Quick and Easy Appetizers

When everyone's starving and there's no time to spare, these appetizers come to the rescue.
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Fast Pizza: Top a 6-inch Italian bread shell (such as Boboli) with tub-style cream cheese; top with cooked vegetables, sliced red onions, and snipped fresh herbs. Sprinkle on crumbled blue or feta cheese. Bake until all ingredients are heated through.

Fruit and Dip: Thread fruits such as pineapple chunks, apple wedges, pear slices, and orange sections onto wooden skewers. Serve with a curry dip made from equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream, seasoned with curry powder.

Mexicali Chips: Cook ground beef seasoned with ground cumin until brown; drain off fat. Stir in enough salsa to moisten, along with sliced ripe olives and snipped cilantro. Top with sour cream or shredded cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.

Chicken Bagels: Split mini bagels in half and toast. Top with chicken salad, and sprinkle with finely chopped red onion. Top each with a thin apple wedge or toasted, sliced almonds.

Cranberry Cider: Mix equal parts cranberry juice cocktail and apple cider. Heat through. Serve in mugs with cinnamon sticks for stirrers.

Easy Reubens: Top crispy rye crackers with thinly sliced fully-cooked corned beef, rinsed and well-drained canned sauerkraut and Thousand Island salad dressing.

Simple Smorgasbord: Spread water crackers with soft-style cream cheese with chives and onion. Top with thinly sliced smoked red salmon and fresh dill. Or spread rye crackers with soft-style cream cheese. Top with canned sardines and finely chopped tomato.

Quick Broiler Treats: Combine equal amounts of mayonnaise and grated Parmesan cheese. Stir in some snipped parsley. Spread on Melba toast rounds. Broil about 1 minute or until golden. Or top assorted crackers with sliced Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers. Top with some salsa. If desired, broil for 30 to 60 seconds or until cheese melts.

Jelly-Topped Cheese Spread: Melt jalapeño jelly in a saucepan and spoon over an 8-ounce round of Brie cheese.

Brie and Fruit: Warm rounds of Brie cheese in a 325 degrees F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with apple and pear wedges or crackers.

Tomato and Melon Kabobs: Wrap thin slices of prosciutto or corned beef around cherry tomatoes or melon balls. Thread tomatoes or melon onto wooden toothpicks.

Marinated Appetizer Kabobs: Thread cubes of salami or cheese, cooked tortellini, and vegetables alternately onto 6-inch skewers. Marinate in the refrigerator for several hours in Italian salad dressing. Drain and serve.


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