Crostini is a very simple and inexpensive way to satisfy a very broad range of palettes. Make it by toasting sliced baguette bread and serving with a variety of dips, salsas and other toppings.
Crostini most specifically refers to the toasted, crispy bread that is often served with bruscetta, a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil. However, crostini can be served with a wide variety of dips, salsas, salads, jams and meats. For example, one recipe calls for chickpeas, pomegranate seeds and chopped mint as a middle-eastern take on the dish that utilizes inexpensive ingredients to create an international variation of an Italian classic.
To make the crostini, slice a baguette approximately 1/3 inch thick. Place these slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake until crispy. Before baking, slices can be brushed with butter or olive oil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar -- this adds flavor and visual appeal. Baguettes can be found at a relatively low cost and because they are baked and dried; day-old products often work better and cost less.
In addition to the tomato- and chickpea-based dishes above, consider combining various cheeses with fruit or fruit preserves. For example, blue cheese and fig jam pair well together and complement the toasty crostini nicely. Alternatively, basil pesto with cured meats such as salami or prosciutto is another popular combination.