Easy Appetizers for Entertaining

The holiday season is upon us and soon you’ll be going to or hosting plenty of parties. Finding the right way to start your meal, can be tricky. You’ll want something delicious, but not time consuming to make. Something unique, and not just plain cheese and crackers.

Photo: The Heathman Kirkland

Photo: The Heathman Kirkland

These appetizers for entertaining are crowd favorites and can be thrown together in a few easy steps, leaving you to focus on being a fabulous host.

Spinach (and Artichoke) Dip

Spinach Dip

Photo: Jay del Corro

Typically spinach and artichoke dip is very heavy and filled with cheese. This version takes out some of the fat, doesn’t use any mayonnaise, and you won’t even notice that it is gone. It is easy to put together and is a great appetizer for entertaining. If you’re bringing it to a potluck, you can bake it at the host’s house.

1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
5 oz. cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup sour cream
⅓ cup greek yogurt
1 tsp of garlic salt (or to taste)
Optional: ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, spinach, artichokes, garlic salt and parmesan if using. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly blended. Spread into a small baking dish. Sprinkle additional grated Parmesan over the top if desired. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. Serve warm with baguette slices, pita chips, or crackers.

Cranberry Goat Cheese

The sweetness of the cranberry mixes well with creamy goat cheese. The cranberries make this easy appetizer festive and the goat cheese gives it a little bit of class. No one needs to know that there are only two ingredients! Well, three if you count the crackers as well. It’s a simple appetizer and can be put together quickly and tastes delicious.

Photo: Cookie Monster Cooking

Photo: Cookie Monster Cooking

1 cup dried cranberries, use more or less depending on your preference
1 cup chopped pistachios, use more or less depending on your preference
1 log goat cheese, slightly softened (left out about 15 minutes)
Crackers or crostini, for serving

In a food processor, pulse the dried cranberries until chopped (or chop them by hand if you don’t have a food processor). Pour the dried cranberries on a clean flat surface in a single even layer. Roll the goat cheese log in the cranberries, pressing lightly to ensure the cranberries stick to the cheese. Press the ends into any leftover cranberries. Serve with crackers or crostini.

For variety, you can use different kinds of chopped nuts with the cranberries before rolling.

Easy Layered Shrimp Dip

Everyone loves a good shrimp cocktail, but no one likes it when that one guest manages to touch all the shrimp. With this easy layered shrimp dip, you get all the deliciousness that comes with a shrimp cocktail plus a cracker to hold it all together – a great appetizer for entertaining.

Valentine's Day Shrimp Cocktail 6

Photo: Jessica and Lon Binder

1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 jar cocktail sauce
1 lb cooked baby shrimp, thawed and drained
Crackers or crostini, for serving

Spread the softened cream cheese on your serving plate. Top with a layer of cocktail sauce. Sprinkle the baby shrimp on top. Serve with crackers or crostini.

Smoked Salmon Crostini

In the Pacific Northwest we’re blessed with an abundance of salmon. Enjoying this classic combination of smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill. It’s simple to put together, full of flavor and elegant on the plate.

Smoked Salmon Crostini

Photo: Larry Vincent

1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped
Cream cheese
Smoked salmon, sliced
Crackers or cucumber slices, for serving

Mix the chopped dill into the cream cheese. Spread on top of the crackers or cucumber slices. Place a piece of smoked salmon on top.

Sum-m! Oriental Appetizer Pack

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve released an Oriental Appetizer Pack full of our favorite Sum-m! goodies. It’s an all-in-one pack of appetizers for entertaining. There are a number of sauces that you could serve with the pack. Here we have a recipe for a doctored up bottled sweet chili sauce. You could also use a plum sauce.


1 Sum-m! Oriental Appetizer Pack
½ cup sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili flakes, if desired

Follow the instructions on the package to reheat each of the items in the appetizer pack.

To make a sauce, use your favorite sweet chili sauce and mix in soy sauce, honey and lime juice. Add in chili flakes if you want a stronger spicy kick. Serve and enjoy!

What are your go to recipes for easy entertaining appetizers?

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