We're not quite ready to cleanse, but we've about hit our max on seasonal sweets and heavy dinners...which is why we'll be eating exclusively snacks until New Year's Eve. With cheese, salami, and smoked salmon in the fridge, olives, peppers, and crackers or chips in the pantry, and baguettes or pita in the freezer, you're always just minutes from a satisfying non-meal.
Piquillo Pepper and Cheese Toasts
This appetizer couldn't be easier: Toast the bread, pop a cube of aged provolone into each smoky pepper, and let everything get gooey in the oven.
1 medium baguette, thinly sliced into 16 rounds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
16 piquillo peppers (from one 12-ounce jar), drained and patted dry
4 ounces sliced aged provolone cheese, cut into 16 one-inch squares
Garnish: 1 scallion, pale-green part only, thinly sliced on the bias
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of baguette slices with 2 tablespoons oil. Toast on a rimmed baking sheet until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes.
2. Stuff each pepper with a cheese square. Place 1 stuffed pepper on each toast. Bake until cheese melts, 8 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Garnish with scallion.
Goat Cheese Galore
With a log of goat cheese in the fridge, you have the foundation to a veritable smorgasbord of snacks:
1. Drizzle rounds of goat cheese with extra-virgin olive oil. Season with pink peppercorns and fresh herbs. Serve with thin slices of crusty bread.
2. Spread fig jam on toasted baguette; top each with a slice of goat cheese. Bake 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with prosciutto, honey, and pepper.
3. Crumble half your goat cheese into a small ovenproof dish. Top with marinara sauce, then add remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until brown and bubbly.
Warm Marinated Olives
Heating herbs and spices in olive oil extracts their flavors, making it easy for olives to take on their aromatic essence in a matter of minutes.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 dried red chiles, such as chiles de arbol
1 rosemary sprig, broken into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
2 cups mixed olives, rinsed and patted dry
1. Heat oil, chiles, rosemary, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and add olives. Stir to coat. Heat olives, stirring occasionally, until warmed, about 10 minutes.
Pan-Fried Chorizo with Sherry Vinegar
Sizzle up some tantalizing tapas in a matter of minutes: Simply saute dried chorizo, hit it with some nutty sherry vinegar, and serve with cheese and crusty bread.
8 ounces dried chorizo, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Country-style bread, for serving
Manchego cheese, for serving
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add dried chorizo and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add sherry vinegar; swirl to combine. Serve chorizo with country-style bread and Manchego cheese.
When mixed with fresh herbs and grated cheese, guests will never guess these artichokes just came from a jar.
8 slices (1/4 inch thick) baguette
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 jar (6 1/2 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make crostini: Brush baguette slices on both sides with a total of 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, and bake, turning over once, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool.
2. Meanwhile, make topping: Finely chop artichokes, and combine in a bowl with Parmesan, parsley, and remaining tablespoon oil.
3. Dividing evenly, spoon topping onto crostini, and garnish with additional Parmesan, if desired.
Easy Red-Pepper Dip
Whip up this quick concoction in a food processor for a perfect pairing with pita chips.
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 package whole-wheat pitas, 1 pita torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 jar (16 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. In a medium skillet, simmer pomegranate juice over medium-high until thick, syrupy, and beginning to brown slightly around edges, 13 minutes (you should have about 2 tablespoons syrup).
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process torn pita until coarse crumbs form. Add walnuts, paprika, cumin, and cayenne and process until finely chopped. Add peppers, lemon juice, and syrup and process until mixture is a smooth paste. With machine running, slowly pour oil through feed tube and process until combined. Season with salt and serve with remaining pitas, toasted and cut into wedges.
Transform a package of wonton wrappers into crunchy homemade crackers in 20 minutes.
8 rectangular (3 1/2-by-3-inch) or square wonton wrappers
1 1/4 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sesame or poppy seeds
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange wrappers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush both sides lightly with oil, and arrange in 2 rows with sides touching. Sprinkle with sesame and fennel seeds; season with salt and pepper.
2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of wrappers, and press down to make seeds adhere; gently remove paper. Using a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut lengthwise and crosswise, dividing each wrapper into 4 equal pieces. Bake until crisp and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from baking sheet.
More from Martha Stewart:
Quick, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family
20 Classic Comfort Food Recipes from Martha Stewart
36 Dinners You Can Make in Just 15 Minutes!
42 Slow-Cooker Recipes Worth the Wait
On the off chance you want to eat vegetables, here's how to turn them into quick pickles for future snacking needs.