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Need suggestions for tasty make-ahead hors doeurves

I am having a Christmas party with lots of great singing around the piano. Sadly, I always end up in the kitchen too much of the party. I need suggestions for tasty (easy is good too!) make ahead hors doeurves. Thanks!

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  1. > Orange-Spiced Nuts can be placed in bowls throughout the mingling area. http://www.chow.com/recipes/25611-ora...

    > Deviled eggs
    > Cucumber cups stuffed with herbed goat cheese
    > Skewered caprese (buffalo mozzarella, basil, cherry tomatoes) drizzed with balsamic
    > Crockpot sweet & sour meatballs
    > Manchego cheese with membrillo paste
    > Proscuitto-wrapped melon

    And this thread might help: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/926418

    7 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      THANKS! On the spiced nuts, I have lots of cashews I could use, but no margarine. Would butter work instead?

      1. re: maggiecookshot

        Butter would always work better than margarine;)

        1. re: maggiecookshot

          Sorry - I keep forgetting to change that recipe on CHOW - YES, use butter. I never use margarine anymore. This recipe is from years ago.

        2. re: LindaWhit

          I just finished my nuts -- mixed pecans and cashews, the kitchen smells divine! I only had fresh orange rind so doubled it and dried it a bit in the oven first. Also upped the cayenne and added a dash of garam masala. Thanks!

          1. re: maggiecookshot

            Oh, wow! Are you ever going to be a great CH! What you describe sounds great.

            1. re: maggiecookshot

              Nice job! I've never used fresh-then-dried orange rind. I like that idea. I'm assuming you minced it very finely (or ground it?)

              And the cayenne quantity is obviously variable. I usually bring these to family gatherings, who don't like it too spicy, but when I've made them for coworkers, I end up going a bit spicier.

            2. re: LindaWhit

              Cucumber cups are also great stuffed with hummus (we like a smoky chipotle hummus) and/or baba ghanoush.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Yeah, we were supposed to go to a party on Saturday (didn't because of a foot of snow!) and bring 'finger food.' I've saved this for future reference.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    So Bittman is good for some things...that thread on Bittman's recipe for soup had him strung up by his ears.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9261...
                        c, you made comments on that thread. It was quite the hot topic that day.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I meant I didn't notice it on the list of 101 things.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            So Bittman's good for some things :) I have that list from NYT as well. Used it for all sorts of inspiration.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I really never made any comment about Bittman. Not sure what you mean.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                I know you contributed to it since I was reading along. The overall thread had Bittman pegged as a know nothing hack at some points.. So, to read a recommendation here from you (a NYT reference I also enjoy using for inspiration) was refreshing. That's what I mean.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  Okey dokey :) I really know nothing about him and probably wasn't aware of whose column it was when I first found it. OP on that thread really isn't into cooking and I think a couple of my posts were just pointing that out.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I've made a bunch of appetizers from that suggestion list. Especially the appy's on skewers.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      I certainly intend to. I don't ALWAYS want to put a lot of effort into every little thing :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I know that when it comes to hosting a party, I also want to enjoy the party. Parties where you never see the hosts sit down or never leave their kitchen space isn't my idea of a good time. So make ahead menus/nibbles are really where it's at.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          Yes, that is me, not enjoying my own party! I am determined to do better!

                                          1. re: maggiecookshot

                                            You better (especially with a piano in the room)!! Have fun!

                                            1. re: maggiecookshot

                                              I try to remind myself that, at least for non-CHs, it's about the coming together and not the food.

                  2. I've made a version of Pioneer Woman's roll-ups for years but I have also used diced ham in them as well. You can use a combo of almost anything. Chopped olives and diced dill pickles are two things you could add as well. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/re...

                    Also easy (as I said in an earlier thread) would crock pot meatballs in a chili/grape jelly sauce. http://www.food.com/recipe/appetizer-...

                    Never have any left. :)

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: boyzoma

                      WOW! I am so impressed. This is my first time asking a question here and already so many great suggestions! THANKS! I was considering making Turkey meatballs as many friends don't eat red meat. Do you think this would this work with turkey?

                      1. re: maggiecookshot

                        Yes, dark meat turkey is better because white meat turkey is too lean.

                        1. re: maggiecookshot

                          Oh, you're brand spankin' new! Are you ever going to have a great time!!!! Welcome.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            So I just made my turkey meatballs.
                            Cooking the second test batch (5 balls).
                            They aren't fabulous yet...
                            So far:
                            2.25 pounds lean ground turkey
                            1.5 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
                            1/2 cup+ finely chopped shallots
                            2 large eggs
                            2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
                            2 tablespoons coarse lemon salt (from mallorca)
                            Freshly ground pepper
                            3/4 cup finely chopped portabello mushrrom (1 large one)
                            1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
                            Fresh grated parmesan cheese (maybe 2/3 cup)
                            Needs more depth...
                            Suggestions?
                            Plus, I am going to freeze them in small balls uncooked and bake them party day. Or should I bake them now?

                            1. re: maggiecookshot

                              Maybe some mashed roasted garlic in there. A heavy spoonful of tomato paste. I'd shape, freeze and bake day of.

                              1. re: maggiecookshot

                                I always add a bit of fish and soy sauce.

                        2. hi maggiec, welcome!
                          I have a small party coming up and plan to make:
                          salami & pepperoni coins; served with tangy mustard
                          cheese plate with fresh grapes (3 cheeses, with kinds of grapes)
                          Oven grilled jumbo shrimp with lime/cilantro dressing served on skewers
                          tiramisu bites (firmer than traditional cut into cubes and served on pop sticks)

                          Nothing is difficult or too time consuming. A few large platters and the bar/cocktails and we're good to go.
                          Happy Holidays!

                          1. I love puff pastry for apps- i like to fold a square of it into mini muffin tins and add grated parmesan or pecorino with fresh herbs after they bake.
                            Or cut long strips of the puff, sprinkle with spices (i like smoked salt and hot paprika, also great sweet with cinnamon and sugar) and then twist the strips like a corkscrew and bake.

                            Make various flatbread pizzas and cut in small squares, serve room temp

                            Bake mini frittatas in a muffin tin

                            A crockpot or thermos with a simple pureed soup and a bowl of crunchy croutons nearby- guests serve themselves into small glasses or cups to sip from

                            Roasted spiced chickpeas

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                              What type of spice do you use on the chickpeas? I tend to go curry or smokey. I would love some new ideas.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Right now i'm obsessed with my spanish pimenton- it has a little heat and a nice smokey undertone. Lots of times i do salt and dried rosemary with lots of cracked pepper, recently made some with coconut oil and simple S&P that i inhaled- the coconut oil took them over the top!

                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                  Thanks for some new ideas. I have coconut oil in the pantry but I've never fixed chickpeas with it. The pimenton is great, that I've done. The dried rosemary with s&p would be a nice aromatic for a bar nibble. Great!

                                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                                    Speaking of pimenton, how about pimento cheese?

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Pimento cheese....... Roasted chickpeas??

                                      Oh, no- kidding- i think you mean as an app idea for the OP, which is perfect for her party!

                                2. re: Ttrockwood

                                  Long strips of puff - I do that with pie crust!
                                  I cut leftover pie crust into strips and sprinkle cinnamon over them - my kids used to love them!

                                  1. re: acssss

                                    My mom did that when i was a kid too!! Good stuff....