Inexpensive, quickly made hors d'oeuvres?
January 21, 2012 3:15 PM   Subscribe

We're having a small party. I could use ideas for inexpensive - but nice - hors d'oeuvres/snacks for up to 15 people that take minimal prep time, for a total of 15-30 minutes on my feet per day.
posted by moira to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
This winter I've been obsessed with these puff pastry palmieres and have brought them to several parties. They look very fancy, but are stupid easy to make.
posted by Miko at 3:18 PM on January 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Baked brie. Get a cheap brie, cover with honey and slivered almonds, serve with sliced baguette.
posted by jeather at 3:23 PM on January 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Open-faced sandwiches with creme fraiche, a sprinkle of garlic or celery salt, thinly-sliced english cucumber, and a tiny sprig of dill. I used a fancy white sandwich bread last time, crusts cut off and sliced into rectangles. They were a huge hit at my last party and very, VERY easy to make.

Another simple, open-faced cocktail sandwich: rye bread, cream cheese, minced capers, lox, thinly sliced shallot.

You can slice the veggies and the bread ahead of time and store them in ziplock bags.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:25 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can serve that brie with crackers and red/green pepper jelly as an alternative to bread.
posted by empatterson at 3:25 PM on January 21, 2012

Response by poster: Ooh, ooh, I forgot to mention that my husband will probably be baking bread, so things that accompany fresh bread will work beautifully.
posted by moira at 3:28 PM on January 21, 2012

Baked polenta with gorgonzola/blue cheese is very nice and easy. Top with a balsamic reduction if you're feeling all gourmet.

Ripe fig halves stuffed with chevre and a mint leaf is also very nice. Finding the figs may an issue though.

Think I mentioned this on an earlier thread, but poached pears/peaches in white wine is wonderful and even good cold (better served warmed). Serve with plain yogurt, a mint leaf, and aforementioned balsamic reduction. Halve the fruit (remove pits) and steam in 1/4" of wine until very tender - time can vary, have to watch it. You can remove the skins, but honestly its just as good with them. Slice thinly to serve and serve with a dollop of plain cold yogurt and a drizzle of reduced decent balsamic vinegar (cook under low heat until it gets syrupy, do not boil - depending on volume, can take about 20 min+). I wouldnt prepare this completely ahead of time, but the fruit can be cooked a day or two ahead, let stand at room temp and served with the cold yogurt and warm balsamic when ready.
posted by elendil71 at 3:46 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I usually put out a platter with the following:

1 soft cheese (like Brie or Camembert)
sliced baguette
apple slices
thin slices of prosciutto
small pile of almonds
small bowl of olives

It's easy and people seem to gobble it up.
posted by cecic at 3:46 PM on January 21, 2012

Shave carrots and ginger into cream cheese and mix well. Spread on slices of bread.

Take a brick of cream cheese and pour a jar of either pesto or cocktail sauce over. Serve with slices of bread.
posted by mynameisluka at 3:46 PM on January 21, 2012

I left out the part where you bake the baked brie. Just cover it with honey and almonds, then bake at 325 or 350 for 15 minutes or so. You can google for a lot of recipes for it. Fresh bread will work very well, it doesn't need to be a baguette. It cannot be made in advance, though.

I also like baked artichoke dip (you don't need to fat free everything), but it's somewhat like the baked brie, so you might want to do only one:

baked artichoke dip

1 can (15 oz) artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained
1/2 package (8-oz size) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup grated fat-free parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fat free mayo
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 green onion and top, thinly sliced
2 tsp minced garlic
2-3 drops red pepper sauce
salt & cayenne pepper to taste

processs artichoke hearts, cream cheese, parmesan, mayo, sour cream and
lemon juice in food processor until smooth. stir in onion, garlic, red
pepper sauce. season to taste.

spoon into small casserole or baking dish. bake, uncovered, at 350 until hot
through and lightly browned on top, 20-25 min.
posted by jeather at 3:47 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was just at a small dinner party where the hostess served small rounds of bread with cream cheese and fig jam and others with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly (or some other spicy jelly). Both were good and proved popular with all the guests but of the two, the ones topped with jalapeno jelly went more quickly.
posted by kaybdc at 4:50 PM on January 21, 2012

I tend to go a little overboard on complex hors d'oeuvres and apps, but the one that's gotten me the most compliments and requests for repeats to date: (storebought) petite toasts topped with a smear of truffled goat cheese (specifically, Truffle Tremor). Takes me 20 minutes tops from slicing open the package of toasts to having a platter of hors d'oeuvres, and a small wedge of the cheese goes a surprisingly long way.

If you want to put in a tiny bit more effort, get frozen puff pastry shells from the store and fill them with stuff. I like goat cheese topped with various things (sauteed mushrooms, chopped avocado and red onions, or a dollop of something like tapenade or pesto or pepper jelly), or for something sweeter, mascarpone or good ricotta topped with fresh berries or fruit preserves.
posted by rhiannonstone at 5:01 PM on January 21, 2012

cucumber shots! or cold cucumber soup! or salsa cups! ...the trick here is that you slice the cucumbers in 2" chunks and cut/scoop out the cucumber in the center, leaving the walls a few mms thick. Then fill with cucumber-infused vodka, or salsa or soup. It looks really impressive, and the guests can eat the cucumber when the filling is gone.

Bonus fancy tip...before you cut the cucumber into chunks, run a potato peeler down the length of it 3-4 times, to create striped walls.

English cucumbers that aren't quite ripe are best (really big, ripe cucumbers have a seedy, mushy middle, and you don't want the bottom of your cups to fall out)! Or you can just use the two ends, chopping off the pointy parts to create a flat bottom. You can prep the cukes a day in advance and then just bust 'em out and fill when ready to serve. Adding carrot, radish or jicama slices makes it even prettier and tastier.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:17 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

This tofu spread/dip is really good on fresh bread and easy to make.
posted by crush-onastick at 5:50 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're doing a tray of hot hors d'oeuvres, you know what people really like? Piping hot grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches on rosemary bread cut into one-inch strips. You'd be surprised. Fresh figs sliced in half and topped with with a dab of Greek yogurt and and honey might be a little messy, but they're so delicious nobody will care. And if you're doing brie en croute, you might as well go all-out and do poached salmon and brie en croute. Heavenly!
posted by aquafortis at 6:26 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Block of cream cheese + jarred peach salsa poured on top, with a pile of Carr's Whole Wheat Crackers next to it and a couple knives or spreaders available. Will take you less than two minutes to prepare, and that includes the time to find the plates and wrestle the packaging open.

Chocolate-dipped strawberries (and/or pretzels) are pretty easy if you want some sweet nibbles along with savory hors d'oeuvres. Buy some decent-quality chocolate chips, heat up some cream (google recipes for the proportions), and pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. The cream can heat up on the stove while you prep other hors d'oeuvres; just keep an eye on it so it doesn't scald. Or you may be able to microwave it. After letting the cream-over-chocolate sit for a minute, stir it together, then grab whole fresh strawberries (or pretzels) out of the box and dip them in. Let the ganache set while you continue prepping other hors d'oeuvres, then serve.

Also, I second the baked brie. It's wonderful with fresh-baked bread. If you want to make it extra fancy, get one firm bosc pear and one granny smith apple and slice them both cracker-thin, then fan out the slices on the edge of the serving plate, next to the cheese.
posted by Orinda at 6:28 PM on January 21, 2012

Small cracker topped with a slice of good quality parmesan, topped with a small dab of honey along with fresh cracked pepper.
posted by mmascolino at 7:03 PM on January 21, 2012

I've been making the puff pastry palmieres that Miko linked for decades. (Not that exact recipe, but close enough for government work.) Anything in puff pastry is good. :)

If your husband is making bread, I like to make "bread shots". Basically you make your standard bread dough recipe, and let it do it's first rise. After the punchdown, make balls no bigger than about an ounce each. Place the balls on a lined baking sheet and let them do their second rise. (I use floured cheesecloth folds to keep the balls from touching and becoming a bread borg.) Before you put them in the oven, use your thumb, or the handle of a wooden spoon to make a hole about half-way through the dough, and fill the dough with something. I use pitted really good olives, sturdy cheeses, pesto, sun dried tomatoes, figs, dates, all sorts of things will work. (Prosciutto, pear and goat cheese is amazing in this.) Bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-8 minutes, assuming a standard bread flour recipe; whole wheat, almond wheat, gluten free, etc, times will vary. The dough will rise up around the filling, but still leave enough to be visible. It's visually stunning and tastes amazing.

Also, spiced nuts...I can go through pounds of those at a small party. The trick with those is to make an egg white and water "bath" before dredging them in your spice blend, which will hold your spice mix on the nuts, and bakes up crispy and yummy, but without become all praline-y and sticky.

And let us not forget the every popular brandy/pecan/brown sugar encrusted baked brie, which goes famously with fresh bread. It's so easy. Pulverize pecans in your food processor, add half as much brown sugar as you have nuts (by weight). When it's all chopped up into bits, add brandy (or cognac) a teaspoon at a time until you create a nut/sugar paste. Spread the paste atop the brie. Put the brie in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until it starts to get melty and the nut paste begins to bubble a bit. Serve with sliced apples and pears. So good.

Man, now I'm hungry.
posted by dejah420 at 7:07 PM on January 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Mark Bittman has done a series of articles in the "101 simple and quick []" vein. In particular, there was an article on appetizers for a party, but you would probably do well to track down some of the others. In case 101 ideas isn't enough, that is.
posted by stuart_s at 7:10 PM on January 21, 2012

Response by poster: omg
posted by moira at 7:27 PM on January 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Roasted grapes with blue cheese! These are delicious. Take a bunch of grapes and pull them off the stems, then toss them into a baking dish (like an 8x8 pan) with a cup of white wine, a little water, a sprig of rosemary, a pinch of salt, and maybe 1/4c sugar. Roast at 400 until they've gone soft and juicy. Serve with bread and blue cheese. So good.
posted by MeghanC at 7:39 PM on January 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

my mum smears some regular ol' cream cheese between two regular slices of pepperoni. NOM.
posted by fuzzysoft at 8:01 PM on January 21, 2012

Siu Mai and other dim sum-style dumplings are ridiculously easy to prepare. Siu Mai specifically is just ground pork with a little shrimp, soy sauce, and other Chinese seasonings. Buy the wrappers from your local specialty store (they come frozen). The filling comes together in about 15 minutes and you can sit in front of the TV while wrapping.
posted by backseatpilot at 3:47 AM on January 22, 2012

How could I forget two more hot appetizers: cut Pillsbury biscuit dough into four pieces and stuff with chicken, dried cherries, and Stilton; sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella, etc. and bake normally. Creative filling possibilities are limitless and it's hard to go wrong. Alternately, fry the biscuit quarters in a pan and roll them in powdered sugar-- boom! A hot mountain of fresh donut holes. You definitely won't have to worry about leftovers.
posted by aquafortis at 3:29 PM on January 22, 2012

Cheese on sliced apple.
posted by snowjoe at 5:33 PM on January 22, 2012

5mm (1/4") layer of cream cheese, single layer of tiny salad shrimp, just enough seafood cocktail sauce to coat the shrimp, hard crackers to scoop it up with. Easyfastclassy
posted by Redhush at 9:31 PM on January 22, 2012

This is kind of white trash, but I love them and my family makes them at most gatherings:

Jar of the cheapest Dill Pickles
2 packages of cheap Cream Cheese
A package of smoked ham slices.

Dry the pickles with paper towels, cover them with a layer cream cheese, then wrap with ham slices. Cut into 1/2" pieces and then stick a tooth pick through them. They slice better if you put toothpicks in them and then slice.
posted by wcfields at 11:21 AM on January 23, 2012

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