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Easy 3-in-1 Appetizers for Labor Day Weekend

Easy 3-in-1 Appetizers for Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend (LDW) is the unofficial end of summer, so it calls for one last backyard BBQ. We're veering away from the red, white and blue (and hot dogs and hamburgers) and going for grilled chicken, grilled veggies and some delicious baked beans. To start the meal off, I'm whipping up some easy—but impressive!—appetizers using store-bought wonton skins with three different fillings: melted brie with pomegranate seeds and chives, shrimp salad with mango and avocado and grilled corn with cilantro-lime crema, inspired by Mexican street corn. Trust me, you can't eat just one! Plus this is super versatile—once you bake the wonton skins into shells, you can fill them with just about anything.

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To make the wonton shells, I bought pre-made wonton skins at the grocery store. They already come with a little flour on the back, so I gently folded them into a mini muffin tray (with the flour side down), making sure to keep the bottom part where the filling will go open enough to be able to get the filling in once they are baked. I baked them in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through.

Now that the shells are made, on to the fillings!

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Melted Bried with Pomegranate Seeds and Chives: This one is SO easy! Just cut up some brie into small cubes, place one in each shell, bake them again at 300 degrees for 15 minutes until the cheese is ooey-gooey (keep your eye on them so the shells don't get too brown). Top with a couple pomegranate seeds and chopped chives and serve!

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Shrimp Salad with Mango and Avocado: One word--yum! Six shrimp makes enough for 12 appetizers, so plan accordingly. Season the shrimp with a little salt and saute them in olive oil and butter until pink and cooked through; let cool. Chop into a small dice (maybe 1/4"). Set aside. Cube mango and avocado into the same size as the shrimp; combine with shrimp and set aside. Chop a little cilantro and chives and add to the other ingredients. For the dressing, combine 1/4 cup mayo with 1 or 2 tablespoons of seasoned rice wine vinegar and a little lime juice. Stir together and season with salt to taste. Toss the shrimp, mango, avocado and herbs with the dressing, a little at a time, until you reach the desired 'creaminess'.

Grilled Corn with Cilantro-Lime Crema: Get the best of summery street food in one bite with this one! Grill 2 ears of corn so you get those beautiful blackened spots. Cut corn off the cob and set aside. In a food processor or a blender, combine 1/3 bunch of cilantro (stems trimmed) with 4 ounces of Mexican crema and 2 ounces of creme fraiche, zest of 1/2 lime and juice of 1/2 - 1 lime (to taste). Add in a small pinch of salt and whirl that up. Add in a little cotija cheese, whirl again and then season to taste (it may need more salt or lime juice). Combine with the corn and spoon into the wonton cups. Top each one with a little more cotija cheese.

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Now you've got three easy (and flexible!) appetizers up your sleeve all with just one humble, store-bought base ingredient! Check out these other simple appetizers (here and here) that are sure to impress your guests!

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