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Three Easy Appetizer Recipes

Appetizers set the tone for your dinner party and get the ball rolling for a fine meal. If you're the one hosting the party, deciding what appetizer to serve is a fun way to tie your menu together. Pottery Barn has some suggestions for you so that you're ready to roll once guests start to arrive.

Whether you're having a formal dinner party or a casual get-together, there are some easy appetizer recipes that you can cook up and get on the table with ease. You can even make one ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator so you don't have so much pre-party prep to do.

These three easy appetizer recipes will whet your guest's appetites and leave them wanting more. All of the recipes presented are designed as appetizers for four, but they can easily be doubled or tripled for larger groups.

Vermouth Cooked Carrots with Feta Cheese & Fresh Dill

An ideal plated appetizer to get your guests excited about the meal to come, this colorful, easy-to-prepare appetizer can be served warm or at room temperature. If you're busy in the kitchen, make and plate these so they're ready to go while you work on your first course.

Ingredients:

12 carrots, stems on, fronds removed

2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon for serving

4 tablespoons dry vermouth

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Step 1: Peel carrots and trim about one-inch off the small end of each carrot to create uniform thickness. Slice the carrots in half lengthwise. Toss the carrots in the olive oil until coated.

Step 2: Heat a non-stick skillet or flat griddle over medium-high heat. Place the carrots in the skillet or on the griddle for three minutes. Flip the carrots and cook for an additional two minutes.

Step 3: Add the dry vermouth to the skillet or griddle, tossing the carrots or turning them repeatedly to coat evenly. Cook for two to three minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.

Step 4: Divide the cooked carrots onto your serving plates. Top the carrots with the crumbled feta cheese, remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the fresh dill. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Chorizo Stuffed Summer Squash with Lime Crema & Cilantro

Spicy, salty chorizo and summer squash come together to create a comforting dish that's varied in texture and flavor while producing something that's just as appetizing to the eyes as it is to the appetite. Play up the color of this unique Latin-inspired dish with bold, colorful plates. Classic white will provide a more understated look.

This recipe pairs well with a variety of tequila-based cocktails too.

Ingredients:

8 yellow summer squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb. chorizo sausage, removed from casing and crumbled

1/4 cup sour cream or Mexican cream

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish, optional

Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish, optional

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Wash the yellow summer squash and dry with a clean kitchen towel. Core the squash by removing the green caps using a paring knife. Toss the squash with the olive oil in a mixing bowl to coat.

Step 3: Place the squash in a baking dish and cook in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. The squash should be a little less cooked than fork tender.

Step 4: Meanwhile, saute the chorizo in a non-stick or cast iron skillet for 8 to 12 minutes over medium heat. The chorizo is properly cooked for this dish when crispy brown bits begin to appear in the meat.

Step 5: Make the lime crema by combing 1/4 cup sour cream or Mexican cream with 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice. If you can't get fresh limes, lemon juice will work too. Stir to combine and let sit at room temperature while you finish the dish.

Step 5: Cut the bottom portions of the cooked squash away with a knife so the squash sits flat on a plate. Use a spoon to partially core the squash, making more room for the chorizo. Be careful not to core through to the plate.

Step 6: Place the prepared squash on individual appetizer plates two at a time. Fill each squash with warm chorizo, dividing the mixture evenly between plates.

Step 7: Use a spoon to top the squash with lime crema. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and black pepper to taste if desired.

Haricots Verts with Cherry Tomatoes & Shallot Dressing

Simple and incredibly easy to put together, this appetizer salad can be made hours before your guests arrive and dressed while your guests are sipping cocktails. The dressing also keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week, and it can be used to flavor everything from roasted arugula and butter lettuce, to Brussels sprouts and your very own homemade tuna nicoise.

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 shallot, minced

1/2 lb. haricots verts, ends trimmed

Step 1: Combine the olive oil, champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallot. Whisk together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in the refrigerator for one hour or up to 48 hours before serving.

Step 2: Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the haricots verts and cook for 60 seconds. The green beans should be firm and crisp. Lay the haricots verts out on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to dry instead of shocking them with ice water.

Step 3: Halve the cherry tomatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the green beans once they have cooled to room temperature.

Step 4: Whisk the dressing to combine and it to the haricots verts and tomato mixture, tasting as you go. Transfer the dish to individual salad plates and serve.

Preparing food for a dinner party is a ton of fun if you've got the right recipes and serving ware ready to go. Be ready with the perfect centerpiece and a variety of salad plates, dinner plates, serving dishes and more for your next meal. Seasonal appetizer plates for Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's Eve can make your next party more festive.

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