There’s still one party to go this year, but don’t let the need to produce a festive snack add to your stress level. What you need are some incredibly easy appetizer recipes.
None of these involve complicated techniques — we’re talking a little slicing, spreading, stirring and pouring. Some of these recipes may take a little more time to prepare than others. For example, the spicy maple bacon takes about 20 minutes, but during much of that time you can tend to something else.
These simple, short recipes offer a homemade taste while maintaining your party planner sanity.
Classic cheese plate: Follow this formula: two cheeses — one soft (like goat cheese or Brie) and one hard (try Manchego or Asiago). Offer bread or crackers for the third element, then add two of any of these items: olives, fresh or dried fruit, nuts (spiced or candied if you have them), honey or already-sliced salty cured meats, like salami or prosciutto. Arrange artfully on your nicest wooden cutting board with appropriate serving knives or spoons and call it a day.
Crostini: Start with a fresh baguette cut into ¼-inch to ½-inch-thick slices as ingredient number one; if you have a few extra minutes, toast the slices. Or even better, buy ready-made crostini slices at the bakery. Top with your favorite two- to four-ingredient combinations. Here are some I love: cranberry chutney or fig jam with blue cheese; Manchego and Serrano ham; roast beef and Brie; butter topped with thinly sliced radishes and sea salt; and deli chicken or egg salad topped with chopped chives.
Dips: Mix vanilla Greek yogurt with honey and a splash of lemon and serve with sliced apples. Or stir taco seasoning into plain Greek yogurt and serve with corn chips or carrots.
Tortillas: You can do a million snacky things with tortillas. There’s the classic smoked salmon roll: Spread a spinach tortilla with a thin schmear of herbed cream cheese — make sure to spread to the edges. Layer smoked salmon along one edge of the tortilla, sprinkle with chopped fresh dill and top with red onion slices. Starting with the salmon side, roll the tortilla up tightly, then slice into 1/2-inch portions. Refrigerate until serving. Variations: You may switch out the onion for capers, chopped tomatoes or avocado.
Other tortilla pinwheel combos include cream cheese, apricot jam and pre-shredded carrots, or a take on a muffuletta with ham, salami, provolone and store-bought olive tapenade.