Ten appetizers in half an hour

James Carrier
Assemble a variety of dishes in a snap

So you'd love to have a party during the holidays but think you don't have enough time? Think again. This hearty appetizer menu relies on purchased, almost-ready foods. With a few tweaks, they look like specialties of the house.

Appetizer Party for 12

Baked Brie with Green Salsa
Gingered Shrimp with Belgian Endive
Smoked Salmon with Dill
• Sausage Bites with Mustards
• Sugar Snap Peas, Cherry Tomatoes, and Baby-cut Carrots
• Savory Dips
• Selection of Olives
• Seasoned Nuts, Plain and Fancy


The night before: Assemble serving containers, utensils, and ingredients. Measure any ingredients that can stand, covered, at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

30 minutes before guests arrive:

Prepare and bake brie.

Heat sausages and keep warm (in chafing dish with hot-water bath or on electric warming tray).

Prepare shrimp and Belgian endive.

Prepare salmon.

Rinse vegetables. Moisten peeled baby-cut carrots with seasoned rice vinegar to keep fresh-looking. Group vegetables and dips on trays.

Put olives, nuts, breads, chips, mustards, and sour cream in serving dishes.

In addition to the recipe ingredients, you'll need the following.

Sausages: 1 1/2 to 2 pounds ready-to-heat cooked sausages, such as chicken-apple, fennel, or Polish (kielbasa). Use mini-sausages or cut large ones into 1-inch chunks. Heat them in a frying pan, the oven, or a microwave oven. Accompany with two or three kinds of mustard and serve with miniature pocket bread (16 to 24 pieces, cut into halves).

Vegetables: 2 to 3 pounds.

Savory dips: 2 to 3 cups hummus, tapenade, guacamole, or other favorites.

Olives: 2 to 4 cups, such as ascolano, kalamata, manzanillo, and niçoise.

Seasoned nuts: 2 to 4 cups.

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