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Need an Appetizer for a Chili dinner

Some friends are hosting a very low key, casual dinner this week to celebrate some visiting friends. The host is making chicken chili and a green salad, plus will have chips & salsa for snacking. She also has chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I offered to bring something and she asked me to add another appetizer. The dinner is for fammilies so it needs to be child-friendly. All I can come up with to add to this heavy meal is a fruit plate with maybe some fruit dip (Paula Deen's dip on the Food Network site sounded good), especially since the honeycrisp apples are so good right now. Any other ideas? Oh, I should mention it's a weeknight and I won't have more than 1hr to prepare between work and the party.

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  1. I'm thinking a crudite plate with a simple dip. My kids always love crudites with dip.

    1 Reply
    1. re: boogiebaby

      Crudite is always good, I second it.

      Maybe jazz it up with a couple of different dips? Kids always love baby carrots (no prep, too!). Jicama would be a great addition and most people love it. Bell peppers, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, cherry tomatoes.

      Chipotle Mayo Dip: http://www.food.com/recipe/chipotle-d...
      Creamy Avocado Dip: 1 block of cream cheese, 1 avocado, lime juice, salt, and chopped cilantro and green oinion if you like

      But I like the fruit plate too, and you could definitely bring a dulce de leche dip with those apples for the kids! http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2011/...

    2. What about something like roasted, spiced nuts?

      1. A heavier option would be Jalapeno poppers. They are stuffed with cheese and grilled or baked...I have even heard of them breaded and fried.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Hank Hanover

          Funny, I actually thought about those but there's no way I'll have time to do them from scratch and I'm trying to avoid a frozen, store-bought app.

          1. re: jboeke

            I have a great compromise - Popper Spread (this really needs a better name):

            In a small casserole or microwave/oven safe bowl, combine 2 bricks of cream cheese, chopped fresh jalapenos (seeded or not and amount to taste, it's going to depend on how hot the jalapenos are anyway, but start with three or four, I guess?), about a half cup of mayonnaise and a half cup of shredded cheddar. (I also sometimes add cooked, crumbled sausage.) Microwave on high for about 3 minutes and stir well, taste and add jalapenos if necessary. Add crumbled cooked bacon to the top, along with about two crushed Triscuit crackers and put under the broiler to toast the cracker crumbs.

            Serve with (of course) Triscuits. Oh, and garnish with a bit of cilantro.

            Another one we LOVE is nameless also, I guess. Place softened cream cheese on a plate, cover with either a mixture (to taste) of apricot preserves and diced chipotles en adobo or jalapeno jelly. Serve with either Triscuits or Wheat Thins. (They hold up well to cream cheese based dips.)

            While I've got a theme going, cream cheese, canned shrimp (gasp!), diced jalapenos and lime juice is another good spread/dip.

        2. when i think of something that complements chicken chili my mind goes to corn bread or muffins, or even polenta squares/rounds with some sort of topping...i'm just wondering if it would be corn overkill assuming they're corn chips.

          how about guac to go with the chips & salsa?

          1 Reply
          1. deviled eggs, bruschetta, crab dip with bread, mini ham and cheese sandwiches, homemade cheese ball rolled in nuts with crackers, I would say veggies and a good dip but this a party right;) ?

            1. I love something crispy and cheesy with chili - I would probably do my husband's favorite olive balls, which are olives encased in a cheese dough and baked. Super simple, but everyone loves them. I use 8oz of grated sharp cheddar, a cup of flour and a stick of butter, plus a little cayenne or paprika (or both - smoked paprika is nice too). That amount of dough makes enough to cover maybe 30 large olives? I like the big meaty green ones but you can use little pimiento-stuffed olives or really anything you like. I like to freeze them, then put them frozen into a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 mins. Make more than you think you'll need - they are addictive!

              1. shrimp cocktail
                roasted veg/mozz platter
                tamales if you have a good source
                a few dozen clams or mussels in a big pot cooked with beer, broth and keilbasa (lemon and parsely to finish)

                1. Warm tortilla chips with an artichoke and spinach dip.

                  1. If you like jicama, Epicurious has a delicious jicama and date canape recipe that it is a huge hit whenever I serve it. It's light and the flavors go with chili or anything vaguely spicy. Cut up the jicama the day before, brush with a little lime juice and store in the fridge tightly wrapped in plastic. You can also make the date paste the day before and just assemble everything in that hour you have the day of the party.


                    1. Guacamole to go with the chips and salsa, or 7 layer dip.