As a senior (and guardian of secret family recipes), you probably host more than your share of family-and-friend dinners and gatherings. While you love dazzling family and friends with your special meals, you might wonder if there’s something other than French onion dip and chips you can serve to keep everyone occupied while you put the final touches on the main event. When you’re short on time, you need easy appetizers with few ingredients and minimal cleanup, preferably something you can make ahead of time.
Some of these easy appetizers don’t even require traditional ingredient lists. They’re simply half of this and half of that, combinations that might be difficult to imagine but that have withstood the test of satisfied partygoers. With no more than three ingredients, there’s little cleanup. All you have to do is accept the compliments — and not tell anyone that these are easy appetizers. Feel free to add these recipes to your stash of secret family recipes.
Note: Not all of these recipes are heart-healthy. They are for special occasions.
1. Kalamata and Dried Fig Spread
- 1 part pitted Kalamata olives (the best Kalamata olives are brined in oil and vinegar, not just vinegar)
- 1 part dried figs, roughly chopped
Add olives and figs to a food processor or blender and process until spreadable. Serve with crackers or pita bread wedges.
2. Brie Bites
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
- 18 1-inch wedges Brie
- 1/4 cup topping (pureed berries, chutney, honey, liqueur, etc.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Unfold puff pastry dough, cut each piece into nine equal squares, and press a square into each muffin hole in a nonstick miniature muffin pan.
3. Top each puff pastry square with a Brie wedge and drizzle with topping.
4. Bake 10 minutes or until puff pastry is golden.
3. Cheddar Chutney Cheese Balls
- 1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup hot mango chutney (if you use a mild chutney, you can add a few drops of hot sauce)
- 1/3 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
1. Process cheese and chutney in a food processor until mixture forms a ball.
2. Roll into individual balls approximately 1 inch in diameter. (You can form one big cheese ball if you don’t have time to make individual ones.)
3. Roll balls in pistachios.
4. Warm Rosemary Mediterranean Olives
Note: There are no proportions for this recipe. Add a little garlic and rosemary to taste.
- A mixture of Mediterranean olives
- Garlic cloves, slivered
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Place two sheets of aluminum foil on the counter — one lengthwise and the other crosswise. Place olives on top of the foil.
3. Top with garlic slivers and sprigs of rosemary.
4. Fold and seal the foil to make a packet.
5. Bake for 20 minutes and serve immediately.
When you’ve recovered from being the hit of your own party, check out more activities for seniors. You’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy.
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If you enjoyed these appetizer ideas, you may also like our blog post on organizing a seniors meet.