Beyond Chips and Dip: Appetizers for a Crowd

When it comes to hosting a backyard cookout, a spread of burgers, barbecue, sides and salads is essential, of course, but so are a few pre-dinner munchies. Having a few easy-to-eat appetizers on hand will ensure your guests are held over until the main dishes are ready and not weighed down in the meantime. While chips and dip may be a go-to classic, you can indeed take your appetizer offering to the next delicious level while sticking with simple, stress-free favorites.

Sunny Anderson’s Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream (pictured above) are top-rated bites that can be prepared in 40 quick minutes. To save time, Sunny starts with a precooked rotisserie chicken to make the filling, featuring the bold flavors of sauteed jalapenos, salsa and garlic, plus cheddar cheese and lime juice. She wraps the mixture in flour tortillas, then deep-fries the flautas until golden brown and crispy, before serving them with a creamy, cool combination of mashed avocados and tangy sour cream.

Beef Pops with Pineapple and Parsley Sauce; Giada De Laurentiis

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

While kebabs may be a traditional dinner pick, they can start off the meal, as well, especially if you opt for miniature skewers. Giada’s Beef Pops with Pineapple and Parsley Sauce are threaded with bite-size chunks of herb-marinated beef and juicy pineapple before being grilled and finished with a parsley-garlic topping.

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mp-sandralee334.jpg

Photo by: Mark Peterson / Redux

Mark Peterson / Redux

Prefer chicken instead of beef? Try Sandra’s Margarita Chicken Skewers, a five-star recipe boasting the tried-and-true taste of your favorite summer sipper. The secret to Sandra’s recipe is in her marinade: a mixture of frozen margarita mix, tequila and cilantro.

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