Whether it’s game day, holiday parties or family get-togethers its best to try to prepare food in advance. If you are hosting a party, making food ahead of the event allows you to be more relaxed and enjoy yourself. Consider some of these ideas the next time you need make ahead appetizers and make them well-enough ahead that you will have nearly everything made and will only have to thaw, warm up or open them and place them on the serving table.
- Mini Quiches can be made and frozen up to a month or so ahead of time. Use prepared pie crusts cut into small circles and press them into muffin tins. Fill them with anything from chopped olive and mushrooms to tiny shrimp and eggs. Use your imagination to come up with sweet quiches as well as savory ones.
- Party Mix using different cereals can be made up to a month or so before needed as long as they are sealed tightly and people stay out of them until the party starts. There are many versions of this appetizer so find one your family enjoys.
- Pepper-Jack Empanadas are triangle pastries made with phyllo dough. Make these by brushing butter over single layers of phyllo dough until you have three layers. Cut these into three inch wide strips. Place a small amount of filling – cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, chopped parsley, walnuts, egg, and ricotta – on one end and fold over into triangles. Bake them in a 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. If you plan to prepare ahead, place each appetizer on a baking sheet and freeze. When frozen, place them in a zip top bag and put them back in the freezer. The pastry would be placed on the baking sheet seam down to bake them.
- Corn Salsa with Blue Corn Chips adds a colorful splash to your party table. This salsa can be made with fresh, frozen or canned corn. Add chopped tomato, minced jalapeno, chopped red onion, minced cilantro, minced garlic, lime juice and olive oil. The flavors become more intense the longer they are stored, up to three days in advance.
- Spiced nuts are a great make ahead appetizer. Using your favorite nuts, you can make them savory, spicy or sweet depending upon the seasonings you use.
There are so many places to find good recipes for make-ahead appetizers. Television cooking shows often demonstrate how to make appetizers as well as cookbooks, cooking blogs and magazines being easy to access.