More Holiday Party Nibbles & Hors d’oeuvres for 2023
Must-Make Crave-Worthy Appetizers for People Who Love Party Food!
32 of them! Includes my favorite Creative & Healthier options from Latkes to Crostinis.
Get the party started!
Hanukkah Latkes are that ethereal treat; a potato mixture made by dropping large tablespoons into a skillet of shimmering, hot oil.
Latkes are crispy, naturally sweet, salty and irresistible— so good, it’s a shame we wait all year to enjoy them!
I use 2 kinds of potatoes, include veggies and 3 kinds of onions in the batter.
For a Gluten-Free version, simply use a all-purpose gluten free flour blend in place of the flour for great results.
A new twist for your Potato Pancake repertoire.
Butternut Squash with warm spices makes a delicious sweet latke. These latkes have a pinch of sugar, cinnamon and grated nutmeg (grated apple too!) I love the flavor of these warm spices. Crispy, naturally sweet, salty and irresistible!
Looking for the perfect applesauce recipe? Homemade Applesauce – My Favorite TRY this one!
Host an Appetizer-Only Dinner Party!
- A wonderful way to show off your cooking talents ~ choose at least 6 different appetizers for a well rounded spread
- Choose finger foods and some dips (my fondue is EASY and a real crowd pleaser; homemade rolls can be made, frozen and reheated.)
- Use a smaller size than dinner plates for guests ~ 5″ – 6″ is perfect. I love using vintage plates – all can be a different style & color, or choose natural square bamboo plates (you can purchase online)
- Add a Dessert Station with three of your favorite pick-up recipes (I have ideas for that!)
- Pair wines and drinks with food… Tempranillo or Garnacha goes great with Spanish-style food / Alsace Reisling with cheese fondue / Crisp Sauvignon Blanc with Seafood / Chardonnay or Pinot Noir with Crostinis
- Get Organized! Prep what you can a day or two before the gathering. Get ready to pop in the oven what needs to be reheated. Platter what you can ahead of time – refrigerate if necessary.
These next Four Appetizers:
I prepared and we all devoured at my Cooking Class November 29th:
Tapas ~ little bites of tasty foods with bold flavors from Spain. Crispy baguette slices covered with a quick sauté of mushrooms, spiked with sherry & brandy and topped with a delicious Spanish cheese until melted and bubbly.
Many at the class raved about the the Smoked Paprika Aioli – a flavorful, garlicky mayonnaise… added a fabulous creamy & flavorful dimension to the crostinis.
Whisked by hand in a few minutes ~ a smokey, garlicky mayonnaise with a zesty flavor. An ingredient in my Spanish Mushroom Tapas Recipe. Use wherever you need a super-flavorful mayonnaise.
Ready for a Umami-rich treat? A creative genius recipe that is so delicious and low in carbs!
All your favorite Caesar Salad Ingredients – I love to add roasted red peppers too. Gluten Free – no problem! I have used gluten free bread for the garlic croutons. Make with: Karen’s Parmesan Crisps – Master Recipe with Flavoring Suggestions
Irresistible Zesty Pick-Up Appetizer ~ Crispy, crunchy and creamy – all the textures come together; a special recipe for Holiday Entertaining… Gluten Free.
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat’s flavor is left to shine… additions are bright and flavorful: mango, red pepper, chives, jalapeño, lime juice and and the littlest bit of mayo to bind.
The Ultimate Appetizer with Southern Charm ~ Grilled Chicken with Pecans and a Maple-Bourbon Glaze on top of crisp Buttermilk Waffles and Sweet and Sour Sautéed Collard Greens. See: Karen’s Buttermilk Waffles and Sautéed Collard Greens – Sweet and Sour
What’s great is you can make this appetizer ahead of time. Simply brush the baguette slices with a garlic oil (see recipe) and crisp in the oven for a few minutes. Cut the brie into chunks to fit, and place in the oven just to melt.
When your guests arrive, heat until warm… top & serve.
THE Fall Appetizer (Winter too!)– almost too pretty to eat featuring in-season Fresh Figs.
Goat Cheese is whipped with Roasted Butternut Squash and topped with Fresh Figs, Maple-Balsamic Drizzle and Fresh Rosemary. Satisfying, Easy and Real Crowd Pleasers! Just filling enough with healthful ingredients.
A crowd-pleasing Melty-Cheese Appetizer that’s easy to make and fun to eat! Toast up some bread and slather on top.
Sauté Red Onions low & slow, add apples and seasonings and simply top a wheel of brie and bake.
Mediterranean Appetizer on Pita Crisps:
A wonderful and easy appetizer for the holidays all will enjoy! Spread on toasted bread and soak up all the amazing flavors. Cooks slowly in the oven until the peppers actually melt into the olive oil. Serve with toasted pita triangles or toasted baguette slices.
My Favorite Deviled Eggs:
Includes Grainy Mustard, Purple Scallions, Thyme and a Crisp and Lacy Baked Cheese Frico Makes Them Pungent and Zesty. See: How to Hard-Boil Eggs: Best Way Is To Steam Them!
These are so easy, crunchy & delicious! The crisps are made with grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and your choice of seasonings (I have many suggestions!)
Easy Parmesan Crisps can be made into clever Caesar Salad Tacos… I use them on top of the Deviled Eggs above.
Also – serve them with a cheese & charcuterie board for any gathering!
Vegan Crispy Kale Chips:
Another Kale Chip Recipe I Love ~
Homemade Kale Chips are crunchy with an addictive flavor, yet they have few calories and are a source of several essential nutrients. The ultimate healthy snack!
The pick up appetizer that’s a party-pleaser, your guests will ask you for the recipe! Ring in the holidays & New Year with these make-ahead delicious morsels. A favorite party food – stuffed mushrooms are satisfying and these take on an Italian, Tuscan flair. A hearty chicken, vegetable & cheese filling – you can also have as a satisfying entrée instead of an appetizer.
Deeply fragrant mushrooms team with flavorful Tuscan spices – coated with a wine-lemon-olive oil marinade. Tangy, delicious, and easy to make. Simplicity is central to the Tuscan cuisine. A wonderful appetizer that tops baguette slices – or any good bread.
Really simple, easy and fun to prepare! Ingredients for fondue – it’s a short and simple list: white wine, apple cider, cider vinegar, Swiss Gruyere Cheese & Emmental Cheese, cornstarch & garlic.
Softened Garlic and Fresh Chives makes this Classic Fondue special!
While fondue might be the ultimate party food- I’m in the mood for it’s silky, stingy texture and assertive flavor, and have decided to have a fondue night at home. Indulgent, okay just a little, but it only sounds fancy – it’s incredible simple to make!
I really got into the idea and decided to make these master mini dinner rolls for dunking (bread cubes will do too!)
To assemble: cut bread rounds – gluten free or regular, give them a quick toast, then top with marinara, a warm spinach chicken mini meat ball and top off with fontina cheese fondue. Add a skewer and serve.
Loads of Spinach mixed in to Freshly Ground Chicken – that you grind! This makes the most delicious and nutritious meatballs with an amazing texture.
A creative play on the beloved “Linzer Cookie” – savory, cheesy melt-in-your-mouth shortbread sandwiched with Tomato Jam!
Your company will be amazed! Makes a spectacular and inventive hors d’oeuvre for you next gathering or party.
Also serve the thins open-faced – with a dollop of jam and a chunk of your favorite cheese.
I’m turning the Linzer Cookie upside down – what is traditionally a sweet cookie is now a savory upscale treat!
Shrimp is always a party pleaser! Cooks quickly – Sautéed Shrimp in a Hearty Garlic Herbal Butter Sauce Skewered with a Cube of Sourdough Bread to Soak up the Flavors.
I’ve added a boost of flavor with fresh herbs, scallions and jalapeño.
The perfect Holiday or Party Appetizer!
A Comeback for a Classic Dish! This fresh, seafood-rich trendsetter recipe of the early 20th century takes on a modern flair with Fresh (not frozen) Pink Shrimp and a zippy Louis Sauce.
Here I serve as a salad – for the Holidays ~ add shrimps and sauce on a platter – skewer them , and watch them disappear!
No one will be able to resist these savory lollipops. Thin sliced, luminous smoked salmon around zesty cream cheese – the perfect pick-up appetizer for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
Looking for a fabulous Vegan Cream Cheese? Try my recipe! Karen’s Vegan Cream Cheese
Crispy, Crunchy and Drenched in Homemade Panko Crumbs ~ these delicious morsels are baked on a rack, not deep fried. I’m craving something crispy & sweet yet savory – these Popcorn Shrimp fit the bill! (Yes ok to use packaged panko.)
Plunge them into this luscious & piquant Lemony Aioli Dip (recipe)
Vegan “Crab Cakes”:
Healthy, Vegan & Delicious!
Filled with Chickpeas, Artichoke Hearts and Hearts of Palm (which mimics the look of crab) ~ Herbs & Spices.
Make minis for Hors d’oeuvres or larger ones for a delicious Main Course Meal.
Nuts to Crunch:
Add some crunch to any gathering. Raw cashews are soaked for easier digestion and are cooked in a slow oven until golden and crispy. Coat with sweet and savory, addictive seasonings: curry powder, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, pink sea salt, coconut nectar, coconut palm sugar and unsweetened shredded coconut.
Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds and Brazil Nuts are roasted in a slow oven until fragrant and lightly golden. Kissed with fresh rosemary and a hints of a sweet-salty flavor. No overwhelming flavors, all complement each other.
Hummus gets a flavor boost with aromatic and a bit fiery Harissa (an easy to make versatile condiment.) Harrisa is a flavor-bomb sauce/condiment and pairs wonderfully with mellow hummus – a North African spicy chili paste — the Sriracha of the Middle East. Serve with crudités, pita and interesting tortilla chips (mine are beet flavored.)
Dip Into This! A Updated, Healthy Lightened-Up Roast Garlic and Onion Dip. (Yes I had the Lipton soup version growing up…)
Need holiday dip that doesn’t break the calorie bank?
A real crowd pleaser – there won’t be any leftovers! This is a REDUX recipe – a healthier version of Lipton Soup Mix Dip.
Serve with crudités as well, pictured: roasted sweet potatoes. Can serve with good potato chips for a throwback to the 70’s!
A Killer Dip that won’t kill your waistline! This delicious warm dip is a perfect appetizer for holidays, gatherings & game day! Asparagus replaces artichokes for a flavor-twist. A bevy of vegetables. Asparagus seems to be in many markets at this time… could substitute other green veggies like broccolini.
Happy Holidays to all!
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Karen's Skewered Shrimp Scampi Appetizer
- 1 pound raw shrimp I used Florida Pink Shrimp, fresh not frozen, about 15 per pound
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic peeled, finely grated (or minced)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 grates freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups 2 cups sourdough bread cubes 1″ x ½” crusts removed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium garlic cloves peeled, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon jalapeño minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup scallions white & light greens, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves lightly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves lightly chopped
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter I use organic
- 3/4 cup sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves lightly chopped (for garnish)
Clean and Marinate Shrimp:
- Clean and devein shrimp, remove tail. Add to a bowl with 1 1/2 teaspoons grated garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 6 grates of cracked pepper and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves. Cover, refrigerate 20 minutes.
Sourdough Bread Cubes:
- (Look for thick sliced bread, or cut from a loaf.)Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking tray to fit. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and toast for 5 – 7 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Do not crisp until hard, just lightly golden. Set aside.
Shrimp and Scampi Sauce:
- Heat a 12 – 14″ skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil – set heat to medium-high. Add the marinated shrimp. Let lightly brown on first side – do not stir! Cook for one minute. Turn the shrimps over with tongs, let lightly brown on second side – do not stir! Cook for one minute.Remove shrimps to a plate. Shrimp should be just cooked through.* Will have brown bits in the pan.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, raise heat to low-medium. Add sliced garlic and jalapeño. Stir one minute.Add white wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring for one minute – stirring up all browned bits, until slightly reduced. Add scallions, rosemary and thyme – stir.
- Add cold butter, 2 tablespoons at a time – swirl in, using a fork. Continue with the rest of the butter (6 tablespoons in all) until the sauce has emulsified. Do not raise heat, as the sauce could “break.” Stir in sea salt.
- Skewer the Bread Cube and Shrimp: Using a 4″ skewer, add a bread cube and shrimp on top, continue until all are used. (Extra bread cubes can be served on the side to soak up more sauce.)
- Hint: the skewers will lie flat on the sauce – do not let the skewer extend too far below the bread.
- Add warm sauce on a serving platter. Add Bread/Shrimp Skewers on top. Garnish all over with chopped parsley.
Making ahead of time:
- Reheat sauce, if too thick add a tablespoon more of lemon juice or hot water.*Slightly undercook shrimp. Before serving, gently reheat the shrimp in a stick proof skillet until just heated through. Make skewers – add on top of the warm sauce on a platter, garnish with chopped parsley.
- Serve with plenty of napkins and small plates on the side.