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Frugal finger foods for parties

The holiday entertaining season is upon us. Whether you are hosting a cocktail party or a holiday meal, bite size appetizers are always popular with guests. But those festive looking finger foods can come with a hefty price tag at a time when wallets are already being stretched. Make finger foods for less at home. It does require a little time, but most can be made or partially made several days in advance of the party.

Now the question is what to make? Simply browse the frozen food aisle of your local grocery store, or take a look at the holiday catalog the nearby warehouse club sent. You are sure to find lots of ideas that are simple to make. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

A classic: Meatballs

Meatballs are always a favorite. They can be purchased at a reasonable price, or make them yourself. Use half ground turkey to save even more money. To make your own meatballs start with a basic meatloaf recipe, shape the mixture into balls, and bake at 350 F about 30 minutes.

Meatballs can be flavored with a wide variety of sauces from Italian to Asian to Swedish or good old barbecue. After the meatballs have been baked put them in a crockpot with the sauce of your choice. Let them simmer on low all day.


These look impressive, but really are simple to make. Start with room temperature flour tortillas and layer on your favorite ingredients. Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, roasted garlic, thinly sliced meats or vegetables are common ingredients. Be sure to keep each layer thin, and to use a limited number of layers. It will be difficult to roll if it is too bulky. Roll up the tortilla and slice.

Go phyllo!

Many cooks are intimidated by phyllo dough, but the pre-made sheets really are easy to work with. Just remember to cover the sheets you are not working with plastic wrap and a damp cloth until you are ready for them. Use the phyllo for traditional Greek foods like spinach pie or baklava. Both are delicious and very economical. Cut them into individual sizes servings to serve. Phyllo can also be used for baked brie or quiches.

Wrapped in Bacon

Seems you can wrap just about anything in bacon, secure it with a toothpick, bake, to create an appetizer that will make your mouth water. On the pricier end, scallops or bite sized pieces of steak are wonderful prepared this way. More economical choices would include water chestnuts or imitation crab.

Dippity dip

Dips and spreads served with crackers or crusty bread are always a favorite. Consider eggplant spread, or other favorites like bruschetta, spinach and artichoke dip, cheese balls, or even Brazilian cheese puffs, for an international flavor.

Just desserts

Serve a variety of individually sized sweet treats for sampling. Use your favorite cookie recipes and create mini cookies for your party. Cheesecake can also be made for individual servings by using a muffin tin or cutting firm cheesecake into bite sized pieces. Chocolate covered fruits, nuts or pretzels also are good choices. Serve fresh fruit with a cream cheese or yogurt fruit dip.

Preparing fabulous finger foods for your party does take a little planning, but most of the work can be done well before the party. The end result will be happy guests and money left in your wallet.