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5 Easy Appetizers for Your Holiday Party

Consumer Reports logo Consumer Reports 12/12/2018 Consumer Reports
a plate of food on a table © Provided by Consumers Union of United States, Inc.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Throwing a holiday party can induce a bout of seasonal stress, so Consumer Reports’ test kitchens came up with five tasty, easy appetizer recipes.

If you’re hosting a dinner, you can make one or two appetizers for you and your guests to nibble on before your meal. If you’re having people over for drinks and appetizers, you can make all five.

Don’t feel like cooking? Consumer Reports has tested heat-and-eat finger foods to identify the healthiest and tastiest options.

Caramelized Onion Dip With Chives

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2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds Vidalia onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup Greek nonfat yogurt

4 ounces Neufchatel cheese

¼ cup chopped chives

Vegetables for dipping, such as endive, radicchio, and red- and orange-pepper strips

Pita chips for dipping

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, salt, and pepper, and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until onions are browned and caramelized. Cool.

2. Place yogurt and cheese in a large bowl and mix well. Add cooled onions and chives, and stir until blended.

3. Serve with vegetables and pita chips. 

Makes 22 servings

Nutrition information per 2 Tbsp. dip: 45 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 2 g protein, 75 mg sodium

Cheese Straws With Fennel Seed and Rosemary

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1 cup grated Asiago cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 sheets (one 17.3-ounce box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the fridge

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed

1. Heat oven to 375° F. In a small bowl, mix together cheeses and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle cheese mixture on work surface; top with puff pastry and roll out into two 10x13-inch rectangles, pressing dough into cheese to adhere.

2. Sprinkle one sheet of dough with the rosemary and the other with the fennel seed; press gently with a rolling pin to adhere.

3. Using a pastry cutter, trim sides to form two 9x12-inch rectangles. Cut puff pastry in ¾-inch-thick strips. Twist each strip and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until golden and puffed. Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature. 

Makes 24 pieces

Nutrition information per piece: 100 calories, 7 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 7 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 3 g protein, 125 mg sodium

Baked Apricot Brie

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1 small Brie cheese (7 to 8 ounces)

2 tablespoons apricot preserves

2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 365° F. Place Brie in an ovenproof dish; heat 10 to 15 minutes, until warmed through. Mix preserves and mustard in a small bowl.

2. Remove cheese from oven and turn broiler to high. Spoon apricot mixture onto the center of the cheese and top with pistachios; broil 30 to 45 seconds (nuts should be slightly browned). With a spatula, carefully transfer the cheese to a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings

Nutrition information per 1-ounce serving: 120 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 4 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 6 g protein, 210 mg sodium

Not-Your-Usual-Veggie-Platter With Garlic and Herb Yogurt Dip

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¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon chopped fresh dill

¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper

Assorted vegetables:

   • Radishes, left whole with the tops cut off

   • Baby artichokes marinated in herbs and olive oil, then grilled

   • Fennel, stalks trimmed and the bulb sliced into ¼-inch wedges

   • Kohlrabi, peeled and cut into thin, crackerlike rounds

   • Jicama, peeled and cut into long, thin sticks, drizzled with

      lemon juice to prevent browning

1. Combine all ingredients for the dip in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

2. When ready to serve, spoon dip into a small decorative bowl. Place in the center of a large platter.

3. Arrange the vegetables around the bowl of dip. Serve.

Makes 8 servings

Nutrition information per 2 Tbsp. dip: 15 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 2 g protein, 80 mg sodium

Baked Salmon Croquettes With Lemon-Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce

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1 can (14.75 ounces) Alaska salmon, drained, bones and skin removed

¾ cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper

2 green onions, finely chopped

1 egg white

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Lemon or lime wedges for serving (optional)

1. Heat oven to 425° F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine salmon, ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, red pepper, green onions, egg white, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, and Dijon mustard. Stir gently until well-combined.

3. Shape mixture with hands into 16 1½-inch patties. Coat gently in remaining ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake 12 minutes, turning once until heated through and lightly browned.

Lemon-Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pinch salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in small bowl until combined. Serve with salmon croquettes.

Makes 8 servings

Nutrition information per 2 pieces and 1 tsp. sauce: 140 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 7 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 16 g protein, 350 mg sodium

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2018, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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