The new year is always an interesting time for me–sometimes I’m sad the year is over and sometimes I’m relieved, excited to get a fresh start. I’m feeling a little bit of both this year. Sara posted on her personal Facebook yesterday that she has boarded 42 planes this year. If I’m calculating it right, I’ve boarded 37. It’s really not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. We’ve published our 2nd book in as many years, spoken in 8 cities (4 of which I did while pregnant and the other 4 I did with a new baby). Oh, yeah, I had a baby. I found myself in the middle of all sorts of travel drama ranging from wandering the streets of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania while 30 weeks pregnant to lost luggage to a trip to the ER and the PICU with my son. It’s been a wonderful, exhilarating, exhausting year, this Year of Chaos. I feel like I’m perpetually at least 3 steps behind in almost everything I’m doing. My “to-do box” has graduated to a “to-do laundry basket.”  I can’t speak for Sara, but I’m pretty sure her year has been just about as crazy as mine. I’m grateful for all the insanely fun things we’ve done, but I’m also grateful for a chance in 2013 to simplify my life–to have fun in my kitchen, get caught up on my laundry, and read a book. 
So to kick things off, we’re sharing some of our favorite appetizers to help ring in the new year!
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus:  One of my FAVORITE recipes from last year! This has become my go-to hummus.
Chili con Queso Dip: Cheesy, spicy, tomato-y, and not a block of Velveeta in sight.
Bacon-Wrapped Cocktail Sausages:  These changed my life.  And my hips.  Forever.

Bruschetta:  A classic.  Light, fresh, easy and delicious.

 Sweet Fruit Bruschetta:  our little twist on the classic. 

Sweet and Sour Meatballs or Little Smokies:  3 ingredients, can’t beat that!

7-Layer Greek Dip:  Kate just posted this amazing dish, sure to be a hit.

Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pastry Pockets:  These are great because they can be made ahead of time and served warm, or at room temp.

Garlic-Artichoke Dip:  Cheesy, tangy, garlicky goodness.

Hot Corn Dip:  Use frozen fresh corn for this to-die-for dip.  
And hey, it’s vegetable based, totally good for you!

Hot White Bean Dip:  This dip is actually fairly healthy, 
and no one will have a clue because it’s so delicious.  Shh…we won’t tell.

Quick and Easy Mexican Dip:  Another one with only 3 ingredients!

Cheeseball: Seriously, what party is complete without a cheeseball??

Roasted Red Pepper Dip:  Creamy and cheesy with a little kick.  My husband’s request every party!

Guacamole:  Follow our easy tips for perfect guac!

Sweet Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips: Try this fun variation of chips and salsa. It’s light, sweet, and refreshing. Mix it up with whatever fruit is in season.
Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip: Another sweet ending. Serve fruit on skewers, or in a big bowl with some tooth picks to the side. Even just apple slices work well. Make a double or triple batch because it will go quick!
Stuffed Pizza Rolls: A huge hit at parties. Make a few of these and keep them in the fridge before your party. Bake one for the table and then pop the others in the oven during the party so they can be served warm. Trust me, you’ll need lots! Try your favorite fillings or try one of mine:Bacon-Ranch
Jalapeno Popper Dip:  It’s like jalapeno poppers, only about 8000 times easier. 

And better.  And cheesier. 

When trying to plan “finger foods” I often think of my favorite normal sized foods and just adapt them to make them appropriate for large groups. One great example is skewers. Try your favorite grilled skewer (which you can easily place on a broiler pan and cook in large batches in your oven) and just put them on mini skewers or tooth picks. Some of our favorites are:

Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Skewers: These work great on toothpicks- just put one piece of bacon-wrapped chicken and one chunk of pineapple on a toothpick. Whenever I serve these at parties they are one of the very first things to disappear!

Orange-Thai Beef Skewers: I like these on mini skewers, which are larger than a toothpick but smaller than a regular skewer. Just put one slice of thinly cut steak on each skewer. Garnish the tray with sliced oranges and people can snack on those too.

Chili-Lime Mango Chicken Skewers
: This is another great one for a tooth pick. Just put one chunk of mango and one piece of chicken on each one. You can bake them in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 until the chicken juices run clear (probably about 15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken)

Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers: One of my favorite dinners that doubles as a great appetizer. Try them with chicken tenders for large servings, or cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces to stretch it farther. If you make the small chicken chunks, put them in a bowl or platter so they stay close to each other and stay warm. Serve with a dish of toothpicks to the side and some dipping sauce (like sweet and sour) if desired.

A great, easy appetizer is a pizza. You could make your own if you have the time and the desire, or just use pre-made crust and throw on your own toppings. Try something like Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza for something different. Heck, even a pizza from the freezer section of the grocery store works great. Just cut into squares instead of slices and you have a great appetizer that serves quite a few!

Taquitos: These taquitos make a great party food. Try either the Chipotle Beef, or the Creamy Chicken. Both fillings can be made ahead of time which comes in handy when you’re preparing lots of food. Serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

Classic Caramel Corn:  Because sometimes you just need a little something sweet!  Or if you want to glam it up, try our Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn, pictured below. 

Hope this list gives you a little inspiration. Good luck to those of you hosting parties, and a Happy New Year to all of you! And please party responsibly!


  1. 1
    mjfluke says:

    These pics and links look amazing and I’m so glad they are all pretty simple to create. Thanks for putting them all in one post!

  2. 2

    Wonderful collection of recipes!

  3. 3
    Wendy Perkins says:

    Happy new year to you both. I hope 2013 is just as interesting, but a little less hectic for you!

  4. 4
    LHR says:

    Kate, These recipes and ideas are Super Good! Thanks for them. Best Wishes for a GREAT NEW YEAR! Love, LHR

  5. 5

    Wishing you a happy new year! Sounds like 2012 was super busy for you, hope 2013 is a little more relaxing. 🙂

  6. 6
    Laurisa says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful appetizer recipes all in one post. Your blog is my favorite and I love reading each new post. Thanks for brightening my day with your sense of humor and great recipes! I have both of your cookbooks too! I hope you both have a Happy New Year!

  7. 7

    We made the Jalapeno popper dip – Gone way before midnight, The Thai Orange Beef Skewers – Gone about five minutes after they came off the grill, and your basic Hummus recipe (I added extra lemon juice, lemon zest, and artichoke hearts…yum!) It was a great spread! Thanks for all the amazing recipes. Can’t wait to see what the new year brings.

  8. 8
    Mindy Hill says:

    Love your site and all that you do! I make the little smokies with bacon, only I add a slice of pickled jalapeno under the bacon. Sweet, salty, and spicy all in one…amazing!

  9. 9
    Charlene says:

    I think I need to be invited to a taste-testing party at your house. 🙂 Love your stuff!

  10. 10
    Jenny says:

    Bless you for sharing these! Ive been on a dip kick since the holidays (mostly your recipes) and am so excited to try some more of these recipes. I have both of your cookbooks now too (thank you parents and Christmas!), and whipped up some of your zucchini banana muffins this morning…about which…I was wondering…do you think I could substitute some applesauce for the melted butter? Thanks for all the great recipes! SO excited to dig in to your new cookbook!

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