Entertaining 101: Easy Appetizers

I (Alaina) like to provide a couple of appetizers when people arrive so I can put the finishing touches on dinner. Fresh veggies and dip are a great option as well as an assortment of olives or a cheese & fruit platter. My advice is to keep appetizers simple and light. Here are just a few of our favorite recipes – they would also be suitable for snacks at a party.

This brie is probably my all-time favorite appetizer. It’s easy, delicious and gourmet. I buy the brie at Costco – it’s under $6 for a 27 oz. or so wheel of baby brie. I serve it with crackers and/or bread, pears, and apples.

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HONEY FRUIT & NUT BRIE
Alaina

1/2 c. dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 c. pecans, walnuts, or almonds, coarsely chopped
2 Tb. butter
1/3 c. honey
1 lg. round of brie

Saute pecans in butter. Combine fruit, nuts, and honey. Cut rind off top of brie. Pour fruit & nut mixture over brie. Bake in oven until melted or you can  microwave it for a couple of minutes until soft and melty. Serve with crackers, bread cubes, and/or fruit slices.

This is perhaps one of the easiest appetizers. It is delicious! You can use any kind of preserves but my favorite is cherry. I generally choose a jar of locally made preserves – they taste so fresh.

FRUITED CREAM CHEESE
Alaina

1 – 8oz. block or tub of cream cheese (can use reduced fat)
1 jar of preserves

Spread cream cheese on a plate and top with preserves. Serve with crackers,

This delicious hummus recipe is from Heather. This dip looks so festive surrounded by blue corn tortilla chips. You could also serve it with fresh vegetables, crackers, or pita wedges.

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SUN-DRIED TOMATO HUMMUS
Heather

4-5 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in boiling water for about 15 minutes
2 (15.5 ounce) cans chick peas, drained
1/4 c. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
1-2 tsp. ground cumin (to taste)

Put the soaked sun-dried tomatoes, chick peas, olive oil, and lemon into a food processor and process until a smooth consistency is formed. If you feel it is too thick, you can either add more olive oil, or a few teaspoons of water. Add salt, pepper, and cumin to taste. Keeps for several days in the refrigerator.

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