8 Quick and Easy Party Appetizers Slideshow

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1. Puff Pastry
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1. Puff Pastry
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This flaky, butter-rich dough isn’t just for sweets. It’s a tasty alternative to traditional pizza dough, too. Roll defrosted pastry out to about a 1/8-inch thickness. Top with a thin layer of pesto and roasted tomatoes. Bake according to package instructions until edges are golden. Garnish with a grating of Parmesan and serve warm.

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Veer/Robin Mackenzie

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2. Tart Shells
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2. Tart Shells
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Found in the freezer section of most grocery stores, these one-bite shells (either made of filo or pastry) are a host’s best friend, as they can be filled with a variety of fillings — from shrimp salad to lemon curd. They’re particularly good when filled with some sautéed Swiss chard mixed with dried cranberries and topped with fresh crumbled feta.

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Veer/Sergey Makarenko

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3. Buttermilk Biscuits
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3. Buttermilk Biscuits
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When you’re short on time, why make biscuits from scratch when you can grab a roll of Grands? All the work is done for you — all you need to do is bake them off. Slice the warm biscuits in half and spread with honey mustard, a slice of deli black forest ham, and a chunk of Cheddar. A Southern specialty that comes together in minutes.

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Veer/Msheldrake

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4. Mac and Cheese
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4. Mac and Cheese
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This meal in a box isn’t just for little kids. Make a batch or two of this comfort-food favorite a day or two before the party. The day of, mix an extra cup of grated cheese (pre-grated from the store works) in for every three cups of pasta. Pack into greased mini muffin tins and bake until the cheese is bubbly. Warning: These are so good your guests will continue to come back for more… and more. So make plenty.

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Itemmaster

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5. Canned Beans
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5. Canned Beans
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Why buy a container of overpriced hummus at the store when you can customize your own at home in a matter of minutes? It’s one of famed Irish chef Clodagh McKenna’s go-to tricks. Simply mix together a can of beans and some seasonings like rosemary, chili powder, chopped garlic, or tahini. Thin the mixture with olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency and taste.

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Veer/Karam miri

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6. Roasted Peppers
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6. Roasted Peppers
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On the shelf, these brine or oil-packed red vegetables last forever (or so it seems) and are a great way to dress up an otherwise bland ingredient into a tasty and eye-catching snack. Wrap scallops with a slice of pepper, skewer with a toothpick, and broil until just golden. Or stuff small piquillo peppers with a lemony-herb flavored cream cheese.

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Itemmaster

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7. Pancetta
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7. Pancetta
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It’s hard to say no to bacon, but dealing with the greasy, thick-cut stuff can be a pain (not to mention smelly) when guests are less than an hour away. Thinly sliced pancetta, easily available at the deli counter or pre-sliced in packages is a cleaner alternative, and it forms perfect cups when baked off until crisp lining the cups of a mini muffin tin. Fill with a mixture of finely sliced endive, chunks of pear, and chopped pecans and it’s like salad in a cup.

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istock/stocknshares

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8. Mini Mozzarella Balls
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8. Mini Mozzarella Balls
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Don’t underestimate these bite-sized treats. Dress them up with a wrapping of prosciutto and melon, or pair with a basil leaf and watermelon. A favorite? Matched with a wild mushroom tortellini and served on a rosemary sprig. 

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istock/billnoll