12 Holiday Party-Perfect Appetizer and Side Dish Recipes

Holiday Party Appetizers

Looking for holiday party food ideas? Look no further!

These holiday party appetizer recipes will have your guests swarming – and staying – around the snack table. Whether you’re hosting your own holiday gathering or bringing a dish to share at a friend’s party, there’s always a need for holiday party food!

The MSGdish partiers have assembled 12 of our favorite holiday appetizer and side dish recipes that we would like to share with you. And yes, you guessed it, they all have a little secret ingredient to give the dish some zing – with a dash of extra savory goodness provided by MSG (aka “umami seasoning”)!

Click on the recipe name to jump right to it (or scroll down):

 

 

Spicy Meatballs

Forget fruit cake! What’s a holiday buffet without great meatballs?!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup corn flakes crushed
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 4 drops hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. MSG

Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. MSG
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Chopped green onion garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine first 11 ingredients into a large bowl.
  2.  Mix well and shape into 1 inch balls. 

  3. Sauté balls into butter until brown; drain and set aside. 

  4. Combine sauce ingredients, except green onion in a large saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. 

  5. Add meatballs and simmer 10 more minutes. Transfer to a chafing dish and keep warm. Garnish with green onion.

Recipe Notes

Popular brands for MSG that you can most likely find at your local grocery store in the spices/seasonings section: Accent, Ajinomoto or Vedan brand.

Recipe courtesy of Cooks.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, jay.tong

 

Balls of Spinach

These go down soooo easy! Be sure to have the recipe handy because you’ll get lots of requests for it!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach  thawed and drained
  • 1 medium white onion  chopped
  • 6 large eggs  beaten
  • 1 tsp.  MSG
  • 3/4 cup butter melted 
  • 2 cups  herb stuffing mix
  • 1/2 cup  parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp.  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp.  thyme
  • 2 tsp. garlic salt

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients and shape into small balls. 
  2. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of GroupRecipes.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, Foodista

 

Crab Rangoon

Add some culture to the holiday food offerings!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Asian

Ingredients

  • Wonton skins
  • 1 can crabmeat
  • 8-12 oz. cream cheese
  • A dash of MSG
  • Salt to season

Instructions

  1. Soften cream cheese and mix with crabmeat and seasoning.
  2. Drop a teaspoon full into center of the wonton skin.

  3. Fold skin in triangle, then fold in edges. Hold with toothpicks.
  4. Deep fry until golden brown.
  5. When cooled slightly remove toothpick. Pop into oven on cookie sheet to keep warm.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Cooks.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, She Who Shall Not Be Named

 

Homemade Sure-Fire Chili

A sure-fire hit at your holiday party! Have your punch cup ready, this will need some serious beverage follow-up!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp. MSG
  • 3 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper optional

Instructions

  1. Brown together the ground beef, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Drain excess fat.  
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well.

  3. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Cooks.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, Dan

 

Chicken Almond Crunch Casserole

Okay, we had to include a casserole among these holiday party food suggestions… this one was too good to resist!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts boiled and cut in cubes
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 cup celery chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can chicken soup
  • 1 sm. jar pimento chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 1 Tbsp. MSG
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup chow mein rice noodles

Instructions

  1. Mix mayonnaise and seasoning together. Add chicken soup.
  2. Blend and add chicken cubes, eggs, celery, onion, pimento, and lemon juice.
  3. Spread in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, sprinkle over the top in the following order: cheese, then almonds, then chow mein rice noodles.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes in 325 degree preheated oven.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Cooks.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, song zhen

 

Creamy Dill Dip

This makes a great dip with chips or crackers, vegetables, and even on fish or baked potatoes. Hey it’s the season of good cheer… try it on something new!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. MSG
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 1/4 tsp. dried dill weed

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, MSG, seasoning salt, parsley and dill. 
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, jeffreyw

 

Cheesy Chopped Beef Log

This is an easy recipe which will appeal to those party-animal beef jerky lovers!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz. package packages cream cheese
  • 1 2 oz. package dried beef, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 1 pinch MSG
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Combine the cream cheese, dried beef, Worcestershire sauce, green onions, and monosodium glutamate; mix well, and refrigerate until chilled. 
  2. Mix together the chopped pecans and parsley. Roll cheese into log or ball, and roll in pecans and parsley to cover.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Photo credit: By Severein [CCO], via Wikimedia Commons 

 

Monterey Jack Salsa

Because every chip deserves a good salsa!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 5 green onions chopped
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 6 oz. can chopped black olives
  • 1 cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 1 tsp. MSG

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cheese, onions, avocado, tomato, cilantro, chile peppers, olives, dressing, and MSG.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Photo credit: Flickr user, Marco Verch

 

Ginger-rific Chicken Wings

Nothing like these delish chicken wings to stick to your ribs (and your fingers) during holiday party fun-time!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. MSG
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 serrano chili peppers minced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blot chicken wings dry with a paper towel.
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl, and place the flour in another bowl. Dip chicken wings into the egg, then into the flour to lightly coat, shaking off the excess.
  4. Melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  5. Pan fry the chicken wings until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, gently boil the cider vinegar, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, monosodium glutamate, salt, serrano chili peppers (optional; will add a lot of “heat” to the dish), and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Toss the browned chicken wings in the sauce to coat, then transfer the wings to large baking dish with a slotted spoon. Reserve remaining sauce.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 30 minutes, rotating and basting with the reserved sauce after 15 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the chicken wings before serving.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Festive Salad Side Dishes

Don’t forget salads at your holiday party table! These three salads are “can’t-miss” as a holiday side dish, and chances are that you’ll be the one people thank for making them feel a little less guilty about eating all the indulgent food. Don’t focus on the ingredients, they’re “salads”!

Recipes courtesy of Cooks.com
 

The MSGdish Team wishes you a joyful Holiday Season. May your holidays sparkle and shine, especially while you dine!

About MSGdishTeam

The MSGdish Team's goal is to provide timely and important information about glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the many culinary creations inspired by “umami" while connecting these topics to facts about food, taste, and health. The MSGdish Team is comprised of TGA staff professionals who are recognized as experts in science-based nutrition communications. Read more on the About page.

Leave a Reply