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Appetizers on the run

Categories: Holiday Entertaining, Lunches, Organization, side dishes


Hi, I’m Elizabeth, better known as Busy Mom around the Internet, and it’s nice to meet you! Chris is a tough act to follow here, but I’m really excited to be writing for Ordering Disorder. I’m married and have 3 kids, and I work full-time as a nurse, so I always appreciate hearing ways you create order in your life and I hope you’ll join in all our discussions here.

Enough of that, let’s get started!

My husband is a teacher, and I also tend to hang around teachers, and the warm weather and their relaxed summer schedules inspire parties and other evening gatherings.  I love to get together with friends, but my schedule in the summer is the same as it always is, so I sometimes find myself rushing to parties after work and changing clothes along the way so I don’t miss out on anything.

Like any good guest, I always volunteer to “bring something”. Now, I love appetizers, and when I offer, I truly mean it. But somehow, I never actually get around to planning ahead for what I’m going to bring, and I inevitably tell myself, “I’ll just pick up something after work”.

While that’s a good enough plan on the surface, more often than not, I end up wandering in circles in the store looking for “something” I can walk out with that doesn’t have to be prepared, and is presentable for a gathering.

My fallback appetizer, (mighty tasty, though not exactly revolutionary), is the tried and true Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly:

1 8oz. block of softened cream cheese
1 jar of pepper jelly (red or green, your preference)

Spread the jelly over the cream cheese and serve with crackers of some sort (I like to use Wheat Thins)

Gather those ingredients, buy a fancy disposable plate or tray in the baking section, and you’re good to go straight from the store to the party.

Action shot (or proof you can go straight from the store to the party):

Appetizer on the run

Help me out, though. I need something new to add to my repertoire of, “Appetizers You Can Prepare in the Car” because, let’s face it, that won’t be the last time I run by the store after work to find something party-worthy.

Do you have a standby appetizer that you can pick up on the way to the party that looks like you made an effort, but is something other than chips and salsa from the gas station?

Do share!

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11 comments so far...

  • I love that one! I’ve done several variations of that … a raspberry chipotle sauce and cocktail sauce are both yummy.

    The little Hillshire farm sausages and a bottle of honey BBQ sauce are always a hit. You can use a little slow cooker or just mix them together and microwave them for a few minutes. I serve them with toothpicks!

    Rachel  |  June 14th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

  • Brick of cream cheese, cover with soy sauce, then cover with sesame seeds - serve with wheat thins.

    8 oz whipped cream cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips - mix all and serve with teddy grahams.

    These are my go-to snacks - especially the cream cheese & soy!

    Meg  |  June 14th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

  • It’s a fancy variation on what you’ve got going on with the pepper jelly but everyone raves about it.
    Stuff you will need:
    a small wheel or wedge (depending on how many you are serving) of brie cheese
    a jar of fig preserves (most large grocery stores have this now) or apricot in a pinch
    a small package of sliced almonds
    nice crackers (I like those fancy round wheat kind for this)
    some sort of microwave safe serving dish
    a knife (plastic will do) and a spoon (plastic also fine)

    Cut the top rind off of the brie and throw away. Scoop out about half of the jar of fig spread and smush it around on top. Sprinkle the almonds on top of that. Stick in microwave for about 30 sec. Microwave until brie is just warm and liquid-ey but not runny. Either rip open the box of crackers and put it beside the warm brie, or if you have more time, arrange them nicely around the outside. People will be scraping this off of the bottom brie rind, I promise!

    amanda  |  June 14th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

  • Proscuitto and pre-sliced melon. wrap. boom, you’re done.

    brittney damn gilbert  |  June 14th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

  • Hmmmm…never thought of pepper jelly with cream cheese…thanks for the tip! Kids and I are on a hummus & veggie kick at the moment. Bless whoever came up with the idea of individually packed single-servings.

    Liz  |  June 14th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

  • My favorite app for when I have time to bake: Frozen puff pastry stuffed with ham, cheese, and chutney or mozzarella and pepperoni or spinach and swiss cheese.

    My favorite app for when I don’t have time to bake: Tortilla chips and salsa. Or, if I’m feeling fancy and/or it’s a good grocery store, tortilla chips and three different types of salsa (a green tomatillo one, a regular one, and a fruity one).

    Also: So good to see you here at Work It, Mom! :)

    Lylah  |  June 14th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

  • This dip is probably the very first recipe I ever passed to a friend. It’s crazy easy with simple, clean flavors and it always a hit. I can make this in five minutes flat from memory. It’s terrific as a dip or as a salad on the side of any Southwest entree. I tend to add the tomatoes when I serve it as a dip with scoop corn or tortilla chips but forgo the tomatoes when I serve as a salad. No reason, I just do. When the warm weather hits, this becomes a staple at cookouts all summer.

    Corn & Black Bean Salad

    2 cans black beans - drained and rinsed
    2 cans corn - drained (I use the mixed white and yellow variety)
    1/2 red onion - finely chopped (depending on how large or strong your onion is, you may want a but less)
    3-4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped or 1 can petite-diced tomatoes, drained
    1 - 2 Tbls. ground cumin
    1 - 2 Tbls. ground chili powder
    2 Tbls. olive oil
    juice of 1 - 2 limes
    salt/pepper to taste
    1/2 bunch of cilantro - chopped

    Mix it all together in whatever order makes sense to you! Let sit at room temperature for an hour or so for flavors to blend. You may want to reserve adding the cilantro until the end to preserve color and freshness. Enjoy!

    Jennifer  |  June 14th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

  • This isn’t exactly prep-free, but super easy to do in a hurry once you get to your destination: buy a tub of hummus and/or alouette spreadable herbed cheese, buy a bag of mini carrots and some red peppers (or some red and some yellow, for prettiness), and buy pita bread from the bakery (NOT the prepakaged kind). When you get where you’re going, quickly lop off hte top and bottom of the pepper, cut out the inside seedcore, then make thick pepper sticks, arrange around the tub of hummus. If you bring a nice cutting board to do double duty as your platter, you only have to bother your host for a knife.

    Option number 2: Pick up some flavored grapeseed (roasted garlic from WildTree is my fave) or olive oil, tuscan herbs (from the spice section), and a loaf of fresh crusty french bread (or something similar) from the bakery. Pour olive oil on a pretty rimmed plate or in a bowl, sprinkle generously with herbs, and add a few dashes of basalmic vinegar if you want (might have this at home already), then cut the bread into slices or cubes to place around it. Just make sure the bread is fresh from the bakery and you’ve got a winner.

    Ami  |  June 20th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

  • Bacon Dip
    1 package cream cheese - softened
    1 package shredded cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup mayo
    package of Real Bacon Bits
    fresh or dried chives/optional
    Mix all ingredients together! Serve with Frito Scoops!!

    If you can find a place to nuke it for a couple minutes, even better! Then you call it Hot Bacon Dip. Its pretty yummy!

    Suzy  |  June 20th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

  • Nice to see you here.

    I got nuthin’ else.

    Headless Mom  |  June 21st, 2011 at 4:52 am

  • A block of cream cheese covered in Worcestershire sauce and served with crackers. This “recipe” has been in my family since the 1950’s and is our “go to” on the fly when company drops by. Like someone’s idea for soy sauce (which I’ll have to try now), it is something everyone loves and no one can guess what it is.

    We just served it at my son’s rehearsal dinner and again, it won raves.

    Deb  |  July 5th, 2011 at 1:02 pm