Cocktail parties are a convenient way to entertain anyone — from neighbors to business associates — without the hassle of a full-blown dinner party. For busy gals, the challenge is often making killer appetizers that are just as easy as they are creative. For your next cocktail party, try these five creative appetizers to wow your guests.
Baked cheese spread
This dish is as fancy as it is easy. Crumble 10 ounces of marinated goat or feta cheese (in large chunks) into an oven-safe serving dish. Bake it at 325 F. for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with a few tablespoons of olive or truffle oil and a few sprigs of fresh thyme or pink peppercorns. Serve with baguette slices or crackers.
Shrimp cocktail shooters
Shrimp cocktail is a staple for these gatherings. Dress it up with this simple recipe. Boil water seasoned with lemon juice, a bay leaf, some chunks of onion, kosher salt and a few peppercorns. Add unpeeled shrimp and simmer for five minutes.
Whip up a quick cocktail sauce with ketchup, fresh grated horseradish, lemon juice (and hot sauce for a little extra kick) and pour a little into the bottom of clear shot glasses. Add one piece of shrimp to each and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh Italian parsley.
Refrigerated crescent rolls let you make this appetizer in a snap! Unroll the crescent dough into squares (pinching the seams together if necessary). Spread with cream cheese (garlic-herb or sun-dried tomato are tasty) and top with fresh baby spinach and reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes. Roll it up like a jelly roll and pinch the seam closed. Cut each roll into six squares and bake on a greased sheet at 400 F. until golden brown (about 8 or 10 minutes).
This fun, fresh appetizer is simple and delicious. Just slide a grape tomato, a leaf of fresh basil and a bit of buffalo mozzarella on the tip of a cocktail toothpick. Serve with balsamic vinaigrette for dipping.
Beef carpaccio with capered goat cheese topper
Get rave reviews with an appetizer that’s as beautiful as it is tasty! Thinly slice cooked beef tenderloin and arrange it on a large platter. Mix 4 ounces of room temperature goat cheese with 1/4 cup of capers and mound it on top of the beef medallions. Salt and pepper to taste, then garnish with diced shallots and a drizzle of truffle or olive oil. Serve with toasted baguettes and lemon wedges.