Small Bites to Get Things Started

Italian Wonton BitesRather than preparing a big dinner when entertaining, the trend this holiday season is to create an appetizer buffet that allows guests to "graze" throughout the evening. It is also an easy way for your guests to come and go, especially during this time of year, when people are often invited to more than one gathering on a given evening.

To help keep the cost in line when entertaining family and close friends, your party could consist of a potluck where you invite guests to bring their favorite appetizer to share, but realize that you might end up with six cheese balls! Another approach that guarantees more variety is to assign a category, such as a cheese platter, hot wings, veggies and dip, or a hot meat or seafood appetizer. For even more fun and a chance to try some new and different things, you could create the menu, complete with recipes, and assign each guest one to prepare. As the host, you can round out the menu with beverages and a few sweet treats to make the spread complete.

When determining quantities of hors d'oeuvres for a party, keep in mind that most guests will consume eight to ten bite-sized pieces every 60 to 90 minutes. Also, the larger the number of offerings, the more hors d'oeuvres you'll need to prepare since most everyone will want to try at least one of everything. The pace of eating will usually be faster at the beginning of the party, especially if it is in the early evening, but will slow as people satisfy their hunger. For a party lasting longer than two hours, you should be prepared with a second round as the evening progresses. This might be the perfect time to bring out a variety of mini desserts and coffee with add-ins and toppings to bring the evening to a close.

Twice Baked Potato MinisWe've had fun creating a variety of appetizers that could be used at your holiday event or as your contribution to an office party or neighborhood gathering. We also have beautiful Baked Bries and Cheese Flights in the Imported Cheese Department, appetizers in Frozen Foods, and a great selection of last minute items in our Deli that will always be a hit. Our Eagan, Oak Park Heights, Uptown and Woodbury Markets feature wine, beer and spirits as well to make the party complete. Make your plans now for a season full of entertaining and turn to Kowalski's for all your needs.

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