Lesson 1574 – Easy appetizers for when you leave the nest

Some of my kids are beginning to leave the nest. One left this morning to move into his first apartment.

He’s an officer in the Army and so he’ll be getting a lot of good advice, but the one piece of advice *I* could give him was “the best thing you can do for your wallet and your health is to learn how to cook.”

All my kids have learned how to cook to a degree (at the very least they know how to follow a recipe.) There are about 4 meals that they can make without opening a cookbook.  But if you make the same four meals over and over, you’re going get bored and bored people start eating fast food or going out to restaurants just for a break. And that begins to impact your health and wallet.

I’ve been working on a family cookbook for some time, I keep adding to it when I find something that the kids should know.

This was added today.

Easy Appetizers for When Guests Come Over

When you want to have friends over always put out something to eat. It doesn’t have to be much and variety helps. This summer when we were on a family vacation, each night I’d put the following out on the back table so that everyone could relax with drinks and nibbles before dinner.

Trust me, it not only is impressive, but it’s also much appreciated to be able to “break bread” with good friends while conversing.

It helps to have a collection of small bowls ready to use. You can buy them anywhere or even use something like vintage custard cups (often found in thrift shops.) Keep them cleaned and stored between use for when you need them.

Basic Appetizers

In small bowls serve:

  • Olives (provide another bowl for pits)
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Cheese (you only need to have one type of cheese, but if you have more, by all means, put it out.)

Note: It helps if you keep all the above in your pantry. A small jar of olives, a resealable can of nuts, etc. Make a note of when you have finished what you have so that you can put it on your shopping list the next time you go.

Optional additions:

  • Chips, Pretzels
  • Grapes or cherries
  • Jelly (ex. Pepper for topping cheese)
  • Sliced meats, sausages

If you want to get fancy try

Cream Cheese Pinwheels 

  • 1 tub of whipped cream cheese
  • Dry mix-ins (a handful of dried cranberries, bacon bits, chopped up sun-dried tomatoes, use one or a combination)
  • 3 chopped scallions
  • 4 8-inch tortillas

Combine all ingredients, spread ¼ of mixture on a tortilla and roll up.

Place rolled tortillas in fridge and when chilled, using a sharp knife cut into ¼ inch slices. Place on a platter and serve.

Party meatballs

This one takes a little bit of planning, but is well worth the effort. It’s cooking the meatballs slowly in a savory sauce that’s what makes the difference.

In a crockpot place a bag of pre-cooked frozen meatballs (note the smaller sized ones work best)

Over the top of the meatballs pour one of the following:

  • A jar of red sauce
  • A bottle of Bar-b-que sauce
  • A jar of jelly + a cup of ketchup or cocktail sauce
  • A jar of “simmer sauce”

Cook on warm for about 4 hours

Serve with toothpicks.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

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