Inexpensive, Simple Appetizers
Entertaining on a budget means finding a few cheap, easy appetizers to serve your guests. Whether you're looking for something chilled or heated, you're sure to find a great appetizer that fits both your menu and your budget.
Chips and salsa is one of the easiest and cheapest appetizers you can set out. They are perfect for a Mexican-themed meal or for anyone who likes a spicy kick to start off dinner.
- 4 (7-inch) pocketless pita breads
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- Toppings: olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, chicken, etc.
- Arrange pita on a baking sheet. Spread marinara on each.
- Top each with additional desired toppings.
- Bake at 500 degrees five to seven minutes or until cheese is melted.
Veggies and Dip
Vegetables are the ultimate cheap easy appetizer. They are colorful enough to make a nice presentation and their flavor pleases nearly everyone.
- Celery with ranch dip
- Celery stuffed with cream cheese
- Celery with peanut butter
- Carrot sticks with ranch
- Assorted veggies with hummus
Serve pita bread with delicious homemade hummus to your guests. Vegetables and crusty bread are also delicious when dipped in this flavorful and quick dip.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 egg
- 1 cup oatmeal
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 can condensed tomato soup
- Mix ground beef, salt and pepper, onion, egg, and oatmeal; shape into small meatballs.
- Heat meatballs in a skillet until just browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to crockpot.
- Mix brown sugar, lemon juice, and tomato soup. Pour over meatballs. Cook for five to six hours on low.
Easy Cheese Ball
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat together until well blended.
- Shape into a ball. Cover and chill eight hours or overnight.
- 1 ounce sliced pepperoni
- Arrange pepperoni in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and blot away grease with paper towels.
- Return to oven and bake an additional two to four minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve with ranch, marinara, cheese dip, or other favorite dipping sauce.
Ham and Cheese Roll
- 16 slices ham
- 16 slices Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
- Italian seasoning
- Top each slice of ham with a slice of cheese.
- Sprinkle seasoning on each.
- Roll tightly and slice as desired.
Tex Mex Tortillas
- 1 pound ground beef
- 12 ounces salsa
- 1/2 cup water
- Optional: sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole
- Brown ground beef.
- Add salsa and water.
- Cover and cook over low heat 30 minutes or until heated through.
- Top tortillas with mixture or use as a dip.
- Top with desired optional ingredients
- 1 dozen eggs, boiled and peeled
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon onion, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
- Salt and pepper
- Slice eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks. Place whites on a platter.
- In a bowl, mash the yolks with a fork. Add all other ingredients except paprika. Mix well.
- Fill each egg white with the yolk mixture. Sprinkle paprika on top.
Black Bean Salad
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
- 8 green onions, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or to taste
Combine all ingredients, chill, and serve with chips.
- 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) Frank's Red Hot sauce (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
- Combine butter and hot sauce. Coat chicken in the mixture.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 35 minutes, basting frequently with the sauce mix.
- Serve with celery sticks, baby carrots, and ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Veggie and Cheese Toothpicks
- Grape tomatoes
- Cheddar cheese, cubed
- Yellow peppers
- Cube the cheese, if purchased in a block.
- Slice the peppers into small pieces.
- Spear the tomatoes, cheese, and peppers onto the toothpicks and arrange on a platter.
Ham and Cheese Peaches
- Fresh peaches
- Cream cheese
- Ham slices
- Grill or broil the peaches on high for three to four minutes per side.
- Put a teaspoon of cream cheese on each one and wrap in a slice of ham.
Zucchini Cheese Rolls
- Olive oil
- Block of cheddar cheese
- Pine nuts
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch strips.
- Brush each strip with olive oil and grill or broil for two to three minutes each side.
- Cut the cheese into two inch high sticks.
- Wrap a piece of zucchini around each piece of cheese.
- Sprinkle with pine nuts.
- 4 potatoes
- 1 Vidalia onion
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grate the potatoes and onion into a bowl.
- Squeeze out the excess liquid.
- Mix in the egg, flour, salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and drop the mixture by the 1/4 cup into the oil.
- Fry on each side for three to five minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
- Serve with sour cream or applesauce.
- Toast the bread and cut it into cubes.
- Layer a piece of ham on each toast cube.
- Place an olive on the ham.
- Top the olive with one or two pieces of cheese.
- Anchor with a toothpick.
- 1 pound ground beef
- Red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesean cheese
- Baby Bella mushrooms
- Pull the stems out of the mushroom caps and dice into small pieces.
- Dice the bell pepper.
- Brown the beef in a skillet with the mushroom stems and pepper.
- Stir in the cheese.
- Pack the beef mixture into the mushroom caps.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
Add a few elegant appetizers when you have more room in your budget or if you want to appeal to a variety of palates. By choosing several different appetizers to serve, you're sure to please everyone at your party.