Whether you're throwing a party or simply in the mood for pint-sized cuisine, tiny finger foods are a delicious way to satisfy even the largest appetites. Often including the fancy-sounding hors d'oeuvres and canapés, finger foods are exactly what they sound like: foods that can be picked up and eaten by hand, rather than with a fork or spoon. You'd look pretty silly spearing a buffalo wing with a fork, right?
Finger foods are often served at parties, as they're more cost-effective than serving a huge meal to every guest. But they're an affordable choice for family meals, too. In fact, finger foods have become so popular that the freezer section of your local supermarket is likely full of items ready to be enjoyed at a moment's notice. If frozen goods don't exactly make your mouth water, however, many recipes are a cinch to prepare yourself.
If finger foods sound appealing to you on more than just a party-time basis, keep reading for five easy and delicious options that people of all ages are sure to appreciate.
Sliders are ideal for the days when you're craving a burger or other hot sandwich but don't feel like downing a massive patty. Popularized by the fast food restaurant White Castle in the 1920s -- although other restaurants are known for them as well -- sliders in their original form were merely tiny hamburgers. Even food must evolve, though, which is why creative chefs now experiment with sliders made with almost any type of meat, including chicken, turkey, salmon and even lobster.
To turn out a serving of sliders, you'll need miniature buns and the meat and toppings of your choice. The average slider contains about two ounces of meat, which makes it possible for diners to consume several of the little guys in one sitting without feeling overly full.
Buffalo wings have been tantalizing the taste buds of chicken lovers since 1964, when Teressa Bellissimo invented them at her restaurant. She drenched regular chicken wings in her secret sauce and served them with blue cheese dressing for dipping, largely because she didn't have anything else on hand for patrons to use.
Virtually any dinner will benefit from the extra zing wings provide. As an added bonus, wing sauce is now available in a wide variety of heats and flavors, so you and your kids don't have to endure unnecessary spiciness if you don't want to.
To deep-fry buffalo wings at home, heat vegetable oil in a fryer, then carefully lower the wings and cook them for about 6 or 7 minutes. They should be delightfully crispy and golden when done. To add flavor, just place the cooked wings in a large skillet prepared with a pre-bought sauce or your own recipe, which will most likely include butter, hot sauce, salt and vinegar.
Nachos are a Mexican dish by tradition, and all you need to enjoy them are tortilla chips and cheese. You can top your chips with protein and calcium-rich shredded cheeses, like cheddar, American, Monterey Jack or a blend of many types. After that, all's fair in love and nachos. Simply put out a spread of ingredients that you and your family are likely to appreciate, such as beans (black or refried), sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, black olives, shredded chicken, cooked ground beef and tomatoes. Then grab a plate and get to work creating your personal chips, cheese and everything-else paradise.
The meal may be microwaved or tossed into the oven after the cheese has been applied, or you can wait to heat it until all the toppings have been added. Either way, it'll be an ooey-gooey mess, but that's the point, right?
Quiches are creamy, delicious pies that are easy to miniaturize but can still fill you up. Plus, they're a cinch to make. They're made primarily from eggs, which are one of the least expensive household staples. Of course, if you don't feel like whipping up a batch from scratch, the frozen varieties are also delicious.
Mini quiches can be made in miniature muffin tins. Standard ingredients for a good quiche include the aforementioned eggs, milk, cream, cheese (Gruyère is common, but can be substituted with Swiss or cheddar) and other variable ingredients, like spinach, onion, asparagus or chicken. Many easy recipes call for pieces of store-bought piecrust or crescent rolls to serve as the crust, although crushed saltine crackers held together with melted butter also works well. You can even opt to omit the crust altogether, if that's your personal preference.
No longer must you and your family argue over what toppings to have on a pizza! Instead, prepare personal pies in the comfort of your own home. You'll get exactly what you want without any regard for the picky desires of your dining companions. So, if you want to leave the cheese off or load your pie up with anchovies, go right ahead.
It's fine to use store-bought mini pizza crusts, or you can make your own from scratch or with a mix. If you're feeling really wacky, you can use a piece of pita bread or split an English muffin or even a biscuit in half. Then finish it off with cheese, sauce and other toppings such as pepperoni, mushrooms or even pineapple. Pop your creation in a toaster or conventional oven, and in mere minutes you'll have a delicious, simple meal that both kids and adults will adore.
Pasta may not be as bad for you as people have thought. HowStuffWorks Now explores the health benefits of this Italian staple.
- CBSNews. "Let's Give a Hand to Sliders." Feb. 19, 2010. (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/22/sunday/main5735261.shtml
- Suddath, Claire. "Buffalo Wings." Sept. 3, 2009. Time. (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1920434,00.html