A few favorites, old & new! Hope you’ll find something here to tantalize your taste buds or serve at your next party!

soupA Dozen Inexpensive Holiday Appetizer Ideas: As I searched around the web for appetizer ideas for the Winter Holiday Season, I couldn’t help but compile a “short list.”


fromage xFromage Fort: I often say to make something fancier, just call it by a French name, and Fromage Fort is no exception. Left over cheese – who knew? Whip it up in minutes.

Gourgere thumbnailGougere: These are White Cheddar, but they can be made with all kinds of cheese and flavorings, and best of all can be stuffed with all manner of stuffings! Limited only by your imagination!

Pimento Cheese FriesPimento Cheese Fries: Whether you make them with Tequila Spiked Pimento Cheese or Roasted Red Pepper & Jalapeno Spread – make them. And then thank me, haha! Seriously, they’re that good!

Chips & Crackers:

nutcracker xNut & Seed Crackers: Yes, they’re made with nuts and seeds – perfectly healthy, crunchy and easy, these will surprise you. Flavor them almost any way you’d like with a little or a lot of spice.

Pita Chips xPita Chips, Herbed or Not: So simple to make, and a fraction of the cost of the premade. Customize them to your taste with herbs and spices, whole grain or not, and this is cheaper than buying a bag.

Dips & Spreads:

Aunt Lou's Hot Crab DipAunt Lou’s Hot Crab Dip: Warm, Rich, Creamy with a bit of a horseradish bite, this Crab dip is easy, too. Make with fresh or canned. This is an old passed down family recipe worth resurrecting.

bacon-wrapped-bleu-cheese-dates-3Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates: There was a time I thought these were weird but I was wrong, unless you count weirdly delish! Salty, sweet, smokey, crispy. sticky deliciousness!

Classic Deviled HamClassic Deviled Ham: A marvelous use of left over ham, it’s so old-fashioned it has to be “Retro.” If you haven’t had Deviled Ham for a while, it might be time to revisit. Seriously, people go nuts on this.

Classic Ham SaladClassic Ham Salad: A great use for leftover ham, this is really a classic version – just like Grandma used to make. Beautiful as an appetizer or a sandwich spread & great as a stuffed tomato.

cranberry-rosemary-cheese-spread-2Cranberry Rosemary Cheese Spread: A festive and fun dip with a lot of savory/sweet flavor and tangy creaminess. Very festive and great for Christmas or New Years. (Or anytime.)

Curried Shrimp Spread xCurried Shrimp Spread: This simple appetizer goes like crazy at a party. The little bit of shrimp makes it seem more extravagant than it is. Of course, you can add just a bit or a lot of the curry.

French Onion Dip with Bacon: Plus a healthier bonus recipe. Both are made with marvelous Caramelized Onions, and a few hints to short cut the recipe! You’ll never eat store-bought again.

humm1 xHummus: So simple to make and so healthy and delicious, hummus is versatile. Use it as a dip and spice it up almost any way you want. Serve with Nut & Seed crackers or Pita.

Lima & Pea Crositini1Lima & Pea Crostini: Fresh and lovely, it’s hard to believe it comes from the freezer, and is every bit as good as a Fava version. Best of all, no peeling, minutes to make and so impressive.

french-onion-dipLipton’s Onion Classic Dip: I grew up with this and maybe you did, too? Still wonderful! Make from Lipton’s or use my home-made onion soup mix. Easy, simple & delish.

Marinated Goat Cheese: So simple to make; it just takes a little time to soak up the lovely flavors. A perfect hostess gift when made in a pretty jar. Spread on crackers or crostini.

million-dollar-dipMillion Dollar Dip: Can I say bacon? Maybe I don’t need to say anything else! Make this cheesy, bacony dip the day before for best results and then just try to stop eating it!! Five ingredients.

Old-Fashioned Crab DipMy Mom’s Old-Fashioned Crab Dip: Simply a classic, this crab dip is a cold spread for crackers. It’s bound to be a hit on your buffet table – it was served nearly every party at our house.

Nam Prik OngNam Prik Ong: A delicious dip for veggies or pork rinds – the base is a ground pork but it’s spiked with chilis and full of flavor. Surprisingly delicious, you’ll look for excuses to make it!

pub-cheese-beer-cheese-dip-2Pub or Beer Cheese: So creamy, dreamy & delish, this spread can be served warm or room temp. Spread on crackers or pita chips, warm up and serve with Soft Pretzels. The beer gives it a nice bite.

red-lentil-dip-2Red Lentil Dip with a Spanish Flair: A little unusual, flavored with smoked paprika and a touch of wine, this will win your heart and a place on your buffet table. Creamy, even when cold, it’s perfect for dipping.

red-onion-marmalade-thumbnailRed Onion Marmalade: A wonderful winey, caramelized concoction of Red Onion. Perfect as a condiment but wonderful as a little spread on crostini or with crackers & cream or goat cheese.

Cheese SpreadRoasted Red Pepper & Jalapeno Cheddar Spread: Like an updated Pimento Cheese, this little dip has a touch of heat and a ton of flavor. Minutes to make, too, so its great for company or tv night!

roasted-red-pepper-hummusRoasted Red Pepper Hummus: Creamy, dreamy with just a hint of spice you’ll crave this dip! Try it on crackers, flatbread or an assortment of veggies. Super easy to make – use a food processor or nutri-bullet.

Smoked Salmon Cheesecake xSmoked Salmon Cheesecake: A savory cheesecake perfect for a party – it’s make ahead, no fuss, easily transportable and surprisingly delish! Freezes very well, too. Make one large or two small.

roasted-cauliflower-hummusSmoky Cauliflower Hummus: A beautiful dip or spread that’s going to make your next party. If you like a touch of heat combined with smoky paprika in a rich, creamy base, you’ll go nuts for this.

Smoky Jalapeno Bacon DipSmoky Jalapeno Bacon Dip: Creamy, smoky, tangy deliciousness with just a touch of heat. It seriously doesn’t get better than this! It’s like a jalapeno popper in a dip, only better!

smoky-tomato-chutney-4Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney: A complex blending of spices, vinegar and a secret or two makes this one outstanding condiment – try it on crackers, in a sandwich or maybe a meatloaf.

Smoky Salmon Spread1Smoky Salmon Spread: So beautiful and fresh, you’ll never believe it took five minutes to make! Think of this when you’re have a party, St. Pat’s, Easter or a Shower. Or any time!

tomato-jam-4Spicy Tomato Jam: Just a little saucy with a hint of spicy, this really a condiment, but it makes a wonderful app; spread goat cheese or cream cheese on a cracker and add a dab of this deliciousness!

Pimento CheeseTequila Spiked Pimento Cheese: A sophisticated twist on this down country favorite, you’ll love this as a spread, filling for a sandwich or broiled over fries. Perfect for a casual party.

White Bean Dip xWhite Bean Dip with Herbs and Olive Oil: Inexpensive, Delicious, Trendy and Healthy, what more could I say about this dip? Oh, easy, too. Perfect for drop in guests or impromptu parties.

Sun-dried Tomato DipZippy Sun-Dried Tomato Dip: Serve up something unexpected at your next party! This is deliciously easy and has a little zippiness. You’ll just want more, more, more!

Individual Appetizers:

arancini-2Arancini: Stuffed, breaded and deep-fried Risotto Balls. These little gems are an impressive appetizer and a great way to use up left over Risotto. They may even be better than the original dish.

Candied Pecans xCandied Pecans: While these were originally posted as a salad “add-in” they deserve a place here in apps. Spice them up with cayenne or a spice blend or rub if you’d like.

caramelized onion3 xCaramelized Onion Galette: A free form tart of caramelized onion spiked with thyme in a buttery pastry. Inexpensive, yet so Gourmet! It takes time, so make extra onions to stash away for later!

Cheddar, Bacon & Jalapeno Stuffed Mushrooms: Any stuffed mushrooms are good, but these say “now”. As in trendy, delicious and make them now great! These are not your Granny’s mushrooms.

chorizo-polenta-bites-2Cheesy Chorizo Polenta Bites: Beautiful little appetizers in just the right size to pick up and eat in a bite or two. Spicy Chorizo, cheese & the crispy, creamy polenta. These are going to be a favorite for a long time.

Corned Beef Fritters: A new fave to use leftover corned beef, these are pretty amazing. Corned beef & cheese rolled in mashed potatoes, breaded and deep fried – how could you say no?

Chipotle Pulled Pork Empanadas thumbnailEmpanadas: These are made from Chipotle Pulled Pork & an assortment of gorgeous vegetables, but use my rules of thumb to make your own marvelous combinations. Freezes well.

DSCN8539xFilled BBQ Won Ton Cups: While many of my recipes have at least some quality that might be at least a little healthy, these I serve just because they are so darned addictive, so make a bunch. Easy.

fried-green-tomatoes-3Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Remoulade Sauce: This has got to be the ultimate recipe for these juicy, tangy, crispy, crunchy app, and the spicy sauce is different (& outstanding!)

Fried Pork WontonsFried Pork Wontons: You’ll love this very classic recipe often found in restaurants – it’s long been a family fave. A bit tedious to fold but easy and very do-able and they freeze well (if you don’t inhale them all!)

Garden Tomato Tart: Cut into small wedges or better yet, squares, for a lovely appetizer. Don’t even begin to confuse this with pizza; the crust is like cheese straws and the intensity of flavor is amazing.

Italian Stuffed PeppersItalian Stuffed Peppers: Fun little mini-bells stuffed with Italian sausage and cheese. Just make them ahead and pop them in the oven when you need them for stress free entertaining.

Crab Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno PoppersJalapeno Poppers, Crab Stuffed Bacon Wrapped: Incredibly good with a twist to make them the best – slow roasted or smoked for an hour to an hour and a half. Crazy huh? Crazy good!

Mini Peppers stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese: And they’re drizzled with a little balsamic honey. Rich, tangy, sweet and just perfect for a party! Plus they’re just a little fancy (and faster) when piped.

Pepperoni PinwheelsPepperoni & Asiago Pinwheels: Quick to make with frozen puff pastry, these are both fun to make and eat! A great crowd pleaser and I dare you to stop eating them! A fun recipe to experiment with, too.

Pimento Cheese & Chorizo Stuffed PeppersPimento Cheese & Chorizo Stuffed Peppers: Another mini-bell pepper recipe but these are ooey, gooey and have a good bit of spice. The chorizo plays off the pimento cheese so well! May cause cravings; you’ve been warned!

Potato Skins xPotato Skins: Why let left over baked potatoes languish in the fridge when what can be done with them may very well be better than the original? Option for baked or fried.

potsticker1Reuben Potstickers: A fun play that combines two excellent dishes, these potstickers are light, airy, perfect. Combine them with the Cheesy Dipping sauce & you’ll have all the flavors.

spicy-korean-meatballs-2Spicy Korean Meatballs: Fun little meatballs with a bit of a Korean kick, and the sweet/spicy sticky glaze will blow you away. They’ll be a big hit at your next party or get together!

stuffed-mushrooms-xStuffed Mushrooms with Wine: A bit different than most, dry roasted with lots of winey flavor, cheese if you wish, these are a great Vegetarian option for the buffet table, and even carnivores don’t notice!


Oven Roasted ChickpeasCrispy Oven Roasted Chickpeas: If you’ve tried these and been disappointed, try this version! Perfectly crispy, flavor them with any spice blend or mix or customize your own.

Crispy Beer Battered Onion RingsCrispy Vidalia Onion Rings and Assorted Vegetables: with Chili Lime Dipping Sauce: Everything one could want in a beer batter: Crispy, light, ethereal. These are well behaved, too!

Irish Pub Nachos: Put these “nachos” made with potatoes and all kinds of goodness: wing sauce, cheese, home-made ranch and salsa in the center of the table and watch it be devoured!

white-chocolate-christmas-popcorn-party-mix-2White Chocolate Christmas Popcorn Party Mix: We were won over by this addictive sweet/salty snack. Seriously hard to stop eating, so make a lot! And make this for gifts, too!


Aji SalsaAji Salsa: I’ve fallen in love with this simple salsa – although not married to it for life , this sweet/sour salsa will always have a place in my heart and my fridge! I know you’ll love it, too.

Fire Roasted Salsa xFire Roasted Red Salsa: One of our favorites, a spicy, tangy salsa perfect of dipping chips or as a side for almost any Mexican dish. So easy and so much better (and cheaper) than store-bought.

Tomatillo SalsaxFire Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, better than Chipotle’s: Picking my favorite Salsa is like picking a favorite child. I may love them all, but they’re each a distinct personality! This one’s great!

Pico de Gallo Salsa xPico de Gallo: The absolute classic salsa is a cinch to throw together at home. No reason, really to ever buy the stuff in the jar when this fresh, bright salsa is so quick and easy.

pineapple-mango-salsa-2Pineapple Mango Salsa: Destined to become a new family favorite this is bright, vibrant & fresh and just as good as a dipping salsa with your fave chips as a side for just about any “Island” meal.

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa: Serve with Southwestern or Mexican meals, or in a salad as shown, or as a side or why not as a dip. You can’t go wrong with these roasted flavors and lime!

Salsa from Nothin’ – Restaurant Style: So simple from what you have lying around the kitchen, five minutes to make and customizable to your heat level and ingredients.


buffalo wingChicken Wing Pricing: Before the big game, I took a look through my paper; what wings were the best value? Fresh, Frozen, Marinated? Take a peek to learn how to compare.

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