Whether you call them starters, appetizers or hors d’oeuvres, these bite-sized, small-portioned offerings are meant to perk up your appetite before a meal. Appetizer recipes don’t need to be complex either to be both elegant and delicious. Sometimes appetizers are a chef’s way of providing you with a preview, a peek, at things to come from the kitchen or else there a simple way of keeping that growling animal in your guests’ stomachs satiated.

One of France’s most popular appetizers, for example is crudités, which is a fancy way to describe fresh cut vegetables.  Another easy to prepare, yet satisfying appetizer is to provide a selection of soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, or Havarti served with a selection of breads and crackers. The key is not to overdo it on the number of appetizers you serve. Usually one to two is perfect. Or else your guests will echo television personality Joe Moore’s sentiments when he said: “Appetizers are the little things you keep eating until you lose your appetite.” Here are 10 fun appetizers that will always impress and keep your guests wanting more.

1. Cheese Quesadillas
Is company coming over, like now, and you need to get them munching on something quick? Three ingredients for this appetizer: Monterrey jack cheese, flour tortillas and store bought salsa.  Top the tortillas with the Monterrey, stick in the broiler, cut into triangles, and serve melted hot.

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2. Blinis with Smoked Salmon
This incredibly elegant appetizer is the perfect treat for any gathering. All you need are some pre-made mini blinis, a packet of smoked salmon, sour cream, and some dill as a topper. White wine or champagne, anyone?


3. Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto
We love this sweet and salty simple starter. Get a hold of a bunch of seedless sweet dates, cut them open and stuff them with soft goat cheese. Then roll each stuffed date up in soft, salty Prosciutto and secure it with a toothpick. Magnificent.

4. Glazed-Beet-and-Burrata Toasts
This is one of our favorite appetizer recipes out there. Beets and Burrata is a match made in heaven. Simply top tiny toasts with a spoonful of the beets, a slice of the cheese and a dainty sprig of watercress. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with a flaky salt or two and you are set.


5. Artichoke and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Drizzle extra-virgin olive over diced can artichokes; mix in garlic, nutmeg, thyme, grated Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Then stuff the mushroom caps to the top and shred Asiago cheese on top and cook in the oven for fifteen minutes. Serve hot with cold white wine.


6.Marinated Olives
Hungry guests arriving in ten minutes? This savory fruit will stall appetites as you finish up in the kitchen. Grab a pretty bowl and spruce up store bought olives by adding citrus slices and fresh herbs to them.  Serve with pita bread and olive oil.


7. Pizzette with Gorgonzola, Tomato and Basil
Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like pizza? Just roll out the pizza dough, cut out eighteen circles with a cookie cutter and place them on a baking sheet. Then sprinkle the Gorgonzola, top with cherry tomatoes, drizzle with oil, and garnish with fresh basil.  Delicioso!


8. Salmorejo
This is one of the most delectable appetizer recipes we have come across. Similar to Gazpacho, this Andalusian chilled tomato-based starter calls for a blender and includes little chunks of jamón serrano, olive oil, almonds, bread, crumbled hard-boiled egg, tuna flakes, finely sliced fresh onion, and green pepper. Serve in fancy cocktail glasses.


9. Brie with Almonds and Honey
One of the simplest and most delicious starters, this melted Brie dish calls for a sprinkling of crunchy almonds with honey. Salt and sweet, soft and crunchy, the contrasts will delight your guests. Serve with a baguette and dry, red wine. If you’re looking for fun appetizers, seek no more.


10. Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Dress up crispy endive leaves with a creamy goat cheese filling, crushed walnuts and drizzled with a honey, orange and balsamic vinaigrette for a unique handheld appetizer. Add raisins or cranberries for an explosive mouthful.

Photos 2, 3, 5 & 7 courtesy of Food