Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 24, 2010 03:53 PM

Home Wedding Reception Appetizers

I am planning the food for my small (1 doz guests) wedding at our home this Feb and want to serve an array of appetizers but no big sit down dinner. Most of the guests are pretty blue collar as far as food goes except for my small side of the fam, which are gourmet foodies like me, so I want to please everyone.

I have my old favorites but most of these folks have experienced them from dinner parties etc and I would really like to show them some new choices.

Any specialties out there that are tried and true "love these to death" appetizers anyone would like to share. I live in the Pacific NW so seafood is abundant. Also no kids and spicy is not a prob.

I would appreciate any thoughts and recipes you would care to share.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You can find some great ideas here:

    And if you type appetizers into the search function, there are a lot of threads with ideas for you. Congratulations!

    1 Reply
    1. re: boyzoma

      Thanks boyzoma - like the mixed antipasti stacked on toothpicks and mini savory cheesy muffins but really looking for more elevated than your regular finger foods. Will do the appetizer search as well. Devo

    2. Congratulations on your wedding. Question, are you making all the food? I would think you would be a bit busy/preoccupied to do all the food yourself, but I know a lot of people do.

      Are you looking for mainly do ahead apps? So you can just take them out of the fridge, or have already assembled and not do any cooking with guests there? That would be my guess.

      Here's some stationary apps that might work well:

      Poached side of salmon
      Sliced leg of lamb
      Sliced beef tenderloin

      These can all be cooked ahead, and served cold or room temp. And they all have their own accoutrements to go with them, again most of which can be done ahead of time. I know they are not "finger foods", but most of those types of apps require at least some last minute prep, like baking or assembling.

      Some apps I have done in the past that can be made ahead, since you assemble them and then freeze, and only require some last minute baking include:

      leek & gruyere tart
      spicy wonton samosas
      mini beef or chicken pot pies
      mini quiches
      savory strudels - I have made a goat cheese, bacon & date one and a salmon & spinach one

      Let me know if you would like the recipes. Good luck!!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Phurstluv

        Phurstluv, I'm already married and all but feel a deep personal NEED for that savory strudel recipe with the cheese, bacon and dates, and the samosas, iffen ya don't mind. TIA!

        1. re: mamachef

          Sorry, MamaC, you're not qualified since you're already married......Just Kidding!!

          You know, that was an old (18 years??) Gourmet (RIP) recipe that I do not have on my hard drive, but I do have a hard copy, just need to locate it. As soon as I do, I will input it, as I'm always looking for a way to keep my typing skills up to date, and send it your way. I do recall it was **amazing**!! Hang tight, and I'll get it out to you by this week!! PS - if you want to email me offline I will reply and paste it back, or you can just look for it here.

          To hold you over, here's the spicy samosas recipe - soooo easy, and from another CHer.

          Spicy Wonton Samosas
          From Chowhound, Layne Murphy
          Makes about 3 dozen

          2 or 3 large baking potatoes

          1/2 onion, minced
          1 serrano pepper, seeded & minced
          1 tsp. curry powder
          1 tsp turmeric
          salt & pepper

          1 small package of frozen peas, thawed about 5 mins.

          1 package wonton wrappers
          olive oil

          Bake potatoes ahead of time. When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh into a large bowl. Mash it coarsely. In a small saute pan, cook the onion until translucent, then add the pepper; cook for another 30 seconds. Add the curry & turmeric, and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and add to the mashed potato.

          Mix in the peas, season potato mixture with salt and pepper.

          Preheat oven to 375. Take out a wonton wrapper and place about a teaspoon of the potato mixture in the middle. Using wet fingers, seal the wrapper by twisting. Place seam side down in mini muffin tin. When tin is full, brush wontons with olive oil and curry, turmeric or smoked paprika, about 1 tsp. Bake for 15 - 18 mins.

          Let cool about 5 mins before serving.

          Can be frozen. Place wontons seam side down in tin, and place in freezer for 20 mins, or until hardened. Place in ziploc. Bake for 18 - 20 mins.

          1. re: mamachef

            Here it is, MamaC. I finally found the hard copy, which was, of course, not where I thought it was, but no worries, I have typed in on my hard drive.

            Goat Cheese, Date & Bacon Strudels
            Gourmet, December 1993

            Makes about 36 hors d’oeuvres

            Six 18 x 14 inch sheets of phyllo, stacked between 2 sheets of wax paper and covered with a dampened kitchen towel*
            ¾ stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
            4 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly
            10 oz mild goat cheese, softened, (about 1 cup)
            26 pitted dates, cut crosswise into thirds
            8 slices of crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled
            2 tbsp minced scallion

            *NOTE:I used frozen puff pastry dough, rolled it out & it worked out fine, with a bit of a thicker crust but I will give you the instructions for the phyllo preparation.

            1. Preheat oven to 400. On a work surface arrange a 20 inch long sheet of wax paper with a long side facing you. Put 1 sheet of the phyllo on the wax paper, brush it with some of the butter, and sprinkle it with about 2 teaspoons of the sesame seeds. On this, layer, brush and sprinkle one more sheet of the phyllo in the same manner and lay a third sheet of phyllo on top.

            2. Spread ½ cup of the goat cheese along the pastry in a 1-inch strip about 2 inches above the near long side, leaving a 2-inch border at each end. Arrange half the date pieces on the cheese and sprinkle them with half the bacon, half the scallion, and 2 teaspoons of the remaining sesame seeds.

            3. Using the wax paper as a guide, lift the bottom 2 inches of the pastry over the filling, fold in the ends, and roll up the strudel tightly. Transfer the strudel carefully, seam side down, to a lightly buttered baking sheet and brush it with some of the remaining butter. Make another strudel with the remaining ingredients in the same manner.

            4. Bake the 2 strudels in the lower third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden, and let them cool to warm on the baking sheet on a rack. The strudels may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered loosely and chilled. Reheat the strudels in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Serve the strudels warm, cut into 1-inch pieces with a serrated knife.

          2. re: Phurstluv

            Hey Phurstluv - guess I hadn't thought through the brillant idea of not having EVERYTHING be finger type foods but absolutely am loving the big hunk of meat idea such as ham or tenderloin. Thanks for bringing me back to reality!

            I would love to try your recipe for the leek and gruyere tart - sounds very yummy and do ahead able. I just made chicken pot pie for dinner tonight and I always put in the larger ramikins w/puff pastry so never occurred to minimize the things. I will try w/my 6 oz rami's with this batch - any tips for cooking etc on the smaller versions?


            1. re: devo1960

              Here's the leek & gruyere tart. I have it on my hard drive as a version with bacon, which makes it even more luscious, but so easy to just omit the bacon and use butter & oil to saute the leeks & onions. And it freezes beautifully, just freeze it before baking and add about 10 minutes to baking time to cook from frozen.

              Bacon & Leek Tart

              Serves 8

              1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed for 30 mins.
              ½ lb. thick-cut bacon, diced, cooked until crisp & drained
              2 tbsp. reserved bacon fat
              8 Leeks
              4 onions
              2 tbsp butter
              2 eggs
              ¼ cup heavy cream
              1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
              Salt and pepper

              Line tart pan with puff pastry sheet, top with foil and pie weights, and prebake according to package directions. Let cool on a wire rack and set aside. Preheat oven to 425.

              Trim leeks down to light green part. Slice in half lengthwise and then slice very thinly. Add to a colander set over cold water in a bowl and swish to remove sand. Lift leeks out and drain; repeat twice, using fresh water.

              Thinly slice onions. Heat bacon fat and butter in a heavy dutch oven over medium heat and sauté leeks and onions, cooking until lightly browned. Use some salt to cook the vegetables down, about 20 – 25 minutes.

              Make custard by mixing eggs and cream. Fill baked tart shell with bacon pieces, leek mixture and season with salt & pepper. Pour in custard and top with cheese.

              Bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.

              As far as advice for the mini pot pies, I used a mini muffin pan. Probably only need about 10 mins @ 400 to bake, maybe 12-15 if frozen, but it's been a year since I made them, the rest are in the freezer and it's stifling hot in LA this week, so haven't made them all summer. Basically you just need to reheat the filling again so it's hot, so try it with your ramekins first, and just heat up until the filling's bubbling, then you're good to go. 400 seems to be a perfect temp since it won't overcook the pastry before the fillings' hot. Hope that helps!!

          3. I worked at a golf club for a while that did lots of weddings and I often helped prepare apps. Some popular items were:
            Dill cheese puffs-take crescent rolls in the Pillsbury cans,roll out, spread half w/ cream cheese, dill and lightly cooked sweet onions, finely chopped. Fold in half and cut w/ small biscuit cutter and bake per package directions for temp for approx.10-15min until golden brown.guests loved these.
            Tomato basil baguettes-slice a french baguette inton1/2 inch slices. top w/ piece
            of fresh basil, slice of roma tomato and slice of havarti. cook @350 until cheese just starts to melt.

            1. Hey Devonne! Congrats on your upcoming nuptials and bless your heart for making your own appetizers. I guess my recommendations would be based on how much time you have. I would suggest making an array of hot and cold appetizers. I'm sure you want to prepare the appetizers ahead of time, so even the hot ones should be able to sit, right? Also, do you have any vegetarians? I did my cousins graduation party and mixed it up with cold and hot items. This is what I served:

              Beet and orange salad with hazelnuts and mint
              Grilled zucchini with pinenuts and goat cheese
              Pancetta and caramelized onion flatbread
              Sweet potato latkes with creme fraiche and chives
              Chicken satay

              That was enough for 12 people. I tried to coordinate, so that everything could be served together. I had one person man the grill for the satay, my aunt took one burner frying, the flatbread was in the oven, and all the other stuff was prepared earlier in the day. You don't want 12 things that need to be sauteed at the same time. The latkes can be made ahead of time and just heated. We had blue collar folks and foodies. Everyone loved the stuff. Meat on a stick and fried sweet potato? You'll cover all bases with those two things. The flatbread was really good. You just saute pancetta and onions slowly together until the onions caramelize and absorb all the fat (you don't drain it). Then you mix it with creme fraiche. At this point you can either put the mixture into puff pastry mini shells or use a store bought pizza dough . You probably par bake the shells first, but not the pizza dough. I haven't made these in a while. Bake the mixture in the shells or pizza dough and then sprinkle with chives. Make sure you follow the directions on the shells box. I don't have them in front of me.

              Other stuff I would make and they would take 15 mins to heat while you could the flatbread:
              Brandade (cod fish dip with heavy cream and potatoes...really yummy)
              Crab Dip (the Palomino recipe is 1 part mayonaise to 1 part parmesan, chopped artichokes and crab. You can use Costco). Sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley

              6 Replies
              1. re: jindomommy

                Hey jindomommy - love the idea of the pancetta/onion flatbread and the sweet potato latkes - they sound yummy and very doable for my crowd.

                Thanks so much for your input - I will probably take and run with it on these two.


                1. re: devo1960

                  I used Sara Moulton's latke recipe. It's really good. I add a little parmesan in the mix. If you look for the puff pastry cups. They have the box of 10 which are about the size of a silver dollar. I used the smaller size with like 20. It's much more elegant. I think I also sauteed some pancetta for garnish and texture.

                2. re: jindomommy

                  how about chicken sate skewers? I do mine on my george foreman grill but they,too are good hot or cold...

                  1. re: jindomommy

                    jindo and betsy - chicken satay recipes - would you share yours?

                    1. re: smilingal

                      sure, sorry,it's been awhile since i've been on... i usually marinate the chicken strips cut from boneless, skinless breasts, in a mixture of soy sauce 1/2 cup and peanut butter 1/2 cup, hot sauce, a little powdered garlic and ginger, heated up together to melt together... overnight or longer; thread chicken strips onto skewers, grill; garnish with chopped scallions and/or crushed peanuts

                  2. congrats!!

                    i just did my best friend's wedding all in small bites. a couple of things that might work for you...

                    i made salmon croquette tartlettes in mini muffin tins, baked em and froze em ahead. then i piped a roasted garlic creamy cauliflower whip on top of them. big hit.

                    mini goat cheese souffles with a roasted balsamic beet piping.

                    soup shooters - roasted chipolte corn and a bay and fennel seed chickpea

                    hollowed cucumber cups with baba ghanoush

                    stuffed endive leaves

                    roasted vegetables

                    bite sized ravioli pre-drizzled with sauce - i did wild mushroom filling with a walnut pesto

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Emme

                      Hey Emme, love your idea for both the salmon croquette tartlettes w/cauli whip on top and the roasted chipolte corn soup shooters!

                      Can you give me a better idea on ingredients/recipe as I'd love to give them a run.


                      1. re: devo1960

                        sorry for late response... salmon/cauliflower is below.

                        soup - i shuck like11 or 12 ears of corn. add cobs to water to make stock by simmering. i add corn kernels to deep pot, and saute in a few tbsp of butter with 9 or so scallions diced and a little over 1/2 tsp chipotle in adobo (this makes all the diff), 1/2 tsp or so of kosher salt and black pepper to taste. simmer til scallions are softened. then add 2 cups almond milk, 2 cups of corn stock and simmer til corn is soft. then i use a hand blender to puree, adding more corn stock if necessary. finally, i run the whole thing through a food mill, and it comes out like *silk* i like to roast some corn til slightly this side of charred, to serve as garnish.

                      2. re: Emme

                        Emme - please share with us your salmon tartlettes with the cauliflower whip. They sound terrific as a substantial yet light bite. Thanks!

                        1. re: smilingal

                          sorry, i'm so not good with "Recipes." but here's what i do. i use boneless skinless salmon cans. drain em. i use about a medium onion per can... i chop and either saute or nuke the onion til cooked. i throw salmon, onion, and egg in a bowl. an egg or two per can depending, and sometimes use a yolk and the rest whites. then i add almond meal, til it just barely holds together in your hand, still very loose and moist. i futz til it feels right, sometimes having to add another egg, sometimes more meal. sometimes i cook a batch and see how they do, then alter again... you can either make baby half-dollar size ones in a pan, just grease with olive oil or Pam. drop little baby patties in, let brown one side and flip. or take a mini mini muffin pan. pam them up. then press some salmon into each as a mini quiche and bake at 375 for 16-20 min depending upon your oven. i serve them piped with a creamy cauliflower whip and sprinkled with dill. (cauliflower whip is cooked cauli, cooked onion, roasted garlic, little light cream cheese, salt and pepper. whizzed in my Ninja or food processor). bite-sized bits of joy. the croquettes also serve as great "croutons" in cauliflower or other pureed soups.

                          1. re: Emme

                            thanks Emme! I like the idea of the mini-muffin pan - that is what caught my interest. Do you pipe with the cauliflower whip and then bake ?

                            1. re: smilingal

                              no. bake em. you can freeze em or hold them and retoast before serving. i pipe on the warm whip on toasted croquettes right before serving and sprinkle with dill.

                            2. re: Emme

                              When you mentioned "meal" do you mean corn meal? I may be reading too fast.

                              1. re: karykat

                                almond meal. yes you read too fast :)