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July 4th Appetizers

For the past few years we have been hosting a July 4th party. This year, we have about 15 adults and about 15 kids (ages 2-7). Party is called for 3:00, so I will put this food out, and then there is dinner around 5:30. I've got the menu mostly set, but I'm just questioning my list of appetizers:

-- Crudite with Barefoot Contessa's pan-fried onion dip (made it last year - a big hit)
-- GHG's Black Bean dip with tortilla chips (new this year and excited to try it)
-- Mini-hotdogs (my friends all love these, so do the kids)
-- Tomato Pesto Bites (never made them but thought they sounded good) http://www.pipandebby.com/pip-ebby/20...
-- Sun-dried tomato hummus, artichoke olive spread, tapenade...served in a 3 part dish so they look like red, white and blue(ish) when in the dish. Served with crostini or crackers.

I like the idea of everything on the list, but is it too heavy on the dips/spreads? I can't decide...any thoughts? Thanks.

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    1. >>>-- Mini-hotdogs (my friends all love these, so do the kids)<<<

      Are these pigs-in-a-blanket? I may use these. What kind of mini hotdogs do you use?

      I like your selections! Maybe whip up a bit of guacamole to go with the black bean dip and tortilla chips.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Gail

        Yes, pigs in a blanket. Nothing fancy...Hebrew National cocktail franks wrapped in a piece of Pillsbury crescent dough. In the oven for about 15 minutes. They are gone in a matter of minutes!

        I was contemplating a mango salsa to go with the black bean dip, but I wasn't sure if I felt like cutting up the mangoes. Maybe I will do guacamole instead.

        1. re: valerie

          Thanks Valerie. Can't get much easer than that. I'm always in charge of apps for T-day. So I will do those...a crowd pleaser!
          The mango salsa would be nice. I have an upscale local market that makes it. Are you close to any place like that? Sounds as if you have your hands full with other things.

          1. re: Gail

            It's actually very easy to make, so I'm still considering it. I could probably find it at a market, but always like my homemade version better!

          2. re: valerie

            Just an idea: For easy-to-cut mangoes, I'm totally addicted to using the frozen mango chunks sold by Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, if you're near one of those. Here in California, TJ's has lately started selling frozen Indian mangoes (as "Sweet Mango Halves"), which are so heavenly.

            1. re: abijah

              Ooo, abijah, I didn't know TJ's was selling these, I will have to look for those now, thanks so much!

        2. Valerie, can you give us an idea what's on your dinner menu? It would help decide what we could add here.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Sure...

            -- Ribs (have made these the past 2 years and now people expect them!)

            -- Super Slaw -- have not made this but thought it sounds good
            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            -- Potato Salad

            -- Corn on the cob -- the kids all like it

            1. re: valerie

              Valerie your menu sounds wonderful, wish I could make it!! My first thought, when looking at your appetizer menu was that maybe it could use something that folks could just pick up and eat. As you say, there is a dip focus. A meat, poultry or seafood first came to mind which is why I thought it may help to see your menu since you wouldn’t want to duplicate something.

              So, w that said, here are some ideas:

              - chicken or beef or shrimp satay w peanut dipping sauce. I’ve been making this Epi recipe for years and it’s always a huge hit - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              - meatballs and a dipping sauce, these Spicy Meatballs from BBC Food are yummy http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/34...

              - Beef Sate with Spicy Szechuan Sauce, a Wolfgang Puck recipe that’s always a huge hit w guests of all ages. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/wo...

              - Red Pepper Rouille and Shrimp Toasts – an awesome Bon Appetit recipe http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              - Hoisin Chicken Wings – everyone loves these delicious wings http://www.canadianliving.com/food/ho...

              Let us know what you end up making valerie and have a wonderful celebration!

          2. Grilled artichokes are always a hit. And I also like to grill figs wrapped in prosciutto stuffed with goat cheese....and brushed with a little balsamic glaze.

            1 Reply
            1. re: perk

              perk - how do you make your balsamic glaze?

            2. My go-to handheld party appetizer, especially if there's a grill around, are homemade jalepeno poppers -- usually stuffed with garlicky cream cheese and wrapped with bacon, but there are lots of variations online. It can a while to stuff all the peppers, but they're oh so good.