HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Your best appetizer/snack?

Spinning this off from the "Your best main dish" thread. What is the appetizer, snack, or small plate that you make that is a favorite of yours or most requested by others?
Please tell us about it :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. BLT Dip
    Lemon marinated shrimp with sweet & hot peppers

    4 Replies
    1. re: masha

      To follow up, here are the recipes for both:

      BLT Dip

      3 green onions
      ¼ cup mayonnaise
      ¼ cup Greek Yoghurt (low-fat is fine)
      ¼ cup chopped arugula
      4 slices bacon, cooked, drained & crumbled
      fresh ground pepper
      1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

      Combine green onions, mayonnaise, and yoghurt in food processor, and pulse until still chunky.
      Transfer to bowl. Stir in bacon, tomatoes, and ground pepper. Taste and add a bit more salt (depending on saltiness of bacon) and pepper, if needed.

      Note, that this can be made with regular plain yoghurt but it will be a bit looser than if made with Greek Yoghurt.

      Lemon Marinated Shrimp with Sweet & Hot Peppers

      ½ cup olive oil
      1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced into discs
      1 medium onion, chopped fine
      2 red, orange, or yellow sweet peppers, julienned
      6 whole, peeled cloves garlic
      1-1/2 lbs. medium size shrimp, peeled
      juice of two lemons (about ¼ cup)
      ¼ tsp. dried thyme
      ½ tsp. dried oregano
      1 baguette

      1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat.
      2. Add jalapeno peppers, sweet peppers, garlic, and onions, cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
      3. Meanwhile boil shrimp until just done, about 2 minutes from boil.
      4. Drain shrimp and place in bowl for marinating. Toss shrimp with lemon juice to coat thoroughly. Add pepper mixture and mix completely.
      5. Set aside for a few hours or overnight (if more than a few hours, refrigerate).
      6. Bring back to room temperature if refrigerated. Remove cloves of garlic, add some dried thyme & oregano, and mix. Serve on toasted baguette slices.

      Note, if planning to serve as finger food then, before boiling shrimp, cut them into bite size pieces. Alternately, leave shrimp whole, and serve with fork & knife as a sit-down appetizer.

      1. re: masha

        These both sound amazing, and I'll be trying them. Thanks for sharing.

        1. re: ChristinaMason

          Both are from the Chicago Tribune, which every year publishes a top 10 list of their best recipes of the year; both were on that list, about 20 years apart. For the shrimp appetizer, remove the seeds from the jalapenos if your guests don't care for particularly hot food.

          1. re: masha

            Nice, I'm taking a look of the paper's archives now! Here's this past year's: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/20...

    2. Mine is stupidly simple but everyone goes nuts for them - olive cheese balls.

      Throw 8oz of cheddar cheese in the food processor and grind. Add a stick of soft butter and a cup of flour, plus a pinch of salt, paprika and cayenne (or any other seasoning you like). Whiz until it forms a dough. Wrap small pieces of dough around large green olives (I usually get about 45-50). Freeze (or chill thoroughly), then bake at 400 for about 12-15 minutes.

      The better your olives and cheddar, the better these are. Green olives stuffed with interesting things (like garlic slivers, sundried tomatoes, etc.) add an interesting twist.

      3 Replies
        1. re: biondanonima

          I can't make these; I would consume them all before anyone else had a chance.

          1. re: biondanonima

            I do a very similar cheese olive ball, but with the addition of some Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, and don't skimp on the cayenne.

          2. Hummus and chips. Homemade. Everyone goes nuts over it and there are endless variations

              1. A recipe suggested on here: Phyllo cups (pre-crisped in the oven), add the jam of your choicen (I like cranberry or fig or raspberry), top with a square of brie, bake until bubbly.

                Everyone thinks I'm a culinary genius because of these things. Cracks me up.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Heatherb

                  I think if you make anything in a mini cup, everyone thinks it was tons of work. I made these mini cheesecakes in a muffin tin and everyone went nuts for them, when it was the simplest thing ever to make.

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    LOL. That's probably what boosted Martha Stewart to fame: Food in little tiny cups! :D

                  2. re: Heatherb

                    AHHH, mini Phyllo cups......I do them with browned chopped Port mushrooms, garlic, parm cheese, Mozz Cheeze, little white wine and a little heavy cream & S/P. People go nuts over them.

                    Also do wet crab cake mixture in them. People go wild over them too.

                    Your Brie / raspberry combo sounds great.!!!!!

                    1. re: Tom34

                      It was just a basic starter recipe someone gave me on these boards several years ago. But your recipe sounds amazing!

                      You can do a lot with those little Phyllo cups! :)

                      1. re: Heatherb

                        Yeah I think those little cups are great. Perfect portion control, easy for guests to handle and eat, handle moist product well, heat well, light crispy, delicious & reasonably priced too. They are a go to for me.

                        Will be trying the Brie / Raspberry this Easter.

                    2. re: Heatherb

                      Do you use the frozen or the shelf-stable variety? I've seen both but tried neither yet.

                      1. re: Pwmfan

                        I've seen neither - where do you find them? In the freezer section?

                        I don't have a fabulous appetizer / snack except in the early summer when it's still not too hot to grill. I'll grill fresh fruit - pineapple, peaches, if I can still get them, cantaloupe. Those are scarfed up in short order.

                        Oh, I forgot to add - I made these once and they've been requested ever since http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

                        They're entirely too rich for me but I've had guests sneak them out by the bowlful.

                        1. re: Pwmfan

                          I use the freezer version. Although, I think they are one in the same. The freezer just makes them stay good longer.

                      2. Blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped with thick cut deep smoked applewood bacon, broiled and glazed with an apple cider vinegar/ honey reduction.

                        1. I make a cheeseball from this site: http://traceysculinaryadventures.blog... and I guess she adapted it from Homesick Texan.

                          Everyone loves it. It is VERY good, I could eat it all by myself.

                          1. I do an herbed cheese spread that goes over pretty well.

                            1. Baked wonton cups with lump crab meat, diced red pepper, green onions and various condiments(old bay, dijon etc) or alternatively stuffed with crispy cooked ground lamb, shallots,shitake mushrooms, cumin and coriander topped with with mint sauce,

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: realtorav8tor

                                I make a similar crab combo in a wanton skin and deep fry them. Very easy and very popular.

                                1. re: realtorav8tor

                                  I do a crab cup similar to that as well. People go nuts for it. I think crab + little cuppy thing = really happy people who think you're a genious ;)

                                2. A wedge of Cambozola drizzled with good honey along with some toasts or crackers. Fast, easy and never any leftovers.

                                  1. "Cheese crumbles": shred parmesan cheese, spread it on the bottom of a greased (e.g. Pam) pan, let it melt about 5 minutes (so all of the melted shreds make a big criss-cross piece), let it cool, and then gently remove it from the pan. You have a roughly round-shaped, large piece of parmesan cheese.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Dovebelle

                                      We do them with all kinds of cheeses...

                                      parchment paper on a cookie sheet, little piles of cheese (a couple T. each), and then bake until they are nicely melted and a little brown around the edges

                                      Stupid easy and stupid good!

                                      1. A sun-dried tomato cheesecake, cut into little bite size squares (it's very rich).

                                        So many people have never heard of a savoury cheesecake so it's always somewhat of a novelty - and every one seems to love it too.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: ursy_ten

                                          Do you have a good recipe? I have a ton of tomatoes from the summer to use up. Thanks

                                          1. re: geminigirl


                                            Are you talking fresh tomatoes? If so, I've never tried it with fresh, you might need to dry them in a slow oven or a dehydrator for a bit to get rid of some of the juicy goodness.

                                            Googling "semi-dried tomato recipe" might give you some ideas.

                                            1. re: ursy_ten

                                              Nope, dehydrated, a fun little investment but now need recipe ideas! thanks for the link

                                              1. re: geminigirl

                                                You're welcome, I hope you like it - let me know how you go with it :)

                                        2. Chicken livers, skewered w/sweet onions, wrapped in bacon, and then grilled.

                                          4 Replies
                                            1. re: sandylc

                                              My mango salsa, & the retro 70's appetizer - Bacon Bowties.

                                            2. re: deet13

                                              I have also done both pineapple chunks or water chestnuts wrapped in bacon secured with toothpick and baked in oven til bacon is crispy (maybe this is a classic recipe that i cannot remember the name of?

                                              1. re: betsydiver

                                                Yeah it's basically a Rumaki, minus the water chestnuts (my wife dislikes them).

                                                Now that I'm thinking about it, I also like to marinate chicken hearts in soy and some cream sherry (or mirin) for an hour or so, skewer them, and cook them on the grill until they're a nice brown.

                                            3. Most requested? Crab rangoon, deviled crab cakes or deviled eggs.

                                              My favorite? Pimento cheese, papri chaat, or pork spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                Pimento cheese is a staple in our house...kinda like having milk in the fridge! Lol

                                              2. Some very cool answers, thanks for sharing. I love making small plates and just having people over for drinks and nibbles. Lots of great ideas here.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                  For me, this will be the "What's for dinner" thread!

                                                2. Marinated mozzarella (olive oil, herbs and red pepper flakes) and olives, served with crostinis.

                                                  1. Not my all time favorite but the one that is requested the most is not even a real recipe-Wasabi Dip. Basically been told I am not welcome if I don't bring it.
                                                    -slice a block of cream cheese in half, lengthwise
                                                    -layer prepared wasabi on top of one of the slices
                                                    -place second slice on top of the one with wasabi, like a sandwich
                                                    -press black sesame seeds all over the cream cheese, including the sides, secure with tooth picks
                                                    -right before serving pour low sodium tamari soy sauce over the top
                                                    -serve with rice crackers.

                                                    My favorite? roasted shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce. Simple. Easy. Delicious.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                      Fascinating recipe...I've gotta try this recipe with the wasabi. Any name for it?

                                                      1. re: liza219

                                                        We just call it Wasabi Dip. :)

                                                        If you think of something clever let me know!

                                                      2. re: foodieX2

                                                        I made this once based on a recipe I found on Chowhound, probably from you. It was very good! I think I added some scallions in the middle layer.

                                                      3. Dips are always requested, particularly spicy black bean, white bean with roasted garlic & sun-dried tomato, and Moroccan-spiced carrot.

                                                        Other common requests/faves:
                                                        - Piquillo peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese & drizzled with a sherry vinegar reduction
                                                        - Brussels sprouts "two ways" with anchovy-lemon sauce & fried capers
                                                        - Polenta rounds with various toppings & polenta "fries" with dipping sauces
                                                        - Lentil-walnut paté

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          My favourites are:

                                                          tuna tataki with ponzu dipping sauce

                                                          chorizo manchego puffs

                                                          Stuffed jalepenos wrapped in bacon

                                                          And truffle/parmesan popcorn (couple dashes of truffle oil in with butter then dust with parm at end)

                                                          1. re: cleopatra999

                                                            First 3 sound great. My family has no problem with soft bacon but some people do. Does the cooking time allow the bacon to crisp a little of should the bacon be precooked a little?

                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                              Yes, the bacon cooks no problem, I would use thin bacon (regular) not thick cut though.

                                                        2. Most requested apps/nibbles? Candied peanuts (from David Lebovitz' blog) and weirdly enough, pigs in a blanket. I use lil smokies sausages, wrap in triangles of puff pastry, brush with egg glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds/poppy seeds on top. I think I've tried a thin smear of mustard under the sausage, but that added another step when I could just whip up a honey mustard dip while they bake.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Lillipop

                                                              Pigs are my sweetie's all-time favorite appetizer!

                                                              We make an old-school app - zucchini squares, with sauteed bulk sausage [or not, it's good either way]. People just gobble them up.

                                                          1. One is beet and sweet potato chips (made with a microwave gadget rather than fried) and the other is spicy corn fritters. The latter works best when entertaining at home because fritters aren't as good if they sit, but the chips are good for potlucks too.

                                                            1. Sundried tomato tapenade with crostini
                                                              Puff pastry cups with mushroom ragout
                                                              Deviled eggs
                                                              Carrot nut pate

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                I got this recipe for Artichoke and Sun-dried tomato tapenade a few years ago on CH and every time I make it, it gets rave reviews.


                                                                I also recently started making this Roasted Garlic and Carrot Hummus and it's delicious. People always asking for it.


                                                              2. I'm surprised no one mentioned the brie en croute.A favorite.....I do one with a walnut brown sugar, garlic and butter sauce on top, and on with dried cranberries, sugar and butter on top. I'm open to any other ideas with a brie wheel. Its such a simply recipe/app. Must have a hot oven, though!

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: liza219

                                                                  I do this all the time too. People love it. One of mine and everyone's favorite versions uses raspberry habanero jelly. The sweet/spiciness of the jelly goes so well with the creaminess of the brie.

                                                                  1. re: liza219

                                                                    I make one too, but just brie wrapped in puff pastry since my husband doesn't like other "stuff" in it. Always a hit.

                                                                  2. I am constantly asked to bring BLT Dip, a bit different from the one previously listed. But my current favorite is a layered Mediterranean dip. hummus, pesto, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, some veggies, and lots of good feta. I love it. I too want to eat everything in
                                                                    this thread for dinner!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                      1. Vietnamese shrimp springs rolls. Anything wrapped in those rice paper wrappers look impressive. I use mint from my garden, cilantro, red lettuce, red pepper, shrimp and cooked rice stick. I server with hot chili sauce or peanut sauce as dip. But you can put anything.

                                                                        1. pot stickers, surimi krab cream cheese spread, deviled eggs ans a three layer cream cheese spread that has a layer of sun dried tomato pesto mixed with CC, a layer mixed with HV ranch and CC, and another with pesto mixed w CC served with good crackers and veggies.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                                                            I occasionally buy surimi and never know what to do with it. Is your krab dip just surimi, cream cheese, and Old Bay? Or is it heated with melty cheeses, maybe scallions? Sounds good right now, maybe with some celery sticks.

                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                              Pretty simple.
                                                                              Two 8 oz CC
                                                                              One super finely diced garlic clove
                                                                              Two scallions diced greens only
                                                                              As much crab as you care for. I like about a pile the size of a block of the CC.
                                                                              Half cup cheddar shreds for in and on the dip, halved.
                                                                              Depending on who is eating it is either seasoned with two teaspoons of ranch dry seasoning powder or if the people eating can have msg then it is Badia complete seasoning
                                                                              Mix everything but half the cheddar and put in an eight by eight pan and sprinkle with the rest of the cheddarand bake twenty minutes til warmed thru. Serve with crackers and veggies. Goes like gang busters

                                                                          2. When squash blossoms are in season, I like to get the females. I stuff them with a crab salad and then fry them up in a tempura batter.

                                                                            1. Would you believe that recently it's been dried fruit and nut mixes. Like unroasted almonds, roasted salted cashews, and dried berry mix. So simply and it disappears from the buffet table.

                                                                              Maybe because it's different?

                                                                              1. Antipasto Pinwheels
                                                                                • 12 thin slices provolone cheese (6 to 7 oz.)

                                                                                • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, softened (2 oz.)
                                                                                • 1 Tbsp. milk
                                                                                • 12 thin slices soppresata or premium Genoa salami (about 4 oz.)

                                                                                • 12 large fresh basil leaves

                                                                                mix gorgonzola & milk to spreading consistency. top salami slices w/provolone and spread cheese over. top w/basil leaf and roll into pinwheel.

                                                                                cut into slices before serving.

                                                                                Assorted crackers or flatbread (optional)

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                                  I will try that, thanks! I imagine a marinated artichoke heart piece might be good there, too.

                                                                                  1. re: laliz

                                                                                    This reminds me of the Antipasto Skewers that I made for last year's July 4th party that I host. They were a huge hit and it was easy to make some of them without salami for the vegetarians. They looked great on a platter.

                                                                                    I used sun dried tomatoes and marinated mozzarella balls...everyone loved them.