At first glance, grilled shrimp is a simple dish, and while it's easy to serve as-is for an appetizer, just a few extra ingredients turn it into something special. Appetizers are easy to adjust to please the palates of kids while still retaining their sophistication for adults. Kids will love eating mini-foods, and the steps for preparing and presenting enticing appetizers are quick and simple.
Canapes sound fancy but are the simplest of appetizers to prepare. All you need is a base to act as a delivery system for a single grilled shrimp, and a garnish to dress it up. Crackers are traditional, but thin bread cut into various shapes and toasted is appealing to kids. Top with shrimp and garnish with fresh herbs, such as mint or cilantro, and half of a grape tomato for sweetness. Sliced cucumber rounds are also good. Top with a dollop of creamy dressing and lay the shrimp on top.
Skewers of grilled shrimp are a natural for appetizers. Cut long wooden skewers in half to accommodate just one or two shrimp with an accompaniment. Kids will enjoy the sweet flavors of teriyaki-grilled shrimp alternated with cubes of pineapple. Thread skewers with shrimp and zucchini and serve with a peanut dipping sauce. Squirt lemon juice over skewers of shrimp and grape tomatoes before grilling and serve with ranch dressing.
Soup is an interesting twist on appetizers if you serve it in shot glasses or small cups, negating the need for spoons. Drape one or two shrimp over the rim, immersing half in the soup. Cold soups are ideal for the ease of preparation. Chunky gazpacho pairs well with shrimp. For something really kid-friendly and fast, make cold fruit soup in the blender. Blend cantaloupe and yogurt or honeydew melon and sour cream, adding water as needed for the desired consistency, and seasonings to taste. Smoky-sweet grilled shrimp works well with fruit flavors.
Pizza tops the list of favorite foods for many kids, and it's easy to dress up and size-down for appetizers. Cut pita bread into rounds and top with tomato sauce, diced grilled shrimp and cheese for a classic mini-pizza. Pre-packaged pizza dough that's ready to roll out is available in many stores and makes preparation simple. Cut into rounds or other shapes with a cookie or biscuit cutter, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with shrimp, cilantro and chopped peanuts for a Thai-inspired pizza.