5 stress-free party appetizers
Entertaining is something that many people stress about, but you don’t have to. There are many parts of hosting a party that a lot of people put too much effort into, and one of those is appetizers. You don’t have to have fancy, one-bite appetizers, that take time and attention to detail to prepare. There are much easier options out there that take no time at all, and are just as delicious. The following stress-free party appetizers are easy to put together and are sure to impress even picky guests.
Goat Cheese Pesto Dip
You may think pesto is only for pasta, but think again. This flavorful sauce or condiment is delicious when combined with creamy and tangy goat cheese, and it’s super easy to whip up.
To make it, take an 8 ounce log of goat cheese and bring it to room temperature. Put it in a bowl with about 1/2 cup of store bought pesto and beat it until it’s thick and creamy. Serve it with crostini, crackers, or sliced veggies for an impressive and easy appetizer that literally takes minutes. If you have any leftover, it makes a delicious spread for sandwiches; Italian lunchmeat and roasted peppers go extremely well with this flavorful dip.
You can buy jars of marinated olives at the grocery store, but you’ll pay a premium for them and you don’t know when they were made or exactly what types of spices are in them.
Instead, it’s easy to make your own, and you’ll be surprised at how much better they are than anything you’ll buy at the store. You’ll need to prep ahead of time to get the most flavor, but as long as you plan in advance, this is a super easy way to create a delicious appetizer.
Start with the olives. You don’t need anything fancy; about 2 cups of the cheapest whole olives you can find will do. Mixed olives add a bit of sophistication, but you can just do one type if that’s more your style.
Put the olives in a saucepan with about 1/2 cup olive oil and some seasonings. Slice up a lemon or orange and throw it in with a few bay leaves, a teaspoon of crushed pepper flakes, and a tablespoon of coriander or fennel seeds. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes, let cool and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. Bring to room temperature before serving. The longer you let them marinate, the more flavorful they’ll be, so if you have a few days, make them in advance to really impress your guests. Serve them with cubed feta and crusty bread for a sophisticated and impressive appetizer.
No Cook Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Spinach and artichoke dip is a popular restaurant appetizer, but you can easily make your own version that’s fast and nutritious.
Take about 8 ounces of baby spinach and put it in a food processor with a cup of artichoke hearts. Pulse until well combined and add 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, a clove of garlic and the juice of a lemon. Continue processing until smooth while streaming about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the running processor. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with sliced veggies or pita chips.
Nuts are a healthy and filling snack, which means that your guests won’t be starving by the time dinner rolls around if they’re crunching down on a variety of them.
You don’t have to buy expensive canned mixed nuts in your grocery store snack aisle, however. You can make your own and flavor them however you like.
Start with whole, raw nuts of your choice and toss them with about a teaspoon of olive oil per cup. Season them with whatever you like and lay them on a sheet pan in a single layer. Roast at 400 degrees for about 10-20 minutes, or until nuts are lightly browned and fragrant. Once they’re done, remove them from the oven immediately and transfer to a bowl to cool. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Popcorn may seem like something you only have at the movies, but it’s actually super easy to make at home, and almost everyone loves it. Also, despite exorbitant movie theater prices, it’s extremely cheap, making it perfect if you’re trying to find something easy on a budget.
You don’t even need anything special to pop it; you can even do it in the microwave using nothing more than a brown paper lunch bag. Simply put about a 1/4 cup kernels in a lunch bag, roll it closed, and pop for about 2 minutes, or until popping slows considerably. Transfer to a bowl and toss with your favorite seasonings. You can use literally anything you have. Try olive oil with dried herbs and Parmesan, chili powder and lime juice, curry powder, or even cinnamon and sugar. For a fun treat, you can make several different types for your guests. It’s healthy, easy, and cheap, making it the perfect snack food for any type of gathering.
Before you buy expensive frozen appetizers or try to make time consuming detailed bites yourself, why not try a hand at one of these easy to make and impressive snack foods? Your guests will love them, you’ll save money, and everyone will leave with full bellies.