Three Make-Ahead Appetizers: Avocado Salsa, Antipasto Kabobs and Glazed Drumsticks

Everyone is busy. Between work, school, kids, and family — plus the school holidays always lurking around the corner — we hardly have time to breathe. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good food or slave away all night to make sure you have a dish for that family gathering or school potluck. We’ve collected three recipes for appetizers you can make ahead of time.

Avocado Salsa

Salsa is always a family favorite. Get it ready ahead of time with this simple recipe. Just remember, cut up the avocado right before serving for maximum freshness.

What You Need

1-2/3 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained (if desired)
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 medium ripe avocados, peeled
Tortilla chips

Directions: In a large bowl, combine corn, olives, red pepper and onion. In a smaller bowl, combine the garlic, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour the liquids over corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Before serving chop up some avocados and top the salsa. As always, salsa recipes are open to lots of experimentation. Don’t like olives? Substitute something else, such as pineapple.

Antipasto Kabobs

If you are Italian like I am, or if you just appreciate great meats, then you can’t go wrong with these Antipasto Kabobs. To make this more hearty healthy, feel free to select turkey pepperoni. You will have half the calories and lose none of the flavor.

What You Need

1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
40 pimiento-stuffed olives
40 large pitted ripe olives
3/4 cup Italian salad dressing
40 thin slices pepperoni
20 thin slices hard salami, halved
Fresh parsley sprigs, optional

Directions: Cook tortellini according to the package directions; then drain and rinse in cold water. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the tortellini, olives and salad dressing. Seal the bag and turn over a few times to coat the pasta. Then refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Before serving, drain and discard the marinade. For each appetizer, thread a stuffed olive, folded pepperoni slice, tortellini, folded salami piece, ripe olive and parsley sprig on a toothpick or short skewer. This yields 40 appetizers!

Grilled Glazed Drumsticks

If you have a grill handy, you can prepare glazed drumsticks. This is a perfect option if you want very little preparation.

What You Need

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons honey
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 pounds fresh or frozen chicken drumettes, thawed

Directions: In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, soy sauce, honey, ground ginger and garlic powder. Pour 1 cup of the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken; seal bag and turn over a few times to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate the remaining marinade for basting.

To serve, just drain chicken and discard the marinade. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear, turning and basting occasionally with reserved marinade. This yields about two-dozen drumettes, perfect for your next tailgate.

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