Living

Eight fuss-free appetizers

Dress-up store-bought nibblies for your New Year's bash

After slaving over a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, why not enjoy a stress-free New Year’s Eve? Keep your menu simple with an appetizer-only party that lets you nibble all night without being stuck in the kitchen. Save time with ready-to-go items from the supermarket and then add a few homemade tweaks for that finishing touch.
 Party brie Spread a small round of brie with hot pepper jelly, mango chutney or spoonfuls of bottled antipasto. Microwave on medium heat until sides of brie feel warm, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with crackers. Fruit ‘n’ cheese bites Top apple or pear wedges with a dollop of creamy blue cheese or herbed cream cheese.

Easy bruschetta Spread store-bought baguette slices with garlic butter. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and toast in a 375F (190C) oven. Top with store-bought bruschetta mixture from your supermarket deli cart.

Buffet antipasti On a large platter, arrange rows of marinated peppers, mushrooms, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, slices of prosciutto and salami, melon balls and dolmas (grape leaves stuffed with rice or meat). Serve with sliced Italian bread.

Holiday wraps Mix 1 tbsp (15 mL) of wasabi paste (available at Asian supermarkets or the sushi counter of your grocery store) with 1/2 cup (125 mL) of mayonnaise. Spread thinly on tortillas and top with slices of deli roast beef. Roll, then slice into rounds. Or try seafood salad with coriander, smoked salmon cream cheese topped with a handful of baby spinach leaves, or smoked turkey and roasted red pepper strips.

No-carb canapés Top cucumber slices with a spoonful of bottled antipasto, or a slice of smoked salmon and a sprig of dill.

Cheese crunches Fill celery sticks with spreadable cream cheese and top with chopped dried figs, dried cranberries or apricots.

Spicy chicken drumettes Toss chicken wing drumettes – available in your grocery store’s meat department – with green, jalapeno-flavoured Tabasco sauce. Roll in sesame seeds and bake in a 375F (190C) preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes.