The holiday season is quickly approaching. In just a few short weeks, families will be gathering around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving. Are you hosting the big meal? Or maybe you’re tasked with providing the appetizers to get everyone going?
If so, this blog is for you! I’ve got a great variety of delicious recipes for you to use this year to impress your family.
Family Recipes for Thanksgiving Appetizers
Every year, my Uncle Rodger creates these wonderful appetizer recipes to complement our family Thanksgiving lunch. About 30 of us meet at my Aunt Susan’s and snack on these incredible appetizers to get ready for the big meal. A few of us (myself included) will fill up on these yummies and not be able to sample ALL of the delicious cornbread stuffing, turkey, casseroles, and Jell-O salads… should I go on?
Uncle Rodger agreed to share a couple of these recipes with you. I know you will enjoy them as much as we have!
Kind of an ultimate fusion dish, Polynesian meets Mexican cuisine. Like any good guacamole, start with the basic ingredients and adjust amounts to your favored taste. Starting with four avocadoes provides enough for a small party.
4 medium-ripe avocadoes
1 bunch of green onions
Seasoned salt (I recommend Country Bob’s Seasoning Salt)
1 package of wonton wrappers
- Peel, pit, and mash the avocadoes.
- To begin seasoning, add 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. seasoned salt, and mix.
- Add 1 or 2 green onions, finely chopped.
- Add 2 tbsp. pickled ginger, drained and finely chopped.
- Now, the wasabi paste. Wasabi is a challenging seasoning and can quickly become overwhelming. Start with ½ – 1 tbsp.
- Mix everything together, then start adjusting the seasonings to suit your taste.
- Remember that avocados can brown quickly. To store until service, put your tiki-mole in a sealable container and refrigerate. Before sealing the container, place plastic film on the surface of the dip to reduce the air exposure that causes the browning.
You can serve your tiki-mole with rice crackers. However, I prefer to make wonton chips.
Take the package of wonton wrappers and cut them in half on the angle. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and place a single layer of the wrappers. Lightly spray the top of the wrappers. Bake until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes, but you must watch closely.
Another option is to check with your favorite Chinese restaurant; maybe they will fry some wonton wrappers for you.
American Eagle Squadron Stuffed Mushrooms
Now, about the name… it’s just a lark. “American Eagle Squadron” comes from one of my all-time favorite cartoons (anybody remember when there were cartoons? You know – on Saturday morning and after school? Yeah, I really am that old. Anyway…).
Whenever someone wants me to give one of my recipes a name, I often use the name of a character from the show… just for the heck of it and from a general lack of originality.
So, this is my recipe creation. Definitely from the “Let’s try this and see what happens” school of cookery, and I’m afraid it’s one of those recipes that defy exact measurements of ingredients. Be brave and see what happens.
1 ½ lbs. medium to large white button mushrooms (I use the “generic” mushrooms because they are generally available, and the milder taste works well with the other ingredients. But, by all means, give other types a try.)
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
Shredded parmesan cheese (You’ll see in the steps why the amount can vary… have at least 3 cups on hand. Definitely, freshly grated parmesan is needed for best results.)
Breadcrumbs (Same comment about the amount as the parmesan. Again, have at least 3 cups on hand. This is a case where your standard store-bought, in-a-box breadcrumbs seem to work best. Use Italian seasoned or garlic and herb varieties.)
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and chopped
- Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Usually, the stems will just pop free when you gently pull and twist. But large ones can be a bit more cantankerous. Hold the mushroom in the palm of your hand and use a small spoon to work the stem loose (and, sometimes, just to dig the stem out). You want the stems for the recipe and the mushroom caps to be stuffed. Lay out the mushroom caps face down on a dishtowel. Roll up the towel and refrigerate the mushrooms until ready for final preparation.
- Finely chop the mushroom stems. A few spins in a food processor really work best.
- Remove the casings from the sausage and break up in a skillet for cooking. Add the chopped mushroom stems. Cook over medium heat, stirring and continuing to break up the meat until you have a fine crumble. Transfer the cooked mixture and rendered fat to a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool briefly.
- To make the stuffing, alternately add equal amounts of cheese and breadcrumbs (1/4 to 1/3 cup each time) to the warm sausage mixture, thoroughly mixing between additions. You can add small amounts of chopped parsley during this process as well. Start mixing with a spoon, but when the mixture has cooled enough, switch over to your prehensile, multi-digit appendage – your hands – to mix and knead the stuffing with the alternating additions until the stuffing is stiff and will form a ball while still crumbly. Place the stuffing mixture in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready for final preparation (even overnight).
- For final preparation: Remove the stuffing mixture and mushroom caps from the refrigerator and let stand for 15-20 minutes. Taking a mushroom cap in the palm of your hand, add small amounts of the stuffing mixture into the stem cavity of the mushroom, firmly packing each addition. Continue to add the stuffing until the stuffing is approximately the size and shape of the mushroom cap.
- Preheat oven to 350. I use a baking rack on a foil-lined (shiny side up) baking pan, but you can just use the pan alone if you don’t have a rack. Give the rack (pan) a spritz with your favorite oil. Bake until the stuffing begins to brown slightly… approximately 25 minutes, but time can be variable – check periodically.
- You may end up with some extra stuffing mixture. Just make it into meatballs to include with your mushrooms. Bake the meatballs as you do the mushrooms, but don’t put them on a baking rack (they kind of “melt” through the grid).
Easy Herb Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes
Here are a couple of easy recipes from your herb garden that will get your guests’ palette moving in the right direction for the big meal.
Easy Sage Appetizer
This one is super simple. On the cracker of your choice, spread a healthy dollop of cream cheese and put one sage leaf on top. You will not believe how delicious this easy appetizer will be for your guests.
Another great way to incorporate your fresh herbs is with these delicious skewers. These are a little labor-intensive but well worth the effort because of how yummy they are as Thanksgiving Appetizers.
2 cups of balsamic vinegar
10 oz of cherry tomatoes
8 oz of Ciliegine mozzarella cheese (also called “cherry” size)
.8 oz of fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
- For the balsamic drizzle: add balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan over high heat, then bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium, then simmer until vinegar is the consistency of thin maple syrup, about 20 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you can see the bottom of the pan for a second or two after scraping the spatula across. Pour the balsamic reduction into a small bowl, then set aside to cool.
- Thread a cheese ball onto a toothpick, followed by a basil leaf – fold in half or into quarters of large. Finish with a cherry tomato, then place onto a serving platter. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the skewers with salt and pepper, then drizzle the cooled balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.
Another great Thanksgiving appetizer option is homemade sourdough bread and some herbaceous olive oil to dip it in. If you haven’t learned to make sourdough yet, we have an online course that will teach you how to do it in no time.
Once you’ve got your bread, it’s time to make a dip for it. You can use your own herbs to make this even more delicious than store-bought options would be.
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
½ tsp of the following:
Italian herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram typically, but feel free to make your own)
crushed red pepper flakes
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper
- Add garlic, Italian herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a shallow dish. Then, mix in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Enjoy with your homemade sourdough bread.
Wrapping It Up
The Thanksgiving season is a great time to use all of the homegrown herbs and produce you have to make delicious foods your family will love. The above recipes are just the beginning of your meal, literally. For recipe ideas for the main course, sides, and desserts, check out our 10 favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
Thanksgiving has been about celebrating the harvest and your family for hundreds of years. As a homesteader, it’s even more special when you’re making food from scratch with what you’ve been growing all year. It doesn’t get better than enjoying the fruits of your labor with Thanksgiving Appetizers for your loved ones.
Which recipes are you excited to try? I’m sure you’ll find a new staple recipe for your annual Thanksgiving meal!