Homemade hors d'oeuvres beat out-of-the-box frozen any day. And while your guests are sure to appreciate the personal touch, it's the savings to your entertaining budget that will have you smiling.

On average, frozen party nibbles cost between $5 and $7 per dozen. This recipe for baked new potato halves topped with roast beef and horseradish cream can be prepared in about 30 minutes for about $2.50 per dozen.

For convenience, the potatoes can be baked a few hours ahead so you can quickly reheat them and assemble the hors d'oeuvres as needed. If you like, use sliced pastrami, corned beef or even deli sliced roast turkey instead of the roast beef.


New Potatoes with Roast Beef and Horseradish Cream

Start to finish: 35 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 60

30 very small red potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons well-drained ground horseradish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 425 F. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil.
2. Place the potato halves on the baking sheets, cut side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until well-browned on the underside and tender at the center. The potatoes can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead. Let cool to room temperature and cover with plastic wrap.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish and mustard.
4. To assemble, reheat as many potatoes as you want to serve at one time, in the oven or microwave. Top each potato with about 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish cream and 1 teaspoon of chopped roast beef. Sprinkle with tarragon. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 77 calories; 11 calories from fat; 1 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 4 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber; 46 mg sodium.