I love hosting friends and family for dinner, but somehow I always forget about the appetizers. I put all my energy into the main meal and the dessert (you have to have something sweet to finish!), and then an hour before guests are supposed to show up, I realize I have nothing for us to snack on while the chicken is in the oven!
Luckily, I almost always have a tin of mixed nuts in my pantry (probably gifted to me for Christmas because my extended family members are big nut people). And a regular ol' tin of nuts is easy to transform into something that feels worthy of a good dinner party.
Can you guess how? Hint: It's an airplane trick.
Warm the Mixed Nuts in the Oven!
My little upgrade is to toss the nuts in the oven for a few minutes so that they get all warm and toasty. Since the nuts are already toasted and seasoned with salt, they're really just getting revived in the oven after their long stay, cramped up, inside a tin. The oven brings out their flavor and there's just something about snacking on them warm that makes them feel a touch more fancy.
How to Make the Upgrade
Crack open a tin of whatever mixed nuts you like — I love a classic salted mix here. Or go for a solo nut like honey roasted peanuts. Spread the nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in a 350°F oven. Toast them for eight to 10 minutes, stirring them once or twice, until they're fragrant and warmed through. Then remove the baking sheet from the oven, let the nuts cool down just for a minute, then transfer them to a serving dish. Try not to eat them all before your friends arrive.
Do you do this, too? What's your favorite last-minute appetizer?