Simple, quick, delicious hors d'oeuvres/snacks I can make for a small gathering at my apartment?
November 23, 2010 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Simple, quick, delicious hors d'oeuvres/snacks I can make for a small gathering at my apartment?

I will be having about thirteen people over to my apartment next Wednesday for the final meeting of one of my classes. I’d like to make tasty snacks and appetizers to have available so I’m looking for suggestions (I tend to go overboard but I suspect a number of people won't have eaten so the more food I can have available the better). I won’t have a lot of time or fancy cooking equipment so anything that is pretty simple would be great as would a mix of sweet and savory suggestions. So far I’m planning on sausage balls, cheese and crackers, haystack cookies and sugar cookies shaped like dinosaurs (pterodactyls included!). What else would work that I could make quickly and easily but is still genuinely good food? Thanks!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Food & Drink (33 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of simple spreads with bread, crackers and/or vegetable slices- maybe pesto, olive tapenade, and hummus?
posted by cheerwine at 8:07 AM on November 23, 2010

Triscuits, cream cheese and Pickapeppa Sauce. Sounds wierd, tastes great, very easy.
posted by chocolatetiara at 8:08 AM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Hummus and pita slices! You can make the hummus yourself, but unless you're throwing something fancy in it, you're better off just buying it.
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on November 23, 2010

Kale crisps. Wash & thoroughly dry kale. De-rib. put some olive oil on your hands, and mush/rub/"dry" your hands with the kale. Spread kale single layer on to baking sheet, sprinkle with fine salt, and maybe some garlic powder. Bake for about ten minutes at 425. Yum.

Roast chick peas. Rinse a can of chick peas, toss with oil, salt & cayenne or chili pepper. Roast at 425 for 30-45m, depending on whether you like food burnt-ish or not.
posted by kellyblah at 8:15 AM on November 23, 2010 [7 favorites]

Bacon-wrapped asparagus! Very easy, and you can cut them down to bite-size for appetizers.
posted by Gneisskate at 8:17 AM on November 23, 2010

flavored marshmallows.

Take a fig. Put a little honey on it. Roll it in sesame seed. tada!
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2010

Best answer: Simple, delicious, maybe not "quick":
Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Wrap each with a half-strip of bacon, skewer with toothpick. Spread them out on a baking sheet, sprinkle with Lawry's. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Make a dip by mixing more Lawry's into sour cream.
posted by chazlarson at 8:26 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 101 Simple Appetizers in 20 Minutes or Less (NY Times)
posted by amb at 8:29 AM on November 23, 2010 [5 favorites]

Not super quick, but if you buy pitted dates, Bacon wrapped dates can be pretty easy. If they're stuffed with cream cheese or chevre, will become a future requirement for all social engagements afterwards.

I've had vegans cross over for these little buddies.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:32 AM on November 23, 2010

Best answer: Deviled eggs.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:37 AM on November 23, 2010

Goat cheese, honey and thyme crostini.

Slice a baguette on the diagonal into 1/2" pieces and toast lightly in the oven. Remove, spread goat cheese on each, then honey on top and mix it together just enough so the honey doesn't drip. Put back in the oven until it's melty. Remove from oven, sprinkle with dried thyme, serve warm.

Super-simple and generally blows people away.
posted by mireille at 8:48 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

More meat-wrapped goodness:

Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts
-canned whole water chestnuts
-chili sauce (the heinz kind, not some spicy specialty thing)
-brown sugar

Wrap each water chestnut in a half strip of bacon, spear with toothpick. Set in oven-proof dish. Cover with chili sauce and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Prosciutto-wrapped melon

Wrap the melon balls or pieces with some prosciutto. Spear with toothpick. Done.

Awesome dip for any fruit
-marshmallow fluff
-cream cheese

Mix equal quantities together. Done.
posted by phunniemee at 8:48 AM on November 23, 2010

Response by poster: Awesome, thanks so much for the responses so far!

I'd also love to have any suggestions that are just a bit more substantial (in the sausage ball/deviled eggs range) if possible, but these are super great and much appreciated. Also now I am really hungry. Damn it.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:55 AM on November 23, 2010

Best answer: Pigs-in-a-Blanket. The way I make them is to use the cocktail-size Smokey Links and wrap them in Crescent Roll dough (cut in thirds.) Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 until golden brown. Serve with bowls of ketchup, mustard or any other dipping sauce you like. Easy-peasy and I never have any left over.
posted by Lone_Wolf at 8:58 AM on November 23, 2010

So when in doubt head down to a Trader Joes and browse their frozen appetizer section.

May not have that homemade touch but most of those things are very delicious and you can't beat them on the easy scale.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:13 AM on November 23, 2010

I always love making (and when someone else makes) a simple relish tray. It takes zero time and effort - though, if you want to go crazy, you can make the radishes into roses - sort of a reto touch. There's something about all those olives, miniture pickles, grape tomatoes and peperoncini peppers that sends me.
posted by marimeko at 9:43 AM on November 23, 2010

Best answer: My "last minute" choice is always a cheese board. One each of a hard cheese, a soft cheese, and a bleu cheese, in HUGE chunks, on a big wooden cutting board. Get some dark grapes and drape them over an upside-down juice glass for some height off center in the back. Grab a baguette and slice it in half inch slices, pick up a box of mixed water biscuits to scatter decoratively around - and you're good to do. Oh, yeah, cut a few slices of each - nobody likes to cut the first one...

(Shamelessly lifted from Ina Garten, but hey, it works and it's easy, so don't knock it...)
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:49 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

One block of cream cheese on a plate. Most of a bottle of cocktail sauce, dumped on top. 100g-ish of shrimp, hand peeled or not, sprinkled over that. Serve with a knife and crackers. The presentation isn't great, but damn it tastes good.
posted by ms.v. at 9:51 AM on November 23, 2010

Dates stuffed with gorgonzola also makes an unbelievable snack. Some spiced nuts might also be good.
posted by ms.v. at 9:53 AM on November 23, 2010

My stand by award winning appie is Bacon Wrapped Cherries - cut a pound of bacon in half, dump out just under a jar of maraschino cherries, take a toothpick, secure bacon around cherry, bake for 15 mins flipping once. I've had multiple people who hate hate maraschinos tell me how great this is.
posted by Meagan at 10:37 AM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

I made these a few times and they just shut everybody up. Can't talk much when you're eating, I guess.

Also, take asparagus spears, wrap the middle in a bit of prosciutto, brush a little oil or butter on, bake at 350 for 12 minutes or so. Eat hot or cold. For extra decadence, use smoked prosciutto.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:45 AM on November 23, 2010

Similar to bacon-wrapped dates but no cooking: prosciutto wrapped around a little spoonful of goat cheese and half of a dried fig.

I don't have a recipe for this but it's a thought - a friend of mine at his Christmas party every year puts out a crock pot filled with meatballs in BBQ sauce.

Someone mentioned roasted chickpeas above - those are great! I made them for the first time recently. You can season them however you like, they're so crunchy you don't want to stop eating them, and they're healthy food!
posted by dnash at 12:17 PM on November 23, 2010

If you decide to go with cheeses, I'd like to recommend the (new?) cinnamon cheese that Trader Joe's has. It looks fancy, tastes delicious, and is cheap. Win-win-win. I have no idea what it's actually called, but it's the only cheese they have that's coated in cinnamon. (And it's not overpoweringly cinnamony, if that's something you're worried about.)
posted by phunniemee at 12:33 PM on November 23, 2010

I really like bruschetta as an hors d'oeuvres - you can buy a tub of fresh topping at most supermarkets and slice up a baguette really quickly. My sister makes a delicious version with 1 jar roasted peppers, 1 block provolone and 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic. Chop everything into small pieces and toss with olive oil. You will end up eating half of it before your guests arrive - it is sooooooo delicious.
posted by elvissa at 1:23 PM on November 23, 2010

I discovered cheddar-wrapped olives recently and OMG NOM. They are also kind of cool looking and will almost certainly impress.
The only catch is they take some time to form, but you can do it watching TV the night before. They are fun to roll.

Easy and Amazing Olives of Awesomeness

* 1 cup sharp Cheddar, grated or shredded
* 2 tablespoons sweet butter, in soft chunks or melted
* 1/2 cup flour
* dash cayenne pepper, maybe Worcestershire sauce if you have some.
* about 25 pitted green olives, the juicier the better. The jarred supermarket kind with pimento work well. Drain the olives if they came in brine. (you want the outside dry)

Dump the cheese, butter, flour and cayenne in a bowl and mix with your hands until it feels like play-doh. Take a small chunk and roll it into a ball in your palm. Poke your thumb into it to make an indentation, plug in an olive, and then mold the cheddar around the olive and roll between your palms to make a smooth ball. Put it on a baking sheet and do the rest of the olives. You'll quickly get a sense of how much batter to use to make a thin coating for each olive.
You can freeze them now if you want.
Bake at 400°F until they are golden, about 10-15 minutes if freshly made, a little longer if straight from the freezer.

Pro-tip: make twice as many as you think you'll need.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:41 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

Artichoke dip is utterly amazing - far more than you'd think unless you'd tried it. You just chuck it all in a dish and bake it, serve with some bread as a hot dip or spread. People still talk about it two years after I last served it (in favourable terms!). The artichoke hearts are really just there to give it a bit of texture, it's basically an excuse to eat hot, melty cheese and garlic. Mmmm.

I've not checked to see if that recipe matches the exact quantities I used but it's the same ingredients, can't be too different.
posted by penguin pie at 1:47 PM on November 23, 2010

Oh, except that recipe uses garlic powder. Why would you do that and not real garlic? Here's another recipe, or just Google artichoke dip.
posted by penguin pie at 1:52 PM on November 23, 2010

More cheese: Manchego cheese cut into dice-sized cubes, spread fig jam on top, serve w/ toothpicks. YUM.

Larger: chicken satay, or just purchased chicken tenders on skewers baked after a quick soak in soy or teriyaki and served with a spicy peanut sauce (also purchased, or there are tons of fast recipes on Serve in narrow container with the skewers sticking up like a bouquet of inviting handles.
posted by CaptApollo at 2:53 PM on November 23, 2010

Tonno alla Amalfi
(sounds better than 'cheesy fish stuff')

6 oz can tuna in olive oil, drained (but not too much)
1 clove garlic
a lemon
8 oz cream cheese

Dump the tuna into a big bowl and crush with a fork. Chop the garlic, sprinkle generously with salt with crush to a puree with the flat of a knife (or just whack it in a mortar and pestle). Stir though tuna along with the juice of half a lemon. Add cream cheese, mix well with fork til smoothish. Transfer to serving bowl, top with lemon zest, cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with crusty Italian bread, or pipe onto crackers and sprinkle with finely minced chives or parsley.

Larb on a stick

Blanch napa cabbage leaves. Place a tablespoon or two of larb* on each. Roll, secure with a toothpick. Serve with a bowl of bowl of dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime juice, soft brown sugar and fresh red chiles.

*Fry a pound of ground chicken, beef or pork til brown. Mix with chopped mint, cilantro, chopped peanuts, a little lime juice, sugar, salt. No, this is not traditional larb. Nobody will care.

Mexican spring rolls

Fill spring roll wrappers with a mixture of chorizo, cilantro and a scant quantity of good melting cheese. Roll. Deep fry.

Wasabi guacamole with wonton chips

Mix a dollop of wasabi and some fresh grated ginger into your usual guacamole (sprinkle of bonito shavings optional). Fry wonton wrappers til crisp, then sprinkle with salt. Serve one with the other.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:00 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Layered taco dip is always popular and it's quite substantial and filling. Just layer some ground beef (or ground chicken or turkey if you prefer) cooked in one of those packets of Taco seasoning on a large platter. Top with a 16 oz. container of sour cream or plain yogurt that has been mixed with another of said packets. Then top with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and shredded cheese or whatever else you like. Serve with tortilla chips.

Less substantial but still awesome in a pinch, if I have unexpected friends coming over I'll take a brick of cream cheese, put it unwrapped on a plate, pour some cocktail sauce over it and then a can of those baby shrimp, drained. Instant shrimp cocktail dip, delicious on crackers.
posted by katyggls at 12:48 AM on November 24, 2010

Muhammara (Red Pepper Dip With Walnuts And Pomegranate)

All you have to do is broil the peppers and then everything goes into the food processor. Serve with crackers and/or pita chips. Tastes better if made night before. A really fantastic appetizer that's off the beaten track.
posted by HeKilledKennedy at 6:22 AM on November 24, 2010

A former co-worker used to bring a cheese ball to work events. He shredded fresh parsley and ham in a food processor, mixed it into cream cheese along with a surprising amount of hot sauce, formed it into a ball shape, and rolled in chopped walnuts. Served with Ritz crackers. The hot sauce turned it into something miraculous.
posted by beandip at 1:15 PM on November 24, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you all! There were lots of great answers but I marked the ones I actually made (I tried for some others but had trouble with ingredients).
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:34 PM on November 30, 2010

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