Sunday, February 15, 2015

Party 1.2.3. - Make-Ahead Nibbles To Get Festive

Devils on Horseback, Photo: NK
What makes a dinner party memorable? For me, lots of little tastes (and a great cocktail!) followed by one satisfyingly simple main does the trick. In the case of our last little get-together,  we made my mom's really fantastic (and make ahead) recipe for Sausage and Peppers as our entree. We served it alongside a simple and very delicious Vegetarian Pasta Salad from Food and Wine.

When you're devoting your energy to a main course and sides, you've go to keep the hors d'oeuvres simple - and ideally, make-ahead. Today, I'd like to remind you of two of our fave party bites. Both can be prepped ahead of your guests arrival and put into the oven just before you'd like to serve them and both are always, always, crowd pleasers.

1. Devils on Horseback are a classic party snack - they consist of Sweet Dates (sometimes Prunes) stuffed with Bleu Cheese and wrapped in thick-cut Bacon. What could go wrong??? Exactly. Nothing at all. Our favorite recipe for Devils is Martha Stewart's uber simple interperation of the classic. Click HERE for the recipe. Prep the Dates ahead and pop in the oven 25 minutes before you'd like to serve.
Mini Crab Cakes with Mustard Sauce, Photo: NK
2. Next up, one of our other hors d'oeuvre favorites, and a very popular hit here on Neurotic Kitchen, my Mini Crab Cakes in a Muffin Tin. Prepping these little tasty bites in a mini-muffin tin and baking them in the oven eliminates the usual muss and fuss that frying little crab cakes can create. With just a bit of prep, you can turn out 24 hors d'oeuvres in as long as these babies take to bake and transform into their golden brown delicious glory. Make the Mustard Topping and pour all the Crab Cake ingredients into the muffin tin. Start about 35 minutes before you'd like to serve. Click HERE for the recipe.

Curious about that Pasta Salad? Here's how it came out:

Simple and Delicious Pasta Salad, Photo: NK
Now just add your main dish and simple as that, you've got a great menu. You'll never cure me of my love for hors d'oeuvres. I often think I could just eat them and skip the main course. And I have! Add these two easy nibbles to your dinner party repertoire and your guests won't soon forget your effort. The fact that it wasn't all that much effort at all can be our little secret.

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