Appetizers

Appetizers are like tiny jewel boxes of flavor, small bites meant to stimulate the palate -- not fill your stomach. That's what makes looking for appetizer recipes so much fun - since you don't have to fill the plate, you can concentrate on putting together ingredients in ways that sing. And they don't have to be fancy to pack a punch - spicy wings, deviled eggs, easy bruschetta, or even a nicely presented dip can be a winner. The classic combination of melon and prosciutto is a perfect example: Just two ingredients that play off of each other perfectly, the salty richness of the ham contrasting with the tropical sweetness of the melon. Perfection. When you're planning for a holiday party, you want quick and easy appetizers that play nicely with what you're serving as a main course. You want to compliment the dish without repeating ingredients - serving marinated mozzarella before plating up a cheese-heavy lasagna is definitely overload. Try to keep things light, and remember - you're going for flavor, not quantity.

Nacho Potato Skins

Midwest Living

Set out the toppers for the potato skins and let guests create their own appetizers.

Total: 1 hr

Marinated Cheese Cubes

Midwest Living

Pantry ingredients turn ordinary Monterey Jack into a deli-style party snack that tastes even better when you make it ahead. You can prep it three days in advance.

Pepperoni Pizza Pull

Midwest Living

Mozzarella with Basil

Diabetic Living

Reinvent this recipe every time you make it by varying the cheese and the herb. Try feta with oregano or dill, or queso fresco with cumin or red pepper flakes.

Pesto-Provolone Terrine

Better Homes and Gardens

Serve this appetizer with toasted bread slices or a variety of crackers.

Herbed Leek Tart

Better Homes and Gardens

These appetizers use gruyere cheese, which has a more delicate, nutty flavor than its robust cousin Swiss cheese.

Brie Queso Fundido

Better Homes and Gardens

Serve soft Brie and salsa with radish slices, corn bread twists, or tortilla chips for the perfect anytime snack.

Total: 25 mins

Phyllo-Wrapped Brie with Mushrooms

Better Homes and Gardens

Serving these appetizers to guests is an experience to remember. The bundles are split open, then fruit or crisp crackers are used to scoop up the cheese-herb-mushroom mixture.

Artichoke-Stuffed New Potatoes

Better Homes and Gardens

Two popular appetizers--hot artichoke dip and stuffed potato skins--are brought together.

Smoky Cheese Ball

Better Homes and Gardens

This nut-coated cheese spread is easy to serve. Just set it on a tray with crackers and let the guests help themselves.

Spicy Salt Twists

Better Homes and Gardens

These breadsticks, made with puff pastry, are filled with cheese, sprinkled with more cheese and a few spices, then baked crisp to munch as appetizers or to serve with soups.

Savory Blue Cheesecake

Better Homes and Gardens

Crab-Topped Shrimp

Diabetic Living

Crunchy Munchies

Better Homes and Gardens

A savory seasoning tops nuts, dried fruit and chow mein noodles for a snack mix that's great for parties.

Artichoke Canape

Midwest Living
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