5 Easy Last Minute Christmas Appetizers
We wait the whole year for the holiday season but right when it’s around the corner things invariably start going crazy. Last minute shopping, gifts that you have forgotten, making plans to visit your parents, church timings, setting up the tree and putting up the lights and décor and so much more comes into it. Phew that’s a lot. Every minute you will remember something new to do and your task list just seems to grow. If you are the adventurous kind you probably have gone ahead and planned a party as well, after what’s Christmas with some fun time with friends, right?
When the day of the party arrives you are probably still running from pillar to post setting everything up. The house is clean and it is reflecting the holiday colors perfectly. The patio is strewn up with the cutest lights ever and the front yard is charming. Even the food is prepped and ready to go. Suddenly you realize that you may not have enough appetizers to last the whole evening or there have too many last minute additions to the guest list. Don’t fret and take a deep breath. Check out these quick and easy recipes which solve the crisis instantly. These last minute Christmas appetizers are tasty, easy and super fun to make too.
#1 – Crabmeat in Cucumber Cups
Photo by: Stacy Snacks
This is probably the easiest to do and what’s more it super healthy too, no carb overload since you are using cucumber instead of bread. You can use leftover crab salad if you have any. If not then make q quick run to the supermarket and pick up readymade crab salad or spiced crabmeat (depending on where you are going). The fresh jumbo lump crabmeat makes the best dip but you can use shrimp salad or even salmon tartare, whichever you fancy most or can get done in the quickest time. Now for the cucumbers cups, slice a seedless cucumber into thick slices and then upside down scoop out the center without reaching the bottom (else the crabmeat will fall off). Turn these on paper towels to drain them out of the excess moisture. For the salad, use fresh jumbo lump crabmeat (about a pound) and mix well with chopped celery (2 ribs), chopped green onions (2), fresh dill, 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice, 2 tbsp of mayo, salt & pepper to taste. Now just scoop up the crabmeat salad and out in in individual cucumber cups, garnish with fresh herbs.
#2 – Quick shrimp dip
This simple and easy dip takes just about 10 minutes to prepare and can be made ahead and chilled before your guests arrive. Make sure you make lots though because it’s really delicious. The best thing about this dip is that it can be paired with multiple things like chips, crackers, garlic-herb bread, bruschetta and even vegetables. You will need roughly diced tiny cooked shrimp (4 oz), softened cream cheese (8-oz), mayonnaise (⅔ cup), ½ tsp of onion powder, ¼ tsp of garlic powder and lemon pepper each, ⅓ cup of chili sauce with a dash of hot sauce if you want it spicier, thinly sliced green onions (3 small), finely diced red bell pepper (¼ cup) and 1½ tsp of Seafood Magic seasoning or Old Bay seafood seasoning. Mix all ingredients except the diced red bell pepper, sliced green onions and chopped cooked shrimp. Whip them until they are smooth and creamy. Taste and see if you need it have more of a kick and add hot sauce accordingly. Now fold in the diced red bell pepper, sliced green onions and chopped cooked shrimp by hand till then are all combined well. Place on a serving dish and garnish with red pepper and green onion slices. Cover and chill before serving.
#3 – Lemon-Thyme Bruschetta
These delicious finger foods are so easy to make and can be lapped up without spoiling the appetite for the big dinner. They are so flexible that they can be self-served when all ingredients are laid out or can be made out in large batches a little ahead of time. All you have to do is fold ingredients together and set out toasted bread for your guests to arrange it as they want. You will need thinly sliced baguettes, one lemon zested, 8 ounces of ricotta cheese, honey, fresh black pepper and salt to taste, 8 sprigs of fresh thyme and Black Hawaiian sea salt (purely optional). Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toast the baguette slices in the oven for 5-7 minutes until they are slightly browned and warm. Meanwhile mix the ricotta and lemon zest together. Season well with salt and pepper. Once the baguettes are toasted take them out and spread the seasoned ricotta mix over them. Sprinkle with thyme and drizzle with some honey before serving warm. The fresh and earthy taste blends in with the delightful taste to make this a wining appetizer.
#4 – Mini Brie Bites
It’s hard to believe that these quick and delicious appetizers need just three ingredients to turn into something so perfect. All it takes is five minutes so you can never go wrong with them. You will need I pack of mini fillo (phyllo) shells, brie cheese (4-6 oz.), and just a jar of your favorite preserve. It can be anything from apricot to cherry. Since its Thanksgiving and you have extra cranberry sauce you can use that too, will add to the holiday mood. Apple butter can be used as well. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the mini shells on a baking sheet. Now cut the cheese into individual cubes of about ½ inch each. Put one in each shell and top them with about half a teaspoon of preserve. Set the tray in the oven and bake for about 7 minutes or till the brie has melted. Just make sure that it’s not overdone else the shells will burn. If you have puff pastry at home you can use that instead of going out for the mini shells.
#5 – Scallops Carpaccio
If you and your friends are sushi fans then this Chablis-kissed appetizer recipe should be a super hit with the group. This simple dish is made up of fresh raw meat, veal, venison, or tuna, which are mixed with scallops to make a succulent and delicious seafood appetizer. All the meats have to be thinly sliced to let the seasoning and flavor go in deep. If you don’t want to have it completely raw you can always sauté them lightly after slicing and then chill before serving. Along with the extremely fresh scallops and the meat you will need 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and Chablis each. Once the scallops are sliced, place them in a bowl and mix well with lime zest and soy sauce. Make sure that it is completely coated. Place them out in a small serving dish interspersed with the meat and drizzle with Chablis. You can skip the meat if you don’t have any for just the scallops will do as well. Remember that 3-4 scallops serves about two so you should make arrangements according to the number of guests you have. Refrigerate and chill till it’s time for serving. Take the dish out and garnish with shredded parsley or mint.
Written by Bambi Majumdar.