Dinner of Appetizers: Thursday night or special party

Ask Mamma question: I’m having a party for 30 adults and need some appetizer ideas. The party is at dinner time and I’ve advertised heavy appetizers.

Mamma’s answer: Appetizer “dinner” parties can be as easy or complicated as you want them to be. Stores like Costco and Trader Joes have great selections of frozen appetizers and ready-made platters. They also have great raw ingredients that make entertaining for a crowd easier. Here is a list of appetizer ideas. Pick and choose a couple, thinking 3 of each item per person. Appetizer dinners are also fun for a regular family dinner.

Cocktail meatballs (I have a super easy recipe – 1 part bbq sauce, 1 part apricot jam and heat and serve in slow cooker. Most supermarkets carry frozen meatballs if you don’t want/don’t have time to make your own. Trader Joes even carries smaller party meatballs in the frozen section).

Phyllo cups with jam + goat cheese (premade and cooked phyllo cups, 1/2 tsp of fig, apricot or strawberry jam + crumble goat cheese on top and serve)

Pigs in a blanket with mustard dip (Buy your favorite sausage or cocktail wieners, if raw sausage cook first + then cut in half. Roll sausage/wiener in crescent roll – I use Pillsbury’s – then place on cookie sheet and cook for a little longer than crescent rolls say on package. Mix 1 part Dijon mustard with ¼ part honey and serve with warm pigs.)

Pizza (buy flat bread + cook with various toppings – Caesar salad on one (spread Caesar dressing on cooked flatbread/dough, toss romaine leaves with Caesar dressing and place on top of flat bread, sprinkle with shredded parmesan and add sliced cooked chicken if you would like, then slice into 2 bite pieces for an appetizer; caramelized onion + goat cheese on another – caramelize onions –see these posts – put on top of cooked flatbread and sprinkle with goat cheese, slice and serve!; mozzarella + tomato on another – cook flatbread most of the way, add fresh tomatoes + fresh mozzarella, cook till mozzarella is melted. Top with fresh basil, salt and pepper )

Chicken satay + peanut dipping sauce (Can be too time intensive, but is tasty! Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 20 minutes. Marinate chicken in olive oil or vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, lime, brown sugar, soy sauce, pepper and basil. Put chicken on skewers. Grill until cooked. For peanut sauce, mix peanut butter, lime juice and ginger.)

Spinach and artichoke dip, serve with pita + veggies (I have a great recipe that I have tweaked from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon butter, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 8 oz package of cream cheese/neufchatel cheese, 1/4 cup milk, 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach – thawed and well drained, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and one jar of marinated artichoke hearts – chopped. One, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender. Add cream cheese and milk. Cook and stir until smooth. Two, Stir in spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and artichokes. Three, transfer to a serving bowl or mini slow cooker to keep it warm throughout the party and serve with veggies and pita for dipping.)

Sushi platter (Costco has these)

Mini quiches (Costco has really yummy ones)

Shrimp cocktail (buy shrimp whatever way you like, frozen, fresh, cooked. Serve with cocktail sauce)

Cheese platter (Buy a selection of cheeses from Costco or Trader Joes, one cheddar, one blue, one brie or camembert, one gouda or havarti and goat cheese. Serve with crackers of your choice.)

Veggie platter (Buy from your local supermarket or Costco or Trader Joes. Super easy. Worth the cost to save you time from chopping veggies and making a dipping sauce. If you want to make a dipping sauce or your platter does not come with one, buy some hummus and/or mix sour cream with some Italian dressing mix or salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and basil.)

Meat platter (salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, etc – have bulk at Costco)

Spanikopita (Buy frozen already made or mix spinach with feta, lemon zest and Greek seasoning – good one from McCormicks or mix oregano, thyme, mint, salt and pepper, wrap in phyllo dough and bake according to phyllo dough instructions.)

Endive with blue cheese filling and bacon crumbles which are optional (clean endive leaves, mix blue cheese with a little bit of cream cheese or cottage cheese to lessen the sharpness, fill endives with cheese mixture, top with crispy bacon (or can use red pepper if you want to keep it vegetarian) and serve. Sooo good!!

Make some items and leave the rest up to the store. You deserve to enjoy the party too!! This is how I do Christmas Eve dinner. It has become a great tradition of appetizers to graze on while drinking champagne and cocktails.

Keep the questions coming!!

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1 thought on “Dinner of Appetizers: Thursday night or special party”

  1. Thanks! Great ideas. You know you'll be seeing them soon! There is another dip I've made over the years: One can small shrimp, keep the liquid. Put in with a large package of cream cheese and mash up with liquid. Put in a little horseradish, a little brown mustard, and bake at around 350until hot, putting some sliced almonds on top. When bubbling, take out and let set a bit. Great with torn pieces of bread.

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