June 10th 2010
Appetizers are tidbits of food served before the main meal and are intended to stimulate the appetite. They can be hot or cold and are usually finger food. Appetizers sometimes make a meal all their own and can be better than the entre. Bars will often serve salty appetizers to make customers drink more. When I was a kid, the only time we had appetizers was when dinner was ready but dad was late getting home from work. Then we might get a few crackers with peanut butter. I don’t know why we didn’t just start eating dinner.
Appetizers don’t have to be complicated. Easy appetizers can be as simple as a bowl of pretzels or cracker and cheese. The level of appetizer difficulty can be raised slightly by adding pepperoni to the plate of cheese. One of my favorite restaurants serves a bowl of buttery, salty popcorn upon being seated. Another of my favorite restaurants serves bowls of shelled peanuts while waiting for your meal and encourages throwing the shells on the floor.
Here are a couple of my favorite easy appetizers.
First up is “Ranch Oyster Crackers.” In a large bowl combine ¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder and lemon pepper, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, ½ teaspoon of dried dill weed and a 1 ounce package of Ranch dressing mix. Add in 5 cups of oyster crackers and mix until coated well. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 250 degrees. Let cool a bit before serving.
Next we have “Salsa Crackers”. In a bowl mix 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 cup of Salsa (mild, medium or hot as desired), and chill for about an hour in the refrigerator. Top Triscuit crackers with a teaspoon of the mixture and eat immediately. (Mixture will cover approximately 36 crackers)
“Ham Roll Ups” is another easy recipe and sure to become a favorite. In a bowl mix 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1 can (2-1/4 ounce) chopped olives, 1/3 cup of thinly sliced green onion. Spread over thinly sliced ham. Roll up jelly roll style. Chill for at least an hour before serving, and then cut into bite size pieces. Mixture will cover 8 to 10 ham slices.
If you like shrimp, you will love “Barbara’s Shrimpie Spread”. In a bowl mix softened cream cheese, ½ cup sour cream, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 cup cocktail sauce, 2 cans (4-1/4 ounces each) of shrimp (rinsed and drained), 1 cup of chopped green onion, ¾ cup of finely chopped tomato. Put the mixture into a serving bowl and top with2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese. Chill in a covered container the refrigerator at least 2 hours then serve with your favorite crackers of pita chips.
Here is one more easy appetizer recipe. “Spicy stuffed celery” will compliment any dinner table. In a bowl mix 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with a tablespoon of Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce, a tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and 1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper. Wash and cut celery sticks to the desired length and fill each stick with mixture. Shake on celery salt, if desired. Be sure to have a glass of milk handy if you eat these easy appetizers.