Planning a party or any sort of get-together is fun but time consuming usually with the menu portion taking up a large amount of time.
Appetizers can be easy and no-fuss if you make the right kind, and if you’re only serving appetizers at a party, they can be extremely easy when you go the route of skewering everything.
Kabobs can be stand-alone meals, but with the right ingredients, they make the perfect appetizer: easy to eat and no mess for the host or hostess. Moreover, they are an extremely healthy form of grilling.
Plus, preparation is simple since you either skewer something exactly the way it came from the store, or the only cutting required would be to cube everything.
To start with, you will need to buy a pack of skewers, which can be found at any grocery store. They’re usually cheap. Get the bamboo kind if you are concerned about splinters. Plus, these tend to be sturdier.
You can easily tell if you’re getting decent quality sticks if you look closely at the sticks through the clear packaging. If the sticks are smooth (as opposed to splintering), they’re more than likely a good enough choice for your party.
Additionally, look at the ends of the skewers. If they’re too pointed, pass on them in favor of some that are a little more blunt (especially important if you’ve got kids coming over).
Before putting anything on the stick, make sure to soak your sticks in water. Completely immerse them in the water for an hour or two. This helps you avoid burning later on during the cooking process.
Now, read on for some easy recipes and appetizer ideas.
Shrimp can be used for a more formal occasion depending on how you dress up and present the skewers to guests. You will need de-veined shrimp (go for frozen, which is usually pre-cooked and pre-prepped for you), sea salt, pepper, chopped cilantro, Ken’s Asian Sesame with Ginger and Soy Dressing (can be found at any grocery store for less than $4) and orange slices.
With your shrimp thawed (if you bought frozen), place in a ziplock bag with the dressing, chopped cilantro and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Let marinade for about 25 minutes.
After the marinade, place three shrimps to a skewer and top with an orange slice which complements the salad dressing flavors.
Then place on the grill for about three minutes on each side, or until the shrimp is no longer opaque. This is why buying the frozen route can save you time because they are already pre-cooked, so the purpose of the grill would be to warm them and add the grill marks.
Total time for this appetizer dish should not be more than 45 minutes.
Chicken is always a relatively safe choice of meat for an appetizer. Plus, it’s cheap and usually on sale. Try using chicken in our recipe for flavor-packed spicy chicken satay that you can make very easily!
Lamb, although a bit pricey, makes for a very tasty, and very special skewer. Make it nearly a complete meal along with some fresh veggies such as red bell pepper, zucchini, plum tomatoes, onion wedges, and whole mushrooms. A prefect meal for those on the Keto Diet, you can pare this with a rice dish for complete healthy meal.
Tofu, while some say is tasteless, can be made to be a tasty, healthy replacement for meat (because of the protein). If you are serving a health-conscious crowd or just want to be healthy, tofu makes a great appetizer food to skewer.
What you will need is Kikkoman’s teriyaki sauce, a package of tofu and cucumbers.
Take the tofu out of the package and allow to drain. Try to remove as much excess water as you can because the more watery it is, the more difficult it will be to skewer. Once the water is drained, cube the tofu in one- or two-inch squares. Then fry them up in peanut sauce along with the cubed cucumber.
Once both items are cooked and warm enough, add the teriyaki sauce, allow to warm and then skewer tofu, cucumber, tofu, cucumber. Brush with more sauce if necessary. If you don’t like teriyaki sauce, any flavor that you like will work with tofu. Also try plain soy sauce or peanut sauce (from above recipe).
This should take about 30 minutes to do.
Rather than set out the same old vegetable platter as an appetizer for guests to nibble on, try a warmed-up version on a skewer.
You will need broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil and ranch dressing. Back at home, wash all vegetables. Then, place them all on a baking sheet, sprinkle sea salt and pepper over the veggies along with some extra virgin olive oil. Place this tray in the oven at 350°F and bake for about 15 or 20 minutes. You’re basically cooking the vegetables and allowing the outside to crisp up. The sea salt adds a little bit of flavor.
Once out of the oven, place one of each kind of vegetable on a skewer. Serve with warm ranch dressing.
This should not take more than 30 minutes.
For this recipe, you will need meatballs (I like the frozen, pre-made ones from Albertsons – traditional flavor), cubed pineapples, cherries and Mr. Spice Sweet & Sour Sauce (or any sweet and sour sauce; this one is salt and gluten-free).
The meatballs take about 30 minutes to cook. Then everything can be thrown in a crock pot: meatballs, pineapples, cherries and sauce to marinade and warm everything together. About 20 minutes of this is usually sufficient.
Then, skewer one meatball, two pineapple cubes and place a cherry at the top of the stick.
Total cooking time is just under an hour.
For guests that want a little more meat with their appetizer, try this spicier take on the appetizer. You will need apron steak, green and red bell peppers and green enchilada sauce.
Sear the apron steak on a skillet. Then slice into strips that can be skewered. Add your sliced bell peppers and enchilada sauce and allow ingredients to warm for a couple minutes. Then skewer your meat and a couple pieces of bell pepper to a stick. Brush on more sauce if necessary.
Total cooking time is about 40 minutes.
Italian sausage is great because the flavor is already packed into the meat, so not much else needs to go into this appetizer.
You will need Italian sausage, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. To cook the sausage, I usually boil first for about 15 minutes. Then I place on the skillet or grill to add marks and crisp up the outside. If you cook it on the skillet or grill first, you’ll end up burning the outside because it takes too long to cook all the way through before the outer portion starts to burn. While the sausage is cooking, slice up the mozzarella into cubes and wash the tomatoes.
When the sausage is done, slice into relatively thick disks. Then skewer a piece of sausage, cheese and then a tomato.
Total cooking time is about 40 minutes.
Photos by Felicia Lim and Mike Quinn, © Foodal / Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!