When it comes to the holidays, the food you put out for guests is just as important as the gifts you give them. But, whether you’re making a roast, a ham or even a turkey (if you can even find a good deal this year), the entree takes some time to prep and cook.
That’s where appetizers come in — delicious bites and finger foods that take little time (or none at all) to put together and serve while waiting for the main dish to be ready (or for enjoying while watching holiday movies in pyjamas).
One of the best spots to score them, especially for bulk buys if you have a large gathering, is Costco. As CNET discovered this month in comparing grocery store bills, shopping at Costco can save you up to $1,000 over the course of the year (approximately a 33% discount as compared to prices at other food retailers).
Here are some great appetizer ideas to add to your shopping list as you stock up for your holiday feast (some are even frozen so they can keep through the end of the year).
Create your own charcuterie for guests with this gourmet all-in-one spread that includes five bricks of premium cheese, sausages, crackers and festive cranberry pistachio crisps as well as sweet hot mustard and honey pineapple jam. Unwrap and place on a decorative platter to fancy it up.
Fruit cake might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but few can turn away a good dried fruit and nut tray like this. Weighing 36 oz., it can fill up a decent size gathering and includes a colorful display of Argentinian pears, California dates, Thai kiwi slices and a mix of cranberries, almonds, cashews and more.
Farm Rich Mozzarella Sticks ($12.99)
Great for kids and adults alike, these breaded mozzarella sticks have a crisp outer texture and gooey cheese inside. They cook up in no time, plus this party-size box includes 45 sticks to feed the whole family. Pair with dipping sauces to take it to the next level!
Where’s the beef? It’s right here with these Italian-style, all-beef meatballs that cook up hot and can be paired with marinara sauce or a sweet glaze. This six-pound bag has 140 frozen bites inside, so you can use the leftovers for meatball sub sandwiches or a family pasta night.
Fish and seafood make a great early course before dinner is served, and you can’t go wrong with breaded oversized butterfly shrimp to please a crowd. Each clean tail shrimp is hand-breaded and there’s up to 60 per three-pound box. You might arrange them in a pretty design on a festive plate and pair with cocktail sauce, although they’re great on their own as well.
If you want to go all out for your crew, go for this delectable Serrano ham that will melt in their mouths. This premium cut of ham is 100% natural, with no nitrates or nitrites, and has been aged for 12 months for ultimate taste and quality. The 14-pound leg comes with a stand and knife for serving.
Another way to show your family you really love indulging them is with this six-pound selection of bacon-wrapped scallops. Considering each box comes with 75 bites combining buttery scallops and smoky bacon, this is a great deal — especially since seafood prices are up 16.8% this year, according to National Fisherman.
Perhaps your family has a big game on when relaxing before your holiday dinner — tempt their appetite with these game-ready crispy chicken wings. A sauce packet is included which wraps these bites up in a classic zingy buffalo flavor. Each four-pound bag comes frozen and features premium cuts of chicken raised with no antibiotics.
Those who have a hunger for fried fare might enjoy these delicious potstickers stuffed with chicken and veggies. Each bag offers more than 60 pieces and comes with a dipping sauce packet for extra flavor.
Jalapeno poppers are the gift that keeps on giving all season long — and this giant box of 50 units could last all season, too. Mild peppers are used to make these so they’re great for kids (and adults) with a sensitive palate. Each is stuffed with cream cheese and lightly breaded for the perfect combination of texture and flavor.
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