Easy Appetizers For Entertaining

When I used to entertain for friends a lot I would always incorporate yummy appetizers. Bite size single servings that guests could grab and go in order to hold their cocktail in the other hand and keep chatting with each other. My criteria for recipes to serve was: easy to make ahead, stable at room temperature, and pleasing to the eye. I’ve chosen 4 party bites to share that follow these rules, all from the Tablespoon website. Choose one or all of them to incorporate into your next dinner party, cocktail party, or ladies night, and visit Tablespoon for even more recipes.

These ham & cheese roll ups are easy and classic enough even kids would like them. The addition of the basil and red pepper add an adult touch with Italian flair.

Ham & Cheese Roll Ups

1 package sliced ham (I like honey baked)

3 tablespoons garden vegetable reduced-fat cream cheese spread (from 8-ounce container)

1 package fresh basil leaves

1 jar roasted red bell peppers, patted dry

5 pieces string cheese

Place a slice of ham on work surface; pat dry with paper towel. Spread evenly with 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cream cheese. Top with basil leaves to within 1 inch of top edge. Cut peppers into 1-inch strips; cut to fit width of ham. Place pepper strips across bottom edge of ham. Place cheese piece above pepper on basil leaves; trim to fit.

Beginning at bottom, roll up securely. Wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 5 rolls. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Unwrap rolls; place seam sides down. Cut each roll into 5 pieces with sharp serrated knife. If desired, pierce each roll with 5 evenly spaced toothpicks before cutting.

Potato salad never looked so sophisticated as it does served in their own potato shell. They are also hardy enough to satisfy a manly appetite.

Potato Salad Bites

12 small red potatoes (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches in diameter)

1 teaspoon salt

1 hard-cooked egg, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped celery

3 tablespoons dill pickle relish

2 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 medium green onions, thinly sliced (2 tablespoons)

3 radishes, thinly sliced (1/4 cup), if desired

Heat over to 400°F. Place potatoes in ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

Cut potatoes in half. With a melon baller, scoop out insides of potatoes into medium bowl, leaving 1/4-inch lining of potato flesh around edges of shells. Sprinkle shells with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining ingredients except radishes, to potato flesh; mix well, breaking up potatoes.

Cut very thin slice off bottom of each potato shell so potatoes will stand upright. Fill each potato shell with about 1 tablespoon filling mixture. Cover; refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Garnish with radish slices.

When hosting cocktail parties I like to serve a few different meat-based appetizers including beef, pork, and chicken. These curry chicken cups fit the bill nicely and add an exotic touch with the use of curry.

Curry Chicken Salad Cups

1 can (12.5 oz) white chicken breast, drained (or your own cooked chicken-shredded)

1/3 cup diced celery

1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

1/4 cup chopped cashews

1 tablespoon mild curry paste (from 10-oz jar)

24 frozen mini fillo shells

24 fresh parsley leaves

In medium bowl, stir together all ingredients except fillo shells and parsley.

Just before serving, spoon about 1 tablespoon chicken mixture into each fillo shell. Garnish with parsley.

I always have to think about my vegetarian friends as well. These mediterranean style crostini bites add international flavors and keep the vegetarians happy.

Tomato & Feta Crostini

1 can (8 oz) refrigerated Crescent roll seamless dough sheet

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 medium plum (Roma) tomato, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray large cookie sheets with cooking spray. Open can of dough; do not unroll. With serrated knife, cut dough into 16 slices. Flatten to 2-inch circles.

In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic; brush on tops of dough circles. Place on cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Spoon slightly less than 1 tablespoon tomato mixture on each crostini. Serve immediately.


Hope you give these a try. Bon Appetit!

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