We are in the thick of award season, and one inevitable aspect that comes along with this is watch parties, social gatherings where friends, family, co-workers, and various acquaintances get together for a shared experience bonding over some of the formative events of a new year’s first quarter.

But one of the hardest and most stressful elements of hosting a viewing party, whether for the Oscars, Grammys, SAG Awards or anything else, is the food situation: what to get, how many things to have, how much of everything to get, how to find time to prep everything, how to ensure you don’t run out or have to spend your entire party in the kitchen…these are questions that every good party host has been forced to grapple with at one time or another.

Fortunately, we have put together this assortment of simple, elegant, low-cost, high-end hors d’oeuvres options that can help take the difficulty and guesswork out of much of the equation. Here are a few of our very favorite unique, gourmet hors d’oeuvres selections, courtesy of one of our favorite sites, MyRecipes.com, that can be easily made at home and will still impress your guests:

Cream Cheese-and-Olive Biscuits with Olive-Parsley Spread (Serves 10-12)

Cream Cheese-and-Olive Biscuits with Olive-Parsley Spread – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose baking mix
  • 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup green olives, chopped
  • 1 (6 oz) jar pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (3 oz) log goat cheese or package cream cheese, softened

How to Make

Step 1 – Pulse baking mix, cream cheese, buttermilk, and green olives in food processor 3-4x or until combined.

Step 2 – Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough to ½-inch thickness, cut with a 2-inch fluted cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Step 3 – Bake biscuits at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden.

Step 4 – Pulse kalamata olives, capers, garlic, parsley, vinegar, oil, and pepper in a food processor until combined.

Step 5 – Split biscuits in half and spread cut sides evenly with goat cheese. Top with olive mixture.

Step 6 – Note: To make ahead, bake biscuits as directed. Cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks. Cover and freeze until firm. Place biscuits into zip-top plastic freezer bags, freeze up to 2 weeks. Remove from the freezer. Place on baking sheets and let stand 30 minutes. Bake at 325 degrees for 7-10 minutes. Prepare olive-parsley mixture as directed. Place in an airtight container and freeze up to 2 weeks. Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Stir before serving.

Pork Tenderloin Crostini (Serves 8-12)

Pork Tenderloin Crostini – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 24 Frozen tea biscuits
  • 2 (3/4- to 1-pound) pork tenderloins
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Cranberry-Pepper Jelly
  • 1 bunch fresh watercress

How to Make

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake tea biscuits according to package directions. Cool on a wire rack about 20 minutes.

Step 2 – Preheat grill to 350-400 degrees (medium-high heat). Remove silver skin from each tenderloin. Sprinkle salt and pepper over pork; rub with olive oil. Grill pork, covered with grill lid, 10-12 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145 degrees. Remove from grill, cover with foil, and let stand 15 minutes.

Step 3 – Meanwhile, cut biscuits in half and brush cut sides with melted butter. Arrange, cut sides up on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden.

Step 4 – Cut pork into ¼-inch-thick slices (about 24 slices each). Place pork on biscuits, top with your desired amount of Cranberry-Pepper Jelly and watercress sprigs. Serve immediately.

Brisket Shooters (Serves 12)

Brisket Shooters – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup uncooked regular grits
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ pounds shredded, smoked beef brisket
  • Coleslaw
  • Barbecue Sauce

How to Make

Step 1 – Bring milk and 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Gradually whisk in grits and salt, return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in cheeses until blended.

Step 2 – Layer brisket, grits, and coleslaw in 12 (8 oz.) glasses, drizzle with barbecue sauce. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin-Carrot Soup Shooters with Coconut Cream (Serves 6)

Pumpkin-Carrot Soup Shooters with Coconut Cream – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots, sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 (1-lb.) package baby carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon pimentón (sweet smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Coconut Cream

How to Make

Step 1 – Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots, pepper, garlic, and jalapeño and sauté 5 minutes or until golden. Add carrots, sauté another 5 minutes. Stir in ginger and pimentón and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Stir in broth, pumpkin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Panko-crusted Crab Cake Bites with Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli (Serves 8)

Panko-crusted Crab Cake Bites with Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. shelled cooked crab
  • ¼ cup finely diced celery
  • ¼ cup minced fresh chives
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 ¼ cups panko or fine dried breadcrumbs

Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli

  • Fresh chives, rinsed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup chopped drained canned roasted red peppers
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

How to Make

Step 1 – Sort through crab and discard any bits of shell.

Step 2 – In a large bowl, combine celery, minced chives, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and hot sauce. Mix well with a fork. Add crab and ¼ cup panko, stir gently into the mix.

Step 3 – Put the remaining 1 cup panko in a shallow bowl. Shape crab mixture into 24 cakes, each about 2 inches wide and ½-inch thick. Turn each cake in panko to coat evenly on all sides, pressing gently to ensure crumbs adhere. Place cakes slightly apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.

Step 4 – In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup chopped drained canned roasted red peppers, 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic to make the aioli. Makes about ½ cup.

Step 5 – Bake in a regular or convection oven at 475 degrees until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. With a spatula, transfer crab cakes to a platter. Spoon a dollop of Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli onto each cake. Garnish platter with chives. Serve hot.

Vietnamese Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce (Serves 12)

Vietnamese Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

Sauce

  • ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts

Rolls

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-pound skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into ¼-inch wide strips
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili sauce (Sriracha, etc.)
  • 12 (8-inch) round sheets rice paper
  • 3 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
  • 36 (2-inch) julienne-cut seeded peeled cucumber
  • 36 (2-inch) julienne-cut red bell pepper
  • 36 mint leaves

How to Make

Step 1 – To prepare sauce, combine vinegar, honey, and salt in a small bowl, stirring until honey dissolves. Stir in peanuts.

Step 2 – To prepare rolls, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and chicken. Sauté 5 minutes. Combine chicken mixture, hoisin sauce, and chili sauce. Chill.

Step 3 – Add hot water to a large, shallow dish to a depth of 1 inch. Place 1 rice paper sheet in the dish. Let stand 30 seconds or just until soft. Place sheet on a flat surface. Arrange ¼ cup lettuce over half of a sheet, leaving a 1-inch border. Top lettuce with ¼ cup chicken mixture, 3 cucumber strips, 3 bell pepper strips, and 3 mint leaves. Fold sides of sheet over filling, starting with filled side, and roll up, jelly-roll fashion. Gently press seam to seal. Place roll, seam side down, on a serving platter (cover to keep from drying out).

Step 4 – Repeat procedure with remaining lettuce, chicken mixture, cucumber strips, bell pepper strips, and mint leaves. Slice each roll in half diagonally. Serve with sauce.

Smoked Salmon Mousse Canapés (Serves 8-10)

Smoked Salmon Mousse Canapés – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. hot- or cold-smoked salmon
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 large English cucumber, cut into 30 (1/3-inch-thick) slices, or 30 small whole-grain crackers
  • Caviar, chopped fresh chives for garnish

How to Make

Step 1 – Place salmon in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add cream cheese, half-and-half, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and process until creamy and fluffy. Add tarragon. Pulse until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, adding more half-and-half as needed to achieve the desired texture for piping.

Step 2 – Pipe or dollop about 1 tablespoon salmon mousse onto each cucumber slice. Garnish if desired.

Step 3 – Enjoy paired with a nice Prosecco!

Mini Beef Wellingtons (Serves 8-10)

Mini Beef Wellingtons – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 5 crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 (17.3 oz.) package frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 (1-pound) trimmed beef tenderloin, cut into 24 cubes (about ¾ inch each)
  • 1/3 cup Boursin cheese

How to Make

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and rosemary and sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Stir in pepper and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt. Set aside.

Step 2 – Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl.

Step 3 – Roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 9- x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Cut into 12 (3-inch) squares. Arrange 1 beef cube in the center of each pastry square, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Top each beef cube with about ½ teaspoon Boursin cheese and 1 mushroom slice. Brush edges of pastry squares with egg mixture. Fold dough corners over, filling in the center to make a packet, pinching the seal. Place on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients and brush all with remaining egg mixture.

Step 4 – Bake 9 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Step 5 – Enjoy paired with a glass of tasty champagne!

Blue Cheese Crostini with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes (Serves 8-10)

Blue Cheese Crostini with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups halved seedless red grapes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (12 oz.) French bread baguette, cut into 15-20 (½ inch-thick) slices
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 oz. crumbled blue cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • Chopped fresh thyme to garnish

How to Make

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss together olive oil, brown sugar, kosher salt, bread baguette, butter, and blue cheese. Arrange grapes in a single layer in a small roasting pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until grapes wilt and liquid forms a thin syrup. Remove from the oven. Increase oven temperature to broil with oven rack 7 inches from heat. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Stir together butter and cheese and spread evenly over bread slices. Broil 2-3 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Spoon grape mixture over toasted bread, and sprinkle with pecans.

Ceviche de Camaron (Shrimp Ceviche Cocktail) (Serves 6)

Ceviche de Camaron – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 6 cups water
  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1-pound medium shrimp
  • 1 cup chopped peeled cucumber
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican hot sauce (Tamazula, Tapatió, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

How to Make

Step 1 – Place chopped onion in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain.

Step 2 – Bring 6 cups water and ¼ cup juice to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes or until done. Peel shrimp. Combine shrimp and ½ cup juice in a large bowl, cover and chill 1 hour. Stir in onion, cucumber, and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or chilled.

Beef Tenderloin with Garlic-and-Merlot Jam (Serves 8)

Beef Tenderloin with Garlic-and-Merlot Jam – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 (1 ½ – pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 24 baguette or ciabatta slices or small focaccia squares, toasted
  • Garlic-and-Merlot Jam
  • Chopped chives

How to Make

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottom ovenproof skillet medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with kosher salt and pepper. Place in skillet and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until well-browned on all sides.

Step 2 – Transfer skillet to oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145 degrees (medium-rare). Remove from skillet. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Step 3 – Cut beef into 24 thin slices. Place on baguette slices, and top each with 1 tablespoon Garlic-and-Merlot Jam. Sprinkle with chives.

Oysters with Mignonette Ice (Serves 4)

Oysters with Mignonette Ice – Image courtesy of MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup high-quality red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup dry red wine (Pinot Noir, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 24 oysters in the shell
  • Rock salt

How to Make

Step 1 – Combine vinegar, wine, shallots, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into a shallow dish. Freeze, uncovered, for 3 hours or until firm. Flake ice mixture with a fork.

Step 2 – Shuck oysters, discarding top shells. Run a knife under the meat of the oyster to release. Place half shells on a serving platter lined with rock salt. Spoon 1 teaspoon mignonette ice onto each oyster and serve immediately.

Step 3 – To make the shucking process easier, try placing oysters on a baking sheet and baking at 350 degrees for 15 minutes to open shells slightly.

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