Similar to Thanksgiving, the Christmas supper is often a rich, hearty meal complete with beef, turkey, lamb or ham, among other sides and salads — not to mention dessert — which is why party starters tend to be simple and light fare. But while you don’t want your guests to fill up on appetizers, it’s best to offer a few pre-dinner munchies to satisfy their cravings when they walk in the door and to hold them over until the main dish is ready. Quick-fix snacks like dips and mini meatballs are go-to picks, as is crostini or cheese and crackers, since they don’t require forks and knives, and guests can grab them as they mingle. This holiday, stick with Food Network’s top-five appetizers below to ensure casual, stress-free get-togethers that let crowd-pleasing recipes shine.
5. French Onion Dip — The secret to Guy’s top-rated recipe is cooking the onions slowly over a low temperature so they have time to become sweet, soft and caramelized, which will add to the overall depth of flavor in his sour cream-based dip. Click the play button on the video after the jump to watch Guy make it.
4. Crostini with Thyme-Roasted Tomatoes — For an elegant appetizer presentation that’s deceptively simple to achieve, Chopped host Ted Allen slow-roasts slices of tomatoes until they’re tender, then features them atop garlic-rubbed toast.
3. Swedish Meatballs — Roll a combination of pork, turkey and allspice into bite-size meatballs, then dunk them in egg wash and breadcrumbs, and deep-fry them until they’re tender on the inside and golden brown and crispy on the outside. It’s important to let the meatballs chill for a few hours before frying them, so plan ahead before cooking.
2. Flatbread with Bacon and Scallion Pesto — Alex’s pizza-like flatbread comes together quickly, thanks to store-bought pizza dough that is baked, then spread with a creamy lemon topping, crumbled bacon and a vibrant mixture of scallions and capers.
1. Baked Brie — With just two ingredients, Brie and honey, Ina creates the ultimate easy appetizer (pictured above). She drizzles the wheel of cheese with honey, then bakes it for just a few minutes until it’s warm and deliciously gooey. Serve crackers on the side to create a dressed-up dish in a flash.