Make a menu of these easy appetizers and bite-sized desserts for the perfect party experieince.
Cost per serving: 43¢
Change this flexible recipe to suit your tastes. Substitute black olives for the green ones, or add chopped toasted walnuts for crunch. Add feta or goat cheese instead of the parmesan.
See recipe: Roasted Pepper, Parmesan and Olive Crostini
Cost per serving: 32¢
The best way to chop the ham is in a food processor. Pulse several times to reach the right consistency, but don’t overdo it. To give this a kick, add some Tabasco sauce to the filling for touch of heat.
See recipe: Mini Ham Salad Sandwiches
Cost per serving: 66¢
For a touch of bitter flavor and a pretty splash of purple, swap radicchio for the Boston lettuce. With either type of lettuce, trim larger leaves with kitchen shears to make compact “cups.”
See recipe: Curried Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
Cost per serving: 10¢
To make your own pesto, combine 1/4 cup pine nuts, 4 cloves garlic, 3 cups fresh basil leaves, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth. With the blades in motion, pour in 3/4 cup olive oil. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and puree until smooth and blended. Makes about 1 cup. Freeze what you don’t use in a small, airtight container.
See recipe: Creamy Pesto Pinwheels
Cost per serving: 37¢
For the best texture, make sure the oil is at the proper temperature before cooking the shrimp, and be sure to check it between batches. For extra crunch, use panko, which are coarse Japanese breadcrumbs. They’re available in many supermarkets.
See recipe: Spicy Coconut Shrimp
Cost per serving: 70¢
These skewers can be easily customized. For a shot of green, thread a fresh basil leaf onto each skewer. Cherry tomatoes also make good additions. Swap cubes of Parmesan instead of the mozzarella.
See recipe: Antipasto Skewers
Cost per serving: 47¢
The cookie dough is buttery so it can be tricky to work with—but all that butter gives it great flavor and texture. Be careful not to roll the cookies too thinly or they won’t support the filling and fruit.
See recipe: Mini Fruit Tartlets
Cost per serving: 15¢
When making these caramels, use a candy thermometer to ensure that the temperature reaches 248°F. The cooking time is usually about 30 minutes but it can vary, so watch carefully. Be sure to bring the temperature back to 248°F after you’ve added the second cup of cream or the caramels won’t set up properly.
See recipe: Salted Butter Caramels