Cost efficient appetizers- PLEASE HELP??

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Hi Y'all,

I've only posted here one other time and loved the responses I received.

I am preparing a meal for 30 adults in two weeks. I need to find some cost efficient but "WOW" appetizers that I can prepare ahead of time since I won't have much oven space on the day of the party. I'm trying to stay away from appetizers that contain fish since not everyone likes fish or shellfish. ALLLLLL ideas would be welcome.

Also, I know this isn't the correct Topic to post this question under but does anyone have any wonderful, festive looking roasted vegetable recipes they can share? The meat is going to be brisket and the potato is either going to be Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes, Celery Root & Mashed with Horseradish or Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic and Thyme. Haven't decided which one yet. I thought a nice vegetable dish would be roasted vegetables but don't really have a recipe. If any of you think a different side dish would be better I'm all eyes to read it. :)

This is my first time being asked to feed a group of adults this size and I would really like to "WOW" them.

Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. :)

Thanks In Advance,


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Cheeseball & crackers are usually a good favorite.


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Dipped Fruit

Yield: 2 dozen
2 cups (11.5- to 12-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate, Milk Chocolate or Premier White Morsels
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
24 bite-size pieces fresh fruit (strawberries, orange, kiwi, banana or melon), rinsed and dried patted dry
1 LINE baking sheet with waxed paper.
2 MICROWAVE morsels and shortening in medium, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; stir.
3 Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
4 DIP fruit into melted morsels; shake off excess.
5 Place on prepared baking sheet; refrigerate until set.
6 NOTE: Pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, pound cake or cookies can also be used


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Ajvar (roasted peppers and eggplant)

Yield: 6 servings
12 Fresh red New Mexican chiles
4 Meduim eggplants
3/4 cup Olive oil or corn oil
1 Large onion, minced
3 Large garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp Lemon juice
2 tbsp Red wine
Salt/pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish
1 Roast the peppers and eggplant over charcoal or gas flame, or bake in a preheated oven at 475 °F until the skins are blistered and black.
2 Place the roasted vegetables in a paper bag and let them steam in their own heat for 10 minutes.
3 Peel off and discard the burnt skins along with the stems and seeds.
4 Mash the pepper and eggplant pulp together to form a homogeneous mass, either smooth or slightly chunky, as desired.
5 Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet and saute the onion until very soft.
6 Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes lomger.
7 Remove from heat and stir in the pepper-eggplant pulp, mixing well.
8 Slowly drizzle remaining oil into the mixture, stirring constantly to incorporate all the oil.
9 Add lemon juice and vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
10 Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley.
11 Serve as an appetizer spread on thick slices of country-style white bread, or flat pita bread, or use as a side dish to accompany grilled or roasted meats


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Alligator eggs

Yield: 1 servings
36 large Jalapeno chilies, roasted
-and peeled
1/2 lbs Cooked, peeled and deveined
-shrimp, minced
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Prepared chilli sauce
2 tbsp Minced capers
2 tbsp Minced green onions
2 tbsp Minced fresh parsley
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp Horseradish
1/4 tbsp Paprika
-salt & fresh ground pepper
-peanut oil
1 3/4 cup All purpose flour
3/4 cup Beer, room temp
2 Eggs, room temp
3 tbsp Minced green onions
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp Catsup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp Baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Cayenne pepper
1 Using small, sharp knife; cut 1 ½ inch slit at stem end on side of each chili.
2 Scrape out seeds; do not tear stems.
3 Rinse out chilies.
4 Drain on towels.
5 Mix next 9 ingredients.
6 Season filling with salt and pepper.
7 Spoon about 1 t into each chili (do not overstuff; chili should close).
8 Arrange chilies on baking sheet.
9 Refrigerate.
10 Heat ¾ inch peanut oil in heavy large skillet to 350 degrees.
11 Blend in remaining ingredients in large bowl.
12 Dredge each chili in mixture, coating completely.
13 Add chilies to skillet (in batches; do not crowd) and fry until golden brown, turning once, about five minutes.
14 Drain on paper towels and serve


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Armadillo eggs

6 Jalepeno peppers
1/2 lbs Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/2 lbs Hot pork sausage
5 oz Bisquick
1 pack Pork ``shake 'n bake''
1 Egg
1 Recipe by: wayne preston allen split peppers.
2 Remove seeds.
3 Stuff inside of pepper with monterey jack cheese.
4 Combine cheese, sausage, and bisquick.
5 Wrap dough around pepper.
6 Roll in beaten egg.
7 Roll in shake"n bake.
8 Bake at 300 to 325 °F for 20 to 25 minutes


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Beef Fiesta Shells

Yield: 6 servings
1 lb ground round beef
1 small white onion, chopped
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 cup grated, reduced fat, cheddar cheese
12 oz jar of picante sauce (mild or medium)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can french fried onion rings, divided
18 large pasta shells (stuffable kind)
1 A Mexican meal on the healthy side.
2 Cook pasta shells according to directions.
3 Preheat oven to 350°F.
4 In a bowl, combine tomato sauce, picante sauce and one cup of water.
5 Set aside.
6 Brown meat with onions, salt and pepper.
7 Add green chilies, 1/2-cup of cheese, half a can of onion rings and ½ cup of prepared sauce.
8 Stuff shells with meat mixture.
9 Pour remaining sauce over shells.
10 Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
11 Sprinkle remaining onion rings and cheese over the top.
12 Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
13 Nutrition information per serving:
14 Calories 334 Total Fat 11.5 g Saturated Fat 3.5 g
15 Cholesterol 48 mg Iron 3.4 mg Sodium 613 mg.
16 This recipe can be converted to a casserole by omitting the large pasta shells and replacing with a 12-ounce bag of medium-small pasta shells.
17 Instead of stuffing shells, mix meat mixture with cooked small shells.
18 Follow the rest of the original recipe.
19 Prep: 20 minutes , Cook: 35 minutes


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Beer - cheese bits

2 cup Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp Melted butter/ margarine
1/2 cup Beer
Sesame/poppy seeds
1 Heat oven to 450 degrees.
2 Mix baking mix, cheese and beer until soft dough forms; beat vigorously; 20 strokes.
3 Gently smooth dough into ball on floured cloth board.
4 Knead 5 times.
5 Roll dough into rectangle, 16 x 10 inches.
6 Cut into 2-inch squares, cut squares diagonally into halves.
7 Spread with melted margarine/butter; sprinkle with sesame seeds.
8 Separate and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
9 Bake until brown, about 8 minutes


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
One of my favorites

Ritz crackers with cream cheese and pepper jelly or mint jelly.


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Cheddar cheese straws

6 tbsp Butter
1 cup Flour
1 cup Grated cheddar cheese
1 Egg yolk
2 tbsp Water
1 Using a pastry blender, food processor or two knives, cut butter into flour until very finely crumbled.
2 Stir in cheese.
3 In a small bowl, mix egg yolk and water.
4 Stir into flour mixture.
5 Knead dough until smooth.
6 Wrap dough in plastic wrap.
7 Chill at least one hour before rolling out.
8 (at this point dough can be frozen for later use).
9 Heat oven to 375 deg f.
10 Roll chilled dough out to ¼ inch thickness.
11 Cut into ¼" x 4" strips.
12 Place strips on ungreased baking sheet.
13 Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
14 Transfer to serving platter and serve while hot.
15 Makes about 6 dozen straws


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Cheese-filled phyllo pastry (cigarro burek)

Yield: 40 servings
6 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
4 oz Creamed cheese
1 Egg, beaten
2 tbsp Chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp Chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp
8 Sheets packaged phyllo dough
1/2 cup Butter
1 Throughout the middle east, bureks are made by folding buttered, cheese-filled phyllo dough into little triangular shapes.
2 Cigarro bureks taste the same but, as the name implies, are rolled into cylindrical shapes resembling small cigars.
3 Bureks, frozen unbaked, can go directly from the freezer into a preheated 375°F oven to make an instant hors d"oeuvre.
4 Makes 40 defrost the phyllo dough and return the remainder to the freezer.
5 Butter a cookie sheet.
6 Melt the butter and remove from the heat.
7 Preheat the oven to 375°F.
8 Mix the feta and cream cheese with the egg and herbs and set aside.
9 Layout one sheet of phyllo dough on a counter.
10 (keep the remaining dough covered with a slightly damp towel to prevent its drying out).
11 Brush the sheet of dough with some melted butter.
12 Cut it the short way into 5 strips, about 3x10 inches each.
13 Place 1 ½ teaspoons of the filling at one end of each strip.
14 Roll the strips into cylinders about ½ inch in diameter.
15 Continue until all of the dough has been cut, filled, and rolled.
16 Arrange 2 to 3 cylinder per person on the cookie sheet and brush them with more butter.
17 (freeze the rest of the cylinders, unbaked, for use at another time).
18 Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cylinders are well browned and very flaky


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Chicken Lollipops

60 chicken wings - (abt 5 lbs)
1 cup honey
1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
3/4 cup bread crumbs -- seasoned

With a paring knife, cut around the thin tip of each chicken wing to loosen the meat around the joint. While holding the base, push the meat down gently to expose the bone and form a "chicken lollipop." Remove any flesh left on the thin end with a clean towel.

Combine the honey and mustard in a mixing bowl. Thin the mixture out with a bit of water. Dip the chicken meat in honey-mustard, allowing the excess to drip off, then coat with bread crumbs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place "chicken lollipops" on a baking pan standing up. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

This recipe yields 5 dozen chicken lollipops.


Senior Cook
Aug 27, 2004
These are some good ideas. I also like to serve a 'new potato' bar. Boil v. small new potatoes and using a melon baller hollow out the middle. Serve them with all the sides (sour cream, butter, chives, blue cheese, bacon crumbles, salsa, sundried tomatoes, olives, sauteed mushrooms and onion) and allow guests to build their own!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Jalapenos
Jalapeno peppers, seeded and split lengthwise
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c raspberry preserves
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 ts salt, divided
1 ts vegetable oil
1 c self-rising flour
1 c cornflakes, crushed
oil for frying
powdered sugar for garnish

1.Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Place jalapeno peppers in the water 10 to 15 minutes, until just tender. Drain and cool.
2.Blot interiors of the jalapeno peppers dry with a paper towel.
3.Combine cream cheese and raspberry preserves together; mix until smooth. Fill each jalapeno pepper with some of the cream cheese mixture, but do not overstuff.
4.In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/4 ts salt and vegetable oil. In another small bowl, mix remaining salt, and flour. Place crushed cornflakes in a third small bowl.
5.One at a time, dip the stuffed peppers into the egg mixture, the flour mixture, the egg mixture again, and finally the cornflakes crumbs. Place coated peppers in a medium dish. Freeze for 1-2 hours.
6.Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat (can also use a deep fryer). Fry the frozen peppers 3-4 minutes each, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with powered sugar. Serve warm.

Fruit Quesadillas with Salsa
1 pt Fresh strawberries, hulled, diced
1 Ripe pear, cored, diced
1 c Pineapple, chopped
1 tb Fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tb Honey
1 c Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Cinnamon and sugar mixture (3 parts sugar, 1 part cinnamon)
Flour tortillas
Butter, melted
Sour cream

1.Combine strawberries, pear, cilantro and honey in medium bowl; set aside.
1.Sprinkle 3 tb cheese on one half of each tortilla and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Fold tortilla over to create a half-moon.
2.Brush top of each folded tortilla with some of the melted butter. Grill or pan sear tortillas, buttered-side-down, in dry preheated skillet until light golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes.
3.Brush tops with remaining melted butter; turn and brown other sides. Remove to serving plate or platter. Cut each tortilla in half. Serve with remaining salsa and sour cream.

Tahitian Cheese Logs
1 jar macadamia nuts, finely chopped
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 lb sharp Cheddar cheese, finely grated
3 ts grated orange rind
6 tb Grand Marnier liqueur

1.Place chopped nuts (reserve 1/4 c for final presentation) in a medium-size bowl and add the cheeses. Blend. Add the orange rind and Grand Marnier. Blend well.
2.Divide mixture in half and spoon each into a piece of plastic wrap. Fold wrap around mixture and form into logs. Refrigerate until firm or freeze for later use.
3.When ready to serve, remove plastic and roll logs in remaining nuts.

Mushroom Pate
1 lb Fresh mushrooms
1/4 c Butter
1/3 c Minced onion
1/3 c Finely chopped celery
2 Eggs
3 oz Cream cheese, softened
3/4 c Fine dry bread crumbs
1 ts Salt
1/2 ts Basil leaves, crushed
1/4 ts Rosemary leaves, crushed
1/4 ts Oregano leaves
Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F
1.Rinse, pat dry and finely chop mushrooms, set aside.
2.In a large saucepan melt butter. Add onion and celery; saute until tender, about 5 minutes, set aside.
3.In a large mixing bowl beat eggs and cream cheese until smooth. Add bread crumbs, salt, basil, rosemary, oregano, black pepper and reserved onion and celery mixture and mushrooms. Stir until mixture is well blended and smooth.
4.Butter a medium loaf pan. Cover the long side and bottom of pan with a strip of waxed paper leaving a 1-1/2 inch overhang. Spoon mushroom mixture evenly into pan. Cover top of pan with foil.
5.Bake until firm, about 60-75 minutes. Cool in pan until lukewarm. Remove from pan using waxed paper overhang. Serve at room temperature with crackers.

wasabi woman

Senior Cook
Aug 31, 2004
seek2bwise said:
I am preparing a meal for 30 adults in two weeks. I need to find some cost efficient but "WOW" appetizers that I can prepare ahead of time since I won't have much oven space on the day of the party. I'm trying to stay away from appetizers that contain fish since not everyone likes fish or shellfish. ALLLLLL ideas would be welcome.

cheap, good, can make ahead up to the point of deep frying (3 or 4 days ahead) - can fry in the morning and leave at room temp - big wow factor!

Arancini di Riso

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: about 20 servings

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
2 cups Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas, recipe follows, cooled
(or your favorite risotto - I do this when I have leftovers)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees.
Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot ail and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Mushroom Risotto with Peas:
8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

Good Luck!


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Enchilada Meatballs


2 cups crumbled corn bread
1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

In a large bowl, combine the corn bread, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and salt. Crumble beef over mixture; mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls. Place in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat tomato sauce and remaining enchilada sauce. Drain meatballs; place in a serving dish. Top with sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with toothpicks. Yield: about 4-1/2 dozen.


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
Ranch Ham Roll-Ups

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
3 green onions, chopped
11 flour tortillas (8 inches)
22 thin slices deli ham

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and salad dressing mix until smooth. Add onions; mix well. Spread about 3 tablespoons over each tortilla; top each with two ham slices. Roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm. Unwrap and cut into 3/4-in. slices. Yield: about 7-1/2 dozen.


Senior Cook
Aug 24, 2004
Long Island, New York, USA
Get a nice big round plate and put out the following on the plate in a nice fashion:

Slices of fresh mozzerella
Slice of soppresatta
roasted red peppers
genoa salami
sundried tomatoes
green and black olives

And some slice italian bread or small semolina rolls.


Senior Cook
Sep 27, 2004
So. Texas
I make a tortilla roll similar to Rainee's - with a little more spice - chopped fresh or canned jalapeno's OR a small canned of chopped green chili's. I usually chop the ham and stir it in to spread it all. These are great to make ahead - I think they are better after a few hours in the fridge. This is a treat that is easy to change around and always seems to come out great...have added chopped black olives, chopped roasted red pepper, shredded cheddar cheese....hhhhhhmmmm very good stuff. I have been known to make lunch out of it!!!
I usually add a hollowed out green pepper filled with salsa to the platter.


Senior Cook
Sep 27, 2004
So. Texas
Here's another favorite...forget the dippers, just give me a spoon!
Mississippi Sin Favorite Recipes from Union Baptist Church Cooks
Tylertown, Mississippi

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, (8 oz)
1 package cream cheese, softened, (8 oz)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped green chiles
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (1-lb) round loaf French bread
Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Set dip aside.
Cut a thin slice from top of bread loaf; set slice aside. Using a gentle sawing motion, cut vertically to, but not through, bottom of the loaf, 1/2 inch from the edge. Lift out center of loaf; cut into 1-inch cubes, and set aside. Fill hollowed bread loaf with dip; cover with reserved top slice of bread loaf. Wrap reserved loaf with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with reserved bread cubes, crackers, or potato chips.
Makes about 4 cups of dip.
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