Awards season is upon us, and that means it’s time to toast to our favorite actors and actresses. Nothing ramps up our appetites like seeing Hollywood stars in well-fitted suits and tiny dresses. And you can’t watch the Academy Awards without your favorite snacks and beverages of choice. Pick out your appetizer recipes, and plan your viewing parties. Sunday nights in the winter just become a lot more exciting, and you need your tasty snacks to share the spotlight. Here are the best recipes for awards show snacks that anyone can master.
1. Corn Tortillas with Chicken and Cheddar
First up are crispy tortillas from Food & Wine. They’re pan-fried and packed with chicken and cheddar, meaning you get your carbs, protein, and cheese all in one bite. The finger food is sophisticated but not fussy. And you can serve it alongside a simple radish salad. The recipe serves 4, so double it if you’re expecting a crowd.
- 2 jalapeños
- 2 cups finely shredded roast chicken
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Freshly ground pepper
- 12 corn tortillas
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 4 radishes, very thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Directions: Skewer the jalapeños on a metal skewer or fork, and roast over a flame until blackened, 3 minutes. Wrap in foil, and let cool slightly. Rub off the skins, and remove the seeds. Then, finely chop. Transfer the jalapeños to a bowl, and add the chicken, cheese, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper; toss well.
Wrap half of the tortillas in a towel, and microwave at high power for 1 minute, until pliable. Arrange the tortillas on a surface, and pack half of the chicken filling into cylinders across the bottoms. Tightly roll the tortillas around the filling, securing with toothpicks. Repeat to form the remaining flautas.
In a large skillet, heat ¼ inch of oil. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fry half of the flautas over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp all over and heated through, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Fry the remaining flautas.
In a bowl, toss the radishes with the cilantro, onion, and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Remove the toothpicks, and serve the flautas with the radish salad.
2. Spicy Butterscotch Wings
Take your wings from football food to awards show fare by adding a sweet caramel sauce to the mix. These spicy butterscotch wings from Taste of Home are surprisingly delicious and are a welcome deviation from the typical hot wings.
The chicken is first coated in a sauce made from soy sauce, ketchup, Sriracha, onion pepper, and red pepper flakes. Then, after baking it for 20 minutes, you’ll get to work on the butterscotch sauce and crumb topping. The baked wings are tossed in a butterscotch sauce, rolled in the crumbs, and then are ready to be served hot. These spicy butterscotch wings will feed 10 people, who will gladly lick their fingers for the sweet and spicy snack.
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup 2% milk, warmed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
- 2 green onions sliced diagonally, divided
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 red bird’s eye chili peppers, minced, optional
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut through the two wing joints; discard wing tips. Combine next seven ingredients; add wings and toss to coat.
Line a 15×10-inch pan with foil; grease with cooking spray. Bake wings in prepared pan 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until juices run clear, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven; keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, spread sugar; cook, without stirring, over medium heat until it begins to melt. Gently drag melted sugar to center of pan so it melts evenly. Cook, without stirring, until melted sugar turns amber. Carefully stir in warm milk and butter. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, 5-7 minutes. Keep warm.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter; add bread crumbs, one green onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until bread crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
To serve, toss wings in butterscotch sauce. Sprinkle with crumb topping, remaining green onion and sliced peppers, if desired. Serve hot.
3. Baked Brie with Fig Crown
Baked brie isn’t new to the appetizer game, but you can give your favorite cheesy snack an upgrade by crowning it with a wreath of dried figs and nuts. This recipe from House and Home will show you how it’s done. The soft baked cheese gets a punch of sweet from mango chutney, honey, and figs. And the pecan halves also give the appetizer texture and make it more aesthetically pleasing. The baked brie is best served warm and with baguette slices. You can’t go wrong with brie.
- 4 or 5 dried figs
- 1 8-ounce round Canadian Brie (4-inch diameter)
- 2 teaspoons mango chutney
- 1 tablespoon chopped dried fruit, such as blueberries, cranberries, or apricots
- 20 pecan halves (about ½ cup)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons port wine
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Sliced baguette
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place dried figs in ¾ cup very warm water to plump up. Set aside.
Meanwhile, slice off top of Brie rind, and discard. Slice cheese round in half horizontally. Set bottom section in a shallow, heatproof serving dish.
Spread mango chutney over top of bottom section of cheese. Sprinkle with chopped dried fruit. Replace top of cheese round over chutney and fruit layer.
Drain, and pat figs dry. Slice into ⅛-inch thick pieces. Alternate figs and pecans around top of cheese round.
Mix together honey, port wine, and vinegar. Spoon over figs and pecans. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake 10 minutes. Broil briefly to brown pecans. Serve immediately with baguette slices.
4. Crab Salad Canapes
An elegant affair, such as an awards show, deserves an elegant appetizer. Make these crab salad canapes from Martha Stewart for your fellow viewers. Bed your crab salad on a thick piece of baguette, and you’ll be pleased with the creamy bite full of salty, tangy flavors. Between the bread, bell peppers, and crab salad that make up this hors d’oeuvre, your guests’ mouths will be plenty occupied as everyone watches the award winners’ speeches.
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ baguette or ficelle, cut into ¼-inch-thick pieces
- ¼ pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked clean
- ½ celery stalk, strings removed, cut into ⅛-inch-thick slices
- ½ small carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch-long matchsticks
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves, for garnish
Directions: Heat a grill to hot, or turn on the broiler. Cook bell pepper until it is completely charred, turning so all sides cook evenly, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer warm pepper to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until cool.
Using your hands, rub off charred skin. Slice pepper in half, and remove seeds and stem. Cut pepper into diamond shapes that are slightly larger than a piece of baguette.
Using a wooden spoon, mix together butter and two mustards in a small bowl until well combined. Spread a generous dollop of mustard butter on each slice of bread.
Place remaining ingredients except marjoram in a medium bowl, and toss to combine. Place a pepper diamond on each piece of bread, and top with a mound of crab salad. Garnish each canape with several marjoram leaves, and serve.
5. Lemon-Parmesan Popcorn
Taking a turn to simplicity, we come to this lemon-Parmesan popcorn from Cooking Light. It’s an upgrade on a classic. And who doesn’t want to snack on popcorn while they watch the awards? TV and popcorn are a winning pair for a reason. With this recipe, you’re topping your popcorn with the combination of lemon flavor, salt, and cheese. The food formula serves 6, but you can always double your offerings.
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1.5 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about ⅓ cup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels
Directions: Combine lemon rind, pepper, salt, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a small bowl.
Heat oil in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add popcorn to oil in saucepan; cover, and cook 2 minutes or until kernels begin to pop, shaking pan frequently. Continue cooking 1 minute, shaking pan constantly. When popping slows down, remove pan from heat. Let stand 1 minute or until all popping stops. Pour 6 cups popcorn into a large bowl; stir in half of cheese mixture. Stir in remaining 6 cups popcorn and remaining half of cheese mixture; toss to coat. Let stand 1 minute before serving.
6. Marinated Feta and Olive Skewers
Skewers are always a good idea to serve at a party because they’re easy to eat, making your guests more likely to indulge. These marinated feta and olive skewers from Food Network should star at your viewing party to satisfy everyone’s savory tooth. The salty olives and feta cheese pair perfectly with mint and crispy cucumber. And the appetizer takes all of 5 minutes to make, while serving 6.
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 4 ounces feta cheese, cut into 24 (½-inch) cubes
- 24 mint leaves
- ¼ large English cucumber, seeded, and cut into ½-inch chunks
- 12 pitted green olives, halved
Directions: In a medium bowl, combine the fennel seeds, orange zest, orange juice, and pepper. Gently stir in the feta and marinate for 1 hour or more.
To make the skewers, place a mint leaf about ¾-inch up the skewer, then add an olive half, then a chunk of cucumber. Gently place a cube of the marinated feta on the end.
7. Strawberry Chocolate Mini Trifles
On the sweet side of things, these strawberry chocolate mini trifles are the perfect thing with which to celebrate your favorite actor or actress’ win. The recipe from Food Network serves 8 and provides perfectly portioned desserts that you and your guests can enjoy. Even better, the mini trifles are so good looking they’re almost hard to eat. But take one bite, and that problem is solved. Serve your awards audience these strawberry chocolate mini trifles, and they’ll be the star of the show.
- 1 pound strawberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- One 3.1-ounce box instant chocolate mousse mix
- 2 cups coarsely crumbled chocolate wafer cookies
Directions: Reserve 2 strawberries for garnish, then dice the remaining strawberries.
In a medium bowl, combine the diced strawberries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and toss to coat. Let the strawberries macerate on the counter while you prepare the rest of the dessert.
In a large cold bowl, combine the heavy cream, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a whisk or hand mixer, whip the cream to medium peaks. Transfer to a 1-gallon releasable plastic bag, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the mousse mix according to the package instructions. Transfer to a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag.
Set aside about ¼ cup of the crumbled chocolate wafer cookies for garnish. Fill the bottom third of each dessert cup with the remaining crumbled cookies. Cut about ½ inch off the bottom corner of the plastic bag filled with the mousse. Pipe the chocolate mousse into the cups, filling them about two-thirds of the way up. Top with the diced strawberries, filling up each cup to the top. Let chill about 20 minutes.
To garnish: Cut about ½ inch off the bottom corner of the plastic bag filled with the whipped cream, and pipe onto the chocolate mousse in each dessert cup. Sprinkle with the reserved crumbled cookies. Slice the remaining 2 strawberries into quarters. Place a strawberry quarter on top of each, and refrigerate until ready to serve. The desserts should be served the same day they are made.
8. Flourless Chocolate Souffles
This is another sweet dessert you can serve to your guests already portioned, keeping things easy. The recipe for these fluffy chocolate souffles from Saveur feeds 3 or 4. Because the dessert is flourless, it’s also gluten-free. Make these dreamy souffles for all of your guests, and they’re destined to love the light, decadent goodness that is the chocolate souffle. Dip your spoon into the rich dish, and get ready to enjoy chocolate bliss.
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 5 ½ tablespoons sugar, plus additional for dusting soufflé dish
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- Confectioners’ sugar
9. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
You can’t go wrong with chocolate-covered strawberries, and you can dress the dessert up however you like. Take this recipe from Betty Crocker as a base. All you need are strawberries, chocolate, and decorations of your choice. If you want to make your awards show dessert fancy, coat the chocolate-covered strawberries with edible sprinkles and glitter. The treats will be so attractive that no one will worry about the calorie content.
- 16 ounces fresh whole strawberries
- 1 ½ cups (9 ounces) good quality milk, dark, or white chocolate chips
- Candy sprinkles, nonpareils, colored sugars
Wash strawberries. Place chocolate chips into small, microwaveable bowl.
Heat bowl in the microwave on High for 30 seconds. Remove bowl; stir chips with spoon. Return bowl to microwave, and continue to microwave on High for an additional 30 seconds; stir. Repeat just until chocolate is melted.
Dip strawberries into the melted chocolate by holding the stem between your fingers.
Immediately decorate the chocolate-covered strawberry with your favorite sprinkles.
Allow the chocolate to cool and harden at room temperature. Serve immediately, or store tightly covered in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
10. Oreo Cheesecake
We’re leaving the most indulgent for last. Two words: Oreo cheesecake. Check out the recipe from Delish, and get ready to dig in. Enjoy the decadence with this easy Oreo cheesecake recipe that will take you only 25 minutes of prep time. The cheesecake feeds 10 to 12. Oreo cookies are both in the crust and the cake. This is the perfect treat that guests will love as they wait for the show’s big finish.
- 26 Oreo cookies
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ stick unsalted butter, melted
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 15 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped, plus more crushed Oreos for garnish
Directions: For the crust: Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Set a rack in middle of oven, and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a food processor or blender, grind Oreos into fine crumbs. Add salt, and pulse to combine. Transfer to medium bowl, add melted butter, and use fork or fingers to blend mixture until crumbs are evenly moist. Press into bottom and about a third of the way up sides of springform pan. Freeze 10 minutes.
Place pan on baking sheet, and bake crust for 10 minutes. Set on a rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the cheesecake: Bring a medium saucepan or teakettle full of water to a boil.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium, scraping down bowl as necessary, until completely smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sugar and salt, and beat, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add vanilla, and beat 30 seconds. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition and scraping down bowl as necessary. Add heavy cream and sour cream, and beat on low until fully incorporated and completely smooth, 1 minute. Gently fold in coarsely chopped Oreo cookies.
Pour cheesecake batter into cooled crust and smooth top. Place cheesecake in deep roasting pan, and set on middle rack of oven. Carefully pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come about halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until top is just starting to brown and crack, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn off oven, prop door open with wooden spoon, and let cheesecake slowly cool in water bath for 1 hour.
Remove roasting pan from oven, then carefully lift springform pan out of water, and remove foil. Set cheesecake on rack, and let come to room temperature. Once completely cool, loosely cover cheesecake with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. When ready to serve, carefully remove sides of springform pan, and sprinkle top with crushed Oreo cookies.