50 Simple Party Appetizers: (Mostly) Kid Friendly and Real Food

image by Alice Carrier

image by Alice Carrier

I’ve been working on this list for a while and I’m super-excited about it! I was actually working on it last night when a squirrel jumped out of our fireplace on our Christmas tree. So I put a hold on publishing this post because, hello, a squirrel jumped out of our fireplace onto our tree!

But back the appetizers.

If I were having my last meal, I’d have appetizers. Which would be sort of like cheating, because you would get to have so many meals at once! Appetizers are pretty much my favorite thing about parties these days. That, and getting to wear real shoes, as opposed to slippers, which I normally wear.

And ’tis the season for these tasty little bites! We’ve already had them for Christmas Eve, we’ll have them again for New Year’s Eve, and then again for the Super Bowl!

*Disclaimer. Appetizer parties are the one basic exception to The Diet Everyone Should Be On. I try greatly to avoid processed foods, but appetizers are my every-once-in-a-while occasion. So don’t judge me by a stray hydrogenated oil today. The one thing I do avoid consuming at all costs is MSG (because it gives me a horrible headache), and food dyes (because they make my kids crazy).

**Another disclaimer. Some of these are pretty basic. So don’t judge me. Actually, go ahead…I know I’m not Giada! (Although…one time someone told me I looked like her. Which I treasured up in my heart forever.)

Anyways, without further ado, The Appetizers! Except for a few exceptions, if I haven’t made it, I’ve tasted it (or something similar). Which is kind of embarrassing, now that I think about it. That’s a lot of appetizers for a 31-year-old.

Allergy-Friendly  (no egg, dairy, wheat, and nuts)

What A Man Wants





Allergy-friendly party food

We did a lot of entertaining and hosting over the holidays. My goal for food was to make things that were allergy-friendly for my son Sam, but also DELICIOUS and special for the holidays. I think I succeeded! Since Sam is the only one of us eating allergy-free, I also included one “regular” item (usually something with cheese :) . I just tried to pick something that wouldn’t involve a lot of mess to make or eat, since I don’t want milk all over the place for Sam’s sake! The allergy-friendly items were a big hit, though! Here are some of my choices for appetizers and meals suitable for everyone.

Braised White Beans



We first had these in a Greek restaurant called “Zoe’s Kitchen.” My sister figured out a way to duplicate the amazing white beans they make. These are finger-lickin good. You need a few hours to let them simmer.


4 cans white beans (great northern) drained but not rinsed

4 cloves garlic

1 onion

fresh rosemary, 1-2 sprig

1/4 c. olive oil plus 2 T

salt and pepper

chicken broth, about 1 cup


I used my ceramic Dutch oven pot so I could saute, boil, and bake in the same pot. If you don’t have an oven-proof pan, you will need several different pots. Begin by drizzling the pan with the 2 T of olive oil. Saute the onion with 1/2 t salt until soft, 5 minutes. Add the pressed garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 min. Then add the unrinsed beans, chicken stock, rosemary and 1/4 c olive oil. Cook on high until bubbly. Then turn the heat way down and simmer with the lid on for a nice long time. Keep your eye on it – you may need to add more chicken broth if starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. After an hour or so, use a potato masher (or spoon) to mash some of the beans, maybe half. Season with salt and pepper. Stir, and place in a 300 degree oven for another hour or so. Enjoy with corn chips, pitas, over brown rice, or out of the bowl!

Jessica’s Baked Oven Fries

This is the simplest thing ever. But we eat them once a week or more because they are so good! The key is to cook for a good long while!


– about 6 potatoes, any kind. Sweet Potato, Red, Russet, and Idaho work great.

– olive oil

-salt and pepper

– 1/2 an onion


Dice the potatoes into pieces about the size of a dice! :) Chop the onion, not too small. Dump them in a bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a good amount of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Spray a cookie sheet and dump the potato mix on it. Cook at 425 degrees for at least 35 minutes. Halfway through, remove pan and mix up potatoes. Enjoy!