Is it just me, or perform this holiday season feel more like a regular week and less like a month of euphoric cheer? I mean, typically, my family gets together for a day of food, fun, and of course, football. But, not this year.
We could say “but not this year” about many subjects. For example, we’ve lost tailgates, and concerts, even Broadway has taken a long intermission. We’ve had to set aside our usual way of living and learn to adapt to this “new normal.”
In the holidays, this “new normal” means not seeing loved ones during the season and staying in rather than going out. Like many others, my family forewent the big get-together and decided to stay home and celebrate with the five of us.
Now, not only does this mean fewer people, but our Christmas and New Years’ dinners were usually made by experienced family members who can cook anything and make it memorable for everyone’s food preferences.
Sidenote: My family was not a part of this elite group of individuals who could cook.
Therefore, we are fending for ourselves, and I was tasked with helping feed various food preferences– one member being a 200lb 6’2 older brother entering the marines who can eat… A LOT.
I was given the task of finding appetizers that suit all tastes– from being the health-nut of the family to my brother who can eat anything– I was on the prowl for a “win” this season. My goal was to find appetizers that make me feel good about myself and find some that will please those who prefer fried over fresh.
I found five great frozen appetizers for any holiday season dinner, future Bachelor wine night, or gameday watch party. For a family with zero skills in the kitchen, one who’s in a time crunch, or one who wants good food, check these dishes out. They please both the health-conscious of the family and also those who turn a blind eye on fresh.
This appetizer was a blast from the past; a grown-up pig in a blanket is the best way to describe it. Does this mean the pigs in a blanket from my childhood are merely piglets in a blanket? This grown-up finger food has a crispy shell layered with parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and caraway seeds. The flavouring adds a punch with each bite.
Tip: They are even better with a dip of dijon mustard!
I love Trader Joes’, and by love, I mean I walk around the store for about 30 minutes every week when I’m bored. I love going there. So, you know I had to snag an appetizer from their frozen section.
The cheese on these pizzas was gooey and delicious, fulfilling any cheese lover’s dream. It hits the spot with the AMAZING cheese pull after taking a bite.
But I was not impressed. These pizza bites taste just like pizza, which is not a bad thing. But I expected a little more from Trader Joes. They were still delicious and a massive hit for my family, but there was no extra oomph to the appetizer.
Tip: Add pepperoni on top of each one for an extra protein kick. Or, if your faux-party is more black-tie, perhaps adding prosciutto would take this dish up a notch.
After buying pigs in a blanket and mini pizzas, I wanted something healthy and not your typical greasy food- aka something for the fresh food seekers. This appetizer checked off all the boxes.
Not at most, was it delicious, but it was light enough to keep you hungry for dinner. I was able to taste the seasoning of herbs after taking a bite and enjoyed the soft dough. I felt like an adult after eating this. Not sure if it’s just because of the fancy name, but I did feel fancy. I found my new potluck go-to.
Tip: Add a glass of wine and bring it to any Bachelor viewing night!
To continue my streak of finding something on the lighter side and more health-conscious, I picked up these cocktail bites. The variety of flavours caught my attention because I had four chances to try something new (and nutritious)!
After a taste test of each one, I was pleasantly surprised. I was given the cheesy goodness from the Emmental cheese, and herb flavour in the spinach and ricotta. I also tasted the creamy flavour from the tomato and vegetables, and the flavour-packed olive tapenade.
I was a little nervous when picking this up because I have never heard or seen anything similar to this, but hey, try something new, I thought!
The spinach and ricotta was my favourite, followed by tomato and vegetable. Each one had a unique flavour palette that was suited for every age.
Last but not least are these sausage ravioli. Let me preface this with YUM. I took a bite, and the cheese was gooey and beautiful. The outside layer had the perfect crunch and put the comfort in comfort food. Let me say my brother was pleased and even the health-conscious can have a little fun with this appetizer!
The ravioli was delicious, crunchy, and gooey. But, it was not the best thing to eat before a meal. Why? Because you could not stop eating them! This frozen appetizer is dangerous if needing something light before dinner, but oh well!
Tip: Read the instructions on making the marinara so that it can be ready by the time the ravioli come out. A rookie mistake made by me!
In the end, each of these appetizers was a big hit with my family and made our holiday season feel a little more special! These options will please the health-conscious and those who prefer giving a blind eye on nutrition labels.
Lucy Long is a health nut studying Strategic Communication at Texas Christian University and a regular contributor with Magnus Opus.
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