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.
Looking for more silverware-free apps? Shimmy on over to Food Network’s Summer Entertaining Guide for more party-ready appetizers and easy summer party recipes.
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.
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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.
Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.
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.
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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.
Secrets to his holiday entertaining »
Alex uses frozen pizza dough as the base for this upscale appetizer. Top with crème fraiche, briny caper-scallion pesto and crispy bacon.
Get the recipe: Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion Pesto
Browse more of Food Network’s easy and elegant appetizer recipes for the holidays.
Appetizers on Thanksgiving can be tricky to manage. After all, you want to serve your guests a few snacks but nothing that may fill them up or detract from the main meal. To solve your appetizer apprehensions, check out Food Network’s top five pre-Thanksgiving dinner recipes below for no-fuss appetizers that will pair perfectly with the bird.
5. Onion Dip from Scratch — Alton uses a combination of sour cream and mayonnaise to make his tangy dip, featuring fresh onions and a dash of garlic powder.
4. Crispy Smoked Mozzarella With Honey and Figs — Giada uses store-bought phyllo dough to save time when making these light and airy eats, which are stuffed with a smoky mozzarella, quickly deep fried and drizzled with a honey-fig sauce.
Get the top three recipes »
Thanksgiving is by far one of my favorite holidays of the year. Not only because it’s all about food, which is clearly something I am very passionate about, but because it’s a great time to throw a fabulous party with your friends and family. In fact, this year I am throwing two Thanksgiving soirées, one with my friends from Los Angeles a week before Thanksgiving (aka Friendsgiving), and one for my family up in Seattle on the actual holiday.
For me, the key to throwing a great party is wowing your guests with a memorable food and drink experience. That means introducing them to a new ingredient or an inventive way to cook something. I’m a big believer in getting food into people’s hands shortly after they arrive to a party, especially if you’re having guests that might not know one another. It gives them something to do and a common ground to get the conversation going.
For Thanksgiving, most people come to expect the traditional appetizers like Baked Brie or Spinach Artichoke Dip, but this year, try something different. One of my favorite simple appetizer ideas, Fried Ravioli, comes from Giada and they really get the party started. These cheese-stuffed ravioli served with a side of warm marinara sauce are always a crowd-pleaser for adults and kids alike. Make sure to make a double or triple batch if there are a handful of kids — I can guarantee that they are going to go nuts over these fried bites of pasta.
Put your own personal spin on it »
- Frosty the Cheese Ball
‘Tis the season for last-minute appetizers. Here’s one to be merry about; it’s easy, cheesy and doubles as table decor. It’s a cheese ball . . . snowman. Learn how you can make one in minutes. Read more »
- Need a simple soccer snack? Try Giada's prosciutto-wrapped veggies.
Run with the ball, because even if you aren’t a soccer fan, you can’t avoid World Cup fever. Go team USA! When Landon Donovan scored in the final minute against Algeria this past week, the overwhelming vuvuzelas never sounded so sweet. Can you say GOOOOOOOOOAL?!
When you tune in to the USA vs Ghana game Saturday have fast summer-stunner eats on hand. Each takes less than 20 minutes to prep; I’d suggest keeping your appetizers simple and fun so as not to distract from the screaming, high-fiving and even fist pumping.
- Bring on the chips and Rachael's seven-layer dip!
To increase Team USA’s odds welcome your guests with Rachael’s Lucky 7 Layer Dip or one of Food Network’s other crowd-winning dips. Party it up with Giada’s Prosciutto-Wrapped Crudite for a mix of fresh summer veggies. And go for the goal with Bobby’s Grilled Flatbread with Asparagus Pesto! You can always rely on your guests to bring a classic six-pack but in case you want to up the World Cup ante let them wash everything down with Ina’s luscious Long Island Iced Tea.
What will you be munching on while watching the World Cup?