Winter Party Appetizers

Fuel the fun with these mix and match appetizers that are just-right for winter entertaining -- from game day to movie night.

Peg Smith

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Sweet Onion-Tomato Tartlets
Movie Night: Sweet Onion-Tomato Tartlets

    Puff pastry makes appetizers look as if they took hours -- but these bite-size tarts are so fast to make. Roast tiny tomatoes and onion with a bit of savory rosemary, then top with shaved cheese.

Movie Night: Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

    Ginger, garlic, curry powder, and cinnamon heat up these wings, while the cool sauce adds a refreshing twist.

Movie Night: Greek-Style Stuffed Mushrooms

    Familiar Mediterranean staples -- fresh chopped tomatoes, ripe olives, garlic, feta cheese, and a bit of savory herb -- boost the flavor and heartiness of these appetizer mushrooms.

Movie Night: Triple-Smoked Salmon-Pepper Dip

    Served warm, this dip partners perfectly with crisp veggies or bread. Freshly roasted sweet pepper and a bit of chipotle pepper give it just the right amount of heat and complexity.

Movie Night: Caramel-Coated Spiced Snack Mix

    Crunchy and sweet can't be beat! This mix combines such classic favorites as crispy rice cereal, mixed nuts, and chocolate-covered raisins.

Awards Night Bash: Goat Cheese and Almond Guacamole

    This guac suits winter. The slightly tart cheese and toasted nuts do the trick of bringing it up to season. Serve it with your favorite veggies or chips.

Awards Night Bash: Swiss Olive Galette

    A galette is simply a rustic tart of crusty pastry, with fillings savory or sweet. This version gets it appetizing appeal from leeks, fennel, olives, and Gruyere cheese. Serve it sliced and warm from the oven.

Awards Night Bash: Roasted Dates with Bacon

    Stuff dates with a whole almond, wrap in apple-smoked bacon, bake for 15 minutes, and wait for the generous thanks.

Awards Night Bash: Sesame Crab and Brown Rice Cakes

    This Asian-inspired recipe for mini crab cakes has lots of the sweet-and-sour flavors that guests crave. Easy to make, they'll stay warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Awards Night Bash: Dried Tomato and White Bean Dip

    Starting the year on a healthy note? This quick-to-make dip has loads of fiber and protein, and is on the short end of calories and fat. It's delicious on crisp rice crackers.

Video Game Party: Grilled Pizza Poppers

    Keep your game-playing energy revved with grilled bite-size pizzas. Ready-made pizza dough, cut into small circles, makes the process simple. Top with grill-roasted tomatoes and mozzarella slices.

Video Game Party: Caramelized Onion-Blue Cheese Dip

    Chopped cremini mushrooms are the surprise ingredient in this hearty warm dip. In addition to toast and whole grain crackers, serve pear slices -- a perfect partner to blue cheese.

Video Game Party: Cajun Turkey Sliders with Spicy Remoulade

    Size and shape the turkey patties to fit the buns. They'll be manageable to hold, and each bite will get a taste of the sweet pepper topping.

Video Game Party: Bacon and Cracked Black Pepper Biscuits

    A bit of bacon baked in the biscuits, plus tiny slices between the biscuit halves -- along with fresh tomato and arugula -- makes this the perfect party spin on a BLT.

Video Game Party: Olives Wrapped in Cheese Pastry

    These dainty little bites pack big flavor. Use a food processor to mix the cheese pastry, then shape a bit of dough around each pimiento-stuffed olive. Bake immediately or wrap and freeze for up to one month to bake later.

Super Bowl Party: Bacon-Cheddar Cheese Balls

    Bring the yum factor to the party with plenty of cheese to go around. Shape two or more balls to roll in either bacon bits or pistachios.

Super Bowl Party: Hamburger Sliders with Cranberry Chutney

    Crunchy apple and tart cranberries, plus horseradish and arugula, give these beefy little sliders zing. Cloverleaf rolls are just the right size to hold them.

Super Bowl Party: Crab-Topped Shrimp

    Here's seafood on the double. Little shrimp boats stuffed with a cheesy crab mixture are quick to fix and make delightful nibbles for any get-together.

Super Bowl Party: Roasted Corn Salsa

    Skillet-roasting heightens the flavor of corn, onion, peppers, and garlic in this chunky and colorful salsa. Dig in with ample wedges of tortilla chips, jicama, or sweet peppers.

Super Bowl Party: Caribbean Riblets

    Get carried away -- to the tropics -- with the sweet-tart flavors of mango-onion sauce spooned over succulent bite-size ribs.

Game Night: Italian and Mexican Meatballs with Sauce

    When meatballs are on the menu, satisfy more than one craving with two versions. Both call on ground turkey, then get distinct tastes from either Italian turkey sausage or smoked chorizo sausage -- plus flavorful herbs, spices, and thick, rich tomato sauce.

Game Night: Roasted Pepper Queso Fundido

    Here's a dip with real substance. For scooping, serve chips that hold a bit of weight. You'll want to snag bits of full-flavor roasted pepper and crisp jicama in every bite.

Game Night: Chili Mixed Nuts

    Lime juice and chili powder perfectly complement each other in this savory, crunchy mix. Ready in less than 30 minutes, the recipe can be whipped up right before the game.

Game Night: Smoked Cheddar Mini Muffins

    Light little appetizer bites to accompany a sipper are always welcome. Cheese is the reliable constant offered here in these delicious muffins.

Game Night: Mini Reuben Melts

    Petite to hold but large on taste, this deli favorite has all the authentic ingredients in a party-size sandwich.

Sledding Party: Chipotle Kettle Corn

    Get out of the cold and into the kitchen to make this crowd-pleasing, spiced-up healthy snack. Enlist some help popping the corn for anyone who wants an even quicker warm-up.

Sledding Party: Bacon-Wrapped Smokies

    A little jacket of bacon and a coating of sugar keep these links smokin. Wrap the links before going outdoors. Back inside, pop them into the oven and savor them while they're still hot.

Sledding Party: Sausage & Mushroom Pizza Pockets

    Appeal to every age with these tidy, easy-to-eat filled pastries. Assemble the pockets up to four hours ahead of serving time. While the oven heats, brush the pastry tops to make them glisten, sprinkle with a bit of cheese, then bake to eat warm from the oven.

Sledding Party: Roasted Vegetable Spread

    No need to remind everyone about eating their vegetables when you serve this spread -- especially with vegetable dippers offered alongside. Roasting heightens the flavors, and balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs brighten it even more.

Sledding Party: Philly Chicken Cheese Sandwiches

    Split an entire loaf of bread, load on the fillings, then cut into grill-size portions. After grilling, or toasting, cut into appetizer-size servings -- how easy!

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