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When planning a party, sometimes the most difficult part is deciding what food to serve. Whether or not you are serving a full meal, it’s always nice to have some special and delicious hors d’oeuvres to offer your guests. Listed below are some quick and easy appetizers that will always leave your guests asking for seconds.

Ham Pinwheels

You need:
Ham Lunch meat - sliced thin
Cream cheese - soft and easy to spread
Green onions - whole stalks

Lay out a piece of ham on a cutting board. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese, probably 1/8" thick. The cream cheese should completely cover the slice of ham. Lay a green onion stalk across the top of the slice of ham, cutting off the ends so the stalk is as long as the ham is wide. Roll up the piece of ham, starting at the end with the green onion. With a sharp knife, slice the roll into bite-sized pieces about ½ " thick. Now you have pinwheels of ham and cream cheese, with a green onion on the middle. You can serve them immediately, or chill until serving.

Tortilla Pinwheels

You need:
Flour tortillas
Cream cheese
Canned green chilis, diced
Black olives, diced
Roasted red peppers, diced

Mix the cream cheese with the chilis, olives and red peppers. Then, lay out the tortilla and spread it with the cream cheese mixture. The cream cheese mixture should not be too thick on the tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and slice, much as you did above with the Ham Pinwheels. (Hint: If the cream cheese is too soft, refrigerate your rolled-up tortillas for an hour or so before slicing.)

Mini Baked Potatoes

You need
Potatoes, peeled and sliced
Cheddar cheese
Bacon bits
Sour cream

Lay the sliced potatoes in a baking pan, being careful not to overlap the pieces. Lightly brush them with olive oil and a little bit of salt. Place them in a preheated oven (400 degrees) and bake them for about 15 minutes. When they are firm but easily sliced with a fork, they are done. Now, leaving them in the pan, put a bit of cheddar cheese on each slice of potato, and cover each slice with bacon bits. Put them back in the oven for a few minutes, watching closely, and take them out as soon as the cheese is melted. Serve immediately, garnished with a small dollop of sour cream.

Mini Tarts

You need:
Circle wonton wrappers
Canned pie filling, any flavor - my favorites are cherry and lemon

Lay out a wonton wrapper on a non-stick surface. Spoon a bit of pie filling into the center of the wrapper, about one tablespoon. Dipping your fingertips in water, lightly wet the edges of the wrapper all the way around. Fold the wrapper over, forming a half-circle, and pinch the ends closed. Quickly pan fry in a non-stick pan misted with baking spray or lightly coated with oil. When one side is slightly browned, turn tart over with a fork (being careful not to pierce through the wrapper) and brown the other side. When done, quickly dip each side in powdered sugar, and arrange on serving plate. (Note: If you like a thicker, chewier crust, you can use two or even three wrappers for each tart.)

Mini Tart variations

Using the recipe described above, you can also make non-sweet tarts geared toward even your most finicky guest’s palate. Three of my favorites are listed below:

Greek Tart - Layer wrapper with lightly steamed, chopped spinach and crumbles of feta cheese. Garnish with diced tomatoes.

Mexican Tart - Layer wrapper with refried beans and grated cheese. Serve with sour cream or salsa.

Teriyaki Chicken Tart - Layer wrapper with cooked chunks of chicken marinated in teriyake sauce. Serve with extra sauce for dipping.

Fruit-sicles

Food for summer parties can be extra difficult. Here’s an adaptation of the perennially favored fruit tray.

You need:
Your favorite fruits - diced into chunks (berries can be whole, with stems removed)
Your favorite fruit juice - it’s better if it isn’t the same as the fruit you’re using

In an ice cube tray, place chunks of fruit in each cup. If the chunks are small, you can place more than one in the cup. Pour in your favorite juice. Stick a toothpick or popsicle stick into each cup. If you stick it through the fruit, it will stand up as the juice freezes. Pop into the freezer. Give yourself at least two hours to prepare this treat. When frozen solid, remove from tray, place on serving dish and eat them quickly!

Mini Kabobs

You need:
Chunks of cooked chicken or beef
Broccoli florets
Onion
Tomato
Glazing sauce - can be teriyaki, barbecue or soy sauce

Skewer chunks of meat and vegetable on a toothpick. Brush with sauce, broil in oven and serve!

Cheese and crackers

Serve an interesting twist on the usual cheese and crackers plate. Mix cheeses, meats, veggies and fruits together on crisp, crunchy crackers. My favorite combinations are listed below:

Blue cheese and pear slice (canned or fresh)
Deviled ham and Swiss cheese
Shredded chicken and mandarin orange slice
Gouda with cherry tomato slices
Salami with crisp green apple
Cream cheese with a fresh mushroom