Suggestions for interesting appetizers please!

So a new guy I really LIKE like is coming over tomorrow night to watch a DVD and share some wine. I want to put out a few appetizers but I don’t want to do the usual boring cheese-and-crackers or crudite, but something a little more fun and interesting that isn’t too complicated (I want to be spending time with him, not in the kitchen).

You all have helped me with food questions before with great results. What are your favorite appetizers? Hot? Cold? I’ve made lots of different ones in the past for large groups (20 or more) but this is the first time it’s just for an intimate little…date, I guess. What do you suggest?

I sometimes do ground beef and cheese stuffed mushrooms, which can be prepped ahead of time (brown the meat first) and popped in the over for a few minutes. However, the resulting presentation isn’t very attractive

You may want to look up recipes for various versions of crostini, which is essentially “stuff on toast” but closer to bruschetta in presentation. Again, look for something you can prep and store. I like roasted red pepper strips topped with feta cheese and chiffonade-cut basil leaves on top, all on top of garlic olive oil-brushed sourdough baguette slices.

Have you thought about making the food together?

A nice antipasto is delicious, easy to throw together and you can make it in advance. Cube up some good mozzerella and mix it with chopped tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, basil leaves, and whatever else you think sounds good then toss it all with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

My easy and tasty go-to appetizer: line a sheet of puff pastry with salami and shredded Swiss cheese, roll up (jelly-roll style) and slice into rounds. Place rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until done (around 15-20 minutes at 350). Can be served hot or cold, and can be made with meat and cheese of your choice and still come out tasty. :slight_smile:

Buy a tube of polenta, cut into slices about 1/4 inc thick, and brown in the oven or in a pan (mostly for texture). Make a sweet&spicy tomato sauce, spoon onto the polenta, top with a bit of shredded cheese (Parmesan or the like), and put under a broiler until cheese melts. Can be made ahead of time and served warm or cold.

Hummus is very easy to make, and to customize. Lots of recipies available online. Can be served with the tradtional hummus, bread, crackers, or raw vegetables for dipping. My favorite variation includes a bit of spice (cayenne pepper and a hot garlic relish) and a roasted red pepper, which adds flavor and makes it smoother.

Get a nice salumi selection to add to your cheese and crackers, and most men are more than happy.

Anything with mushrooms for the “Comfy” feel… I enjoy making little mushroom tart’s… Cream cheese dough lining mini muffin pans. Fill each with a mixture (to your tasted) of finely diced, sauteed mushrooms and green onions, fold in with some good shredded cheese (I like white cheeses here, a strong swiss, gruyere, or the like) with a beaten egg and a generous portion of dried thyme leaves. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 375.

A totally different appetizer could be something simple, take thin (cocktail? ) bread, cut into triangles, and toast a bit - till crunchy, but not so far they break like a cracker. Smear on some cream cheese, top with a slice of, well… I like a good smoked salmon, then sprinkle with a bit of tarragon or dill for flavor and color.

On a similar note, if you like pickles, sort of the same, but take some good ham, spread on some cream cheese (yah, that can be tough), sprinkle again with some tarragon or dill, then roll that around a nice garlic pickle quarter. After rolling, slice up into 1 inch chunks, and stick toothpicks in for serving.

Ultimate simple would be just cheese / meat / cracker / bread platters.
Pumpernickel or Rye bread, with some horseradish mustard, and chunks of a sharp cheddar, or Parmesan, or Swiss (or all of the above) with some pieces of pepperoni or nice hard salami slices… Mmmm

Some that my family likes (especially the guys):

Little meatballs in a crockpot with chili sauce and grape jelly – the hot/sweet combo makes it special

Flour tortillas spread with sour cream, green chiles and sliced black olives – roll them up and slice them into rounds, dip in salsa

Thin sliced dried beef, spread with cream cheese – roll it around a dill pickle and slice into rounds

One of my go-to party dishes is The Devil’s Own Deviled Eggs. Instead of stuffing the whites with egg yolk, stuff them with baby shrimp and grated horseradish. Dust with smoked paprika and have the wine handy.

I’ve got one similar to this, only with crescent rolls.

Get a tube of crescent rolls. Unroll it in a big sheet and press together the perforated edges.

Take 4 - 6 oz cream cheese, soften in the microwave (maybe 15-30 sec on high), mix with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Lawry’s. You can also add some jarred dried beef if you chop it up really fine. If you choose to use it, mix it into the cream cheese, then spread it on the sheet of crescent rolls, roll it up jelly-roll style, put in the fridge for 1/2 hour, then take it out, slice it up in 1-inch-thick rounds and bake according to the directions on the crescent roll package.

Did you know that Pilsbury now makes the dough as a sheet so that you don’t have to smush it together to remove the perforations any more? They call it Crescent Recipe Creations and charge twice as much as a regular tube of crescent rolls. :rolleyes: I think I can smush it on my own and save the costs a bit. :slight_smile:

Anyone who has ever ordered a Pampered Chef product probably has dozens of these types of recipes already, but speaking of the crescent roll appetizers…here are some good ones too:

Spread the rolls out and press together as one long sheet. Roll thinner to fit your baking sheet if necessary then top with olive oil, basil, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese; bake until done (I don’t remember…maybe 12-15 minutes at 350?) Slice and serve as a bread.

Or press your crescent rolls together and wrap around a wheel of brie…bake and serve with sliced apples (you can also throw fruit or nuts on top of the brie before you wrap it if you are so inclined).

More crescent roll appetizer recipes (which are very yummy!) can be found here.

If you are looking for something a little lighter or sweeter you could try mini-tarts made from won-ton wrappers (this is another half-remembered Pampered Chef recipe so bear with me). Press won-ton wrappers into a muffin cups and bake them until crispy. Let them cool and then fill with fruit-flavored yogurt of your choice or with sweetened cream cheese mixed with fruit (berries are my preference).

Great idea! I might cheat, though, and buy a spinach stromboli from the Italian bakery, then I can just pop it in the oven and slice it down (time is going to be a factor in my prep, by the time I get home; plus it takes time to make myself gorgeous ;))

I’m used to making large quantities of food for big groups, and I always make too much; I’m having trouble scaling it back just for two. I’m used to doing cold appys like stuffed cherry tomatoes or I mix cream cheese, shredded cheddar, olives, etc. and spread it on a flour tortilla, roll up the tortilla like a jelly roll, then chill and slice into rounds and serve with salsa. Cold ones are easier to do when it’s a large group.

You gave me a great suggestion for a hot appetizer, and I like the crostini/bruschetta idea someone else suggested, too, I can keep it small that way. Add some fruit and I think I’m in business! Thanks very much!