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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

                        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...
                            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....

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

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Berheenia

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

                                      1. re: maggiecookshot

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

                                    2. 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. 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. 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. 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.