Whether you call them starters, hors d’oeuvres or appetizers, they all accomplish the same purpose. You need a tasty dish to whet the appetite without filling up your guests before the main course. And when it comes to the holidays, we typically tend to think traditionally while menu planning. But, even if your dinner table is lined with turkey, ham, cranberry sauce and all the usual fare, it doesn’t mean your pre-meal goodies must be seasonal.
Appetizers That Are Thinking Outside the Box
1. Crunchy Shrimp Bites
These little beauties are so simple, they take all of 45 minutes from prep to serve. You can even get the only cooking done needed a day before.
- 1 small package frozen shrimp (25 – 40 pieces)
- 1 package circular crackers, flavor of choice (25 – 40 pieces)
- 1 3oz package cream cheese
- 1 medium zucchini squash, chopped into medallions
- Lemon pepper seasoning
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- Sautee or boil the shrimp based on package instructions. You can also get good cooking tips for shrimp from your grocery store butcher. They know everything!
- After cooking the shrimp, place in a medium mixing bowl. Pour 2 on top tablespoons melted butter or margarine and 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning. Use hands to mix and coat shrimp thoroughly.
- Place shrimp bowl into refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Choose serving plate. It’s easiest to build these bites directly onto the plate you’ll present them on. Plus, it dirties fewer dishes!
- Use spoon or knife to spread about ½ tablespoon of cream cheese onto the top of each cracker.
- Place 1 squash medallion on top of cream cheese, pressing gently.
- Spread another layer of ½ tablespoon of cream cheese on top of squash medallion.
- Then, place one shrimp on top, pressing gently.
- Continue this process to create a beautiful design on your presentation plate! You can place the bites in circles, triangles or even make your own turkey outline!
- Running low on time during Thanksgiving Day? You can cook the shrimp the day before, and store them covered in the refrigerator. Then, pull them out when you’re ready to assemble your crunchy shrimp bites!
- Keep in mind that shrimp should not be left out at room temperature for long. Check with your butcher on the safest amount of time this appetizer can sit out before it needs to be refrigerated again. You should keep an eye on the cream cheese too. But, with how good these taste… we’re guessing they’ll go quickly!
2. Fresh Guacamole and Tortilla Chips
Here's an aperitivo that will make you say "¡Arriba!" While it’s not a traditional dish, we think this fresh guacamole will hit the spot! Plus, if you have left over cooked shrimp from the above recipe, why not use them to garnish the top of this yummy dip?
- 5 medium avocados
- 1 large tomato
- 1 large white onion
- 2-3 jalapeños (if you like your guacamole spicy)
- 1 small bottle green hot sauce
- 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 large bag tortilla chips
- Peel and core avocados. Chop into slices.
- Dice tomato, onion and jalapeños.
- Place avocado slices in bowl and mash until a creamy texture.
- Add chopped tomato, onion and jalapeños.
- Chop lime into quarters, and squeeze to add juice to the mixture.
- Add garlic powder.
- Add hot sauce to taste.
- Mix well and keep chilled until serving with tortilla chips.
- You can chop your onions, tomato, jalapeño and limes the day before and refrigerate. Just be sure to store the onions separately. They’ll spread their taste to all they touch if you don’t!
- Best not to leave guacamole out for more than 6 hours, so refrigerate leftovers and serve again on the next day!
3. Easy, Healthy Celery Cheese Sticks
These are sure to please your calorie-conscious guests, but they’re delicious enough to tempt the whole guest list! And they’re so easy, you can count on having them prepped in 30 minutes or less!
- One head of celery
- 1 20 oz. tub of pimento cheese spread
- Peel and chop celery stalks into 4-6 inch sticks.
- Spoon pimento cheese spread into the trough of each celery stick.
- Pour a little extra pimento cheese into a dipping bowl.
- Arrange prepared sticks on plate around this bowl. And, voilà! Serve!
Looking for other great holiday recipe ideas from Mr. Appliance? CLICK HERE to view our whole collection!