Even those new to the world of cooking recognize that appetizers set the stage for the main meal, which is the case all year long. But, during the holiday season, they are even more important. Whether they come before roast chicken, glazed ham, Chinese food, veggie lasagna or anything in between, appetizers must be extra interesting, aesthetically pleasing and tasty, since diners are more likely to remember what was served to them then than at any other point of the year.
So, how do you make sure yours stand out, and make the 2020 holiday season one to remember? Check out these ideas inspired by “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to step up your appetizer game.
Day One: A partridge in a pear tree
Michelle Krzmarzick submitted this recipe, which has over 2K positive reviews on AllRecipes. This savory salad is the perfect way to kick off any meal. Topped with pecans, green onions, cheese, pears and avocado, it is refreshing and healthy.
Day Two: Two turtle doves
Who says you cannot start the meal with dessert? It is the holidays—treat yourself!
Serve in a large bowl to make for easy snacking. White chocolate, oat and crispy rice cereals, nuts, pretzels and chocolate add up to a delicious combination. The best part is that this mix is completely customizable, so use whatever you have on hand. We recommend adding in some pieces of white chocolate bark, to make it even sweeter.
Day Three: Three French Hens
A step up from regular deviled eggs, these feature cheddar and bacon for a noteworthy flavor combination. Bet you cannot eat just one!
Day Four: Four Calling Birds
Still have pumpkins from any fall decorations lying around? Roast them and turn them into a crunchy, popcorn-like snack. Yum! Who says seeds are just for birds?
Day Five: Five Gold Rings
Make this cake, which uses leftover egg yolks, to really wow your family. Or, drop it off with a friend as a holiday gift. Ice with white, coffee or chocolate icing. This large cake makes for an impressive holiday centerpiece.
Day Six: Geese-a-Laying
Chow mein noodles, marshmallows and colorful candies make these sweet ‘nests’ irresistible. Fill with jelly beans, chocolate or anything else you can dream up. Hint: kids love helping, too.
Day Seven: Seven Swans-a-Swimming
Decadent puffs filled with cream and topped with sugar and berries are sure to delight everyone. Delicate and beautiful, they may be too pretty to eat. Top with the chocolate of your choice.
Day Eight: Eight Maids-a-Milking
Marshmallow crème, evaporated milk and nuts are the secret to dreamy chocolate fudge. Super creamy and rich, top pieces off with nuts, crushed candy canes, sprinkles or whatever you desire.
Day Nine: Nine Ladies Dancing
Beans, corn, onion, tomatoes and dressing offer up a fiery kick in Susan Navarette’s recipe. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and guacamole to make for a noteworthy appetizer. When your guests or your family eat this, they will be dancing, no doubt.
Day Ten: Ten Lords Leaping
Beef, sherry, puff pastry, onion and spices marry together in this classic British dish fit for a lord. The individual sizes make for safer serving, so everyone can have their own. Béarnaise Sauce, user MARBALET writes, makes this dish even better.
Day Eleven: Eleven Pipers Piping
Baked together until ‘piping hot,’ Beccabo73’s recipe is a hit. This comfort food is Italian flavors at their best, and is a hearty way to indulge in an appetizer together. It is recommended to make multiple trays of it because it will likely be gone very fast.
Day Twelve: Twelve Drummers Drumming
Sticky, rib-sticking, sweet, tangy barbecue comes through in these drumsticks. Keep plenty of wet wipes and napkins on hand—you will need them! The tender meat and punchy flavor makes these a hit.
Enjoy these recipes for a new twist on the Christmas season. Happy holidays!