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Easy apps that could be a meal?

I'm going to have a few people over soon, just four of us total. One is a vegetarian. One doesn't eat pork. No one eats seafood. WTF do I make?? Not planning to have a full dinner, mainly just heavy appetizers. I'm thinking some paninis, cut up pretty small-tomato and goat, or tomato and mozz? A side of roasted cauliflower? Ummm…what? No soups, stews, or anything that constitutes a whole sit-down dinner. Finger foods, mostly. No salads of any kind, either. Any and all sugestions welcome! Thanks! (Make ahead things would be perfect!!)

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  1. invite new friends and tell the others to bring an app that they 'would' eat ..... ok kidding

    what about a pizza bar where you provide the pizza dough and sauce(s) plus a variety of toppings-let everyone create what they'd like to eat, cut up berries in a bowl and broccoli florettes cauliflower florettes, carrots and celery sticks hummus and pita chips.

    1 Reply
    1. re: iL Divo

      I love that! Except…that sounds like more work for me :( Thinking more like….a few things that I could whip up, either beforehand, or quickly while they are there. The less choices they have, the less work for me (devil happy face).

    2. You could go Mediterranean

      For example, things like

      - hummus with pita wedges
      - marinated mushrooms
      - marinated olives and feta cheese
      - roasted artichoke hearts
      - roast nuts
      - cherry tomato, basil and mozarella skewers
      - pesto brushetta

      are pretty easy to make and can either be pre-prepared, or heated quickly. The roasted cauliflower would fit in well here, too.


      3 Replies
      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

        Add some cheese nachos, a vegetable wrap, (cut up) and some bean salad and I think you are done.

        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

          gosh I thought I'd written hummus and pita...

          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

            I made these antipasto skewers for a party once and I made some with meat and some without. They were a huge hit and they can be made in advance.


          2. Does the vegetarian eat cheese? Is anyone off the wheat?
            Bruschetta - mozzarella, basil, olive oil, garlic, grilled eggplant, tapenade, mushroom 'pate', marinated artichokes - so pretty much your panini idea.

            Mini filo tarts with spinach and ricotta filling. Mini quiches - make them in muffin tins.

            Savoury scones.

            Small skewers of chicken (fried tofu for the vege, or for everyone instead of chicken if you're going all vegetarian), either grilled in honey and seasame glaze or accompanied by a thick satay dipping sauce.

            Summer rolls - rice paper wrappers around vermicelli, herbs and julienned vegetables.

            Vegetarian sushi rolls.

            Mini samosas and pakora.

            Stuffed vine leaves.

            Hmmm, I think I like finger food too much.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ultimatepotato

              I love finger food too. If I had someone else to cook for me that would be how I eat all the time. As it is, I do not want to make 10 different things every day!

            2. These Mushroom Cheese Cups are wonderful. Recipe is adapted/paraphrased from a community cookbook "Potluck for 33,000 – 1993 Cookbook by Dayton’s Hudson’s and Marshall Fields Employees to benefit United Way" - Carol Kalan, Dayton’s Minneapolis

              Mushroom Cheese Cups
              (¼ recipe makes just enough for two people - 12 mini-muffin appetizers)

              1 cup chopped onion (1/4 C)
              2 cups chopped mushrooms ( ½ c – chopped stems from 8 oz fresh - can use the caps for stuffed mushrooms)
              3 T. margarine/butter (omit)
              ¾ C. shredded mozzarella cheese (3 T)
              ¼ C. grated parmesean cheese (1 T)
              ½ C. chopped fresh parsley (2 T)
              2 egg yolks, slightly beaten (1 yolk)
              1 tsp. dried oregano leaves (1/4 t.)
              (omit for us 1 tsp. salt ) (omit)
              (omit for us½ tsp. pepper) (omit)
              8 slices white bread (1 10-in. flour tortilla, or 2 slices bread)
              ½ C. margarine/butter, melted (2 T)

              Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

              (Optional – I used them uncooked – in small skillet, saute onions and mushrooms in 3 T. margarine, remove from heat) Combine onions, mushrooms, cheeses, parsley, egg yolk, oregano, salt and pepper. If using tortilla, cut tortilla into approx. 1 ½ in. squares. If using bread, remove crusts from bread and cut each slice into 4 squares. Roll flat with rolling pin. Dip each bread/tortilla square in melted butter, and place in mini-muffin cup. Fill each cup with about 1 T. mushroom-cheese mixture.

              Bake 20 – 25 minutes. Makes 32 appetizers

              Tip – cups can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and reheated.

                1. Fruit kabobs with strawberry yogurt for dip

                    1. Bean and Cheese Quesadillas- you can have them assembled earlier.
                      I like to use refried beans because of the consistency, the beans don't fall out.

                      Frittata cut into two-bite squares.

                      1. I agree with the summer rolls suggestion. That was the first thing that popped into my mind. You can make them the night before and coat them in garlic infused oil - lightly. Lay a few, not wet, lettuce leaves over the top and they'll be good the next day.

                        I like to fill them with lightly sauteed cabbage, mushrooms, carrot matchsticks, cucumber, bean sprouts, herbs(thai basil, cilantro), a very few rice noodles, and serve with a spicy peanut sauce for dipping. Think Satay sauce.

                        If you are not familiar, summer rolls are made with those weird looking stiff rice paper sheets...

                        1. Lettuce wraps (not really a salad!)

                          Have chicken and marinated tofu as the fillers. Serve like a taco bar with all the fixings!

                          1. So long as you have a nice balance of hot and cold dishes, I think you can easily put together a very satisfying dinner.

                            Roasted jalapeno and feta dip
                            Baguettes with olive oil and za'atar or dukkah
                            Olives and pickled vegetables
                            Deviled eggs
                            Tortilla espanola

                            Meat stuffed pita triangles
                            Stuffed mushrooms
                            Blistered shishito peppers with lemon
                            Roasted cauliflower with tahini and blood orange sauce

                            1. Stuffed grape leaves. You could do rice stuffed for the vegetarian and lamb/beef for the omnivores.

                              1. Feta-stuffed mushroom caps
                                Chicken satay with peanut sauce
                                While old-fashioned, melon wrapped with prosciutto.
                                Spinach quiche cups with a sprinkle of ground sumac
                                Guacamole and blue corn chips
                                Baked parmesan-panko zucchini sticks with a spicy romesco dipping sauce
                                Vegetable-stuffed mini calzones with marinara sauce for dipping

                                1. I have no qualms about serving food that one or two people won't eat as long as there a wide enough selection of choices for everyone to have variety. So I'd go ahead and make at least one thing with meat, either chicken or beef since 3 out of the four will eat it.

                                  1. OMG SO many awesome suggestions!! Forgot to add that 2 are middle-eastern, so prob will steer clear of any kind of hummus/grape leaf/ pita kind of thing (even though I LOVE that!). They get that at home, and better than I could make it!!! But seriously, so many great finger food options! This is going to be a breeze! Thanks!! (And PS…all of these are going in my recipe box for a later use, if I don't use them this weekend!)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: schrutefarms

                                      Wow, what a crowd! It might be hard to predict what else is out of bounds for all four. You have a vegetarian and two middle easterners, one of which doesn't eat pork.

                                      I like to blanch some asparagus, then cool down and chop into 1.5 inch lengths or so. When the guests arrive do a quick, light stir fry (ginger, pre chopped garlic, chili, whatever), throw in some mushrooms toward the end and a couple of pats of butter. You can put it in a heated bowl and give everyone toothpicks if they are up to that, or fondue forks.

                                    2. Two great resources for finger foods: corn scoops (like tortilla chips) and miniature phyllo shells. Fill with anything, but to me the scoops suggest Southwestern or TexMex, and the phyllo suggests Mediterranean.

                                      This weekend I'm serving vegetarian black bean salad in a corn scoop and green & Kalamata tapenades in phyllo.

                                      We use the phyllo for mini- dessert tarts, too.

                                        1. These korean vegetable pancakes are perfect, just make them a small size. Make ahead, refridgerate and heat before serving. Easy to do a few veg and add shrimp to the rest

                                          1. Deviled eggs.
                                            Raw vegetables with hummus.
                                            Pita triangles with baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant, garlic, lemon, tahini) or muhammara (roasted red pepper, finely chopped walnuts, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, garlic, seasonings).

                                            The cut-up paninis is a fine idea.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ellabee

                                              See the part about the two middle easterners upthread. One of them eats pork, though.