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Party poppers three ways

Jess Smith

Planning for a crowd? Spice things up with something that goes beyond chips and dip. These creative party appetizers offer something for everyone.

Barbecue Chicken Pita Pizzas

Barbecue chicken pita pizzas

Serves 10

Quick and kid-friendly, these bite-sized pita pizzas combine barbecue sauce, creamy mozzarella and tart red onions.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 12 ounces total)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup sweet barbecue sauce
  • 10 small pita bread rounds (measuring about 4 inches in diameter)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Pour vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown, about five minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, and flip over to cook the other side. When chicken is cooked through, transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool. Chop cooked chicken into small pieces and transfer to a small bowl. Pour barbecue sauce over the chicken and stir to combine.
  3. Place the pita rounds on a large baking sheet. Top each pita round evenly with chicken, red onion slices and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and begins to bubble, eight to 10 minutes. Remove and cut into small slices. Serve immediately.
Loaded Taco Minis

Loaded taco minis

Yield 32 mini tacos

You won’t believe how easy it is to make your own mini baked taco shells for these one-bite loaded tacos.


  • 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas, cut into fourths
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar sour cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a large mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Gently press each piece of tortilla into a space in the muffin tin, using fingertips to flatten the tortilla into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Place a heaping teaspoon of beans into the bottom of each tortilla, pressing it down with the back of the spoon. Top the beans evenly with shredded cheese.
  4. Bake until the edges of the tortillas are golden brown and the cheese is melted, eight to 10 minutes.
  5. Remove tortillas from the oven and transfer to a large plate or serving tray. Top with a dollop of sour cream, salsa and a few slices of shallot. Serve immediately.

Note: These can be made ahead by preparing the tortillas through the end of the third step and refrigerating for up to a day. Just bring to room temperature before baking. Feel free to mix these up and add your favorite taco toppings!

Potato Poppers with Caramelized Onion "Dip"

Potato poppers with caramelized onion “dip” 

Serves 10

This twist on the party favorite of potato chips and onion dip comes together in a flash, and is easy to snack on while holding a drink in the other hand.


  • 1 pound baby potatoes (about 25 total), cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the potato halves on the baking sheet, cut-side facing up. Brush the surface of each potato with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Place in the preheated oven and roast until tender, 25 to 35 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are roasting, in a medium skillet over low-medium heat, combine the onion and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions caramelize and turn a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add sugar and continue cooking until the sugar is melted. Remove from heat.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the caramelized onions, cream cheese, sour cream, garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until evenly combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to three days.
  4. When the potato halves are cool, transfer them to a large plate or serving tray. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of the onion mixture and sprinkle with green onion slices. Serve any of the leftover caramelized onion mixture in a small bowl on the side.

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