When throwing a party we all want to impress our guests and want the “You Made This?” look and question. With these simple appetizer recipes, you will definitely get the coveted question, but your guests won’t know how easy these were to make. With each of the following appetizers having less than 5 ingredients, you won’t believe how easy they are to make and wish you had known about them sooner!
Thai Shrimp Skewers
Serve these skewered bites at your next party and your guests will rave for weeks. Creamy white coconut milk, hot curry, and a splash of aromatic fish sauce highlight the simple flavors of juicy shrimp.
½ cup light coconut milk
¼ cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons red curry paste
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Whisk together coconut milk, coconut, fish sauce, and curry paste in a medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss well. Chill 1 hour.
2. Grill shrimp over medium-high heat 2 minutes on each side or until done. Place on individual bamboo picks to serve. Makes 2 dozen.
Hosting Help: Skewer food ahead of time with decorative toothpicks to add a fun flair and easy pickup for guests.
Four ingredients and 12 minutes of cooking time is all you need for this impressive cocktail snacks. Pop these in the oven before guests arrive and you’ll have warm puff pasty draped over crispy asparagus and salty prosciutto, ready to serve.
12 asparagus spears
½ (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
12 thin slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Blanch asparagus in boiling water 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Rinse in cold water; drain. (If asparagus is thin, use 2 pieces per appetizer and skip the blanching process.)
2. Unfold pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface, and press out fold lines. Roll onto a 12- x 10-inch rectangle. Cut into 12 (1-inch) strips.
3. Wrap 1 or 2 asparagus spears in 1 slice of prosciutto, and wrap with 1 strip of pastry dough. Place on a parchment-lined or greased, foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pastry, asparagus, and prosciutto. Sprinkle wraps with Parmesan cheese.
Hosting Help: Spice things up with unconventional food shapes, twists, and presentations.
Black Pepper-Chèvre Pastries
Don’t fret: Chèvre is just a fancy French word for goat cheese. Bite into one of these flaky puff pastries and experience the smooth texture of goat cheese, a kick of black pepper, and a hint of citrus.
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
9 ounces black-pepper goat cheese, softened
1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1. Combine orange zest, juice, and goat cheese in a medium bowl.
2. Roll each pastry sheet into a 9-inch square. Cut each sheet into 9 (3-inch) squares.
3. Spoon goat cheese mixture evenly into centers of squares. Brush edges of pastry with water. Fold each square of pastry into a triangle, gently pressing edges to seal. Place triangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and seal edges with a fork. Brush pastries with egg yolk.
4. Bake at 400° for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately. Makes 1½ dozen.
Hosting Help: Serve bites that taste delicious warm or at room temperature.
Seared Scallops with Balsamic Reduction
Scallops’ sweet, succulent flavor and sumptuous texture play the starring role in this simple yet elegant dish.
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons butter, divided
12 large sea scallops
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes or until reduced to ½ cup. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter; set aside.
2. Sprinkle both sides of scallps with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops, and cool 3 minutes on each side or until golden crust begins to form. Serve scallops with balsamic reduction dipping sauce. Makes 4 appetizer servings.
Hosting Help: If you’re serving small bites such as shrimp or scallops, skewer them before serving for easy handling and charming presentation.
- 1 (16-oz.) container refrigerated mild salsa
- 1 cup Bloody Mary mix
- 3/4 cup finely chopped seedless cucumber
- 1/2 cup water
Stir together 1 (16-oz.) container refrigerated mild salsa, 1 cup Bloody Mary mix, 3/4 cup finely chopped seedless cucumber, and 1/2 cup water. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve gazpacho in 2- to 4-oz. shot glasses. Garnish with cucumber sticks, if desired.
Pancetta Crisps With Goat Cheese and Pear
Top Bartlett pear slices with baked pancetta, crumbled goat cheese, and a drizzle of honey for an easy, salty-sweet hors d’oeuvre that tastes delicious and looks gorgeous.
- 12 thin slices pancetta (about 1/3 lb.)
- 1 Bartlett pear
- 1/2 (4-oz.) package goat cheese, crumbled
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs
1. Arrange pancetta slices in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
2. Bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack using a spatula. Let stand 10 minutes or until crisp.
3. Core pear with an apple corer. Cut pear crosswise into 12 thin rings. Arrange on a serving platter. Top evenly with pancetta and goat cheese; sprinkle with pepper. Drizzle with honey just before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Potato Nests with Sour Cream and Smoked Salmon
- 1 1/2 pounds large russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced smoked salmon (2 oz.), plus a small amount for garnish
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch black pepper
- Small parsley leaves, optional
In a large saucepan, bring unpeeled potatoes and enough cold water to cover to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer potatoes until just cooked, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, let cool and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until cold.
Meanwhile, pulse smoked salmon and lemon peel in a food processor, scraping down bowl. Add sour cream and process until combined. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease 32 mini-muffin-tin cups. Peel and coarsely grate potatoes. Gently toss potatoes with salt and pepper in a bowl. Place about 1 heaping Tbsp. potato mixture into each muffin cup and press against bottom and up sides, allowing some mixture to extend above rim. (Do not spread mixture too thin or holes will form while baking.)
Bake potato nests until edges are dark golden, about 25 minutes. Coowwl nests in pans for 10 minutes. Carefully remove nests from pans and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to set. (Nests may be made up to 4 hours ahead; leave at room temperature.)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place potato nests on a clean, large baking sheet and bake until heated through and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer potato nests to a platter. Using a small spoon, dollop about 1 tsp. sour cream mixture into each potato nest and top each with a tiny strip of smoked salmon and, if desired, a parsley leaf. Serve right away.
- 18 refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 1/4 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing
- 6 thin slices (4 ounces) reduced-fat provolone cheese
- 6 thin slices (2 ounces) Genoa salami
- 18 large pimiento-stuffed olives
- Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse in
- cold water. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the tortellini and
- salad dressing. Seal bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Place a slice of cheese on each slice of salami; roll up tightly. Cut
- into thirds. Drain tortellini and discard dressing. For each
- appetizer, thread a tortellini, salami roll-up and olive on a
- toothpick. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.
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