We are big into entertaining at the Echols household and love any chance to make a meal for friends. Once Spring and Summer hits, it feels like we have people over every other day so I like to have a few easy al freso appetizers to serve for just drinks or before dinner.
I am a huge snacker. A cheeseboard is such a crowdpleaser and so easy to make that it’s definitely my top choice for an easy al fresco appetizer. I go more in depth into Charcuterie boards on this blog post, but to make it simple, just grab 2 of your favorite cheeses, a sliced meat, one to two types of crackers, a dip / jelly, and you’re good to go! You don’t want to fill up your guests, but you want something that will keep everyone happy for a while 😉
Want to elevate things a little? Serve individual charcuterie cups! I love these paper cups from amazon.
My favorite. This is so easy to make! Grab French bread, slice it up and toast in the oven. Top each slice with a thin slice of tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese, prosciutto and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. It looks fancy and takes less than 10 minutes! More details on my Reel.
Similar cutting board here
A huge crowd pleaser. I love to completely homemake this one just to give the best flavor, but you can cut as many corners as you would like to make it an even quicker appetizer.
For the popcorn:
Freshly pop on the stove with butter and coconut oil (for best flavor). Add as much salt as you prefer to the oil as it heats up.
Pop the popcorn and transfer to large baking sheet.
Drizzle dark chocolate (if you prefer)
After it’s cooled completely, put in bowl and add in whatever else! M&Ms, peanut butter cups, nuts, etc.
I’ve also seen a savory version of popcorn with just salt, pepper and olive oil! Whatever you think will pair best with your drink is what I recommend serving. This is such an easy and fun one that everyone will love!
Want to make it extra fun? Serve in individual paper cones for your guests to elevate your evening. I love these cups with the stand from Amazon for $12!
I really cut corners on this one, because who has time to de-vein and clean shrimp when prepping for guests to come over?
I grab a bag of frozen, uncooked, cleaned shrimp from Trader Joes and follow the directions on the bag to boil them. I’ve found that cooking these frozen shrimp in any other way just don’t taste as good.
Season well after cooking with cajun seasoning and stick 2-3 on each cocktail skewer to serve. These are yummy eaten warm or cold, so you can absolutely make these ahead of time! I love these as they are, but feel free to serve with a cocktail sauce. It’s all about how your serve it!
You’ll want to make this right before guests arrive!
For a dip, I average one half avocado per guest. Mash up your avocado (the chunkier the better!) with lots of salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and a little red pepper if you’re it it. Squeeze a little lemon or lime to add freshness but mostly to keep the guac from browning!
Serve with warm corn chips and a good margarita.
Trader Joes has a fabulous frozen boxed flatbread in their freezer section that I’ll serve sometimes if I really am in a pinch. But here’s a recipe for a semi-homemade Flatbread that is delicious!
Thinly Sliced tomato
Balsamic Vinagrette + olive oil drizzle
Spinach or Basil
Salt + pepper + red pepper to taste
Throw everything on the flatbread and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes
Cut into thin “pizza” slices and serve on a board for pretty presentation.
I loooove prosciutto! This is super easy. Grab a wheel of brie and cut into small bite size pieces. Wrap pieces of the ham around the brie and bake for a few minutes until they’re just warmed enough but not melting.
Serve on a plate and drizzle honey and any other toppings you prefer!
This is a direct copycat from Josephine’s restaurant here in Jacksonville. I’m obsessed with this appetizer, and it’s pretty easy to make!
French Baguette, sliced and toasted
Sprinkle olive oil, salt + pepper on bread
For the Dip:
1 (ish) cup ricotta, whipped
salt + pepper
A little olive oil
Your favorite toppings: Pine nuts, honey, a good jam. I use honey + pine nuts!
Serve on a platter and wow your guests with the easiest appetizer ever.
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