Tasty Tuesday: Easy Appetizers

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Appetizers

Now that school is back in session and football season is getting started we are getting more invites to get togethers and I always like to bring a dish so I thought I’d share some easy appetizer recipes this week that are fabulous for entertaining or for taking with you to gatherings. You can’t go wrong with these fast and easy recipes when you want to impress or have a crowd to feed.

1) Hummus Cups With Cucumber and Tomato

These gorgeous Hummus Cups With Cucumber and Tomato from Inspired Taste look like they took awhile to put together but they’re made from refrigerated pizza dough so they’re super simple to make and so delicious.

2) Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Looking for a low calorie, low fat appetizer? Real Healthy Recipes Bacon Wrapped Scallops are a healthier appetizer choice and they’re also packed with protein so your guests will get filled up and they’ll also work for those on gluten free diets.

3) Cheese and Sausage Croissant Bites

If you have a crowd to please but not a lot of time to prepare you should try these Cheese and Sausage Croissant Bites from Endless Appetizers.  Just a few simple ingredients like refrigerated crescent rolls and brown and serve sausages and you’ll have this scrumptious appetizer ready in minutes.

4) Mozzarella Sticks

I love the simplicity of this Mozzarella Stick recipe from Mom’s Bistro! Freeze some cheese sticks then dip in flour, egg and bread crumbs before baking for 10 minutes and you’ve got an appetizer that everyone will enjoy.

5) Caprese Bites

When you’re expecting a large crowd you can serve them these fabulous Caprese Bites from Celebrations without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. This is a beautiful way to present simple marinated mozzarella, cherry and grape tomatoes.

6) Mini Hamburgers

Everybody loves hamburgers and these Mini Hamburgers from Living On A Dime are as yummy as they are pretty. Be sure to make a bunch of them!

7) Sweet-‘n’-Salty Honey Cheese Spread

I’m a huge fan of goat cheese and this Sweet-‘n’-Salty Honey Cheese Spread from My Recipes is a fabulous way to transform a simple log of goat cheese into an impressive party appetizer.

I highly recommend Plan to Eat for a great place to store all your favorite recipes! Check it out with a free trial and see how easy it is to add recipes from the Internet, plan meals for your family and even print out a handy grocery list.

Tasty Tuesday: Red, White and Blue

Here are some fun red, white and blue food ideas just in time for our 4th of July celebrations next week!  If you’re headed out to a picnic, BBQ or potluck just whip up one of these delicious concoctions to take with you.

1) Fruit & Cheese Plates

Seasonal fruits and finger foods like blueberries, watermelon chunks, strawberries, bananas and a selection of cheeses can be displayed in the shape of a flag like this cute watermelon and cheese tray I found at Blush Printables.  Fresh fruit trays are super easy to throw together and are always crowd pleasers.

2) Patriotic Cupcakes

I love these red, white and blue cupcakes from Grin and Bake It where they used food coloring and white cake batter to make tri-color treats.  This would be fun to do in other colors at different times of the year, like maybe pink and purple for my daughters’ birthday.

3) Berry Cheesecake Pie

This Berry Cheesecake Pie from Natalie’s Killer Cuisine combines three of my favorite things – pie, cheesecake and fresh fruit!  I can’t wait to try out this recipe and I’m sure it will be a big hit with the kids.  How cute are those pie crust stars?

4) Hand Dipped Fruit

Strawberries dipped in white chocolate and then blue sprinkles like these from Katie Mahoney Photography are a creative take on the fruit plate theme and they just made it onto my ‘to do’ list.

5) Pancakes

What a great idea for a home cooked breakfast on the 4th – these patriotic pancakes from I Am Mommy are perfect for both kids and adults.  You could also consider adding the blueberries to the batter.

6) Parfaits

Fruity parfaits are easy to put together in a patriotic theme, and these Panna Cotta Shooters from Sprinkle Bakes are a great way to mix a dessert and a cocktail.  The confetti stars are a nice touch and they’re almost too pretty to eat.

7) Patriotic PB&Js

Patriotic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made like this cream cheese and jam version that Deborah at Taste and Tell blog found, are a very creative way of serving lunch to a crowd or you could do this on toast in the morning for breakfast.

I highly recommend Plan to Eat for a great place to store all your favorite recipes! Check it out with a free trial and see how easy it is to add recipes from the Internet, plan meals for your family and even print out a handy grocery list.

$5 Dinner Mom’s Holiday Guide Just $.99 Today Only!

Get YOUR Copy of Erin's Holiday Entertaining Guide

Erin Chase, better known as the $5 Dinner Mom, has written some of my favorite cookbooks for feeding your family on a budget, and now she’s done it again!  Starting today she has a new Holiday Entertaining Guide available that will help you to thrive, not just survive, this holiday season.  Most holiday guides feature over-the-top meals and homes with recipes and decorating tips that don’t even try to stay within a budget.  Erin’s book is the opposite of those holiday guides – she gives you 30 simple recipes that your guests will love, plus chapters on making beautiful decorations and centerpieces that cost next to nothing, how to get the kids involved, and grocery shopping tips.  You even get bonus printable holiday planners that you can use for planning your menu, grocery list, oven schedule, to-do list, table décor and setup and more.  All of that is a mere $3.99 for either an ebook or Kindle version, but you can grab your copy today only for just $0.99 when you use promo code GOBBLE! 

Disclosure: This post contains one or more referral links that may yield commissions for Shopper Strategy without any additional cost to you. See our disclosure statement for more details.

$5 Dinner Mom’s Holiday Guide Just $1.99!

Get YOUR Copy of Erin's Holiday Entertaining Guide

Erin Chase, better known as the $5 Dinner Mom, has written some of my favorite cookbooks for feeding your family on a budget, and now she’s done it again!  Starting today she has a new Holiday Entertaining Guide available that will help you to thrive, not just survive, this holiday season.  Most holiday guides feature over-the-top meals and homes with recipes and decorating tips that don’t even try to stay within a budget.  Erin’s book is the opposite of those holiday guides – she gives you 30 simple recipes that your guests will love, plus chapters on making beautiful decorations and centerpieces that cost next to nothing, how to get the kids involved, and grocery shopping tips.  You even get bonus printable holiday planners that you can use for planning your menu, grocery list, oven schedule, to-do list, table décor and setup and more.  All of that is a mere $3.99 for either an ebook or Kindle version, but Erin has graciously provided me with the promo code SHOPPER which will take 50% off your purchase.  So for just $1.99 you’ll learn how to simplify this busy season and to spend less on your holiday feasts!

Disclosure: This post contains one or more referral links that may yield commissions for Shopper Strategy without any additional cost to you. See our disclosure statement for more details.

The Top 5 Host or Hostess Gift Ideas

Chances are you will be attending one or two parties, dinners or gatherings at a friend or family members house this holiday season. The nice thing about going to someone else’s party is that you are not really responsible for anything but showing up on time and having a good time. This being said it is always a good idea to bring a host or hostess gift to show your appreciation for their hard work. The question is what do you bring? I am going to break down the top 5 hostess gifts that are appreciated at any holiday gathering.

The right hostess gift is all about assessing the situation. If you are going to a cocktail party bring you could bring a nice bottle of vodka but if it’s a kids party maybe forgo the alcohol and bring flowers. I prefer to bring a gift that can be utilized at the party. While some of these gifts are very traditional all can be used by your host at the party they are hosting.

Wine.

Wine is a fantastic gift to bring for a cocktail party or dinner party. Make sure to bring a wine you will enjoy and not just try to get rid of that nasty wine you have hiding in the back of your closet. You can get a relatively nice bottle of wine for under $20 and it is also a great last minute gift. If you want to step it up a bit more bring some cool wine glass tags too! This way all the guest can identify their glass. Wine is my go to gift for just about any party or gathering.

Recommended Wine Picks around or under $20

RED: 2006 “Old Vine Cuvee” Zinfandel from Four Vines, California (2007 is okay if you can’t find 2006) – A very smooth red that will go with about anything and please just about any pallet. This is my number one pick for red white I am drinking right now.

White: La Crema Chardonnay, California: This is hands down my favorite dry white wine. It goes very well with light dishes but also taste great alone.

Sweet: Marchesi di Gresy La Serra Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2007 (Italy). This wine is slightly fizzy but not quit sparkling. It is lightly sweet and is the perfect compliment to desserts. This is the perfect wine gift for the host or hostess who prefers a sweet wine. It is fairly easy to find in just about any large liquor store and will cost around $15.

Sparkling: Sparking Wine – Bianchi’s California Champagne  I order this stuff online and keep it on hand in case I need a more festive gift or just want to enjoy some delicious sparkling wine. This is a great champagne for special occasions as well as every day enjoyment at a great price of $14.00! Not sure where or if you can buy it locally but I just order mine online and they ship it right to my door.

Flowers.

Flowers are a great hostess gift in a pinch. If you are short on time and cash flow flowers make a big statement without having you spend a pretty penny. Stay clear of roses and opt for mixed bouquets in bright colors. You can also consider a small potted plant which will last far longer then cut flowers. A great example is when my mom gave my boyfriend’s mom a lovely potted orchid as a hostess gift. Simple and elegant. It was well received.

Mixed Nuts.

Do not bring a tin of mixed nuts to a party and think you are giving a great gift. If you want to give a great gift take those mixed nuts and put them in a nice jar with a pretty ribbon on it. When it comes to gifts like this, its all about presentation. That being said, mixed nuts are a wonderful gift, especially if you show up to parties early or on time because they can be put out for other guest to enjoy.

Gourmet Cookies or Chocolates.

Bringing some lovely cookies or chocolates in a nicely appointed box is a great way to say thanks. Be sure to bring enough to share and stay away from generic chocolate boxes that you would get on Valentines day. This is a gift that presentation is all about the box. If you want, you can make some homemade cookies and place them in a pretty box with some tissue paper or a nice tin. Another great variation is to dip small pretzels or pretzel sticks in white and milk chocolate and give those as a gift.

Here are some sweet gifts I like:

Devilishly Delicious Chocolate Covered Oreos Gift Tin – $19.99 from World Market

Toffee Recipe from Martha Stewart  (She even shows you how to package them)

Gourmet Coffee.

After most dinner parties and even during some cocktail parties coffee is generally offered to guest. Why not give your hostess a variety of gourmet coffee samples to serve to the party guest as well as enjoy the morning after. You can pick up some great small packages of gourmet coffee at any gourmet shop or Cost Plus (also known as World Market). Put them in a nice box or basket and you are all set.

You do not have to spend a fortune to give a host or hostess give. Just remember that when you are looking for the perfect gift for your host or hostess, going simple and elegant is the key.

About the Guest Blogger: Kelly Noble is the Relationship Manager for Foodservicewarehouse.com, a foodservice equipment and supply provider that also specializes in industry education. She has been an avid wine drinker and home cook for over 8 years and writes the Wine & Dine blog which focuses on her recipes, food trends and favorite wines.