Appetizers the crowd will cheer for

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Appetizers are a winning way to feed the crowd that comes over to watch the big game. A selection of appetizers is more interesting — and often healthier — than a bowl of potato chips or pretzels. You’ll know your appetizers were a hit when even those who rooted for the losing team go home happy!

Easy to eat

It’s especially important for game night — when guests might be jumping up and down with excitement — that your appetizers are:

  • Easy to pick up with the fingers
  • Edible in one bite, without a fork
  • Prepared without messy ingredients that might drip

Score points with variety

Every crowd is different. Some people eat a lot and enjoy everything; others are picky and only nibble. Think about your friends’ habits, and combine that information with the following guidelines used by many caterers:

  • Assume 12 appetizers per person per hour for a party that’s two to three hours long
  • Serve three types of appetizers for eight to 10 people; four to five types for 14 to16 people
  • Have both hot and cold appetizers so that while one is heating in the oven, cold ones are ready to be eaten

There are so many kinds of appetizers — from delicate baby quiches to mini hamburgers and kebabs to hearty Buffalo wings and beef-and-spinach pinwheels. It’s really up to you to choose!

Homemade vs. store-bought

If time is short, buy prepared appetizers to mix in with those you’ve made. Personalize them for a homemade touch:

  • Add dried parsley to quiches
  • Sprinkle pimiento strips and bits of chive on deviled eggs
  • Top open-faced salmon sandwiches with a sliver of lemon peel or sprig of fresh dill
  • Put a dollop of sour cream on cut-up roasted red potatoes
  • Decorate small, individual pizzas with sliced black olives
  • A thin slice of cucumber, carrot shavings or half a walnut all make attractive garnishes

Half-time favorites

Vegetable platters and fruit-and-cheese platters are always good to have on hand. Wash veggies or fruit, then peel and cut into bite-size pieces if needed. Arrange like this:

Veggie platter

  • All green: Use zucchini, celery, broccoli, green beans, snow peas, green bell peppers and asparagus
  • Red, white and green: Use radishes, red peppers, mushrooms, turnips and cauliflower plus some of the green veggies listed above
    • Arrange the veggies around a bowl of dip. Or put the dip into hollowed-out red or green bell peppers or a small cabbage. Try some of the more flavorful ones you can buy or make such as:
      • Hummus: creamy and tangy, the main ingredient is chick peas
      • Guacamole: the Mexican dip of avocado, tomatoes and onions
      • Beans: choose from white, kidney or black beans

Fruit-and-cheese platter

  • Select a variety of fruit — strawberries, pineapple, red and green grapes, and an assortment of cheeses — soft like Brie, hard like Swiss and Cheddar
  • Take the cheeses out of the fridge and unwrap at least an hour before guests arrive to soften cheese and unlock their flavors; put toothpicks in a small bowl on the platter
  • Accompany the cheeses with crackers or slices of French bread

Keep it neat

Put the appetizers on a large table. Be sure to include:

  • Paper plates
  • Lots of napkins
  • Knives to cut the cheeses
  • Bowls of condiments such as sour cream, mustard and ketchup
  • Spoons for dips and condiments
  • Large trash can (lined with a plastic bag) that is decorated with crepe paper streamers in your team’s colors

With a great selection of appetizers, your guests will be cheering, no matter what the score!

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