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Your easiest appetizer

I"ve been asked to bring a starter/appetizer to a party we're attending Sunday afternoon. I'm super far behind on a paper I'm writing so 1) don't have a lot of time to make something and 2) haven't a lot of energy to put into thinking about something to take.

So....share with me....what's your favorite easy peasy appetizer or starter? All ideas welcome....probably will be for a crowd of 15-20. I was thinking about going retro with a cheese ball if anyone has any good recipes for one?

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  1. The spinach dip recipe is always a crowd pleaser (one cup mayo, 500ml sour cream, frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed and drained of all water, and a bag of knorr veggie soup mix) It is super simple and really tasty. Do ahead the night before and voila. Serve with bread, cheese, veggies, etc. You can spice it up with some hot sauce.

    7 Replies
    1. re: pancake

      The spinach dip is so pretty served INSIDE a scooped out pumpernickel round, too, if you can find one at grocery store bakery. Just tear up the scooped out bread for dippers, veggies too.

      1. re: pancake

        And, if you do this, as a recent thread reminded, squeeze the ever-lovin' heck out of the spinach, getting as much of the water out as possible.

        1. re: onceadaylily

          yep, that's a drawback of working with the frozen chopped spinach...you really NEED to work it, baby!

          1. re: onceadaylily

            I wrap it in a dish towel, twist the top and squeeze and squeeze. I think I read here that someone uses a ricer.

            1. re: c oliver

              Love the ricer idea. Thanks for mentioning it!

              1. re: bear

                Yeah. It was one of those aha moments.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I'm feeling stupid that I never thought of this. It seems obvious in retrospect. Thanks for the tip!

        2. I love pigs in a blanket. The tiny hot dogs from boar's head wrapped in strips of crescent rolls. Not very fancy or homemade, but real crowd pleasers! Serve with mustard!

          1. You could always do another retro favorite, crockpot meatballs in barbeque-cranberry sauce-mustard concoction; the meatballs would be um, frozen, store-bought. Or, maybe pinwheels?
            Take some flour tortillas...spread with cream cheese Hidden Valley Ranch concoction and sprinkle with diced green chilies, chopped pimentos & chopped black olives...roll them up night before and then slice down that afternoon. No cooking involved. OR, how about hummus and pita chips/veggie slices? That would be pretty and pretty easy!

            8 Replies
            1. re: Val

              This is a great list of 101 easy appetizers from Mark Bittman: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/din...

              1. re: zamorski

                Zam, nice post...great list for handy reference especially at this busy time of year!!! ♥

                1. re: Val

                  You are welcome, Val--I tend to turn to it more when I am drawing a blank on what to prepare: I am sure that most of us had had those moments...

                  1. re: zamorski

                    Bittman is a riot too...love his cooking videos on youtube! Make me laugh every single time!

                2. re: zamorski

                  Fabulous reference, thanks so much for posting!

                  1. re: zamorski

                    Thanks very much for posting this list! I'd seen it when it was first published and forgotten about it. I printed it out, handed it to my husband saying "you're in charge, pick something you like!" He made caprese sticks with mozz, tomato, and basil and did a great job. Looks beautiful on the plate, took him ten minutes to do!

                    1. re: zamorski

                      Thank you so much! I printed this out to PDF and saved in cookbook folder, never to be lost :).

                      1. re: zamorski

                        Great article. Thanks so much for the link.

                    2. Easiest app is roasted nuts. Do several varieties and call it a day.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: smtucker

                        Oh, I love fried almonds: Just very slowly fry whole blanched almonds in a light vegetable oil--the oil temp should be such that they take around 15 minutes--much cooler than your usual deep-frying temperature. Cook until they are light tan--they will darken and firm up a bit as they cool. Leave a bit of oil on the surface when you drain them so that the salt will stick. Salt generously--I pound my salt in a mortar until it is very fine--this helps it stick to the nuts.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          Here are 2 good nut treatments--one super easy, one more involved.

                          Irresistible Roasted Pecans (from "John Clancy's Christmas Cookbook")
                          3 cups shelled pecans
                          6 TBLS melted unsalted butter
                          1 TBLS coarse salt
                          1 tsp freshly ground white pepper

                          In a roasting pan, toss pecans with butter, salt, and pepper. Roast in preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes--stir/toss 1 or 2 times during roasting. Let nuts cool in pan on a rack. Put the nuts in a paper bag and shake around a little to absorb excess butter. Very tasty!
                          ....................

                          Spiced Cocktail Nuts from (Giada De Laurentiis via Food Network site)
                          These are great but quite spicy hot, watch the cayenne and the curry!

                          http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

                          I

                        2. Here's my stupidly simple recipe for an always popular dish. At this time of year I always keep a bag of cooked shrimp in the freezer. You can defrost them in a flash by putting them in a strainer and letting cold water run over them. With those shrimp i make,

                          Shrimp with Lemon-Chive (or Tarragon or Thyme or whatever fresh herb you can get) Vinaigrette

                          Whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, 3 tbsp of lemon juice, 2tbsp of chopped chives (or herb of your choosing), salt & pepper to taste.

                          Pour over defrosted, cooked shrimp and toss to coat.

                          You can take/serve this as is or, w a dish of whipped cream cheese and crackers on the side.