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Laura On: Easy Appetizers for Beginners

Thu, March 16, 2017

Last night my youngest daughter, Mary Parker, called and asked for a few tips on easy appetizers she can make for a dinner she is hosting this weekend. Out of all my girls, she has always been the most social; she loves to be surrounded by a large group of friends at all times. I can hardly believe she is in her final semester of college! With her time at Auburn coming to a close, I know she is packing in as many get-togethers before setting off on the new path that lies ahead.

Mary Parker is an adventurous cook, but she’s still learning. Knowing she was tight on time, I gave her a few easy tips to create {more like assemble} a quick appetizer or two. When short on time, it’s sometimes best to seek out spreads and dips that are already prepared to make it easy on the host. The key is to uniquely assemble your pre-made dips to make them different and easy on the eyes.

Pimento Cheese

The Palmetto brand with jalapenos is my go-to pimento cheese; you can find it at most grocery stores. I suggested to Mary that she place the pimento cheese in an oversized bowl or on top of a platter and sprinkle green onions on top.

Pimento cheese is delicious when served with a fresh saltine cracker; my personal favorite is Zesta, the salt on this cracker adds a lot of flavor. Although it looks extremely basic, your guests will be pleasantly surprised with the unexpected taste this cracker brings.

Hummus

Store bought hummus is just fine! Add any {or all} of these toppings for a fun presentation and flavor:

  • Finely chopped green onions, a safe crowd-pleaser!
  • Crunchy Nuts: Chop and sprinkle pistachios, slivered almonds, or even dry roasted peanuts.
  • Red Pepper: Color and spice always elevate a plain hummus. Achieve both with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
  • Sour Cream: A scoop of sour cream adds a unique twist.

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Amplify the presentation by placing your hummus on an oversized platter. Scoop hummus onto the center of the platter and sprinkle your desired toppings on top. Allow them to spread outside the dip to add interest to your dish!

I gave Mary Parker a few choices as to what to serve with her hummus. Fresh pita bread, lightly drizzled with olive oil and kosher salt is always a crowd-pleaser. Bake at 350 degrees until toasted. If time is of the essence, simply pair your dip with fresh cut veggies or a lavosh cracker. These crackers are crisp, and add great texture to a smooth hummus dip.

Egg Salad

I know it may sound funny, but egg salad makes a great appetizer. Mary Parker could easily run by a casual restaurant and purchase it from their cold case, or it is often offered fresh at specialty grocery stores. To assemble, spread the egg salad in a thin layer, followed by a thin layer of sour cream. To top it off sprinkle chopped parsley and green onions and serve with a buttery cracker.

I love the presentation when served on a statement platter, like this one:

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I know she has it because she sneakily grabbed it out of my dish closet and took it back with her after her last visit home…funny how that happens!

Cheers!

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