Simple Last Minute Thanksgiving Appetizers

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Fried Herb Almonds from MarthaStewart.com
Fried Herb Almonds from MarthaStewart.com

There are people who won’t eat anything on the day of Thanksgiving in anticipation of the feast. These recipes aren’t for them.

Whether you’re entertaining a large group or cooking for a small family, appetizers can make a special occasion even more festive. They can also deal with people (kids) who can’t seem to stop asking, “when’s dinner?”

Fruit, veggie and cheese trays are ubiquitous at parties. *Yawn* You can step things up without spending a lot of time on preparation, which frankly, is in short supply if you’re cooking for Thanksgiving.

Nice, small finger foods always work. They’re just enough to take the edge off appetites without filling people up. Go for nuts. Not only are they delicious, almonds help lower cholesterol. Martha Stewart has a fantastic, easy and quick recipe for Fried Herb Almonds.

I know I made fun of the cheese tray, but it doesn’t take much work to up the game here from a tray of slices and cubes to something really pretty. Country Living has a recipe for Goat Cheese Logs that takes goat cheese and dresses it up with herbs and spices. It’s quick and easy to adapt to what you have on hand. My favorite thing to do with cheese is bake it in puff pastry and I do it as often as I can.

Baked Brie with Apricot and Almonds

  • There’s no science to this. Lay out a sheet of frozen puff pastry that you’ve thawed. You may need to roll it out a bit so it’s big enough to completely wrap around a whole wheel of brie cheese. Lay the brie wheel in the middle of the pastry. Spread the top of the cheese with a generous layer of apricot preserves. Sprinkle sliced or chopped almonds on top. Wrap the whole in the pastry and bake the whole for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. You can use different preserves and nuts and suit the amounts to your needs.

Country Living also has a recipe for Smoky Popcorn that doesn’t belong anywhere near a movie theater. They say to “Give popcorn a flavor boost by tossing it with aged Gouda and smoked paprika.” I say, listen to them.

Kitchen Simplicity offers Three No-Bake Thanksgiving Appetizers, and considering that your oven is probably working overtime, this is a great idea.

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels

* 1 teaspoon dijon
* 2 tablespoon mayo
* 1 tablespoon sour cream
* 1/2 teaspoon honey
* pinch of dried dill
* 100g thinly sliced smoked salmon
* 3 (6 inch) flour tortillas

1. Mix together djon, mayo, sour cream, honey and dill. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto each tortilla. Top with a thin layer of salmon, leaving a 1 inch gap on one side (to leave room for the shifting fillings when rolling). Roll up toward the gap and wrap firmly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
2. To serve: Trim the ends and slice each roll into 6 slices. Serve immediately.

Go to the site for delectable recipes for Creamy Pumpkin Pie Dip and Mini “Pumpkin” Cheese Balls. The pumpkin balls are adorable.

Finally, there’s something really comforting about the Houston Press’ blog post, Redneck Thanksgiving Appetizers. Recipes for Shrimp Dip and Ham Puffs made with a can of deviled ham aren’t just redneck, but conjur up memories of the cocktail parties my parents threw in the 70’s. Put Frank Sinatra on the stereo and you’re set.

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