Easy Appetizers for Teenagers

by Aya Pauli

    Teenagers may not have wisdom or patience, but they do have the basic skills required to create their own easy appetizers. Regardless of whether it's for a study session or birthday party, the quick snacks mean your teen can take charge of his own hunger and that of his guests.

    You don't have to splurge on mini bagels and fancy spreads for bagel bite appetizers. Toast sliced bagels, smear on a spread and cut each slice into fourths to turn the food into bite-size snacks. Mix cream cheese and ranch dressing mix for savory herb bagel bites, or combine cream cheese and raspberry jam for berry bagel bites. Or, top each bagel with spaghetti sauce, sliced pepperoni and shredded mozzarella cheese for pizza bagel bites. Serve the pizza-like concoction with your teen's favorite sauce or dressing -- garlic butter and ranch are usually fan favorites.

    Almost any solid food works on a skewer, so teens can mix and match ingredients to create their own special snack. Wrap strips of turkey or ham around a piece of cantaloupe to make a healthy and refreshing appetizer. Sprinkle pineapple and mango pieces with shredded coconut for a tropical treat. Wrap pastrami around a cheddar cube, and top with a cherry tomato to create a filling appetizer.

    Creating a light and flavorful appetizer can be as easy as a teen popping corn and sprinkling it with seasoning. Sprinkle plain popcorn with a seasoning combination of dry salad dressing mix and Parmesan cheese, or sprinkle caramel popcorn with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet snack option. Toss buttered popcorn with dry taco seasoning or southwest-style dressing and dip mix for a spicy kick. Serve the popcorn in a large bowl next to small paper cups for individual servings, or fill cupcake papers with popcorn to create a specific number of appetizers.

    Although there are many varieties of pre-made dips available at the grocery store, it doesn't take much effort to mix up a special dip at home to serve with store-bought chips. Your teen can begin with a standard dip mix and add sour cream and his favorite ingredients to change it up for guests. Other options include mixing cream cheese with salsa to serve with tortilla chips; melting mozzarella in spaghetti sauce and pairing with garlic pita chips; or combining warm refried beans with sour cream as a dip for cheddar potato chips.

    Olives may not be the most common appetizer choice for teenagers, but it's an easy and sophisticated selection for teens throwing a prom dinner or other fancy event. Mix green and black olives with shredded provolone cheese, and toss in a creamy balsamic salad dressing to help balance out the strong olive flavor.

    About the Author

    A writer since 2000, Aya Pauli has covered a variety of topics including food, fashion, beauty, health, parenting, education, decor and crafts. Her award-winning recipes have been published in food magazines such as "Taste of Home," and she is also the author of a salad cookbook. Pauli's craft projects appear in major manufacturer websites, including Dow Styrofoam. She also holds a CDA in early childhood education and works as a preschool teacher in Wyoming.

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