Simple Last-Minute Appetizers

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If you’re enjoying time with family and friends, you don’t need a big, complicated spread of dips and layered concoctions. Lean on these simple last-minute appetizers.

Simple Last-Minute Appetizers | Good Cheap Eats

So, you know how a holiday dinner usually goes down at my house? The meal is a good hour later than I plan for it to be. It’s not for lack of trying. But, typically, I overestimate how efficient I will be in my prep time. If I haven’t made everything in advance, I’m working in the final minutes and past them to finish up the meal prep.

I also get to talking. Ahem.

This means, if I invite you for dinner at 5:30, we probably won’t sit down for the meal until 6:30. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t be eating at 5:30.

I know how to get appetizers or aperitifs out like a flash. That takes some of the heat off. We can eat and drink while I finish puttering in the kitchen. And no one is starving or hangry.

If you suspect that might be the case for your get-togethers this season, consider these easy, last-minute appetizers that taste delicious and whet the appetite:

Simple Last-Minute Appetizers | Good Cheap Eats

Simple Last-Minute Appetizers

While I love to put out a full spread of dips and chips and layered concoctions, sometimes you ain’t got time for that. Am I right? I posted this topic last year, but apparently, I’m downsizing even more this year! Ha!

Lately, I’ve worked on making things simpler and easier — but still delicious. How that translates to real life is this:

Get some really good cheeses.

I find that Tillamook is a very consistent, flavorful, grocery-store variety, as are the Babybel collection. Slice, cube, or throw them out on a plate. Toothpicks, particularly those with frills, are a nice touch. I buy wedges of imported cheeses from Trader Joe’s for best quality and selection.

Assemble some veggies and olives.

Since holiday meals don’t always lend them to lots of healthy foods, I like to make sure there are veggies to munch on. If I have time I make homemade ranch, but often it’s just seasonal veggies and olives.

Grab some crackers or other crunchy things.

As you know, I love Akmak, but the kids also really like those round butter crackers. Other big gluten-free hits at this house are Trader Joe’s mini rice crackers and their plantain chips. SO yummy!

Needless to say, we’ll be packing these items to contribute to the Grandparents’ feast later this week as well as keeping a stock on hand through these short day/long night-I-need-a-snack-because-dinner’s-not-ready kinda moments.

What are YOUR favorite simple, last-minute appetizers?


Don’t forget to grab this month’s meal plan: A Month of Good Enough for Company Meal Plans.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Amy P says

    If I need something quick, I wrap a small slice of cured salami around a gherkin pickle, impale it with a toothpick both to hold it together and for guests to pick them up, and put a whole bunch on a platter. They’re surprisingly good and as a bonus, they’re gluten and dairy free for my brother-in-law, which many appetizers are not.

  2. Kimberly says

    A dish of mixed nuts is a quick and easy idea (as long as no one has a nut allergy of course!) Cured meats (capicola, salami, prosciutto) pair well with olives and cheeses as well.

  3. Janel says

    The free Wine4.Me app now has wine & cheese pairing suggestions in it. I used it to find wine to go with the Gouda & crackers appetizer that I served up recently. It was so good.

  4. Anna says

    I like to stick with fresh veggies for the most part. Those that need a little something to tide them over can have it, but no one is going to fill up on them & not want the main meal. And if they do fill up, that’s OK. It’s healthy. 🙂

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