Surprisingly at the ripe age of 26, I’ve had my fair share of hosting experiences and I’ve learned from previous disasters that it’s ALWAYS best to have a couple of quick, easy hors d’oeuvres to serve and only one or two complicated dishes that take up a significant chunk of time to prepare. Trust me kids, I’ve learned this the hard way, you don’t want to be that host that’s slaving away in the kitchen while your guests are awkwardly sitting in your living room sipping on cocktails patiently waiting for you – and yes, this has happened to me. And yes, it was also because said guests showed up almost an hour early (do not EVER do this – not cool), but if I had chosen a simpler meal that wasn’t about a million steps I could have been enjoying cocktails instead of stressing, silently cursing them, and furiously trying to get dinner on the table.

Side note – Does anyone else think hors d’oeuvre is a tricky word to spell? I think I tried to type it and re-type it three times before I just gave up and googled it. English was never my forte in school – I was much more of a numbers gal.

Another side note – did anyone see the season premier of Real Housewives of Orange County last night?? I think I lose a hundred brain cells every time I watch those shows, but I don’t care, I love them. And ummm.. I want to be Heather – she is so my kind of gal. I mean, who throws a clambake that looks like it could be a five star wedding reception? Heather does.

Anyhoo – back to easy hors d’oeuvres. These little bites require no complicated cooking, can be prepared well in advance and are so simple, it’s practically criminal. Bite-size pieces of chicken breast are marinated in a combination of lemon juice, garlic, and cumin then seared in a hot sauté pan. Roasted red pepper and fontina cheese are then soaked in a mixture of olive oil, kalamata olives, lots of garlic and spicy red pepper flakes. Everything is laced onto a pretty skewer, sprinkled with a little flat leaf parsley and ready to serve.

Smokey, garlicky, and cheesy – what more could you ask for in a perfect bite?

Garlicky Roasted Red Pepper, Fontina & Chicken Bites
Serves: approximately 15
  • 1 ½ chicken tenders, cute into small bite-size pieces (about 15 pieces)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, cut into bite-size cubes (about 15 pieces)
  • ½ roasted red pepper, cut into bite-size pieces (about 15 pieces)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 scant tablespoon kalamata olive, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Flat leaf parsley for garnish
  1. Marinate chicken in paprika, cumin, and lemon juice in a small bowl for at least thirty minutes and up to three hours.
  2. In a small sauté pan heat one tablespoon of olive over a medium heat. Add garlic, cook until soft and fragrant, making sure not to burn, about one minute. Let cool.
  3. Combine cooked garlic, oil, kalamata olive, red pepper, cheese and pinch of red pepper flake in a small bowl. Let set for at least thirty minutes and up to three hours.
  4. When ready to assemble, season chicken with a little salt and cook in a small sauté pan over a medium-high heat with a little olive oil until brown and cooked through.
  5. Skewer a piece of red pepper, then a piece of chicken, and lastly a piece of cheese onto a toothpick or other skewer. Sprinkle with parsley for color.
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