Easy Recipes: Instant Appetizers
Slice fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Layer the mozzarella and whole basil leaves between two slices of tomato. Season with salt and pepper and secure with a toothpick.
Stuff halved pocket pitas with asiago cheese and sliced scallions. Heat in a toaster oven until the cheese is melted, then slice into wedges.
Lightly season softened cream cheese with taco seasoning. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.
Tomato Soup Shots:
Warm store-bought tomato soup and divide among shot glasses. Serve each with a melba toast topped with brie cheese.
Spread heaping tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese on a nonstick baking sheet about an inch apart and bake at 350° until golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
Skewer cucumber squares, black olives, cut green peppers, cherry tomatoes and cubes of feta cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Spread slices of genoa salami or sopressata with a thin layer of cream cheese, then roll up and secure with a toothpick. Thread a pitted olive through the toothpick.
Ham-and-Pineapple Bites with Brown-Sugar-Mustard Dip:
Skewer 1-inch pieces of pineapple and 1-inch cubes of deli ham. Mix together mustard, orange juice, brown sugar and a pinch of ground cloves; serve the dip with the skewers.
Seven-Layer Hot Dog Dip:
Layer warmed baked beans, chopped hot dogs, shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and relish. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.
Thai Lettuce Wraps:
Wrap shrimp, some shredded carrot and Thai peanut sauce in boston lettuce leaves and secure with toothpicks.
Mediterranean Cucumber Bites:
Top cucumber rounds with a mixture of Greek-style yogurt, finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, a pinch of dried oregano and extra-virgin olive oil.
Top kettle chips with a small dollop of hummus and a thinly sliced radish round.
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes:
Puree a can of white beans, a chopped shallot and a small amount of chopped parsley. Stir in extra-virgin olive oil. Dollop the mixture onto halved cherry tomatoes.
FISH + SHELLFISH
Separate endive into individual leaves. Spread with softened cream cheese.
Thaw frozen, cooked shrimp. Skewer the shrimp and red bell pepper squares and keep chilled. Mix together sour cream, dill and lemon juice; serve the dip with the skewers.
Shrimp Cocktail Shots:
Thin cocktail sauce with lemon juice, fill shot glasses halfway with the mixture and add a celery stick and a tail-on shrimp to each one.
Core, quarter and slice pears lengthwise. Spread with softened goat cheese, drizzle with honey and garnish with chopped walnuts.
Combine equal amounts of chopped grape tomatoes and chopped seedless watermelon; add torn basil, salt and extra-virgin olive oil. Spoon onto toasted baguette slices.
Toast frozen mini waffles and top with a dollop of sour cream, chopped mango, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper.
Spread softened strawberry cream cheese on a warmed tortilla and top with thinly sliced strawberries and a squeeze of lime juice. Roll up tightly and slice crosswise; pierce a toothpick through the tortilla on each round to hold together.
Open-Faced Honey-Ricotta Cookies:
Sweeten ricotta cheese with honey and cinnamon. Top vanilla wafers with a teaspoonful of the mixture and toasted pine nuts.
Toss whole, raw nuts with maple syrup, sesame oil, brown sugar and cayenne pepper and roast in a 375° oven for about 8 minutes.