Quick, open the cupboard, guests are dropping by with little notice and you want to offer snacks. What to do? The commercial on TV with toothpicks stuck in peanut butter cups isn’t a bad idea but there are other clever tricks you can use to feed guests on short notice.
Cocktail wieners in a nice sauce are great appetizers but hotdogs sliced into four pieces will also work. Cook them in any barbecue sauce you have on hand and add toothpicks. If you have grape or cherry jelly and chili sauce on hand combine equal amounts of chili sauce and jelly to make a unique sauce.
If you have lunch meat and flour tortillas on hand make these quick snacks. Put salad dressing on a flour tortilla; add a few thin slices of lunch meat, a slice or two of cheese or some shredded cheese, lettuce and then a second tortilla smeared with salad dressing. Press together, then cut into several bite sized pieces and add toothpicks. A mixture of softened cream cheese and flavorings such as chives or red pepper can be used in place of salad dressing.
Of course any thing on crackers is great, cheese, sliced meat or summer sausage, vegetables. If crackers aren’t available make toast points by toasting bread, cutting off the crust and cutting the slice into 4 triangle shaped pieces. For a nice appetizer add a slice or two of hard boiled egg, a small piece of cooked bacon or ham and a cherry tomato half- all held together by a toothpick of course. Egg salad, tuna, or chicken salad can be put on crackers or toast points.
Chips or crackers with dip can be simple and very filling. Use your imagination to whip up tasty dips. Use a can of nacho cheddar soup and a can of chili without beans mixed together for a great dip. Use a can of small cooked salad shrimp, drained, mixed with 8 ounces of soft cream cheese, 1/2 cup each of finely minced onion and celery, 1 stick of softened butter, 1/4 cup of salad dressing and 2 tablespoons lemon juice for a great shrimp dip.
Even good, home baked bread and some dipping sauce make a good quick appetizer. Combine herbs with a good brand of olive oil for dipping or mix herbs into plain yogurt for a dip. Sneaky tip – a good brand of Italian salad dressing can make a good bread dip.
Deviled eggs require few ingredients. Hard boil eggs, then peel them carefully and slice length wise. Save whites on a plate and put cooked yolks in a bowl. Add salad dressing, a bit of mustard, some finely chopped onion and a little pickle relish to the yolks and blend until you have a creamy filling. You can experiment with the egg filling by adding spices or a tiny bit of hot sauce. Adding cooked, crumbled bacon or tiny ham chucks to the filling is really tasty. Fill the egg white halves with the spread and dust with seasoned salt and pepper.
If you have canned biscuits on hand you have the makings for several nice snacks. Grease a muffin pan and push each biscuit into a shell, (cup) shape. Bake until golden brown. Then add fillings to each muffin cup. Fillings could be ground beef cooked like sloppy joes, spicy ground sausage and nacho cheese, ground beef with mushroom gravy, diced cooked chicken or turkey with some cooked peas and gravy – like tiny pot pies, ground beef with taco seasoning and taco cheese, baked beans and thin hotdog slices, scrambled eggs with peppers and cheese, even cooked veggies with a cheese sauce.
Or you can flatten biscuit dough on a greased cookie sheet. Add cooked meats and cheeses to the center of each, fold over the dough, crimp the edges, brush with melted butter and bake for delicious appetizers.
Canned biscuits can make some sweet treats too. Turn the biscuits into shells like above and fill with pudding, pie filling, fruit and cheese, or melted chocolate, caramel and nuts. Canned biscuits or crescent rolls can also be flattened on a greased cookie sheet, spread with melted butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and crushed nuts and baked until brown. Cut into small pieces and serve.
Another quick sweet snack is fruit with dip. Slice fruits like apples, pears, and add whole strawberries, grapes and melon or pineapple chunks with toothpicks. Here’s a festive dip for the holidays – mix together 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 cup of marshmallow cream, 8 ounces of whipped topping and a 1/4 cup of dry gelatin mix, red or green preferred for the holidays. For an adult dip mix together – 1-1/2 cups sour cream, 1 cup of light brown sugar, 1/4 cup of dry gelatin mix in red or green color and about a shot glass full of your favorite liqueur.
Here are some additional desperate moments tricks. Bake a frozen pizza and cut into small pieces. Bake tater tots, add a small piece of bacon to each, spear with a toothpick. Slice deli subs into thin slices and add toothpicks. Even burgers or chicken nuggets from the nearest fast food place can be cut into pieces with toothpicks added.
If you frequently have pop in guests keeping some canned biscuits, ready to bake cookies, cheese, sausage or lunch meat, fruit and vegetables, seasonal candy and nuts and a good selection of spices and condiments on hand will allow you to be a great hostess on a moments notice. Don’t forget toothpicks- anything stuck on them becomes an appetizer just like that!