How To Throw Together Quick Appetizers (That Make It Look Like You’re on Your A-Game)

Appetizers, apps, appies, quick eats, bites… whatever you want to call them–I love them! I love to go to restaurants and order appetizers. I love to sample different appetizer recipes. I love to have appetizers when going to dinner parties. But, I think I love serving appetizers the best. Why? They satisfy cravings, can be a variety so everyone can find something they like,  and keep people out of your kitchen while you’re finishing up dinner! You can literally not go wrong with serving appetizers.

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Now, I love to host people. I love cooking, cleaning, decorating, and the whole presentation of it all. However, appetizers are always key (for all the reasons listed above)! Lately, I have realized that I have quickly thrown together apps for people in a rush–and they actually look great! And the best part:

I didn’t have to make an extra trip to the grocery store. 

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I think this part is essential! Not making extra trips–it just makes things more feasible. I am a huge believer in “use what you have.” With that said, I have come up with my favorite appetizer spreads (which can be used in any arrangement your heart desires), my favorite serving pieces (to make it look good), and the food items I typically have on hand to make this a reality (so you don’t have to pull your hair out).

Let’s start with some basic foods that I always try to keep on hand. Now, I do say try because come on–this is real life. You may or may not always have some of these items, but there is beauty in what I am listing below: most of these foods are either nonperishable or just last a really long time in your fridge.

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Consider these your appetizer staples

  • Cheese
    • I mean, yall know unopened cheese lasts so long. Why not always have an arrangement on hand just because? Here are many of the cheeses that I typically have on hand just to have a good variety. (Also, they are all from Aldi so they are affordable!)
      • Sharp Cheddar–block
      • Mozzarella (a ball or log)
      • Jalapeno Havarti
      • New York Aged White American
      • Brie
      • Roasted Tomato, Garlic, Basil (an Aldi speciality!)
      • Dill Havarti
      • Goat
  • Crackers
    •  I typically will get a variety pack, because people love to have options.
    • I also like to have Wheat Thins for the brie. Little round breads work well too, but you would definitely want to plan for that. Wheat thins last a lot longer, so it’s a quick go to.
  • Meat
    • Some sort of hard meat to go with your cheese balances out the cheese and crackers.
      • Prosciutto
      • Salami
      • Pepperoni
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Vegetables (not limited to these, but these are my go to’s)
    • Carrots (whole carrots last so long in the fridge!)
    • Cucumbers
    • Grape tomatoes
    • Mini Sweet Peppers
  • Hummus
    • If you don’t have store-bought, you can make your own with 2 cans of garbanzo beans, 2 avocados, garlic, garlic salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. Check out my recipe here.
  • Chips (tortilla or potato)
  • Dips (salsa + french onion or ranch)
  • Honey
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Peanuts (I typically keep honey roasted + regular)
  • Fruit (again, whatever you have on hand–this is just what I typically already have!)
    • Strawberries
    • Oranges
    • Blueberries
  • Wine
  • Tea
  • Lemonade

Now, those are the items that I typically already always have on hand that last a while. You can mix and match and do whatever you can with your ingredients.

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Here are some quick arrangements that you can make with these on hand items.

  • Cheese and cracker tray (with or without meats)
    • Super simple that I almost need to say nothing about it. I just make sure I slice my cheese well and make it look pretty arranged onto a nice wooden tray (or whatever you have).
  • Olives
    • For your olive people. I don’t like olives, but they (along with pickles) compliment your cheese tray well.
  • Brie
    • I will heat up some brie in the oven for about 10 or so minutes on 350.
    • Then I will drizzle honey on top and serve with wheat thins or small, round pieces of toasted bread.
    • You can also put a nice jam on top if you have a good one. You almost can’t do brie wrong!
  • Tomato Basil Caprese
  • Chips + Dip or Tortilla Chips + Salsa
    • I would recommend selecting one unless you have a big party or children involved. For my regular dip, I will usually just grab a packet of french onion seasoning and mix it into a 16 oz container of sour cream. It is also a great alternative dip for veggies if you don’t have hummus on hand. We always have chips and salsa on hand too, so that is typically my go-to.
  • Veggies + Hummus
    • If you don’t have hummus on hand, I posted a quick and easy recipe for avocado hummus. It is a crowd pleaser and a game changer.
  • Fruit
  • Peanuts
    • I put these in mini trifle bowls and put them on the tables and coffee tables for people to snack as they go

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Now that’s how I do a quick spread of appetizers. Do it all, do some, whatever you have and can do! Compliment with tea, lemonade, and an arrangement wine (all things that you can have stored on hand)! Also, I love wine, and as silly as this may seem: we love the Winking Owl brand that we get from Aldi. It is $2.89 a bottle and tastes better than many cheaper $10 bottles of wine. Grab a variety to have on hand for under $10–I call that a win!

Here’s the gold

Presentation is key! You can grab a few simple trays and bowls that will really make yourself look put together. I have linked below some of my favorite “must-have” pieces that make your spread stand out and make you look like you have it all together!

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Keep it Simple

Yall, whatever you do–keep it simple! I promise you, if you have some go-to staples (food + serving pieces) that you can grab and layout quick, you will make your guests look like you’re on your A-game every time!

Simple = Fun. Simple = Classy.

You can do it!

Happy Hosting!

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