Let friends and family gather around appetizers while dinner is being prepared -- and nobody will notice if the turkey's running late. Take your pick from favorites such as baked brie, cheese logs, crackers, dips, spiced nuts, and cheese straws.
We decked these nacho-esque sweet potatoes with crumbled cotija cheese and cilantro leaves.
These little crackers get a bold bite from aged cheddar cheese and a touch of cayenne pepper.
Serve the crackers with a selection of fall cocktails: The American in Paris (top) adds Continental flair to the Manhattan by replacing the usual sweet vermouth with dry, and adding a splash of creme de cassis.
To make the Cider Smash (top left), simply top bourbon and lemon juice with sparkling apple cider.
The Cranberry Old-Fashioned (bottom) gets its festive hue from muddled fresh cranberries.
These easy cheese straw appetizers are made with frozen puff pastry and grated Parmesan cheese. In addition to cheese, you can vary the flavorings with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, or cayenne pepper. The baked and cooled straws will keep at room temperature up to one week.
This easy cheese spread is made with cream cheese, crumbled blue cheese (we suggest Stilton, but another variety would work as well), and chopped walnuts. This spread is delicious served with crackers, or apple and pear wedges. Rub the sliced fruit with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. The spread can be made up to one week in advance of your Thanksgiving gathering.
In this classic Southern Low Country appetizer, boiled shrimp are pickled with lemon juice, olive oil, sliced onions, garlic, bay leaves, and fennel, mustard, celery, and coriander seeds. This recipe should be made a day ahead to allow the flavors of the spices to permeate the shrimp.
Walnuts add a crunchy texture to these blue cheese crackers. The dough for this appetizer comes together easily in the food processor and is then formed into a log, sliced, and baked. These appetizers can be made three or four days ahead of the Thanksgiving feast.