One thing I have learned since ‘growing up’ a little bit is this: Everyone love appetizers. From cheese trays to hot wings, a party (even one in your small apartment) isn’t complete without them. And, not only does everyone love apps, but they are a quick and easy, and usually cheap way to feed a crowd. If you’re tight on money or don’t want to throw a full-on dinner party (for which you can find tips here) on New Year’s Eve, invite your closest friends over for a drink, a few bites to eat and to watch the ball drop.
Here are apartment-tested and approved appetizers you can easily whip up for get-togethers you’re hosting or for those you’re invited to!
Charcuterie and cheese tray
So, yes…charcuterie is the fancy way to say “assorted meats” on a plate, but this one is too yummy to pass up! Build your plate with a mix of cheese slices / blocks (use different flavors and textures for variety) and salami, prosciutto, or ham. Lay everything on a pretty cutting board or serving platter, add a single bunch of grapes, a few strawberries, a handful of crackers or nice bread slices, plus a jar or honey mustard and you are all set!
Chips & dip
Possibly even easier than a charcuterie tray is bringing out crackers or chips paired with tasty dip. A few classic ideas to consider:
- Spinach dip with pita bread
- Clam dip with potato chips
- French onion dip with potato chips
- Salsa / cheese dip with tortilla chips
- Hummus with pita bread
- Substitute carrot and celery sticks to make these options gluten-free and healthier! Most can be purchased from your local grocery store or handmade if you have extra time
A tray of vegetables is also a crowd-pleaser, especially if you have health-conscious friends (or if you’re planning on a heavy dinner after appetizers). Think through different textures and flavors, but stick to popular veggies so you’re not left with tons of leftovers. Consider carrots, celery, small broccolis, red peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes etc. Your tray can be served bare, or alongside a dish of Ranch dressing, hummus, or other dipping sauce for extra flavor.
This is my FAVORITE appetizer of all time, as it includes two of my favorite things: Cheese and bread. For this easy recipe, buy a small round of your favorite cheese (gouda or brie work well) and a can of crescent rolls or package of frozen puff pastry. Unroll the entire crescent roll dough or a sheet of puff pastry, place your unwrapped cheese round in the center, and wrap the dough around it. Pop it in the oven following the package instructions and serve warm! This is a true crowd-pleaser! For more specific instructions, check out the original crescent roll recipe here and the puff pastry recipe here.
Don’t forget your frozen options, as well! Your grocery store likely has many kinds of appetizers to pop in the over. Check out meatballs, chicken wings, egg rolls, dumplings, and quiche in the frozen section. These are easy ways to add more complicated appetizers to your menu without spending too much time in the kitchen. (Your parents’ go-to place for these goodies is Costco. Check if you can use their membership card to stock up for your parties.)
When serving…Think of trays you already have handy. Wooden cutting boards, large dinner plates, and cereal bowls work great as platters and serving dishes. While it is nice to own fancy serving trays, save some extra money and use what you have!
What are your go-to appetizers to make or bring to a party? The easier, the better! Leave your ideas in the comments.