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8 Quick-and-Easy Appetizers to Satisfy All Tastes and Ages

I've hosted many a party, and having tasty finger food at the ready is a must! Here are eight of my favorite recipes.

In my experience, these appetizers are the most requested and most quickly devoured finger foods at any party. Most of these only have 2–3 ingredients, but all of them will satisfy hearty appetites. They're easy to make, and they're all the no-fuss, get-er-done-in-a-hurry kind.

8 Simple and Delicious Appetizers

  1. Cheesy Sausage Balls
  2. Velveeta and Hormel Chili-Cheese Dip
  3. Pigs in a Blanket
  4. Cream Cheese With Green Pepper Jelly
  5. Boiled Shrimp
  6. Trail Mix
  7. Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels
  8. Rice Krispie Treats

Pick out your favorites to serve on poker night, tailgating, at a Super Bowl Party, or while watching movies. Grab a paper plate and load it up!

Cheesy Sausage Balls

Cheesy Sausage Balls

1. Sausage Cheese Balls

These freeze perfectly, so you can make them ahead of time. This item will probably be the first thing to go at your get-together. The picture above shows exactly what they will look like straight from the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick)
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage (uncooked)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (pre-shredded in a bag is fine)
  • 4 tablespoons water (or use 2 tablespoons hot sauce and 2 tablespoons water)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Break ground sausage into hunks first (this will make it easier to work with). Then, mix all ingredients well (by hand or stand mixer) in large bowl. If using stand mixer, mix in 2 half batches if necessary.
  3. Continue "kneading" the mixture until the mix holds together and there are no unincorporated ingredients in the bottom of the bowl. This might take a few minutes, but it will all come together.
  4. Shape mixture into balls, rolling in your hand until they're smooth.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spray lightly with cooking spray. Place sausage balls on aluminum foil covered pan so they are not touching.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Use a spatula transfer sausage balls to serving tray.

Serve with a variety of squeeze bottle mustards.

If you want to make these ahead of time, go ahead and prepare it as stated above, and let them cool completely after baking. Freeze in freezer bags until needed. Reheat by microwaving in 10 second increments until hot.

2. Velveeta and Hormel Chili-Cheese Dip

Don't miss this one! This is the cheese dip that always gets devoured at parties. It's really simple, popular, and delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (16-ounce) Velveeta brand cheese, cubed
  • 1 can (15-ounce) Hormel brand chili (no beans)
  • Optional: 1 can (10-ounce) Rotel brand diced tomatoes with green chiles

Instructions:

  1. Place chili and cubed cheese (and Rotel chiles if desired) in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave on high (100% power) for five minutes, stirring after three minutes.
  3. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

You can also try many variations of this, for example, you can make it with just the Velveeta and diced tomatoes and green chiles and omit the chili. If that sounds good to you, try it!

You can't go wrong with pigs in a blanket.

You can't go wrong with pigs in a blanket.

3. Pigs in a Blanket

This is everyone's all-time favorite finger food. Remember these? They're perfect for a Super Bowl party, or you can make it your winning contribution to the office Christmas party. Better yet, make 'em anytime to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package crescent rolls (such as Pillsbury)
  • 1 package (16-ounce) cocktail link smoked sausage (the Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies brand is great)

Instructions:

  1. Pull apart the crescent roll triangles and cut each triangle into about 5-6 long strips. They won't look perfect but that doesn't matter. Just make sure they are long enough to wrap around the cocktail links.
  2. Wrap each cocktail link with a strip of crescent roll.
  3. Bake on a slightly greased (cooking spray works best) cookie sheet according to the instructions on crescent roll package.

4. Cream Cheese With Pepper Jelly

Strange but true—this is a fabulous flavor combination. Whoever thought to mix the two is a genius. Who knew? The first time I saw it, I had to ask three times what it was. Now I dive for it on buffet tables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce block) cream cheese
  • 1 jar pepper jelly

Instructions:

  1. Place cream cheese on plate and let it sit out for about 10 minutes to soften.
  2. Scoop a dollop of jelly on top.
  3. Leave a couple of cheese knives out for guests to use to serve themselves

Serve with crackers. Don't use buttery crackers though, they will interfere with the flavors. Use a bland or lightly flavored cracker like a water cracker or something similar.

Update: A visitor to this webpage (thanks mbgphoto!) said that she mixes the two ingredients together before serving. I like this idea very much. So there's another option for you.

5. Boiled Shrimp

There's no mystery here. Boiled shrimp is straightforward, simple, and delicious.

Quick note: A VERY common question people have is, "Do you peel shrimp before you boil them?" The answer is NO! You boil shrimp with the peel on. You peel them after they are boiled and right before eating them.

Ingredients:

  • Uncooked shrimp with shell on
  • Couple tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Fill large pot 3/4 full with water and add Old Bay.
  2. Bring water to a boil and add raw shrimp. Bring shrimp back to a boil and let boil for a minute.
  3. Remove from heat and let the shrimp sit in the pot of water for 2 minutes. Shrimp are cooked when they turn pink. Don't overcook.
  4. Dip out shrimp and rinse in colander with cold water. When cool, place on bed of ice in large bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Serve with cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.

Trail mix is a classic party favorite.

Trail mix is a classic party favorite.

6. Trail Mix

Or, as some call it: GORP—Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. In other countries, it's also called "scroggin" or studenterhavre (student's oats) in Denmark.

Ingredients:

  • M&M's
  • Peanuts
  • Raisins
  • Granola
  • Whatever else you like!

Instructions:

  1. Prepare it however you want to! Mix together equal parts (or not) of your favorite snacks.
  2. Put the mixture in a bowl with a large spoon for serving.

The combination of sweet and salty is satisfying and the protein from the nuts is filling.

7. Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

Delicious, and it couldn't be easier to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag large pretzel sticks
  • 1 bag milk chocolate morsels (or white or dark chocolate, whatever you prefer)

Instructions:

  1. Put chocolate morsels in microwave safe dish. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat as necessary until chocolate is almost melted.
  2. Continue to stir until completely melted. Be careful not to overcook the chocolate—it burns easily.
  3. Dip 3/4s of the pretzel stick in the chocolate, leaving the remaining 1/4 not dipped as the handle.
  4. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and refrigerate until chocolate is firm.

Variation: If you want to jazz it up, dip the chocolate covered pretzel in chopped pecans while the chocolate is still soft.

Update: Since writing this article, we've been making these for snacks on a regular basis and I've noticed that if you remove them from the fridge and eat them right away, the chocolate may crack and fall off the pretzel. Let them sit out on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving.

8. Rice Krispie Treats

Everybody loves these!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10-ounce) regular marshmallows (or 4 cups of miniature marshmallows)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Instructions:

  1. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
  3. Using a buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Let cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Another variation: Spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet (instead of 13 x 9 x 2 pan) so that it is about 1/2 inch thick. Then, use shaped cookie cutters to cut out the treats. Like footballs or fish to match the theme of your party.

More Appetizers

© 2009 puzzlerpaige

What is your all time favorite finger food? Is it listed here?

TheRopesToKnow2 on January 25, 2014:

Great Ideas for a Super Bowl party! I love Rice Krispie Treats - Have loved them my entire life and they go well at any party. They are one of the foods that are always gone at the end of a party or get together!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on December 30, 2012:

Wishing you a year of many new blessings starting with this one! Happy New Year!

Loraine Brummer from Hartington, Nebraska on December 14, 2012:

These all look soooo yummy. Blessed!!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on August 05, 2012:

In celebration of Friendship Day 2012, I am returning to some of my favorite lenses for fun, sharing and renewed blessings :) Friends Still Make it All Worthwhile!

glowchick on July 19, 2012:

Great yummy ideas! I have made all of these at one time and they are definitely a hit!

miaponzo on March 07, 2012:

Um... probably the shrimp cocktail :) Blessed!

anonymous on April 25, 2011:

French fries! I am going to try that sausage one on my stepson though. :) Thanks for another great lens!

JulietJohnson on September 24, 2010:

LOL I have to confess that each one of these "man" recipes sounds awful to me!! Except maybe the trail mix. Men are so odd!! Lovely lens, however. I have lens-rolled you to my man-caves lens. We should stand together in this!! Hope that's ok with you? Best, Juliet

QueSea on May 05, 2010:

Yea! Snack Time.

Dianne Loomos on February 22, 2010:

The cream cheese with pepper jelly looks great! Have you ever tried cream cheese with piquante sauce or your favorite salsa? Yum!

clouda9 lm on February 19, 2010:

This lens is an upcoming feature (02-22-2010) on my blog : http://squidlog.net/squidoochefmasters...woo hoo and you gonna see the video I found ;)

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on February 09, 2010:

My favorite is All of the Above! :-) Another twist on the Rice Krispie recipe above is to make an icing by melting 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels and 1 cup butterscotch morsels together (in microwave, same as for pretzels). Spread this on the completed Rice Krispie treats, then set in fridge until cooled and icing hardens a bit. Mmm, this is so good!

clouda9 lm on January 20, 2010:

These appetizers look so delicious and easy - SCORE! We make the Velveeta/Rotel dip as one of our faves and never thought to add the chili...thanks for the inspiration.

We are appreciating your adds on FoodLoversWeb.com!

ElizabethJeanAl on January 11, 2010:

Great ideas for Super Bowl Sunday!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on January 07, 2010:

This is one of my all time favorite lenses! I really do love easy finger food and I just had to stop back by on my first day as a Squid Angel and Bless this wonderful lens!

Cheryl Kohan from England on December 07, 2009:

@Marelisa: You will LOVE the cream cheese and pepper jelly! It's also great if you mix apricot jam and mango habanero salsa (Mrs. Renfro's, if you can get that) and spoon that on the cream cheese, believe it or not.

Cheryl Kohan from England on December 07, 2009:

You know, sometimes we try too hard to do something "different". I love these old tried and true recipes. Now I have to figure out how to make the sausage balls vegetarian (daughter coming for Christmas is vegan) - LOL! Great lens and a good reminder to K.I.S.S. :-)

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on November 02, 2009:

Great recipes! Fived, Favorited, and Featured!

Marelisa on September 25, 2009:

I make that trail mix, I love it! Everything on here looks good. I've never seen the cream cheese and pepper jelly combo before, but I think I'll give it a try.

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on September 14, 2009:

I just happened to be sitting here eating GORP as I read this lens, never expecting to see it on the appetizer list. But come to think of it, it's often what I nibble on before dinner. I hadn't really thought about it before. In fact, I eat it more often as an appetizer than I do when I'm hiking, which is what it's usually intended for.

ElizabethJeanAl on September 07, 2009:

I love the sausage cheese balls and I always have a bag of trail mix in my desk drawer at school.

Great lens

Lizzy

momto4 lm on August 17, 2009:

Great lens! Everything looks so good! My grandma always makes the sausage cheese balls for all the family get togethers. They are always a big hit with everyone.

LoKackl on August 08, 2009:

Mybe if I'd read your lense a few years ago I'd still be married.. Darling yummy lens.

Joan4 on July 20, 2009:

Yummy! I love all these! Lensrolling to my Tailgating lens! Blessed!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on July 19, 2009:

Great Recipes. I have tried most of them and you are right. They are men pleasers especially the Pig in the Blanket or as we call them Pig in a Poke.

anonymous on July 13, 2009:

These are all things that I could make in no time at all too. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on July 12, 2009:

I love red pepper jelly and cream cheese. I softened the cream cheese and then mix in together till it is completely mixed. Serve with crackers. Yummy!! Everyone always wants the recipe and there is nothing to it.

Lisa Marie Gabriel from United Kingdom on July 11, 2009:

Never mind guy food, this'd do me for breakfast! :D

norma-holt on July 10, 2009:

Yes, nice lens and good ideas here. Simple food for big appetites.

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on July 10, 2009:

Great idea for a lens! Now I'm hungry!

Robin S from USA on July 10, 2009:

Not just for men! I can get into these too!

Dianne Loomos on July 10, 2009:

Cream cheese with pepper jelly sounds good! I make a similar one with picante sauce instead of pepper jelly. Yum!

Jeanette from Australia on July 09, 2009:

Another great lens! I have to confess I had to look up what Bisquick was though ;-) 5*

tcinvestor on July 09, 2009:

Cool lens. Great title. Expand on it a bit you really have a nice niche here. Maybe add a little healthy fair...just because its Man-Cave-Food doesn't mean it can't be healthy.

Stuwaha on July 09, 2009:

Those sausage cheese balls look amazing!!!

glenbrook on July 09, 2009:

Nice lens, though my favorite man cave food is a Steel Reserve with tomato juice:)