You want to have little appetizers out for guests before the main dinner occurs. This is one of my favorite parts, I love making perfect bites of flavor and I love people around me, interacting, with drinks and food in hand.
My main tip with Thanksgiving hors d'oeuvres is to keep it light for the most part. Keep in mind theres a BIG dinner coming! You don't want to over-fill your guests before the main attraction! Simply plate up some olives with cold cuts you can find in the deli section of your grocery store, pairing olives with cheese and meats and nuts and fruits is such an easy way to start everything off... and it looks amazing and as if you spent so much time and love on it. If you live by a Fresh Market, they have an AWESOME olive bar that not only has olives in different marinades but also roasted red peppers, mushrooms, onions etc. This is a picture from my Fresh Market in Orlando on Mills Ave.
And here is a beautiful example of the plating...
Using a large chopping board to plate these items makes it look more homey and rustic, I love that. Make sure to set out small plates and toothpicks so people can pick at the olives and such without using their fingers.
Another easy and impressive-looking way to prep your guests' bellies is with caprese salad bites.
For this simple yet beautiful presentation, take a toothpick and make little beds with the basil leaves with the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese inside. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. I like to make a balsamic reduction to drizzle on top of them. For this reduction simply take a bottle of balsamic vinegar and pour it into a small pot. Set the heat to high, stir a few times until it starts to boil.
At this point turn the heat down to medium and keep stirring continuously. You may add a teaspoon of sugar at this point but that is up to you. The vinegar will become sweet when it reduces but some people like it sweeter. You will continue to stir for a few minutes until the reduction coats the back of a spoon like a syrup. Make sure not to over-reduce.... or else when it cools, it will become hard and yucky.
When it cools, just drizzle it over the caprese bites and serve!
Another appetizer I LOVE LOVE LOVE and again is super easy, is baked brie. Theres many ways to make this and you can play around with it, but this is the way I do it. For your ingredients:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Mix your fruits, nuts, etc in a separate bowl.
On a flat surface lay out your puff pastry.
Spread some the fruit filling about the same size and shape of the brie wheel.
Place the brie on top.
Spread the rest of the fruit filling on top of the brie.
Fold up the edges of the pastry little by little, overlapping it on top of the brie and when they are all folded up, press the pastry down to hold it all together.
Whisk the egg and then with a pastry brush, brush egg all over the brie.
Place the brie on parchment paper and on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden.
Be prepared for the amazingness that will happen when it is cut open after.... It should look like this! Serve with crackers, baguette slices and apples.
One last easy app you can make is spinach and cheese cups!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray cooking spray on 2 mini muffin tins.
Add one wonton wrapper to each little cup and throw it in the oven to bake for about 5 minutes until golden.
While you're waiting for those, mix all of the other ingredients together, salt & pepper to taste!
Take the wontons out and drop about a tablespoon full of the mix in the cups and bake it all up for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melty!
Again another super easy and impressive bite!
Setting up appetizers for your guests doesn't have to be stressful. It can be quick while still looking beautiful. Oh and don't forget to have cocktails and music playing! A delicious red sangria is a great way to start the party :)
More to come as Thanksgiving prep continues!
I was born in Peru where life revolves around food :) My grandmother was a cooking goddess and I strive to be half as good as her! I love cooking and eating out and tasting flavors from all over the world. Check out my Facebook page (linked as "f" above my picture) for daily updates and posts! Thanks for visiting and happy cooking! Don't forget to send me your feedback!