There's an oft-overlooked appliance in your kitchen with the potential to be your most valuable asset during the holiday season. That trusted helper is your freezer. With it, you can keep foods for weeks after having prepared them -- and it takes just minutes to heat them up.
These scrumptious hors d'oeuvres were designed to be frozen, so that when it's time for serving, all you have to do is turn on your oven. Our inspiration came from the desire to minimize last-minute prep time and maximize flavor (think international): Ham-and-cheese pastries are based on a French classic; wasabi-flavored crab cakes have a Japanese influence; mushroom-polenta diamonds rely on traditional Mediterranean ingredients; and sweet chicken b'steeyas are Moroccan specialties.
Since these hors d'oeuvres will keep for up to six weeks, you can start cooking them well in advance -- and at your convenience. Stock your freezer with dozens of these savory treats, and you will be prepared for any last-minute celebration or unexpected visitors. Perhaps the best thing about these freezer-friendly recipes is that they can all be heated at the same temperature for about the same amount of time, leaving you free to tend to your guests, rather than the oven.
Tips for Freezing
Hors d'oeuvres can be stored in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. Here are a few simple guidelines.
1. Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper between each layer of hors d'oeuvres to keep them from sticking to one another.
2. To prevent freezer burn when using plastic bags, push out all air before sealing one, then place it inside another resealable bag.
3. To reheat only a few hors d'oeuvres at a time, take them out and quickly return the rest to the freezer; even partial thawing and refreezing could affect the flavor and texture, and might compromise food safety.