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Need ideas for an appetizer

We am having my family and my fiance's family over for dinner on Sunday. I have already purchased everything I need for the main meal, but I feel like I need something to put out in case my prep runs long (which is normal.) Problem is, I'm broke and need to try to work with what I have.

Here is the menu:

Grill-roasted chicken
Parmesan garlic grilled corn
Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon
Pilaf or macaroni and cheese
Green salad (from mom)

Plum hazelnut torte
Brownies (from mom)

What I have to work with for an appetizer:

A loaf of sourdough

Heavy cream
1/2 block cream cheese

Various canned beans (mostly chickpeas and navy beans, but a few kidney and pinto)
1/2 can of chipotles in adobo
Canned green chiles

2 cucumbers
1/2 head cabbage
Red grapes
Maybe a bell pepper or two

That plus all of the basic staples, spices, vinegars, etc. and a lot of Asian pastes and sauces.

I don't know if there is anything that can be made out of this, but any ideas would be appreciated. (It's worth mentioning that my future-in-laws, my step-dad, and step-brother are not adventurous eaters, but I'd still like to hear anything that y'all come up with.)

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  1. You have the ingredients for homemade hummus served in a sourdough bread bowl with veggies and cubes of toasted sourdough removed from the bowl as dippers.

    1. Your menu looks pretty heavy, especially if you go with mac and cheese rather than pilaf. If you do the pilaf, you could make some pickled grapes/vegetables and make a cheese spread out of the provolone and cream cheese, and serve it with sourdough toasts. If you do mac and cheese, I'd just go with crudites served with a light tahini dip.

      1. You can make some crostini out of the sourdough and serve with dips/spreads.

        With the beans and tahini, you can make some hummus (maybe even toss the green chiles in there).

        You can also make a spread with the cream cheese and some roasted red peppers and some garlic.

        The provolone could be cut up and served as is, with some grapes on the side.

        Hope this helps!

        1 Reply
        1. re: chefjeannine

          Agree with this. I was also thinking the cream cheese could be blended with some chipotles in adobo, with cream to thin it.

        2. I suggest insalata Caprese as an antipasto (appetizer). Alternating slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella topped with shredded fresh basil and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The cheese is salty so do not add salt.

          Buon appetito!

          1. How about roasted chickpeas? Easy to make and fun little bits to pop in your mouth.

            1. Roasted red pepper hummus (bell pepper and chickpeas, tahini) with sourdough crisps for dipping (along with cut up carrots and cukes for dipping).

              1. Thanks for the ideas, everyone!

                Biondanonima, I am leaning more towards the pilaf than the mac'n'cheese.

                Looks like I'll be doing hummus with crostini and veg, and maybe a second dip with either the cream cheese/provolone or cream cheese/chipotles. Thanks. :) (Never made hummus, honestly, so this will be new for me. Looks pretty easy.)

                1. I don't know what kind of cucumbers you have but I usually use the skinny English ones to make cucumber cups. You could fill with either hummus or a blend of the cream cheese/heavy cream/chiles/adobo, or both. Whatever cucumber type you have, cut it into small pieces, "stripe" if you want with a vegetable peeler, then use a melon baller to remove most of the pulp. Depending on what filling you use, then you can do the sourdough bread bowl for the other filling as suggested by others. No matter what you decide to do, consider doing the apps first then your regular prep. That way, you'll have the apps ready when your guests arrive and you're finishing dinner prep.

                  Good luck!

                  1. Look at recipes for "Benedictine" spread or dip. I only learned about this Kentucky specialty recently, and made it as a spread. Shredded cucumber and onion mixed into cream cheese and served as a spread on crackers or toasts,
                    or a slightly looser version via adding sour cream or yogurt, used as a dip. I did not peel or de-seed the cuke, and used more of it than the recipes state. I included bell pepper too. I seasoned it with Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute but I think it would be good with Old Bay seasoning or any other dry herb seasoning blend.

                    I suggest you slice the sourdough a half-inch thick, lengthwise, then again so you have sourdough "lumber". Brush with oil or melted butter, sprinkle with seasoning (optionally, grated cheese too), place on a rack on a sheet pan, and toast in the oven until crunchy. Serve with Benedictine Dip.

                    Or slice the bread crosswise, toast in oven, and spread with Benedictine spread. In either case, add the grapes to the platter.

                    1. Slice cream cheese in half horizontally. Spread prepared wasabi across and top with other half of cream cheese. Top with a generous amount of soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with triscuits, pita chips, or even crostini.

                      It sounds gross but it is really good.