With Thanksgiving right around the holiday corner, the crunch to produce satisfying appetizers and courses for the occasion begins to manifest. If your house is anything like mine, it’ll be full of relatives discussing football, the upcoming winter, and outdated political opinions. The main courses are easy enough, since most of them rely on tradition, but what about appetizers? I find that conversation over a few small edibles is a great way to start out a night of bonding. Below are a few tried and true appetizers that are sure to be family crowd pleasers.
- Smoke Salmon Circles. Class, elegance, and panache never fit so perfectly on a Ritz cracker. The first time I tasted the combination of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and a plain cracker was at my mother’s cousin’s house, and she as introducing me to her extended family at a holiday party. I remember virtually nothing about the occasion besides how delicious the hors d’oeuvres were. My mother put a stop to my consumption of the salmon after my dozenth serving, but they remain one of my favorite appetizers. They’re so simple–most supermarkets sell smoked salmon for around twenty dollars a pound, and crackers and cream cheese are easily accessible options. The only downside to this dish is that I’ll probably show up at your house and eat it all if you make it.
- Baked Tomatoes and Cheese. An Italian favorite, these appetizers are small enough to curb the pre-Thanksgiving hunger without leading to bloating. Try chopping up a few cherry tomatoes (make sure you’re buying environmentally friendly ones without pesticides!) and sprinkling some shredded cheese on them. An oven of around two hundred degrees will take about eight minutes to have the cheese melted; depending on the size, you can adjust the temperature accordingly. They’re super cute and bite sized–great for tiny hands!
- Caramel-Drizzled Apples. When I was diagnosed with weak enamel at age eleven, my mother became militant in the sweets she would allow me to consume, lest I become a toothless hobo living out of our shed due to gum rot. Naturally, caramel apples, a popular fall treat, were off limits, seeing as they were covered in gooey, sticky sugar, which was worse than arsenic in my mother’s mind. As an alternative, she’d slice me up some apples (usually Pink Ladies because I liked the name) and drizzle a little caramel sauce on them. Not only does this prevent tooth rot, it’s a savory-sweet dish that takes seconds to make and is easily affordable. Apples are also universal symbols of bounty, perfect for the occasion of Thanksgiving.
- Shrimp Cocktails. My weakness for shellfish is exposed! Shrimp can turn literally any location into a five star restaurant by just being present. Served on ice with a little marinara sauce is the way to go–simple, classy, and delicious. Shrimp can be a little on the pricy side, though, so I’d only go this route if you’re feeling like a splurge. Be careful when selecting where to buy your fish, too; make sure it’s fresh and dolphin safe! Fish and poultry are a super healthy combination, which makes cocktails the perfect appetizer for the big day.