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Sweet appetizer ideas to start the party right

Appetizers are an important part of any event menu. For your next party, forget the old standby appetizers and consider surprising your guests with something sweet and special.

Cheese ball with crackers

“Appetizers don’t just have to be smaller portions of foods people like to eat,” says Emily Belden, creative director for CRUX Culinary Collective. Move away from the meatball on a stick and cocktail weenies and get creative. Appetizers “should be about yummy flavor combinations and having fun with the presentation,” Belden says.

Gooseberry is a cook’s dream site, known for its best-selling, homestyle, family-friendly cookbooks. These sweet appetizer recipes were taken from various Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, available online.

Hawaiian kielbasa

This sweet and salty recipe comes from the Gooseberry Patch 101 Slow-Cooker Recipes cookbook.


  • 3 pounds kielbasa, sliced into 2-inch chunks
  • 15-1/4 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 18 ounce bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Mix well.
  2. Cover and cook on low for about two hours (or on high for 30 minutes) until warmed through.

5 Favorite finger foods >>

Berry peachy twists

Cyndy Wilber from Ravena, New York, submitted this simple recipe, found in Gooseberry Patch’s Fast-Fix Meals cookbook.


  • 8 ounce tube refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 ounce package strawberry gelatin mix
  • 15 ounce can sliced peaches, drained and cubed


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Separate rolls into eight triangles. Brush triangles with melted butter, sprinkle with gelatin mix and top evenly with peaches.
  3. Roll up each triangle into a crescent as directed on package.
  4. Arrange crescents on a large greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.
  6. Cool slightly before serving.

Grilled pork with peaches recipe >>

Fruity cheese balls

This recipe from 5 Ingredients or Less adds a delightfully sweet twist to the standard cheese ball appetizer.


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3-1/2 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 15 ounce can fruit cocktail, drained
  • Chopped pecans


  1. Mix together cream cheese, pudding and fruit cocktail. Form into a ball, roll in pecans.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Make a cheese ball with dried fruit >>

Fruit salsa with cinnamon chips

Mmm. This fabulous dish from the Church Suppers cookbook features fresh fruit and homemade chips.


  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 golden delicious apples, cored, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 pound raspberries
  • 16 ounce package of strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry preserves
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas, sliced into wedges
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all fruit in a large bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons sugar, brown sugar and strawberry preserves.
  3. Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Mix together remaining sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Arrange tortilla wedges on a baking sheet; coat with butter-flavored cooking spray and sprinkle with desired amount of cinnamon and/or sugar.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
  7. Cool tortillas for 15 minutes and serve with chilled fruit mixture.

More on bite-size foods and appetizers

How to choose the right appetizers for your dinner party
Bite-size comfort foods
Sweet & savory plantains appetizer

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