Delicious food + great friends = good times. That’s what the holidays are all about to me. I love to make over-the-top appetizers. But let’s face it, this time of year is crazy-busy. You can impress, even if time is short, with these super-fast, eye-catching starters that won’t break the bank. Have Andouille With Smoked Paprika and Red Wine ready in a snap for last-minute company. Or for an almost spontaneous party, make our entire selection of recipes in less than two hours. It’s really easy. Start with quality ingredients, and add pizzazz with a few flavor stir-ins and great presentation ideas. Keep this story handy―it’s your secret plan to wow your guests this season.
Mini Caviar Parfait
Recipe Link: Mini Caviar Parfaits
A tiny scoop of caviar adds bling to simple layers of sour cream, guacamole, and tomato. Mini Caviar Parfaits, looking glamorous in assorted shot glasses, are ready for guests in only minutes.
Party Tip: We used less expensive, shelf-stable lumpfish caviar found near the canned tuna. It costs around $5 for a small jar. Another affordable choice is salmon caviar. It's bright orange color would look stunning atop each parfait. Try fresh caviar if your seafood department stocks it. It may cost a tad more, but you only need a few teaspoons.
Warm Brie With Ginger-Citrus Glaze
Recipe Link: Warm Brie With Ginger-Citrus Glaze
Warm Brie With Ginger-Citrus Glaze will come together quickly. Pop the cheese in the oven, make your glaze in the microwave, and gather fresh fruit. You’re done in about 10 minutes.
Party Tip: Place the Brie directly on an oven-safe serving plate, and bake as directed. The hot plate will keep the cheese warm and gooey longer.
Warm Fennel-Olive Sauté
Recipe: Warm Fennel-Olive Sauté
Take olives purchased from the deli department to the next level with lemon zest and a few seasonings in Warm Fennel-Olive Sauté.
Party Tip: If your olives have pits, be sure to set out a small bowl for your guests to dispose of them.
Instant Italian Cheese Tray
Recipe Link: Instant Italian Cheese Tray
Add sweet, crisp Fuyu persimmons to your Instant Italian Cheese Tray. Their vibrant color and appearance definitely spark conversation. Tiny Champagne grapes, quartered Seckel pears, or a bowl of pomegranate seeds are fun additions as well.
Party Tip: Fuyu persimmons, which are a beautiful red-orange fruit, are available in October through February. Shaped like a tomato, they have a super-sweet melon-like flavor. Fuyus should be eaten while still firm and crisp versus the Hachiya, another type that should be enjoyed when the fruit is very soft.
Smoked Trout-and-Horseradish Spread
Tart green apples and crisp celery make for a surprisingly delicious pairing with Smoked Trout-and-Horseradish Spread.
Party Tip: Keep sliced apples or pears from browing by tossing them with lemon-lime soda. It works just like lemon juice but without the sour taste. The citric acid in the soda will keep the fruit looking fresh.
Lift a Glass
Don’t fuss with setting up a full bar. Pick your favorite brands of wine and beer, and serve one signature cocktail for the evening. Try one of these three quick drinks using liquor cabinet staples.