As we count down the days to Thanksgiving, we have one eye on the turkey and another eye on the upcoming holiday season. If you’re like me, you are probably starting to feel stressed about all the obligations that come along with this time of the year, wondering when you’ll have time to make all the cookies, buy all the presents, checking on some stored discount coupons in the cabinet and juggle all the friends and family who will drop by for some holiday cheer. Many will be invited, but others will just show up with only a few hours notice. It’s the latter group that is more concerning, since you don’t always have time to whip up some snacks or appetizers. Sure, you could open a bag of chips and a container of pre-made dip, but the chef in you finds that sacrilegious.
So what’s a gal or guy to do? Well, while you still have some time, this is an opportunity to come up with a game plan and get your refrigerator and pantry in gear for any unexpected, last-minute drop-ins. Stocking up on some versatile food basics will allow you to whip together some delicious munchies in no time flat.
There are some staples that you should always have in your pantry for those impromptu moments that call for something to eat that is quick, easy and tasty. We all have our own taste preferences, but these are some of the “go to”items you will always find in my kitchen and which can be mixed and matched in various combinations to make great-tasting finger food. Pop open a bottle of wine of your choosing, and you can be assured of being the perfect host.
Beans: Cannellini, Garbanzo, black and refried
Salsa: Both hot and mild
Canned fruit salad
Mayonnaise – not Miracle Whip
Vanilla instant pudding – not sugar free
Frozen puff pastry
Apricot (or your favorite flavor) jam
Corn and Flour tortillas
Knorr’s vegetable soup mix
Diced water chestnuts
Frozen chopped spinach
Assorted crackers, pita chips, tortilla strips
Three No-Fail, Popular and Delicious Throw-Together Appetizers
Here are a few simple and delicious recipes that you can whip together in just a few minutes. All can be adapted to incorporate seasonings that suit your palate.
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl. Serve with pita chips or crackers of your choice.
Fruited Cream Cheese Spread
Everyone will want this recipe!
2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2 – (15.25 ounce) cans fruit cocktail, drained and chopped fine
1 – (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
¼ cup coconut (optional)
¾ cup chopped almonds (optional)
Using a stand or hand mixer, mix together cream cheese, fruit cocktail, and instant pudding mix. Add 1/4 cup almonds and coconut, if desired. Serve with your favorite crackers.
Note: You can substitute drained, crushed pineapple for the fruit salad.
Classic Spinach Dip
This is quick, easy and a crowd favorite.
1 – 10 oz. package of frozen, chopped spinach, well drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. Knorr’s vegetable soup mix
1 can of water chestnuts, minced
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and sour cream together. Blend in dry vegetable soup mix and water chestnuts. Fold in spinach and mix until well blended. Serve with your favorite crackers or party rye and party pumpernickel bread.
Here are some more quick and tasty recipes from our FriendsEat.com recipe database.
Grilled Quesadillas – these go together quickly and are perennial favorites.
Cheesey Spinach and Artichoke Dip – this is always a crowd pleaser.
Cheese Crisps – frozen puff pastry is the miracle ingredient in this fast and delicious treat.
Take stock of what’s in your pantry and put together your own emergency stash of ingredients so you can make some magic when unexpected guests drop by.
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