Kid-friendly Thanksgiving appetizer recipes

Thanksgiving appetizers for the kids!

When our nest became empty and the house felt a bit lonely during the holidays, my husband and I worked to buoy each other's spirits. We developed new traditions like driving up Highway 1 on Thanksgiving to enjoy our turkey dinner, while gazing at the rugged California coastline near Big Sur. The portions at our favorite place were generous enough to provide a few leftovers, and no one had to spend the day cooking or cleaning.

But once our daughter and grandchildren moved back home, I couldn't wait to start hosting big holiday meals again. Thanks to my daughter's efforts, our little ones are good eaters. They enjoy all types of vegetables and even exotic foods like sushi. But during our first Thanksgiving together, I realized my usual appetizers were not a hit with the kids, and as a grandma, pleasing the youngsters is my biggest goal when I plan a special meal.

As the delectable aromas of roasting turkey and pumpkin pie waft from the kitchen, everyone starts looking for things to nibble on, and the grandkids are no different. If you're looking for kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes that provide food that's fun and healthy, try these appetizers to keep the children from starving while they're waiting for Grandpa to carve the turkey.

Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

Nothing could be simpler than threading some bite-sized chunks of apple and neat squares of cheese onto a wooden skewer for kid-friendly kabobs. Just remember to toss the sliced apples in a little lemon juice to prevent browning. For the ultimate kid appeal, display the kabobs by piercing the sharp end of the skewer into a pumpkin or other season squash. It looks impressive and takes just a few seconds.

Broccoli Pockets

Yields Approximately 12 Pockets

Even kids who don't like vegetables will enjoy eating them from a cute little pocket in the shape of a leaf, acorn. or other autumnal item. Substitute any vegetable for the broccoli, as long as it's chopped fine and thoroughly cooked.

  • 1 package pre-made pie crust (the kind with two crusts that you unroll)
  • 2 cups finely chopped broccoli (about 1 large head)
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream

Steam the broccoli until it's soft. Add the cheese, bread crumbs, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture cool completely.

Unroll one pie crust on a floured board and cut out shapes with cookie cutter. Place a dollop of broccoli mixture in the center of half of the shapes. Whisk the egg and milk together. With a pastry brush, paint the egg wash on the bottom side of the unused shapes, one at a time, and place them over the vegetables, being careful to line the tops and bottoms up with one another. Press the edges together securely and paint each completed pocket with more egg wash.

Place the pockets on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, and cook them in a 350-degree oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the pie crust is golden brown. Repeat the process with the second pie crust and watch the kids gobble their vegetables!

This recipe not only makes a wonderful appetizer for kids, but also for the adults at your swankiest holiday party. For grownup tastes, use a filling of chopped, sautéed mushrooms with garlic or leeks and blue cheese.