HELP! I Need to Bring an Appetizer to the Party!

Who doesn’t love a party? It’s a mad dash for the rest of the year and there are TONS of parties. Let’s face it, we all love to be included, but when the word “potluck” comes out of someone’s mouth, you are never sure what to bring. Here, let me help you with a couple of links to easy crowd-pleasing recipes and a few of “no recipe” recipes for easy appetizers and dips. When clicking on my links, scroll to the bottom of the blog post to get to the recipe. I haven’t updated them all with the “jump to recipe” button.

Three Party Favorite Dips and Some Nuts

This Buffalo Bleu Cheese Dip is one of my most requested recipes. What’s great about it? You can use leftovers. You can make it ahead. It heats up equally well in the oven or in the microwave.

Bleu Cheese Walnut Dip – this doesn’t sound like it should work, but it is truly amazing. What’s great about it? You can make it ahead of time. It heats equally well in the oven or the microwave. You can eat it with fruit instead of crackers or crostini, so you feel a little healthier.

Really pressed for time on the day of the party? Make Deez Nuts NOW and have them ready to go! What’s great about them? You can make them up to 3 weeks in advance and store at room temp. They are everything you want in a snack – sweet, spicy, crunchy, salty. Put them in little half pint Mason jars and give them out as host/hostess gifts or hog them all to yourself.

The South has it right when it comes to Pimento Cheese. What’s great about it? Making it ahead of time only improves the flavor. You can make it as mild or as spicy as your crowd will enjoy. Packed in little Mason jars it makes a fun little host/hostess gift.

“No Recipe” Options

Photo by Sheri Silver on Unsplash
Pigs in Blanket – Photo from

I chose these because you can make them all ahead of time and reheat at the party, or serve at room temp.

  • Get the tub of Spinach Dip from Costco. Add a can of drained chopped artichoke hearts, 3 minced cloves of garlic and a healthy handful of parmesan cheese. (Yes, all of those ingredients are already in there, but it’s a little bland and lacking oomph!) Mix it all together. Take a round loaf of bread, make a hole in the middle to create a bowl. Dump the dip in (it won’t all fit – you’ll have a snack for yourself or try the simple app idea below), wrap in foil, bake at 350 until hot. Serve with Pita Chips. Can be warmed in the microwave.
  • Use the leftovers from above – roll out a sheet of puff pastry, smear the leftovers on it. Roll up starting on a long side into a “cigar”. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap. Put in the freezer for 20 minutes until everything is firm. Slice ½” pieces, place cut side down on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 until puffed and golden.
  • Take a wheel of brie (4-6 oz) wrap it in puff pastry from the freezer section (Phyllo also works here if you have that on hand). Using small cookie cutters, cut shapes from the scraps, put on top of the brie. Brush it all with a beaten egg. Bake at 400 until golden brown. DO NOT CUT until completely cool. Serve at room temp with crackers, crostini, sliced apples or pears.
  • There is no such thing as too much cheese at a party! Cut a wheel of brie horizontally in half. Smear 3 Tbsp of jam on the inside. Raspberry, apricot, fig all work well here. Top with some chopped walnuts. Put the top back on, cut side up, and bake at 400 for about 7 minutes just to warm everything through, but not make it ooze. Serve with same dippers as above. DO NOT microwave.
  • It’s not a party without pigs in a blanket! But don’t be boring about it. Take a sheet of puff pastry, roll it out and smear it with Dijon mustard (or your fave mustard). Cut into thin strips (1/2” x 2”) and wrap around Hillshire Farms Little Smokies. Put on an ungreased cookie sheet seam side down. Bake at 400 until golden. Make them ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge and bake at the event or bake at home and reheat until hot. DO NOT microwave.
  • Take pitted dates and wrap them in bacon. Bake, seam side down, at 375 until bacon is crispy. Cheap, thin cut bacon works fine here because you want the crispiness of the fat. If you want to get fancy and have the time, stuff an almond and/or goat cheese in the date first.
  • Pretty much anything wrapped in bacon is a good thing! Try sautéed chicken livers (check out Rumaki recipes online) or whole water chestnuts.
  • If you find a nice cantaloupe, slice it, and wrap the slices in thinly sliced Prosciutto or Jamon de Serrano. This also works great with fresh figs when they are in season for a summer party.

Happy Holidays and You’re Welcome!