Holiday entertaining is both exciting and daunting, since making a strong first-food impression often sets the tone for the rest of the party. I've had my over-the-top moments where I've tried to create complicated appetizers (one resulted in a small fire), but I've found that keeping things simple is often best. Savory foods are such a winter staple and these three dishes require little effort and make a big impact.
The sweetness of the dates pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the bacon, and the cheese enhances both flavors. The syrup provides a special, extra tang. For a more complex flavor, try using blue cheese.
These are one of my favorite appetizers and the color alone makes these worthy of a holiday spread. While they take a couple of hours to finish, the process is very simple and the results outshine regular deviled eggs. I like mine to be a little spicy, but you can omit the Siracha if you prefer a mellower flavor.
The easiest of the three appetizers, crostini are so customizable that it was hard to choose just one version. The pesto in this recipe uses sun-dried tomatoes and Marcona almonds in place of traditional pine nuts, so you get a slightly different, smokey flavor. While the salami is not really necessary, I like how it pairs with the pesto. You could swap it for burratta, or simply eat it plain.