10 Thanksgiving Appetizers (Because There's More to the Holiday Than Turkey)
While some celebrations call for hours of slow grazing (those tailgate snacks are an all-afternoon affair, right?), Thanksgiving is often set up into distinct parts: appetizers, the main spread, dessert and leftovers. Since you're likely spending most of your time prepping the bird and its fixings, keep the starter game simple, for both you and your company. After all, you don't want to serve hors d'oeuvres that are so filling that your guests are not craving turkey. The key is to whet their appetites with a few seasonal bites that will only prime them for what's to come, and these go-to picks surely fit the bill.
Baked Brie: Once you pop the wheel into the oven, your work is just about done for this appetizer. After 20 minutes, the insides will have turned ooey-gooey and oh-so-creamy, and all you'll have to do is serve fresh veggies or pretzels on the side for easy dipping.
Holiday Bacon Appetizers: Think of this recipe from The Pioneer Woman as Cheese and Crackers 2.0. Ree Drummond starts with buttery club-style crackers, sprinkles nutty Parmesan cheese on top, and then wraps them with salty bacon before baking them.
Fried Ravioli: Follow Giada De Laurentiis' lead and start with store-bought ravioli to make this surprisingly speedy starter, coated in cheesy breadcrumbs. For an easy pairing, open up a jar of your favorite marinara sauce to serve on the side.
Acorn Squash Soup: Guy Fieri balances the richness of his big-batch creamy soup with bold flavors, like a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of cayenne pepper for subtle heat.
Stuffed Mushrooms: Garlicky and cheesy, Giada's breadcrumb stuffing is studded with fresh herbs and turns golden on top while two-bite white mushrooms are baked in.
Bruschetta with Peppers and Gorgonzola: Not just for tomatoes and basil, bruschetta gets a makeover with Ina Garten's pepper topping. She balances the sweetness of the sugar-marinated peppers with briny capers. Before serving, Ina dots the topped toasted bread slices with Gorgonzola.
Rosemary Roasted Cashews: Just a bit of butter helps the herbs, cayenne and sugar stick to the cashews, which Ina warms gently before tossing them with the other ingredients.
Swiss and Bacon Dip: Sure, onion dip is good, but Rachael Ray's top-rated party favorite takes dip to a new level of indulgence. She mixes crispy chopped bacon with cream cheese, mayonnaise, Swiss and a dollop of Dijon for welcome tang, then bakes it until it's golden brown and bubbling. Craving the heat? Don't be afraid to add a bit of horseradish to the cheese-bacon mixture.
Picnic Deviled Eggs: The beauty of these quick-fix deviled eggs is that you can prep them completely before your guests arrive, then simply refrigerate them until later.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette: Let's call this fall on a plate. In-season, tender roasted butternut squash, crimson-colored cranberries and a tangy apple cider vinaigrette — it's all here in Ina's fuss-free salad.