Need ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

I agreed to bring 'em, but I don’t know what to bring.

Possibilities gleaned only from a quick online look:

Baked brie with pecans

blue cheese and walnut spread

pistachio covered cheese log

beet, cheddar, and apple tarts

What would you suggest?

Depends a lot on your dining group but the options you listed are orders of magnitude too upscale for my family. We’re more the cocktail wienie and cheez whiz crowd.

It’s hard to go too far wrong with a simple relish tray. A couple types of pickles, some good olives, cheese and crackers, maybe some nice sausage all nicely displayed.

A couple of good varieties of hummus plus several dipping options usually go over well.

I did have a nice recipe for a smoked salmon, fennel and caramelized onion cheesecake. Even though it’s baked just like a cheesecake, don’t think of it as one. Think of it as something you’d schmeer on nice rye cracker. It’s kinda yummy.

Stuffed mushrooms may be a little beyond “easy”, depending, but they’re a staple at my aunt’s Thanksgiving, and they’re freaking delicious. I don’t know what recipe she uses; this one looks pretty good, though. Requires a bit of chopping and sauteeing and stuffing, but I think you could get a good-sized batch ready in less than an hour.

Another real simple thing that comes across as elegant:
-Buy and thaw some puff pastry.
-Cut into strips.
-Brush with a tiny bit of water.
-Sprinkle with stuff like sesame seeds, garlic powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, kosher salt, etc. Or with cinnamon sugar. Or some with sweet, some with savory.
-Give 'em a twist.
-Bake them at 400 until they’re brown.

Tarts are a great idea! You can do one large tart or several small tarts. The large one will stay hot longer.

IME, everybody loves cheese logs. And they’re easy. Bacon-wrapped things are also a huge hit, but a little more work.

Mini beef Wellington Tartlets, from Mary Berry


Ingredients
2 x 25cm/10in square sheets ready-made filo pastry
butter, melted, for brushing
125g/4½oz fillet tail steak, cut into 25 equally-sized cubes (about 1.5cm/½in)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp clear honey
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp hot creamed horseradish sauce
1 tbsp chopped parsley, to garnish
Recipe tips

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Brush both sheets of the filo pastry all over with the melted butter, then place them side by side. Using a 5cm/2in square pastry cutter, or a sharp knife, cut 25 squares from each sheet of pastry (there should be exactly the right amount of pastry to yield 50 squares with no trimmings).

Take one pastry square and place another on top of it, turning the top layer at an angle to create a star shape. Repeat this process with all of the pastry squares to create 25 stars.

Press one pastry star, buttered-side down, into each of the moulds of the muffin tin to create 24 mini tartlet cases. (The remaining pastry star can be cooked separately in an individual muffin mould, or discarded.)

Bake the tartlet cases in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a bowl, season the fillet steak cubes with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then drizzle over the honey and mix well to cover the meat.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a very high heat, then fry the steak for 1-2 minutes on all sides, or until browned all over but still pink in the middle. Transfer to a plate and set aside to rest for a minute or two.

Spoon small, equally-sized dollops of the horseradish into the cooled pastry cases, then sit one warm cube of fillet steak on top of each. Sprinkle each tartlet with a pinch of chopped parsley just before serving.

Recipe Tips
The tartlet cases can be made up to 1 day in advance, then filled on the day.
It includes this fresh horseradish sauce, but if you want to use Horsey Sauce, I won’t tell (and really, if you want to buy little frozen tartlet cups rather than do your own filo, your secret is safe with me.)

https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/horseradishsauce_1304
Ingredients
15g/½oz freshly grated horseradish, soaked in 2 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
pinch of English mustard powder
pinch of caster sugar
salt and pepper to taste
150ml/5fl oz double cream, lightly whipped

Method
Drain the soaked horseradish and mix with all the other ingredients.

I just want to say that as someone who has hosted Thanksgiving more than once, please please PLEASE check with the host before you bring something over that needs time on the stove or oven. The worst thing in the world is when someone shows up with a dish that needs 30 minutes at 325 degrees, and the oven is completely full of things that need another 2 hours at 400 degrees. Very awkward situation.

Myself, I bring stuff that doesn’t require cooking. Win-win.

In our family, appetizers consist of onion dip and potato chips, and spreadable cheese and crackers. If we want to go upscale, celery stuffed with Old English cheese.

Cold poached asparagus spears wrapped with a thin slice of high-quality ham.

Poke holes in cherry tomatoes and let them soak in vodka and a little hot sauce for a couple of hours while chilling. Serve them with toothpicks and a celery-salt-and-pepper dip.

Cut an English cucumber into 1" chunks. Salt them and let them sit for half an hour or so to drain. Drizzle them with sesame oil and add a squirt of sriracha or sambal olek paste and toss. Serve with toothpicks.

My favorite easy recipe is:

A big chuck of really good sharp cheddar
A package of cream cheese
A bottle of Blue cheese dressing.

Shred the cheddar, mix it all together, roll into a ball and chill. If you want to get fancy, roll it in bacon or nuts. You can mix it up by using a different flavor creamy dressing, like bacon ranch. The key is to find a really good really sharp cheddar. My favorite, which I can usually find with the gourmet cheeses in the deli section of the grocery, is Old Croc brand EXTRA-sharp cheddar.

Serve with crackers. One year I bought this for a Thanksgiving appetizer - we were all going to a restaurant for the actual meal. Someone else brought ham.

After snacking on the ham and the cheese ball, we all decided we’d rather eat that for dinner and we canceled the dinner reservation.

I second the stuffed mushrooms, except I like them with artichokes.

All you crazy cheese people, remember that the meal is large and traditionally fairly heavy. Veg and dip is light!

I made and brought guacamole deviled eggs to a gathering recently and they were a huge hit.

Not exactly quick N easy to make, but not too difficult and worth the effort.

(I omitted the cilantro because some folks don’t know a good thing when they bite it)
mmm

Moderator Action

Moving thread from MPSIMS to Cafe Society.

Dates stuffed with smoked almonds. Easy peasy!

Maybe I’m mixing up my ideas of an appetizer vs hors d’oeuvres; OP, do you want a food that gets eaten before the main course or the light snacks before any courses come out?

Probably more in the light snack category.

I would love to make something with dates but most folks won’t eat them. So many date-haters…