Prepared appetizers to have on hand
Every “self-respecting” Southern woman should keep a block of cream cheese in the fridge and a jar of red pepper jelly in the pantry, according to a book I once read. That way, our quintessential Southern hostess could quickly dump the jelly over the cream cheese and serve with crackers to any guests who happened by.
At this time of year when your to-do list is a mile long (and growing) and you have neighbors, friends and family passing through, you might need some nibbles to offer guests. If jellied cream cheese is not quite your style, here are a few prepared appetizers you might pick up to have on hand.
If you shop at:
- Seafood Tortas by Inland Market: These molded cream-cheese based seafood spreads come in several flavors. They present nicely — just invert them and pop them onto your serving dish. The flavors in the crab and artichoke version with sun-dried tomatoes have broad appeal, making it a safe choice for guests. Other flavors include smoked salmon with pickled ginger, sesame and wasabi, lobster, roasted corn and basil, and shrimp with roasted tomatoes, zucchini and basil.
- Masala Lentil Dip: This sweet and spicy dip with tahini, masala spices, brown sugar, ginger and garlic pairs nicely with toasted pita and raw veggies.
- Pastry Bites with Feta and Caramelized Onions: These miniature puff pastries pack a sweet onion and creamy cheese interior when heated. You’ll find these and other flavors in the frozen section.
- Smoked Salmon Dip (prepared by Whole Foods): Sure, you could do this yourself by blending some cream cheese, smoked salmon and seasonings together. But, if you don’t have time, try this very smoky version with crackers or veggies. You can usually find this in an ice case near the seafood counter.
- Curry Chicken Samosas with Chutney (prepared by Whole Foods): Packed two to a box, these oversized triangles are stuffed with spiced chicken, potatoes, green lentils and onions. As you would expect, they get a touch soft when heated in the microwave according to package instructions. But the flavors, especially when served with the accompanying chutney, override that flaw. You’ll want to cut these in half to serve as appetizers. You might also pick up some extra chutney for serving.
Share ideas! Tell us your favorite prepared appetizers and where to get them.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog