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Tasty twists on Thanksgiving appetizers

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Creative Thanksgiving munchies

Hosting your first (or even your twentieth) Thanksgiving dinner can be a daunting task, especially if your guest list includes new family members or friends. You’ve got a lot to do, so it’s important that the apps you serve are fun and easy. Make a great first impression with these fun and creative Thanksgiving appetizers.

Crescent roll appetizer

Cream cheese dips

Cream cheese is a secret weapon in any seasoned cook's arsenal. And because it has a somewhat neutral flavor, you can easily make a dressed-up dip from cream cheese using a variety of extras.

First, spread an 8 ounce package of cream cheese over the bottom of a glass pie plate (you can decorate it with a festive ribbon). Top it with cayenne pepper-spiced canned cranberry sauce (whole berry variety) or a small amount of your favorite stuffing (or both). Or use an electric mixer to create a topper from 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice (to taste). Serve with bagel chips or wheat crackers.

Crescent roll-ups

Refrigerated crescent rolls are readily available at Thanksgiving and can serve as the perfect bite-sized vehicle for a variety of meats, cheeses and finely chopped veggies. Just separate the dough into eight triangles, place a small amount of toping on each (staying inside the edges of the triangle), roll from tip to tip and bake for 15 to 20 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Try these filler combos or create your own!

  • Provolone with crispy bacon crumbles and sauteed onion
  • Parmesan with sautéed mushroom, onion and garlic
  • Spinach dip
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Mashed sweet potatoes seasoned with butter and salt (or cinnamon and brown sugar)
  • Cheddar and hotdogs (for the kiddos!)

Cornucopia of goodies

For a festive spin on the traditional cheese and veggie tray, purchase a large wicker cornucopia. Line it with fall-colored linens and fill it chock full of veggies, meat cubes and cheese cubes (makes sure they're intermixed, rather than layered). Or purchase several small cornucopias and fill each with a single food. Provide guests with tongs to serve themselves and toothpicks to snack. Serve with a variety of crackers and dressings.

Use your imagination

When it comes to Thanksgiving appetizers, you only need a dash of creativity and a flair for presentation to make your first course one to remember. Getting your grandmother's pecan recipe right? That's up to you.

Try these wine and beer pairings! >>

More appetizer ideas

How to make any appetizer look gourmet
Sweet appetizer ideas to start the party right
How to choose the right appetizer for your dinner party

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