Sunday, November 23, 2014

Meal Planning: Winter/Holiday Appetizers

It's the week of Thanksgiving!!  Last year, we had some family fly to Colorado from North Carolina and Tennessee, and it was a great Thanksgiving.  Everyone was so excited about cooking that I gave over my kitchen and stood back.  I did absolutely no cooking last Thanksgiving.

This year, we won't have any guests.  Both sides of our family have tickets booked to come over the Christmas and New Year holidays to help out with baby #2, who is scheduled to arrive on 12/19.  So this year, we will be cooking a smaller Thanksgiving meal, as it will just be myself, my husband, and our three-year-old (who is not big on traditional Thanksgiving foods).

Although we won't be having any guests, I thought it would be fun to share some ideas for appetizers for those of you who WILL be entertaining this Thanksgiving.  I've expanded the list of ideas to include appetizer ideas for other events you might be hosting this fall/winter:
--> Football party
--> Wine & Cheese Hour
--> Pre-Thanksgiving Bites
-->Holiday Cocktail Hour

But before we delve into those appetizer ideas, let's revisit winners/losers from last week's recipe ideas...

Winners & Losers from Last Week

Last week's meal plan theme was Side Dishes.  So I'm featuring two side dishes we tried this past week.
Recipe: Green Bean Casserole (Paula Deen)
Just in time for Thanksgiving!  This is the real thing with condensed cream of mushroom and crunchy fried onions... definitely not the healthy version, but fun to enjoy once a year!

This was my first attempt at this recipe.  I left the pearl onions out (not a fan).  I love citrus, and it was fun to try a roasted beet salad that did not have goat cheese in it!

This Week: Appetizers

It's always good to have a few small bites out for guests when they arrive (usually hungry) and you need some time to finish preparing the big meal.  My mother-in-law always has something appetizing sitting in the main room before dinner and I always find it a challenge not to completely fill up on small bites before dinner.

Here's a variety of appetizers for different occasions.  I hope you find some inspiration!

Football Fun
Easy Meatballs (Gimme Some Oven)
Baked Boneless Buffalo Wings (Love to Be in the Kitchen)
Spicy Chicken Empanadas with Orange Salsa Verde (Food Network)

Wine & Cheese Hour
How to Throw a Cheese Party (Real Simple)
How to Throw a Wine Tasting Party (Styling My Every Day)
How to Throw a Wine & Cheese Party (Fashionable Hostess)

Pre-Thanksgiving Bites
Fig & Goat Cheese Crostinis (A Pretty Life in the Suburbs)
Sweet & Spicy Roasted Nuts (Fine Cooking) - I've made this pretty much every year the last five years.  You can make this several days ahead and you don't have to worry about keeping these warm.

Holiday Cocktail Hour
Flatbread with Bacon and Scallion Pesto (Food Network)
Roasted Beet, Arugula, Goat Cheese & Honey Crostini (Gimme Some Oven)
50 Easy Toast Toppers (Food Network)

Want more meal planning ideas?

A big thanks to this link-ups meal planning hostesses, Laura from Mommy Run Fast and Jill from Fitness, Health, and Happiness.  Check out their pages for more ideas and other bloggers meal plans!!

Do you make pre-Thanksgiving appetizers?  Have any appetizer ideas in general you'd like to share?


  1. Thanks for these! The beet-orange salad looks awesome. And I'm going to have to make those nuts!!

    1. Awesome! I hope you/your guests enjoy those holiday nuts, I love them!

  2. Oooh Great theme! Appetizers are always a good thing to have on hand and a great way to throw together an impromptu party!

    1. They ARE a great way to throw an impromptu party! I'm especially a fan of cheese, fruit, crackers, and a little wine & prosecco for a quick get together.

  3. I love side-dishes!! If it weren't such an effort for two, I would live off meals consisting of tons of side-dishes :D That beet salad looks delicious!

    1. Tapas party! I need to put together a post on ideas for a tapas party! Thanks for the idea Sophie!

  4. I like wine and cheese before a meal :) My hubby made a fantastic green bean dish last year. I am not even sure what our Thanksgiving plans are yet...

    1. I love green beans. In any form or fashion. I think it's fun to not know what your Thanksgiving plans are sometimes...

  5. This is a list I will refer to again! Great ideas, much more creative than the veggie tray I am bringing for an appetizer to Thanksgiving :)


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