Spend more time with your guests on the day of your party or get-together by preparing some easy appetizers ahead of time. Whether it’s a few hours or a day or two before the event, make sure that you choose appetizers that won’t get soggy or otherwise become unappealing while they’re on layaway in the fridge.
Serve up some simple but flavorful dips with baked vegetable chips or multigrain crackers. Dips can survive for several days in the refrigerator, as long as you keep them covered. Refrigerating the dips ahead of time will also give them a nice, cool temperature that your guests will enjoy. Make a delectable caramelized onion dip by combining sauteed onions, chives and spices with low-fat sour cream and low-fat cheese cream. Or serve a cheesy-salsa dip, which you can make by combining softened cream cheese with your favorite mild salsa. Stir up a creamy ranch dip using a dressing mix and sour cream, or make a healthier version with plain yogurt.
Roll It Up
Small tortilla rollups are better make-ahead appetizer options than your typical finger sandwiches. Tortillas, which comes in a variety of types, do not absorb liquids as easily as traditional loaf bread. As a result, the tortilla rollups won’t get soggy in the days leading up to your party. Make some simple Mexican veggie rollups by coating tortillas with low-fat cream cheese; filling the tortillas with diced tomatoes, cilantro, cooked corn kernels, beans and salsa; rolling up the tortillas; then slicing them into small circular sections. Make turkey and spinach rollups using the same method -- just replace the cream cheese with red pepper dip and the vegetable medley with sliced turkey and spinach leaves.
Arrange an array of tasty cheeses on a plate, cover the plate with plastic wrap and your make-ahead appetizer will be ready to pull out when your guests arrive. Choose from Brie, blue, Gouda and goat cheeses. To give the goat cheese an extra kick of flavor, coat the outside with cranberries and pistachios. For a simple make-ahead cheese appetizer that gives the illusion of advanced culinary expertise, make marinated cheese. Cut low-fat cream cheese and cheddar into same-sized slices, place the slices side-by-side so that they alternate, then pour on a mixture of white vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and spices. The longer you leave this appetizer in the fridge, the more infused the cheeses will become.
Fruit and Veggie Platters
In addition to being easy to prepare, fruit and veggie platters are colorful and healthy. To keep these appetizers in pristine shape before your event, cover them tightly in plastic wrap when you store them in the refrigerator. For a fruit platter, put out raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, as well as slices of pineapple and watermelon. For a vegetable platter, serve cherry tomatoes and baby carrots, as well as slices of cucumber, bell pepper, celery and whatever other vegetables you can persuade your kids to eat. Position the veggies near the dips for convenience.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images