Easy Holiday Hors D’oeuvres

If you know where to look, you can find good-quality hors d’oeuvres, themed appetizers, and inexpensive but clever ways to serve them. Trader Joe’s has a great selection of premade hors d’oeuvres as do so many supermarkets. Your favorite restaurants may also prepare foods for your party. Consider good Chinese, sushi, Greek, Mexican, and Italian restaurants for party ideas and themes. Purchase decor and serving accessories at local restaurants (Chinese takeout containers, chopsticks) or at stores such as Pier 1, or Target. Some supermarkets also stock inexpensive serving ware.

Here are some ideas for purchased party food made special with a few personal touches:

1. ‘Adult’ Pigs In A Blanket: Buy frozen pre-made pigs in a blanket at the supermarket, with three fancy jarred mustards to dip them in. Try cranberry, wasabi, garlic, herb, horseradish, hot pepper, Dijon, whole grain, and honey flavors. Serve in ramekins.

2. Greek-Inspired Platter: For a Greek theme, buy spanakopita, hummus, baba ghanoush, and baklava at a Greek restaurant or good supermarket then design your own platter of fresh and marinated vegetables. Sprinkle fresh herbs over everything.

3. For Meat Lovers: Men love meat. Whenever I put out platters of dried meat like prosciutto, bresaola, and pepperoni with chunks of Parmesan and crusty bread, it draws the men like a magnet. No cooking required — set out the meat and they will come.

4. A Trip to Asia: Buy Chinese dumplings, mini-egg rolls, and Chinese noodles from the supermarket or your favorite Chinese restaurant. Serve them in Chinese food takeout containers with chopsticks and add a big bowl of fortune cookies. Hang paper lanterns over the table.

5. Bread & Butter: Buy good flavored bread, then make flavored butters to match. Mix tapenade into softened butter and you’ve got olive butter or add pesto, hot sauce, or honey.

6. Get Cheesy: Buy five kinds of cheese. Make individual cheese labels and put each one on a wooden cutting board. Serve with assorted crackers and bread.