbs, nuts, chutneys, dips, etc.

I would like to purchase the frozen appetizers at either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Cost is always important, but it's more important that I select foods that taste great and look great. I know that there is a HUGE difference in cost between the two stores I mentioned... More often than not, I am very impressed with Trader Joe's. However, I am unfamiliar with their frozen appetizers.

I would really appreciate it if you would post your absolute favorite frozen appetizers from either store. It would also be helpful if you mention things that are disappointing. Lastly, if you have jazzed up favorite frozen appetizers, I'd love to hear those recommendations, too.

Thanks much and happy day!

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  1. Not what you asked for, but on the chance it's available, I was just finishing off a couple of Ling Ling potstickers I get at Costco. I know they are available at other large markets, so if you see them, they are very, very good. But only when prepared properly.

    1. Not trying to tell you what to do, but think about this: eight passed appetizers are a whole, whole lot of work. Appetizer stations promote mingling. They are your friends when throwing a party. If you have two stationary appetizers on different tables in diferent parts of the room and pass four, you should be in good shape.

      I don't have Trader Joe's and haven't tried the frozen appetizers at Whole Foods, so I can't help you there.

      1. At Trader Joe's, I really like the puff pastry bites. There is one that is ham and cheese and one that is onion and feta. I like both, but the ham and cheese is very decadent.

        If you want to try potstickers, I like TJ's frozen pork potstickers. I don't really follow the package directions when making them, though. I start off sauteeing them in a bit of olive oil. Instead of adding water, like the directions tell you, I add a soy sauce mixture instead. I serve these with their hot and sweet mustard.

        I have served TJ's mushroom turnover appetizers before and they were a hit, but I'm not a fan.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alliebear

          Agree with TJ's pot stickers, aka gyoza. They are in frozen bags separate from the other appetizer types. We also sautee them and then cover. That way the skin gets a little crispy. And we like their Gyoza Sauce, which is a soy/ginger/sesame blend in a bottle.

        2. TJ's has vegetable tempura which I like, in addition to the puff pastry bites that alliebear mentions.

          Their spinach pie is OK. You could also get a tarte d'alsace and cut it into app-size bits.

          1. I like the TJ's cranberry and brie in phyllo cups