Great party starters can be yours in an instant. Just because you're short on time doesn't mean you must skimp on quality.

By Ginger Ann Clark
Updated: February 02, 2017
Charles Walton IV

Top a block of cream cheese:

  • Tomato chutney or pepper jelly
  • Pesto sauce and chopped dried tomatoes
  • Chili sauce, chopped cooked shrimp, and sliced green onions
  • Mango chutney, sliced green onions, and toasted shredded coconut

Dress up a wheel of Brie:

  • Spread with honey; microwave at medium high (70% power) 1 minute. Sprinkle with toasted chopped walnuts.
  • Top with mango chutney; microwave at medium high (70% power) 1 minute. Sprinkle with chopped cooked bacon.
  • Score into pie-shaped wedges. Decorate each wedge with chopped dried fruit, toasted sesame seeds, and toasted sliced almonds.

Stir together:

  • Soft cream cheese, lump crabmeat, horseradish, salt, and pepper
  • Cream cheese, chopped smoked salmon, horseradish, and chopped fresh dill weed
  • Drained plain yogurt, diced seeded cucumber, sour cream, fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh dill weed, garlic, and salt

Bake it easy:

  • Spoon marinara sauce over feta cheese. Bake at 350° until bubbly; sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.
  • Brush triangles of pita bread with melted butter; sprinkle with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° until golden. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Toss together:

  • Diced tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives, salt, freshly ground pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar
  • Fresh lump crabmeat, diced avocado, fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper

Roll it:

  • Spread salmon or crabmeat dip on a flour tortilla; roll up, and slice into pinwheels. Secure with a wooden pick.
  • Combine goat cheese, dried basil, and cracked pepper. Spread on thin strips of smoked salmon; roll up, and secure with a wooden pick.

Wrap it:

  • Wrap strips of prosciutto around chunks of honeydew or cantaloupe; secure with a wooden pick. Drizzle with fresh lime juice.
  • Wrap partially cooked slices of bacon around oysters or scallops; secure with a wooden pick. Grill or broil until seafood is fully cooked.
  • Sprinkle 8 ounces of cream cheese with garlic powder and fresh or dried dill weed; wrap in 4 ounces of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls. Bake at 350° until crust is golden.

Drizzle it:

  • Drizzle goat cheese rounds with balsamic vinegar; sprinkle with herbes de Provence.
  • Drizzle olive oil over grilled fish. Add fresh lemon juice, capers, and chopped fresh thyme.
  • Drizzle a log of goat cheese with olive oil. Sprinkle heavily with cracked pepper.