Easy hot hors d'oeuvres are a great way to start a meal or feed your guests at a party without spending too much time in the kitchen. Make the most of your time by combining these hot appetizer ideas with some cold appetizers you can prepare the day before to make a wide array of small bites that will please everyone.
Chicken wings are often deep-fried, which can be difficult and messy to manage at home. For an easier hot appetizer, broil chicken wings for 10 minutes on each side and transfer them to a preheated slow-cooker. Add your favorite chicken wing sauce, such as barbecue sauce, hot sauce, or honey, soy sauce and garlic for an Asian flavor. Cook on low for four to five hours. Because chicken wings in the slow-cooker are easy to prepare ahead of time -- and you can easily serve them right out of the slow-cooker -- they will free up your time to prepare other appetizers.
Wrapping anything in bacon makes it more delicious, and dates are no exception. For a simple appetizer, cut bacon slices into thirds and wrap each piece around a pitted date. Secure with a toothpick and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the bacon is crisp -- about five minutes on each side. To add more flavor, stuff the dates with cream cheese and roasted almonds first. For a variation, wrap bacon around figs, scallops or cheese-stuffed jalapeno peppers.
Why buy frozen mozzarella sticks when fried mozzarella is so easy to make fresh? Begin with 1/2-inch slices of fresh mozzarella, a very soft and moist fresh cheese. Coat the mozzarella slices in seasoned flour, then in beaten egg, and finally in seasoned breadcrumbs. The flour helps absorb the moisture so the egg will stick. Shallow fry the mozzarella in a pan of hot oil until both sides are browned and serve with tomato sauce or cool ranch dressing. If you prefer, bread and fry other cheeses as well, such as cubes of Swiss.
Quesadillas are a great way to keep the party going, as you can customize the fillings and cook them as people want them. For a simple cheese quesadilla, sandwich shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese between two flour tortillas and cook on a non-stick griddle until both sides are browned. For fillings, include grilled chicken, caramelized onions or roasted vegetables. Serve with toppings such as sour cream, salsa and guacamole. For a more upscale version, incorporate fancier cheeses, such as goat cheese or smoked gouda.