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Need suggestions for tasty make-ahead hors doeurves

maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 12:49 PM

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. LindaWhit RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 01:19 PM

    > 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
      maggiecookshot RE: LindaWhit Dec 10, 2013 02:11 PM

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

      1. re: maggiecookshot
        magiesmom RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 02:12 PM

        Butter would always work better than margarine;)

        1. re: maggiecookshot
          LindaWhit RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 02:18 PM

          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
          maggiecookshot RE: LindaWhit Dec 10, 2013 06:31 PM

          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
            c oliver RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 06:34 PM

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

            1. re: maggiecookshot
              LindaWhit RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 06:49 PM

              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
              Emme RE: LindaWhit Dec 11, 2013 10:19 PM

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

            3. c oliver RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 01:26 PM

              I recently stumbled on this great list from the NY Times:


              16 Replies
              1. re: c oliver
                LindaWhit RE: c oliver Dec 10, 2013 01:31 PM


                1. re: LindaWhit
                  c oliver RE: LindaWhit Dec 10, 2013 01:53 PM

                  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
                    HillJ RE: c oliver Dec 10, 2013 02:50 PM

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

                    1. re: HillJ
                      c oliver RE: HillJ Dec 10, 2013 02:54 PM

                      Didn't notice.

                      1. re: c oliver
                        HillJ RE: c oliver Dec 10, 2013 02:58 PM

                        c, you made comments on that thread. It was quite the hot topic that day.

                        1. re: HillJ
                          c oliver RE: HillJ Dec 10, 2013 03:00 PM

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

                          1. re: c oliver
                            HillJ RE: c oliver Dec 10, 2013 03:01 PM

                            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
                              c oliver RE: HillJ Dec 10, 2013 03:05 PM

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

                              1. re: c oliver
                                HillJ RE: c oliver Dec 10, 2013 03:08 PM

                                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
                                  c oliver RE: HillJ Dec 10, 2013 03:27 PM

                                  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
                                    HillJ RE: HillJ Dec 10, 2013 03:35 PM

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

                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      c oliver RE: HillJ Dec 10, 2013 03:38 PM

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

                                      1. re: c oliver
                                        HillJ RE: c oliver Dec 10, 2013 03:41 PM

                                        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
                                          maggiecookshot RE: HillJ Dec 10, 2013 06:34 PM

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

                                          1. re: maggiecookshot
                                            HillJ RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 06:34 PM

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

                                            1. re: maggiecookshot
                                              c oliver RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 06:39 PM

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

                  2. boyzoma RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 01:28 PM

                    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
                      maggiecookshot RE: boyzoma Dec 10, 2013 02:09 PM

                      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
                        magiesmom RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 02:13 PM

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

                        1. re: maggiecookshot
                          c oliver RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 02:48 PM

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

                          1. re: c oliver
                            maggiecookshot RE: c oliver Dec 10, 2013 06:41 PM

                            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...
                            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
                              HillJ RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 06:43 PM

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

                              1. re: maggiecookshot
                                WishyFish RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 07:12 PM

                                I always add a bit of fish and soy sauce.

                                1. re: WishyFish
                                  c oliver RE: WishyFish Dec 10, 2013 07:21 PM

                                  You might enjoy this post of Andrea Nguyen's:


                        2. h
                          HillJ RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 02:55 PM

                          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. Ttrockwood RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 03:08 PM

                            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
                              HillJ RE: Ttrockwood Dec 10, 2013 03:10 PM

                              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
                                Ttrockwood RE: HillJ Dec 10, 2013 05:56 PM

                                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
                                  HillJ RE: Ttrockwood Dec 10, 2013 06:00 PM

                                  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
                                    c oliver RE: Ttrockwood Dec 10, 2013 06:20 PM

                                    Speaking of pimenton, how about pimento cheese?

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      Ttrockwood RE: c oliver Dec 12, 2013 06:57 PM

                                      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
                                  acssss RE: Ttrockwood Dec 10, 2013 03:15 PM

                                  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
                                    Ttrockwood RE: acssss Dec 10, 2013 05:59 PM

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

                                  2. re: Ttrockwood
                                    acssss RE: Ttrockwood Dec 10, 2013 03:21 PM

                                    :-) Sorry posted in wrong place

                                  3. Berheenia RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 03:20 PM

                                    My current drop dead app is a baked brie. A nip of Grand Marnier is the kicker.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Berheenia
                                      maggiecookshot RE: Berheenia Dec 10, 2013 04:47 PM

                                      I have two brie wheels, I will give one of them this treatment. Looks yummy! Thanks!

                                      1. re: maggiecookshot
                                        boyzoma RE: maggiecookshot Dec 11, 2013 06:19 AM

                                        I love baked brie wrapped in puff pastry. It is so yummy.

                                    2. a
                                      acssss RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 03:23 PM

                                      During the summer, we had a large party and this is what I served (things that are not on pieces of bread/cracker/toast were served on a small ceramic white spoon - I bought from Williams Sonoma)

                                      Lettuce leaf filled with tiny piece of boneless buffalo chicken
                                      One mini grilled Italian bread, rubbed with garlic and grilled tomato, spiced with S & P and basil olive oil. Top with a slice of carpaccio, and garnish with shaved parmesan and arugula leaves.
                                      1 tiny garlic bruschetta with chopped tomato and basil
                                      One tiny mini potato pancake with cream cheese, smoked salmon and chives
                                      1 tiny potato skin filled with cheddar cheese and bacon topped with chopped green onions
                                      1 nacho topped with cheddar cheese, green onions, salsa, and black olives
                                      3 tiny tempura (sweet potato and zucchini sticks dipped in either flour, egg, and breadcrumbs or tempura batter then deep fried)
                                      1 wonton purse stuffed with mushrooms (& chicken) and smothered in cream sauce
                                      Two slices of grilled eggplant strips atop a rice cake in soy mustard butter with ginger-mango relish
                                      One tiny round piece of toast topped with round piece of roast beef topped with a creamy mushroom sauce. Garnish with deep fried sweet potato slices and thin chives.
                                      One mini beef fajita (can take regular tortilla and with cookie cutter make smaller ones)
                                      1 mini hamburger topped with an onion ring, lettuce, mayo and horseradish – can garnish with mini ultra thin French fries
                                      1 strawberry stuffed with a tiny piece of chocolate

                                      1. h
                                        helmut fig newton RE: maggiecookshot Dec 10, 2013 03:46 PM

                                        Sausage rolls!
                                        They are good at room temp or hot. you can make them the day before also..We have never had leftovers after a party!

                                        This is my go to recipe from Delia

                                        1. Emme RE: maggiecookshot Dec 11, 2013 10:23 PM

                                          I will also suggest in addition to *all* of the above :-)

                                          Skewered Chicken Satay - make ahead (freeze if necessary) and reheat day of with more sauce

                                          Soup Shooters

                                          Roasted Slices of Sweet Potato and/or Beets with Rosemary, Goat Cheese and some Chives to finish

                                          Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

                                          …and always a hit… Bonnie's Buffalo Chicken Dip… with celery sticks and anything else you want to dip…

                                          happy party!

                                          1. Atomic76 RE: maggiecookshot Dec 12, 2013 06:51 PM

                                            Garlic bagel chips (or a garlic crostini), with some quince paste and gorgonzola, and a sprinkle of fresh chive on them.

                                            Baguette pizza bites - just make one long "pizza" on half a sliced baguette, then cut it into bites.

                                            Hungarian hot peppers stuffed with hot italian sausage mixture (egg, sausage, romano, and seasoned bread crumbs), just top with a can of crushed tomatoes, cover and bake for an hour and a half. You can make sandwiches with these as well, serve with some extra romano to sprinkle on them.

                                            Hungarian hot peppers in oil. These are easy too, just cut the tops off and seed them. Cut them into rings and throw them into a baking dish covered, and bake at 350 for about 45 min to an hour. This will soften them a little. Then just toss them with some fresh garlic, oregano, sea salt, olive oil and a little vinegar. Great on crostini or pita chips.

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