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I have a friend who has a standing happy hour every Friday…at home. Her husband is a master gardener and a whiz in the kitchen, so their backyard is the place to be. No noise. No line. No overpriced, greasy food.

It all started after a big team lunch and a very long week. When they checked in, she told him, “No dinner tonight. Let’s just have some appetizers.”

She laughed, “We kept chatting and changing the plates. Before we knew it, we had been eating for hours!”

Sounds like my kind of night.

Check out the links below if you’re ready to make your own happy hour. These small bite recipes also work if you need some starters for your Mother’s Day celebration (impress Mom with crab and avocado toasts), or if you’re planning to have a few people over for Cinco de Mayo next week. (Try the padron peppers and chorizo – viva!) If you have some vegetarian friends stopping by, or if you want some new starters for Meatless Monday, there are some fresh ideas below.

Do you need a fail-safe formula? Follow the advice of famed chef James Beard. In his first book, Hors d’Oeuvre and Canapes, he highlights the importance of different textures as well as temperatures. Hot appetizers can be as simple as your favorite bruschetta or some sizzling garlic shrimp tapas. Cold appetizers can include staples like pickled vegetables, deviled eggs, and your favorite antipasto platter.


Food and Wine Spring Hors d’Oeuvres

Cooking Light Happy Hour

10 Seasonal Bites (including spicy sweet potato hummus, feta & radish toasts)

10 Dips and Spreads Without Cheese

Vegetarian Times – 10 Easy Happy Hour Appetizers

Good Find Friday: Tapas Party