Thanksgiving dinner is going to keep a lot of us pretty busy in the kitchen. The turkey, the sides, the desserts, the relatives -- dinner itself is a big job. So whenever I hear "Thanksgiving appetizers", my first thought is, Are you freakin' kidding me? What am I, an insomniac with 80 arms? YOU bring me appetizers, glossy food magazine!
And then I find myself in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, stealing bits of food here and there and getting peevish on not enough food and too much cocktail. And I start longing for appetizers. Thanksgiving appetizers don't have to be super time-consuming and fancy-pants. And they don't need to take up your oven or stove-top. Here's a few simple, seasonal ideas to hold over the pre-dinner crowd (especially the cooks!) until the main event.
Cheese plate. Hardly any prep work at all! I like to put out a couple cheeses, some crackers, and maybe some dried fruit or grapes on a plate. Best of all, this one is self-serve. Why not throw a bowl of mixed olives on the side, too.
Roasted garlic spread. This is an easy make-ahead app that you could serve with the cheese plate and some sliced bread. Just roast garlic and mix with ricotta.
Goat cheese spread. Great with crackers or with veggies.
Fruit gobbler. This is such a cute idea! Take a squash and turn it into a turkey with cheese cubes and grape spears. This looks like something you could get kids to help make, too.
Popcorn. Why not? It's fun and totally unexpected. Make it special with mix-ins, like this rosemary asiago popcorn recipe.
Some-assembly-required bites. Okay, I'm adding just a few hors d'oeuvres that might take a little more time to make but that are still pretty simple: Sweet corn and cheese pasties, stuffed roasted pear salad (you could just serve the pears), and halloumi, bacon, date strips. And what the hell, just because EVERYONE loves it: Spinach artichoke dip recipe.
Raw oysters. This is a family tradition of ours. And it's a little more work than the others. But if you've got a few non-cooks who still want to help, this is a good option. Here's how to shuck oysters and a recipe for mignonette, the shallot vinaigrette that goes with them.
What do you like to nibble on while you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner?
Image via Adriana Velez