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4 Easy-to-Whip-Up Appetizers Impossible to Resist

Pack your next picnic with these sumptuous starters.

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Overhead image of four delicious appetizers including Salmon Dip, Hummus, Deviled Eggs and Ham and Cheese Rolls on a stripe cloth
Jennifer Causey (food stylist: Torie Cox; prop Stylist: Julia Bayless)
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 Whether you're entertaining friends, bringing an appetizer to a party or just looking to enhance your family dinners, these four starters from my blog, Once Upon a Chef, are sure to impress. Dive into creamy spreads that beg for just one more dip, pretty deviled eggs that dress up any plate and sliders so good, you can't stop at just one — trust me, I've tried, and it's impossible! The best part? They're all easy to whip up.

Overhead of classic deviled eggs on check background cloth
Jennifer Causey (food stylist: Torie Cox; prop Stylist: Julia Bayless)

Deviled Eggs

Devilishly delicious and always a favorite, these eggs are the perfect appetizer for any occasion.

Servings: 1 dozen filled egg halves

Ingredients:

6 eggs

3 tablespoons quality mayonnaise

1½ teaspoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

⅛ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

⅛ teaspoon sugar

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped mixed herbs, such as chives, parsley, dill or tarragon, plus more for serving

Paprika, for serving

Place eggs in a medium saucepan and fill the pan with enough water so that it covers the eggs by about an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Place the hard-boiled eggs in a bowl of cold water to cool (I usually just use the saucepan).

Once cool, tap each egg on the counter to crack the shell; peel under cold running water. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, gently remove the yolks and place them in a small bowl. Arrange the whites on a serving platter, gently wiping them clean if necessary. Using a spatula, push the yolks through a mesh sieve, then mash with the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, cayenne pepper and herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star or large plain tip with the yolk mixture. (Alternatively, fill a sealable plastic bag with yolk mixture, and use your hand to gently push the mixture to one corner of the bag. Use scissors to snip off the tip of the corner, opening up a ¼–inch hole.) Pipe the yolk mixture evenly into the egg white halves. Sprinkle with paprika and more fresh herbs.

Overhead image of salmon dip with bagel chips
Jennifer Causey (food stylist: Torie Cox; prop Stylist: Julia Bayless)

Smoked Salmon Dip

This elegant smoked salmon dip is delicious on crackers — or served on a brunch buffet with bagels.

Servings: 2 cups
 
Ingredients:

1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons capers, drained

¼ teaspoon Tabasco

4 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill

2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives

Salt, to taste

Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, capers and Tabasco in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse until blended. Add the salmon, dill and chives and pulse, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the salmon is finely chopped. Taste and add salt, if necessary (I usually add about ¼ teaspoon, but it depends on the saltiness of the smoked salmon). Serve as a dip with crackers or bagel chips, or as a spread with bagels.

Make ahead: This dip can be made a few days ahead of time. However, it gets quite firm in the fridge so let it sit at room temperature before serving, otherwise it will be hard to scoop.

 

Overhead photo of classic ham and cheese on rolls
Jennifer Causey (food stylist: Torie Cox; prop Stylist: Julia Bayless)

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Make your next gathering a hit with these ham and cheese sliders: soft buns filled with ham and melted Swiss cheese, all smothered in a tangy butter sauce.

Servings: 12 sliders

Ingredients:

FOR THE BUTTER SAUCE

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1½ tablespoons poppy seeds

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt

FOR THE SANDWICHES

One 12-count pack square soft white dinner rolls, such as King's Hawaiian Original Sweet Rolls

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

⅔ pound sliced Swiss cheese

½ pound sliced Black Forest ham

Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the butter sauce. Set aside.

Using a serrated bread knife, slice the rolls in half horizontally, keeping the top and bottom halves separately intact. (Don't worry if the rolls fall apart; you can piece them back together in the pan.) Spread the mustard evenly over the cut sides of the roll tops and bottoms.

Place the bottom half of the bread, cut side up, in a 9-inch square baking pan. Place half of the cheese in an even layer over the bread. Top with all of the ham, followed by the remaining cheese. Cover with the roll tops.

Evenly spoon butter sauce over the top of the rolls, letting it drip down the sides.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until tops are golden brown and toasted. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes in pan. Using a large spatula, carefully transfer the sandwich block to a cutting board. Slice into sandwiches; transfer to a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make-ahead: The sliders can be assembled a day ahead, topped with sauce, refrigerated overnight, and then baked the following day.

Overhead image of hummus, sliced vegetables and pita
Jennifer Causey (food stylist: Torie Cox; prop Stylist: Julia Bayless)

Best Easy Hummus Recipe

Say farewell to mediocre store-bought hummus — my hummus recipe guarantees a creamy, whipped, flavor-packed spread, ideal for scooping with small slices of pita bread.

Servings: About 3 cups

Ingredients:

2 (15½ ounce) cans of chickpeas

¼ cup fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons

¼ cup sesame tahini, well stirred (preferably Joyva Sesame Tahini)

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Heaping ¼ teaspoon cumin

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley, for serving (optional)

Paprika, for serving (optional)

Reserving the liquid from the cans, drain the chickpeas in a colander (no need to rinse them). Set a few chickpeas aside for garnishing the hummus.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, olive oil and ⅓ cup of the reserved canning liquid. Process for several minutes until smooth and creamy. The hummus should hold its shape when you drag a spoon through it; add more liquid and process again if it seems too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Transfer hummus to a serving bowl. Use the back of a spoon to swirl a shallow well in the center. Drizzle a little olive oil in the well; sprinkle with parsley and paprika, then garnish with the reserved chickpeas. Serve at room temperature with pita bread, pita chips or crudités.

Make-ahead: Hummus can be made and refrigerated in a covered container up to two days ahead of time. Bring to room temperature before serving.

What's your favorite appetizer to whip up? Let us know in the comments below. 

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