Planning a party can be a challenge. There’s so much to prepare, from the venue and decorations, to the table design and food. But before you get all frazzled, let’s make it easier for you. Here are some suggestions for sumptuous appetizers that are definitely a cinch to make.

1. Serve Up Hot Appetizers

Warm food and sauces are wonderful fare during chilly nights. Tartlets, empanaditas, stuffed mushrooms, pigs in blanket, roll ups and mini tacos are just a few options that you can try out. You can also go for spicy food for that blast of flavor in your mouth. Mexican dips, red pepper sauce, and chipotle dips can be paired with meats or savory appetizers.

If you have time, you can also provide a known Swiss dish, the cheese fondue. Prepare a selection of breads and meats, even fruits and veggies for your fondue. Cut in bite-size cubes. Day old French bread is a great choice, as well as hams and blanched broccoli, cauliflower, or cherry tomatoes. For fruits, pears and apples hold their flavors well with cheese. A savvy accompaniment to cheese fondue is wine, like the Sauvignon Blanc.

2. Chill with Cold Starters

Opting for cold appetizers is actually wise, especially if you have so many things to prepare for on the day of your event. Many recipes can be done ahead of time, and all you have to do is keep these in the fridge before serving. Simple salad or salmon canapés, finger Ceasar salads or endive boats stuffed with cooked vegetables or fresh fruits, invigorating cucumber salads, spring rolls, and prosciutto are just some sumptuous choices. There is also a variety of sauces and dips that you can create for the dish of your choice.

Offer cheese platters too. Get a wide selection of cheeses with different flavors and textures, like goat cheese, mozzarella, pecorino, comte, gouda, and parmigiano-reggiano. These go together with breads, as well as vegetables, such as roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts. Include salty foods, like salami and prosciutto, as well as some sweet apples and pears.

3. Refresh with Reviving Fresh Veggies and Fruits

Fresh fruits and veggies require no cooking, and so you’ll have more time for other last-minute preparations. Purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables, and then cut these into cubes or sticks. Jazz up the natural flavor of fresh fruits with apple-cinnamon dips, caramel-toffee sauces, yogurt or cream cheese. Flavor enhancers for raw veggies include hot pepper dips, salsa, curry sauces, mayonnaise, and flavored oils.

Presentation does make an impact. Although it’s perfectly fine to spread all these fresh greens and sweet fruits on a huge platter, you can be as creative as you want in your arrangement. For example, you can prepare veggies or fruits on skewers and drizzle these with dressing. This will be like having a mini salad on a stick. You can also arrange an assortment of fresh items in mini baskets, cups, or glass containers, or have these on biscuits or bread; then sprinkle with sauce or dressing, and serve.

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Claire Kenwood is a freelance writer and a food lover. She cooks, bakes and blogs. She writes for a Menlo Park catering company that offers catering and event planning services for private parties and corporate clients.