As you and your crew are busily preparing the holiday meal, you'll inevitably get a few guests who sneak into the kitchen for food. Whether it be the two-year-old daughter who doesn't know better, or the Aunt who proclaims "Calories eaten before the meal don't count!" or whoever, it is a good idea to have some snacks or appetizers ready to keep those snitching fingers at bay.
I have a few criteria for my holiday snack foods.
1) Healthy is best. We are already going to be consuming plenty of rich and calorie-laden foods. Having light, healthy foods for snacks helps us be prepared for the massive amount of food we will be eating, and feel less bad about the day. :)
2) EASY. Really, really easy. I go for things that are mostly store-bought and require little to absolutely no cooking. This is about de-stressing, not about making a huge counter full of canapes and decadent little morsels.
3) 1 prep, all day munching. I want something I can whip together in the morning and will still be on the counter, perfectly happy, three hours later.
Here are some fun ideas to try:
-Popcorn. I like to do mine on the stovetop and either do kettlecorn or plain buttered. For some reason, I feel like popcorn is an authentic part of a Thanksgiving spread, and a big bowl is perfect for snacking.
-Chips and Salsa or guacamole. Can be store-bought! Super easy and tasty too!
-Big vegetable platter. This is always the very first thing assembled on Thanksgiving morning, around 10 am. It is left out on ice with dip. Since veggies are often skipped during the big meal, having them out to nibble on all day can be a very good thing. Healthy and tasty too!
-Cheeseball and crackers. Most cheeseballs not only can be prepared a few days in advance, but SHOULD be prepared in advance. If making a cheeseball isn't your thing, try one of our standard all-time favorites: a block of cream cheese with chili sauce poured over the top, served with a bunch of crackers. Again, it is beyond easy, and tasty.
Here's a fun snack and decoration all in one:
Fruit and Cheese Turkeys
Uses: Toothpicks, Bosc Pears (the brown kind), cheese cubes, grapes, raisins, a teensy amount of peanut butter, and red pepper.
1) Wash all the fruit and remove any stickers or labels. Cut the cheese into small cubes that are about the same size as the grapes. Skewer the grapes and cheese onto toothpicks (5-10 per turkey you are making...the ones in the picture have 7 apiece.) Leave about 1/4" of toothpick bare at the end so it can go into the pear.
2) Make the face of the turkey: cut a toothpick in half. Cut one of the cheese cubes in half diagonally to make a triangle. Put the triangle "beak" on one end of the small toothpick. Then string a small slice of red pepper behind the beak and gently push into the top of the pear where the face will be. Above the beak, put 2 raisins smeared with a small bit of peanut butter as edible glue.
3) Put in the grape skewers all over the back as feathers.
4) ooh, ahh, look and take some pictures, enjoy, and then eat. Slowly the fruit and cheese will dry out, so enjoy these healthy fun treats for what they are: food!
Note: I studied many pears in the store before giving in and buying the more expensive Bosc Pear. The Bartlett pears (green ones) just didn't have a turkey shape in my opinion, and they're green. Not that I have a problem with green turkeys... I just think these ones turned out cute. They're also quite large, and can definitely be cut into slices and shared when done. Or you can make one per person... whatever you like! Other fruits and vegetables can be used too. You can use pineapple or cantaloupe instead of cheese. Slices of red or yellow pepper could also be feathers. These are fun to put together, fun to eat, and healthy to boot.