Effortless Appetizer Spread

5 effortless appetizers for any occasion

You don’t need an excuse to serve appetizers. But if you still want one, we can think of a bunch — birthday parties, holiday gatherings, book club meetings and no-forks-allowed dinners are just the tip of the iceberg. One of the beauty things about finger foods is that there’s so much selection, you really can please any diet or appetite, for any occasion.

One simple way to take extra effort off your plate is to choose apps that have similar cooking times and temps. (You have more important things to focus on, like playing host with the most.) We’ve lined up a few our tried-and-true faves here for you to explore. Serve them on their own or group them on a platter to create a big, delicious spread. Either way, get the party napkins ready.

Artichoke Mac & Cheese Bites

Artichoke Mac & Cheese Bites

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 375°F (190°C)

Mac and cheese, and spinach and artichoke dip are two iconic dishes. Now you can enjoy the best of both in the same mouthful with our savoury, addictive Artichoke Mac and Cheese Bites. They’re made with a blend of spinach and artichoke that’s been stirred with tender macaroni noodles and silky mozzarella cheese sauce. Their best trait, however, is that they’re no mess. The light, crispy breading outside makes these creamy bites go down with no assistance from utensils.

Classic French Style Mini Quiche

Classic French Style Mini Quiche

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes at 375°F (190°C)

A wine-and-cheese spread is decadent, sure, but a bit of extra richness couldn’t hurt. Classic French Style Mini Quiche can help bring a bit of flair to book-club cheese boards and breakfast-club brunch boards. The petite, bite-sized pastry shells are topped up with eggs, milk, Monterey Jack and Swiss cheese, plus tasty bits of bacon and chives. Garnish with chopped fresh chives, or finely chop sun-dried tomatoes and spoon overtop for a pop of colour and flavour.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 450°F (230°C)

Ready to stand in as an app or an easy dinner with sides, our Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce offers tons of yummy serving possibilities. These mini-skewers are loaded with hand-cut, bite-sized pieces of fully cooked chicken breast that have been marinated in mild curry seasoning. Just pop them into the oven or onto the grill, and serve with the included sweet-and-spicy peanut dipping sauce. (Talk about effortless.) If you’re feeling ambitious, set out little dishes filled with additional condiments, like chutney, Plum Dipping Sauce, Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce or Thai Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce. A sprinkle of parsley overtop gives your platter that catering-company feel.

Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella Sticks

Bake for 9 to 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C)

Mozzarella Sticks are the classic app-platter go-to. Most people can’t resist a smooth stick of gooey, melty part-skim mozzarella cheese that’s been dredged in a delicate, crispy herbed breading. We sure can’t. Mozza Marinara Dip is what you’ll want to dunk them in. Our recipe is a heavenly union of tomatoes, onions, Parmesan and spices that gets topped with even more shredded mozzarella. Think of this whole scenario as eating an inside-out pizza.

Battered Zucchini Sticks

Battered Zucchini Sticks

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes at 425°F (220°C)

Of course we didn’t forget our greens! Breaded Zucchini Sticks are our love letter to this classic garden veg. We cover each thick-cut stick in an airy, herbed tempura batter. The result is a wallop of tender, savoury flavour. It’s a must-try with Buttermilk Dill Dipping Sauce and crisp, fresh-cut carrot and celery riding shotgun.

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