With the constant flurry of tree trimming, gift wrapping and cookie swapping going on this month, the added task of preparing a big holiday dinner can quickly become overwhelming. Take some of the stress out of the season with the help of these easy appetizers that take just 10 minutes to prepare or assemble. Start off with Food Network Magazine’s colorful Walnut-Pepper Spread, which balances earthy toasted walnuts and roasted red peppers with honey and a pinch of red pepper flakes for subtly sweet heat. As an added holiday bonus, this dip can even be made a day in advance and refrigerated.
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.
Whether it’s football Sunday or you’re planning appetizers for a holiday party, you can’t go wrong with a crowd favorite: mozzarella sticks. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is a crispy, oozy recipe for the whole family — and one that is calcium-packed. The pizza flavor profile makes them extra tasty to kids’ palates.
Get the Recipe: Crisp Mozzarella Sticks
With so much effort spent on the Thanksgiving turkey and sides, there’s rarely any time left to whip up a savory spread of starters for guests to snack on. To take the stress off, try these easy appetizers that take just 15 minutes to cook or assemble and leave you more time to put finishing touches on the big feast. Start with Food Network Magazine’s 50 Easy Toast Toppers, which offers a ton of creative ideas for dressing up toasted baguette rounds.
Pomegranate, Arugula Salad: Tyler’s fall-flavored salad takes mere minutes to toss together, including the sweet pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.
When it comes to hosting a backyard cookout, a spread of burgers, barbecue, sides and salads is essential, of course, but so are a few pre-dinner munchies. Having a few easy-to-eat appetizers on hand will ensure your guests are held over until the main dishes are ready and not weighed down in the meantime. While chips and dip may be a go-to classic, you can indeed take your appetizer offering to the next delicious level while sticking with simple, stress-free favorites.
Sunny Anderson’s Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream (pictured above) are top-rated bites that can be prepared in 40 quick minutes. To save time, Sunny starts with a precooked rotisserie chicken to make the filling, featuring the bold flavors of sauteed jalapenos, salsa and garlic, plus cheddar cheese and lime juice. She wraps the mixture in flour tortillas, then deep-fries the flautas until golden brown and crispy, before serving them with a creamy, cool combination of mashed avocados and tangy sour cream.
When you find yourself faced with last-minute entertaining duties or you simply want to dress up your usual dinner spread with a few premeal munchies, it’s a good idea to have several seasonal appetizers at the ready in your recipe arsenal. These go-to starters ought to be just enough to tide over friends and family without weighing down their appetites, and should ultimately complement the rest of the meal. If you’ll be setting up a burger bar for dinner, for example, you may want to steer clear of sliders for a starter and opt instead for something simple like salsa and chips. Similarly, if you’re serving a seafood feast as an entree, use the appetizer course to introduce a shellfish, like New England steamers. Check out Food Network’s top-five summer appetizers below to find fresh, party-ready picks from Giada, Anne, Ellie, Rachael and Alton, then visit Food Network’s Grilling Central to see the rest of our favorite first-course dishes.
5. Beef Pops with Pineapple and Parsley Sauce — Make a simple no-cook sauce of fresh parsley, garlic and vinegar, and let it do double duty in Giada’s mini kebabs as both a marinade for the beef and a final topping on the dish.
4. Grilled Corn, Bacon and Chile Crostini — Anne dresses up garlic-rubbed bread with a flavorful salsalike mixture of sauteed bacon, grilled corn and Fresno chiles to create flavorful two-bite toasts that are smoky and just slightly spicy.
Even though the holidays are all about indulgence and your plans for the next 48 hours likely include a seemingly endless buffet of ham, beef, turkey or pork, there are indeed ways to work in a few meat-free bites, especially during the appetizer course. As you prepare to host a holiday get-together, look to Food Network’s roundup of simple-to-make, meatless starters to impress not only vegetarians but hard-core meat-eaters alike. Check out a few of our favorite party-ready appetizers below, each a flavorful combination of traditional holiday tastes and ingredients, then tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite holiday appetizer?
No longer reserved for the pasta course alone, ravioli make go-to party-ready appetizers when served not under a saucy topping but as eat-with-your-hands snacks. When preparing its Toasted Ravioli recipe (pictured above), Food Network Magazine saves time in the kitchen by using store-bought fresh ravioli instead of making these cheese-filled beauties from scratch. After a quick dip in herbed breadcrumbs, the ravioli are deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside and warm on the inside. Serve a bowl of your favorite marinara sauce on the side for easy, delicious dunking.
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.