70+ Appetizer Recipes to Make Any Party a Hit

Amazing Appetizers

Some people go for the game. Others, the commercials. At times the dispute between the two groups can be even more heated than the one between the two teams actually playing the game. (Or maybe that’s just around here, where our team hasn’t made it past the playoffs in about a billion years…)

But the one thing we can all agree on? THE FOOD!

Yep, the Superbowl is just around the corner. And that means it’s time to start planning a menu. (After all, with the Velveeta shortage going on, you can’t very well rely on the same old Ro-Tel dip!) Whether you’re taking it easy at home this year, hosting a big party or taking a favorite dish or two to a friend’s house, this is the perfect time to try out a new recipe.

Lucky for you, I’ve rounded up more than 70 of the tastiest recipes that are guaranteed to make you – and your delicious dishes – a hit at any party!

Scroll on down through this massive list of recipes as you plan your party menu. Pick and choose – or go ahead and PIN ALL THE THINGS! I’ve tried to make it a bit easier for you to navigate this treasure trove of snacks and apps by dividing them into categories: Dips, Meat, Pinwheels & Sandwiches, Pizza, Snack Mixes, Sweets and Veggies.

[Side note: It should be noted that some party foods - actually, LOTS of party foods - can be categorized more than one way. I mean, what's a blogger to do with FRUIT SALSA? Or a VEGGIE-BASED DIP? And does bacon go under the meat category...or should it be a category of its own??? So, just keep that in mind when you judge my categories, mmmkay?]

Dips

Dips definitely win the battle for most popular type of party snack! I know they’re mine. It doesn’t matter if I’m dipping with chips or crackers or veggies or pretzels, I LOVE DIPS. {Okay, that’s not quite true. I love dips, true – but given the choice, I will pick chips or crackers as my dip vehicle Every. Single. Time.}

Crock Pot Cheesy Bean Dip

Most of these dips are baked – or, a few, microwaved. But a few, like this Cheesy Bean Dip from Recipes That Crock, make party prep even easier by being cooked in the Crock Pot. Ruth from Living Well Spending Less has three great party dips, just in case you have one of those handy triple slow cookers!

I’m no gluten expert, so it’s possible lots of these recipes qualify in that category. But I know for sure that Jo-Lynne’s Buffalo Chicken Dip and Jessie’s {famous and reportedly “magically delicious”} Mexican Corn Dip are officially gluten-free.

Irresistible Beer Cheese Dip

I haven’t tried this Irresistible Beer Cheese Dip from Whatcha Makin’ Now…but I want to. Scooping it up with pretzels might just even make me like pretzels a little more! Jen has a yummy-looking beer cheese dip at Balancing Beauty & Bedlam, too.

Speaking of variations on a dip theme, I found a couple different spin dip recipes for you to choose from as well! Mandy shared a Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip at Sugar Bee Crafts, and Alecia posted an Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip at Detours in Life. It’s your choice – easy or cheesy!

Don’t worry! There’s plenty of variety to be found in the World o’ Dips. Check out these option:

And then there are some of my favorite kind of dips – the Mexican or southwestern variety. Mmmm…spicy…and cheesy…and spicy…

Mini 7-Layer Dip Cups

How cute and clever are these individual cups of seven-layer dip?! Love what Marcie calls Mini Taco Dip Cups over at Simply Real Moms! It might seem like the Taco Dip at Random Crafty Georgia Girl would be the same type of dip, but this one has lettuce on top…like a taco. I guess if you had to, you could just make them both and see which version you like better. What a hardship THAT would be, right?

Tacos aren’t the only Mexican dip game in town, of course. We’ve got cheesy dips (3-Ingredient Chip Dip from Coffee with Us 3, Chili Bean Cheese Queso from Dine & Dish and don’t miss Summer’s Super Manly Cheese Dip at Dirty Floor Diaries). We’ve got salsas (Guacamole Salsa from Sublime Reflection and Restaurant-Style Salsa from yours truly here at Giving Up on Perfect). And we’ve got variations on jalapeno poppers – my personal favorite (Fritos Jalapeno Poppers from Stay at Work Housewife and my super famous [well, kind of] Jalapeno Popper Dip)!

Meat {featuring bacon}

As I mentioned earlier with so many party snacks featuring bacon in one way or another, I wasn’t sure if it should be its own category. In the end I included them with the other meat dishes for simplicity’s sake. (But then, you know, decided to over-explain to keep things interesting. Or complicated. Whatever.)

roasted shrimp cocktail

Mix things up a bit with a seafood dish. Try Bevin’s Roasted Shrimp Cocktail from Who Needs a Cape – and instantly class up your shindig! Another couple of great dishes to add to your repetoire? Bacon-Wrapped Water Chesnuts from Whatcha Makin’ Now and Marinated Cheese from Joyful Scribblings (no, not technically a meat, but one delicious-looking protein!).

Then again, if your party is a little more laidback (like all my parties are!), you might want to try Stefanie’s Bacon & Brown Sugar Little Smokies, Becky’s Ham & Pickle Roll-Ups or Deviled Eggs from One TIPsy Chick. And don’t forget the slow cooker recipes! Christie has a great recipe for meatballs at Saving Said Simply, and Cris shares one for Buffalo Chicken Wings at Recipes That Crock. (And if buffalo sauce is your thing, don’t miss Becky’s Boneless Baked Buffalo Bites from Love to be in the Kitchen!)

Beer-Candied Bacon

If you really are looking for all bacon, all the time (like my husband is…all the time), I must suggest this Beer-Candied Bacon I made for last year’s Superbowl party. Next up on my list of Bacon Recipes to Try? (You doubt that I have such a list? Psh.) Bacon Jam from Coordinately Yours – yum!

And loosely related to the bacon-fest apps are Mini Sausage Balls from Hoosier Homemade (hello? it’s pork!) and these Baked Chicken Taquitos from right here at Giving Up on Perfect (there’s bacon in with that chicken!).

Mexican Pinwheels

Pinwheels & Sandwiches

If you want something a little more substantial – but still appetizer-sized – then pinwheels and sliders are what you need! I love making Mexican Pinwheels, similar to these from Who Needs a Cape. But wait, there’s more! Check out these dishes that pack a punch:

Waffle-Iron-Pizza-Pockets-So-Easy-from-ASlobComesClean.com_

Pizza

And then there are all the many amazing-looking pizza-themed appetizers. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE makes me hungry! (And Dana’s Pizza Snowballs – not to be confused with those fun Waffle Iron Pizza Pockets up above – inspired my own Pizza Poppers. They are SO GOOD, and I will be forever grateful for that!) A few other pizza party snacks:

Chex Mix for a Crowd

Snack Mixes

No party is complete without a big bowl of snack mix, right? And Connie has a quadrupled recipe of Chex Mix at Smockity Frocks – gluten-free, to boot and it will feed any crowd! Try one (or all! I won’t judge!) of these other recipes for a few other snacky options:

chocolate-chip-dip

Sweet

See what I mean? How am I supposed to categorize a sweet dip? Actually, this Chocolate Chip Dip from Amy’s Finer Things looks so good, I kind of want to put it in its own category called, I Must Eat This NOW.

And then there are the fruit salsas: Strawberry & Mango Salsa from Little Family Adventure and Grilled Peach & Chipotle Salsa from A Spicy Perspective. So confusing. And so delicious! (And healthy! These recipes are SO win-win!)

Luckily, Julie’s Easy Apple Crisp at Coordinately Yours is a slam dunk sweet treat, and so are the three recipes I’m sharing from my blog:

Bacon-Tomato-Cups

Veggies

I have to admit I was surprised to realize that, after dips, the category with the most recipes was veggies. Now, sure, some of them might be covered and smothered with some sort of less-than-healthy goodness, but still! Veggies! We’re so healthy, you guys!

For BLT lovers, Robin Dance’s Bacon Tomato Cups look delicious – and Jessie has a non-baked option with her BLT Bites over at Vanderbilt Wife. And for more pop-in-your-mouth veggie snacks, try these:

sweet potato fries

Now, we can debate the health value or vegetable qualifications of potatoes all day long. But you just take a look at these ah-maze-ing recipes and tell me you don’t want to count them as your veggie intake for the day? #ilovepotatoes

But, okay, fine. FINE! If you need something more straight-up vegetable on your buffet table, you’ll want to make some delicious Caprese Skewers from A Lovely Life and a big bowl of Cowboy Caviar from Down South Saving. And, you know what? While you’re at it? Whip up a batch of Cumin & Charred Corn Guacamole from What’s Gaby Cooking. Avocados have the good kind of fat, right?!

So what’ll it be? A table full of dips? Healthy fruit and veggie dishes? ONE OF EVERYTHING?! (Now that’s my kind of party!) Whatever you choose, it’s bound to be delicious. Enjoy!

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Monday Morning Mmmm: Bacon Burgers

Good news! That weekend I was going to make jam? Well, I did make jam . . . just not the chipotle strawberry kind I had in mind. Instead, I made bacon onion balsamic jam to top bacon burgers.

It really worked out for the best. I mean, what was I really going to do with several jars of chipotle strawberry jam? (Gifts. I was going to give them as gifts. So, friends who would have received those jars, um, sorry about that.) Instead, I served up these fancy burgers to my small group for a barbecue several weeks ago.

I found the recipe from Smells Like Home on Pinterest (of course). When we decided to hold an end-of-summer get-together for our small group, I knew it was the perfect time to try them out. (I also made Loaded Baked Potato Salad and S’mores Rice Krispy Treats. So. Much. Delicious!)

Unless my friends were just being nice, the Bacon Burgers with Bacon Jam were a huge hit! Even Mark – whose first response to the bacon jam was a delightful, “What IS that?!?” – loved them. He ate them at the barbecue AND for leftovers later that weekend. And for a guy who doesn’t love leftovers, that is saying something!

Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam

For the Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam:
4 slices bacon, sliced into ½-inch wide pieces
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup water

For the Burgers:
2 slices bacon, finely diced
1 ¼ pounds lean ground beef
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns
Sliced cheese (optional. technically. but why not?)

Start with the jam. Cook the bacon (either in a pan on the stove or in the oven, MY preferred method).

As you let the browned but not crispy bacon drain on a paper towel, add a couple tablespoons of bacon grease to a pan. Add the onions and saute. Cover and cook for two minutes, then add a splash of water. Scrape any pieces stuck to the bottom of the pan, stir and cover to cook for about 10 more minutes until soft. Next, mix in the vinegar, mustard and water, then add back in the bacon. Simmer until sauce thickens.

Now, the burgers. Mix together the beef, Worcestshire sauce, salt and pepper. Shape into patties and grill. Put burgers on buns (buttered and grilled if you’re really feeling adventurous), top with cheese (fine. this is optional. whatever.) and bacon jam. Share with your family and friends if you want them to be super impressed. And stuffed.

In theory, you could make – and serve – these things separately. Bacon burgers with normal toppings OR regular burgers with bacon jam. If you’re wimpy about your bacon-infused meals.

(Which, I must confess, I was. After cooking onions all day – for the potato salad and the jam – this pregnant lady couldn’t handle eating any. In fact, my kitchen smelled a bit like onions all weekend, and I just about came unglued. Mark assured me that what I made was delicious and the onion weirdness was only because I’m prego.)

ANYWAY.

How do you like your burgers? Plain? Fancy? Stuffed with bacon?

P.S. Stay tuned for another post later today with a couple of fun announcements!

Monday Morning Mmmm: Mini Biscuit Pizzas

School has been in session for a few weeks now, but last week was the first time we felt super-crazy, busy and overwhelming. We’re not truly overscheduled, though we might be on the brink. Really, our problem is more that we haven’t yet adjusted to this “big kid school” life yet!

With a couple after-school activities on the calendar and a few minutes of reading homework each night, dinnertime is getting harder and harder to manage around here. So when I was approached to write about easy school-night dinner ideas from Pillsbury, I was excited to sign on.

You can find several yummy-looking recipes using Pillsbury Grands! biscuits in this booklet. I decided to try out the Mini Pizzas – and they were a big hit at my house!

Mini Biscuit Pizzas

Source: Pillsbury Grands

1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated biscuits
1 cup pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Sliced pepperoni, onion, red or green pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Smash each biscuit into 6-inch round. Place 3-4 flattened biscuits on greased cookie sheets. Top with sauce, toppings and cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes (or until cheese is bubbly and bottoms are golden brown).

I also made a couple other types of pizza. On one I used alfredo sauce, then topped with grilled chicken, basil, red pepper and cheese. On the other I used barbecue sauce, grilled chicken, onion slices, bacon and cheese. HANDS DOWN, the barbecue chicken was my favorite! (I’m planning to make a full-size barbecue chicken pizza later this week by smushing all the biscuits together!) Mark liked the pepperoni and veggie version, and Annalyn – as always – stuck with plain pepperoni (no veggies).

I have a few thoughts on this recipe as a busy weeknight solution. First of all, like I said, my family liked eating the pizzas, so that is obviously a win! Second of all, if you stick to one type of pizza – especially a one-ingredient type of pizza – it doesn’t take long to make. Definitely less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

However, part of the fun for us was letting my (5-year-old) daughter help, and that slowed things down A LOT. So for us, I think this will either be a quick weeknight dinner that I make alone or a fun, Friday or Saturday night dinner we make together. At this point in our family, there’s no way to combine kid cooking and quick cooking!

Also – a quick behind the scenes about this meal. Annalyn decided on Saturday morning to “clean” the house and then “decorate” our dining room table. She pulled out every leftover paper plate and plastic fork she could find, and set our table in “the fancy way.” She even left a note, instructing us to NOT throw away the plates and silverware!

That’s not a paper cup, of course. She informed me that she couldn’t find any (thankfully she only dug through one side of the cabinets and missed the opportunity to drag out everything on the other side), so she used “mom cups” instead. They’re called that, she said, because I drink from those cups. A lot.

Yep, I’m classy that way.

She was perfectly adorable as she split up her leftover apple slices from McDonald’s and the last piece of bacon on our Tinkerbell plates. And we all got a case of the giggles when Annalyn began instructing Mark how to be “fancy” and use his best manners.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t confess that our delightful dinner ended in tears and hysterics when she realized that we were going to throw away our fancy paper plates after eating pizza off them. Thankfully it was Sunday, and dinner was actually a late lunch, and naps were already on the agenda.

Just keeping it real, friends. No meal is perfect, even when it’s easy and tasty and sponsored by Pillsbury!

In the end, I’m still looking forward to trying a few more recipes using Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits. Did you look at the recipe booklet? Which recipes look good for your family?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.

Making Dinner Healthier with the Beef Council

Because my father-in-law used to be a cattle farmer and continues to keep our freezer full of beef, beef is often for dinner at our house. So when the Kansas Beef Council asked if I’d like to try a new healthy, family-friendly recipe using lean beef, it was a no-brainer for me.

{And when they offered to give away a $50 VISA gift card to one of my readers? Well, done deal!}

You can find lots of recipes on the Beef Council website, including lunch options like Mu Shu Steak and Apple Wraps and Rock & Roll Beef Wraps, as well as fun, healthy dinner options like Spy Thai Beef and Sweet & Sloppy Joes.

Since I’ve been slowly [slooooowly] trying to replace the processed foods in our cabinet with healthier, homemade ones, I jumped at the chance to make homemade sloppy joes.

I was nervous to try them, because both of my lovely family members are pretty picky. And I knew from the get-go that some of the ingredients that make up the Beef Council’s version of sloppy joes weren’t going to work for my family. (No offense to raisins, but you don’t belong in my sandwich. The end.)

The end result, though, was a great dinner that I knew was healthier than its previous, canned version and kept my active daughter full past bedtime (and my night shift working husband full until his middle-of-the-night lunch).

Here’s the original recipe, and the actual recipe I used is below.

Sweet & Sloppy Joe

1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup diced bell pepper and onion
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
garlic powder

Brown the ground beef. Saute with peppers and onions. (I used a mixture of red pepper and green pepper along with the onion.) Whisk together tomato sauce, water, sugar and garlic. Pour over beef and let simmer down for 5-10 minutes. Serve on buns. Don’t forget the napkins!

Now, onto the giveaway!

To enter the giveaway for a $50 VISA gift card, leave a comment telling me your favorite meal to cook with lean beef.

This post is sponsored by the Kansas Beef Council, but as always, all opinions are my own. This giveaway will end at midnight next Friday, September 6.

Meal Ideas for Back to School Season

So…last night was Annalyn’s back-to-school night. It’s official and no-going-back real. She’s starting kindergarten tomorrow.

For the most part, we’re both super excited. She’s nervous, of course, and I’m a little how-did-she-grow-up-so-fast (of course). But my search for lunch ideas and crockpot meals, on top of my incessant list-making, has kept my mind off of all that.

[Actually, it's kept me so distracted that, after bragging all over the internet about my Teacher Survival Kit, I totally forgot it at home last night. And I THOUGHT I forgot her updated shot record, so we went back home . . . where I remembered that it was still in my purse . . . and we still had to go back to the school.]

I really am excited for school to start, but it’s possible I’ll spend most of tomorrow creating menus and making grocery lists and schedules and updating chore lists and family calendars. Because it’s how I DEAL, okay?

Also? Though our summer has been hectic, to put it mildly, the school year brings a whole other kind of busy. And my post-house-repairs budget has very little wiggle room for “I don’t have a plan for dinner” or “Let’s just grab something on the way.”

Enter eMeals.

I subscribed to eMeals a few months ago, and I’ve been collecting new meal ideas, recipes and their corresponding grocery lists ever since. It’s really a great service that makes planning healthy meals a whole lot more simple.

But wait! There’s more!

You know I’ve been ranting lately about fancy-schmancy school lunches – and how ridiculous the whole thing is. Whether it’s sandwiches cut into the shape of dolphins or about a dozen different foods shoved into one perfectly partitioned box, these so-called helpful posts and articles are about to drive me crazy! I need simple, healthy, REALISTIC lunch ideas – not something else to make me feel inadequate.

Can I get an amen on that?

Enter eMeals.

No, really.

Look, I checked out the sample lunches – and they’re NORMAL. And HEALTHY. And kid-friendly and just plain doable. And they’re put into a menu FOR YOU (not to mention the grocery list that goes with it)!

No more stalking Pinterest and clicking through dozens of frustrating pictures and posts. My school lunch planning is DONE!

And eMeals has lots of great resources to go with your meal plans, too. When you sign up for eMeals this month, you’ll get a calendar of 31 healthy snack recipes for free. And everyone can take advantage of this Back to School Survival Kit that includes a back to school checklist, printable lunch notes and one week’s healthy lunch menu and grocery list.

Sweet, right?

And here’s the best part. No matter what eMeals plan you sign up for, you can get 15% off your order with the code School15.

What’s your plan for meal planning this fall?

Photo by jonathangarcia