Everyone loves spinach-artichoke dip — it’s a crowd-pleaser that will have guests busy nibbling while you prepare the main meal. Bonus: This no-bake recipe is ready in 15 minutes.
Try making: 28 Other Thanksgiving Appetizers
Hors d’oeuvres and appetizers are often the best part of a meal to me. Maybe it’s because finger foods are just more fun to eat or because they’re usually paired with a cocktail. When Food Network Kitchens were coming up with ideas for 50 Easy Appetizers (page 166) for the November issue of Food Network Magazine, the possibilities seemed endless.
As much as I hate to admit it, the summer season is rapidly winding down. I managed to snag one last pint of raspberries last week and my favorite peach farmer told me that he’s nearly done with his harvest. The corn is almost gone and I’m starting to see my markets filling up with hardy winter squash and long stems of Brussels sprouts. Such is the cycle.
Last week in an attempt to ward off the effects of autumn for just a little bit longer, I went to the market and filled my bags with Roma tomatoes, glowing purple eggplants and as many Italian prune plums as I could carry.
The plums went into a batch of oven-roasted plum butter (it is so good on toast come January). Most of the tomatoes and eggplant became my husband’s yearly batch of eggplant Parmesan (it’s incredibly labor intensive, but so delicious), but after he filled a massive baking pan, there was still one giant eggplant and a smattering of tomatoes to be used.
And so I made caponata. Bobby Flay’s Grilled Eggplant Caponata Bruschetta With Ricotta Salata, to be precise. This is just the sort of recipe that uses up massive eggplants and wilting tomatoes with ease. It is terrific eaten on crackers, is good straight from the fridge or at room temperature and helps me pretend that I still have a few weeks of summer left. In my book, that makes it just the thing for The Weekender.
Though back-to-school commercials are already flashing on our television screens and Halloween candy has somehow landed on store shelves, there’s still plenty of summer left to be enjoyed and more than enough time to plan a summer party. Whether you’re hosting a casual cookout for friends and family or organizing a neighborhood-wide barbecue, you’ll want to serve a selection of easy-to-eat appetizers and pre-dinner snacks at your get-together. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite party-perfect appetizers below, and serve them up at your next backyard bash.
Instead of reaching for tired carrots and ranch dressing, prepare a platter of Food Network Magazine‘s Crudite With Infused Olive Oil and Balsamic (pictured above). A fancy name for raw vegetables that have been cut for simple munching, crudités make the ultimate party appetizer since they involve zero cooking. They can be served with straight-from-the-bottle olive oil and vinegar, though this recipe takes those classic pairings one step further by infusing the oil and balsamic. Over low heat, fragrant fresh herbs and garlic are steeped in olive oil, while brown sugar, red pepper flakes and light citrus zest are warmed in balsamic. Once cool, serve both the olive oil and vinegar in shallow bowls for easy, delicious dunking.
Now that we’re in the thick of summer, the July Fourth party is a mere Facebook album and the days just keep getting hotter and hotter. All the while, summertime barbecue season remains in full swing. Grills are still fired up each weekend, drinks are still being poured and guests are still flowing on in. In the spirit of keeping things fresh this summer, a fleet of appetizers is going completely silverware-free, leaving the fork, spoon and knife behind.
Why go without utensils, you ask? Is it our snack-time nostalgia? Our back-to-nature sensibilities? Our last, desperate push at preventing a sink full of dishes? Well, sure, but there’s more to it than that. Fork-free appetizers are both inventive and practical, bearing the power to impress guests from the get-go with their quirky looks and hand-held feel. In the same way that you and your pals opt for the pretty bottle of hand soap at the store (it’s just so sleek), it’s all about packaging when it comes to social summertime dining. When they reach for Crab Cocktail Americana, the only thing swaddling the crustacean will be a delicate “bowl” made of Bibb lettuce. When they move on in for their chicken fix, they’ll grab it by the stick with the char-grilled Asian Chicken Skewers.
Appetizers. Hors d’oeuvres. Starters. Nibbles. Snacks. Whatever you call pre-dinner eats, you can be sure that they will make a meal, offering your dinner guests early tastes and textures and a sneak peek of what’s to come in the later courses. As the spring season winds down, invite friends and family over to celebrate the warmer weather and serve a simple, quick-to-prepare spread of first-course munchies. Food Network’s no-fuss appetizers below are ideal for relaxed, casual entertaining, and include charred lemon-scented shrimp, velvety deviled eggs and bacon-wrapped veggies. Check out our recipe selections and tell us what you’re cooking up this weekend.
Robert Irvine’s Antipasto Platter With Grilled Vegetables (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is a go-to pre-dinner pick when you’re pressed for time or if guests stop by unexpectedly. This tray can be customized to any size party or taste preference, though some staple snacks include a mixture of hard and soft cheeses, buttery prosciutto, fresh vegetables, crusty bread and more.
A no-fuss appetizer that dresses up any get-together, crostini are two-bite toasts that can be topped with any number of creative or classic ingredients, such as rich cheeses, sweet roasted vegetables, olives and more. In just 10 minutes, you can prepare Food Network Magazine’s Asparagus Crostini (pictured above), which features toasted baguette slices spread with creamy ricotta cheese and finished with vibrant asparagus and fruity olive oil.
To complete your pre-dinner snack spread, serve Sandra’s Sun-Dried Tomato Artichoke Buttons, made by topping artichoke bottoms with soft roasted tomatoes, a mini mozzarella ball and pesto, or Alton’s Citrus Marinated Olives from Food Network Magazine. He submerges green olives in a lemon juice-red wine vinegar mixture with spicy red pepper flakes then refrigerates them before serving.
What’s the Super Bowl if you don’t have snacks to munch on during it? This Sunday, instead of ordering delivery pizza or resorting to frozen chicken wings, serve up a super spread of touchdown-worthy eats at your Big-Game Bash. Our top five Super Bowl recipes below are quick-to-prepare, traditional dishes that are sure to win points with your team of friends.
5. Guacamole — Alton adds a hint of heat to his classic guacamole with a pinch of cayenne.
4. Hot Crab Dip — Dunk crackers or toasted pita bread into this rich, cheesy dip, featuring lump crabmeat, sweet roasted garlic and Worcestershire sauce.
Nothing brings people together around the holidays quite like good food and drinks. Whether you’re hosting a Saturday night cocktail party, an after-work soiree or a casual get-together with your friends, a few festive cocktails, bite-sized snacks and good cheer are all you need to ensure your gathering goes off without a hitch. Food Network Magazine caught up with Chopped host Ted Allen and asked him what makes his Holiday Happy Hour such a success.
Instead of sweating it out over the stove, Ted suggests making simple dishes that can be cooked in the oven instead. “And serve a few dishes that work at room temperature. You’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating and drinking with your friends,” he says. As for drinks, Ted prefers crimson-colored Due Campari Nuovo cocktails from Food Network Magazine, complete with bubbly prosecco and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.