You need some shortcuts, but you sure as hell don't want anyone to know you took them. Use a baking mix box, and hide the box. And don't be lame and make the recipe from the back of the box. Pancakes, biscuits, muffins, and loaves of bread do not a sophisticated appetizer make. Our ideas incorporate box mixes and other tricks that we never dreamed could create something nice enough for a cocktail party nibble. But it can happen. Here's how.
First, you need the baking mixes. Our recipe suggestions use these products:
- Bisquick: (Buy Now)
- King Arthur Flour All-Purpose Baking Mix: (Buy Now)
- Jiffy All-Purpose Baking Mix: (Buy Now)
- Bob's Red Mill Buckwheat Pancake Mix: (Buy Now)
Then, the cool recipes that use those mixes:
1. Fig, Brie, and Honey Pinwheels
When is the pairing of brie and fig preserves ever a bad idea? I mean, really. And it takes no more than 35 minutes to make. All you need besides the ingredients in the title is butter, milk, Bisquick, and walnuts. Get Bisquick's recipe.
2. Buckwheat Blinis
Small yeast-leavened pancakes from Bob's Red Mill Buckwheat Pancake Mix do double-duty as a snazzy appetizer. Serve with a dollop of tapenade, hummus with an herb topper, pesto, or something creamy with a salty kick like crème fraiche and caviar. Get Bob's Red Mill recipe.
3. Spinach-Cheese Balls
These are a great make-ahead appetizer that you can create up to a month ahead of time and freeze. Then you just bake them for 25 minutes or so. Several people said it's a good base recipe that you can adjust to your taste, adding another egg, more spices and stronger-tasting cheese, such as Parmesan. Get Bisquick's recipe.
4. Gluten-Free Cheddar-Chive Sausage Bites
Talk about easy. There are six ingredients, and one is optional (the cayenne pepper). With the prep at 15 minutes and baking at 20 max, ending up with 36 savory, cheesy — and gluten-free! — bites is not a small feat. Get King Arthur Flour's recipe.
5. Tomato Artichoke Appetizers
They're toasty, pretty, and a refreshing combination that's a little less typical than the pairing of spinach and artichokes. This is also a 2013 Bisquick Family Favorites Recipe Contest award winner, developed by Karen Haldeman, at the Ohio State Fair. Get Bisquick's Tomato Artichoke Appetizers recipe.
6. Pastry Baked Brie
Baked brie is a decadent classic in which the rich cheese oozes outside its pastry shell. Using Jiffy Pie Crust Mix is a way to make it easier. Put the contents of a jar of pesto or olive tapenade inside too, and that'll really make it something else. Get Jiffy's recipe.
7. Cheesy Broccoli Puffs with Sriracha Mayonnaise
By buying a package of frozen broccoli that includes cheese sauce (and using Bisquick, obviously), you save a lot of time. This recipe could take only about 20 minutes in actual work. Get Bisquick's recipe.
8. Ham and Cheese Tarts
It's a tart, so it's fun and schmancy. And ham and cheese are a standby favorite. Sometimes you don't need to do that hard of a twist. You could always use Iberico ham, the finest in the world, plus a cheesemonger-recommended selection to make it more high end. Get the Jiffy recipe.
9. Mini Crabcake Bites
This might be the easiest appetizer recipe of all using Bisquick, especially if you buy pre-chopped onions, peppers, and celery, plus pre-shredded cheddar. You'll need a mini-muffin tin. Get Bisquick's recipe.
Amy Sowder is a New York City-based food and fitness writer who's also on Chowhound's editorial staff. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She's trying to like mushrooms. Ice cream is a strong motivation for her running habit. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.