3-Ingredient Thanksgiving Appetizers

On the national day of celebration that we call Thanksgiving, the feasting starts well before you sit down at the table. Here are 10 snacks to satisfy hungry guests and set the tone for the great meal to come. 

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Smart Starters

When you're preparing a feast for a crowd (especially a meal like Thanksgiving, which involves complicated synchronization of oven racks and external appliances), the last things you're apt to cook are appetizers. But your guests will arrive hungry and need something to hold them over until the main meal starts. Instead of putting out nuts or a cheese plate, consider these super-simple appetizers that require only three ingredients each — because your shopping list is long enough.

Soup Shooters: Butternut Squash Puree + Cream + Chives

This easy, elegant cocktail party standby works almost anywhere. Warm butternut or winter squash puree in a saucepan, then add some water to thin slightly and some heavy cream for richness. Serve in espresso, demitasse or small coffee cups with a sprinkle of fresh chives.

Fruit Canape: Raisin-Walnut Bread + Brie + Pear

Salty-sweet raisin-walnut bread makes the perfect base for a slab of creamy Brie. Top with a slice of juicy pear — or crisp apple — for contrast.

Garlicky Spinach Dip: Frozen Chopped Spinach + Garlic + Greek Yogurt

Thaw and squeeze dry a package of frozen chopped spinach, then mix with thick Greek yogurt and a chopped clove of garlic. Chill before serving to let the flavors meld. 

Crab Sliders: Mini Crab Cakes + Tartar Sauce + Buns 

A special-occasion twist on the favorite game-day snack, these sliders are extra-good with buttery brioche buns, if you can find them (potato buns also work great). Top a toasted bun with a sizzling miniature crab cake, then top with tangy tartar sauce.

Marinated Feta: Feta + Olive Oil + Herbes de Provence

Place 1/2-inch cubes or thick slices of feta in a container with olive oil and herbes de Provence, cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 day to marinate. Bring to room temperature before serving with crostini or crackers.  

Asian Shrimp Skewers: Frozen Cooked Shrimp + Hoisin Sauce + Scallions 

Spear one or two pieces of cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp on the ends of wooden skewers, brush with hoisin sauce and broil on a foil-lined baking sheet, turning once, until warmed through and beginning to caramelize. Sprinkle with finely chopped scallions before serving. 

Loaded Fries: Frozen Waffle Fries + Pepper Jack + Bacon

For a hearty post-football snack, cook up frozen waffle fries as directed. Sprinkle with shredded pepper Jack and crumbled bits of cooked bacon, then return to the oven until the cheese is melted.

Barbecue Pockets: Empanada Wrappers + Pulled Pork + Barbecue Sauce

For addictive little dippers, toss pulled pork with barbecue sauce to moisten. With a 3-inch biscuit or cookie cutter (or use the rim of a glass), cut small rounds from store-bought empanada wrappers. Fill with the pork, seal and bake as directed. Serve with a bowl of warm barbecue sauce on the side.  

Salmon Spears: Endive + Horseradish Cream + Smoked Salmon

Swipe endive leaves with a spoonful of horseradish cream and top each with a piece of silky smoked salmon for a gluten-free snack. 

Pâté: Butter + Onion + Chicken Livers

For a quick, classic combination, saute minced onions in a generous amount of butter, add some livers and cook until no longer pink. (Add a splash of sherry or bourbon at the end if you are feeling fancy.) Mash with a fork to combine, season and serve warm. Or whiz up in a food processor, transfer to a small crock or terrine, and serve chilled. Great with woven-wheat crackers or crusty bread.