Quick and Easy Cheeseball

Yesterday, I was watching the Super Bowl with my husband when he said “We need some finger foods. We usually have snacks during the Super Bowl.” I racked my brain for something that would be quick to make. I wanted to make something that we already had all of the ingredients for so I didn’t have to go to the store. It took a minute, but then it came to me. A cheeseball.

I went to the kitchen and grabbed my family cookbook. I could look up the recipe – butter, cream cheese, black olives, and green onions. Seemed simple enough. And then I remembered there was some leftover bacon in the fridge from breakfast. Everything is better with bacon right?

Before you start mixing anything, make sure that your butter and cream cheese are room temperature. To do this, I usually leave the butter out on the counter. For the cream cheese, I put in it the microwave using the  softening function.

Once they are softened, cream together butter and cream cheese in a bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer.

Quick and Easy Cheeseball by Cooks My Books

Stir in olives, bacon, and green onions with a spatula until well incorporated.

Quick and Easy Cheeseball by Cooks My Books

Scoop the mixture onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Roll into one large ball or two small balls. Usually, I will do the one large ball.

Roll the ball(s) in the chopped walnuts until completely covered, if desired. You can skip this step if you just aren’t a fan of nuts, or have an allergy. This is also were having two smaller cheese-balls comes in handy, because you can roll one in the chopped walnuts and leave the other plain. I skipped this step this time because we were out of walnuts.

Place on plate(s) and chill in the refrigerator until set.

Quick and Easy Cheeseball by Cooks My Books

Serve with your favorite crackers. I usually use wheat thins because they are sturdy and won’t crack when I’m trying to scoop up some cheeseball.

Quick and Easy Cheeseball by Cooks My Books

 

 

Quick and Easy Cheeseball

Category: Appetizer

Quick and Easy Cheeseball

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup cooked chopped bacon
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped
  • chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix together butter and cream cheese in a bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer until incorporated.
  2. Stir in olives, bacon, and green onions with a spatula until evenly mixed.
  3. Scoop the mixture onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper and roll into one or two balls.
  4. Roll the ball(s) in the chopped walnuts until completely covered.
  5. Place on plate(s) and chill in the refrigerator until set.
  6. Serve with your favorite crackers.
https://cooksmybooks.com/2018/02/05/cheeseball/

Pollo Rey Fiesta Veggie Burrito Copycat

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I remember being  surprised when I took my first bite of the burrito. It was was heaven on a flour tortilla. After that day, whenever I would go to Pollo Rey I would order the Fiesta Veggie Burrito. So when I heard that Pollo Rey would be closing in the fall of 2017, I knew that if I wanted another veggie burrito I would have to make it myself.

When I was working as an auditor, I would eat out quite a bit. Mostly because I was really bad at remembering to pack my lunch. But it was also because my downtown Boise office was within walking distance of TONS of great restaurants. On any given day of the week, I could eat whatever my little heart desired, from bagels to sushi and everything in between. But when I got pregnant, there was one thing that I wanted more than anything else – a burrito.

Luckily for me, there were multiple burrito options that I could choose from depending on what kind of burrito I wanted. If I wanted sweet pork, I would walk to Costa Vida. If I wanted chicken, I would make the short drive to Parilla in Hyde Park. On the days I wanted a veggie burrito, I would head to Pollo Rey.

I had never had a veggie burrito before I went to Pollo Rey. One day, some of my co-workers were going so I decided to tag along. I remember staring up at the menu and trying to decide what to get, when one of the ladies I was with ordered a fiesta veggie burrito. Shortly after it was my turn, so I panicked and ordered the same thing.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I remember being  surprised when I took my first bite of the burrito. It was was heaven on a flour tortilla. After that day, whenever I would go to Pollo Rey I would order the Fiesta Veggie Burrito.

In the summer of 2017 I heard horrible news. Pollo Rey would be closing the coming fall. I knew I had to go have one last burrito. So I packed my little boy in the car and we met some friends downtown for lunch. As we were eating, I paid special attention to what was in the burrito. I knew that from then on if I wanted a veggie burrito I would have to make it myself. Here is what I came up with.

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The first thing I did was chop the vegetables. I used a mandolin for the zucchini and summer squash so they’d have a more uniform size, and the remaining vegetables I chopped by hand, except for the carrot because I bought a bag of shredded carrots at the store. Then I threw them in a big pan with a lid along with some butter, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. I covered the vegetables and let them cook, stirring occasionally until they were tender.

Fiesta Veggie Burrito by Cooks My Books

Meanwhile, I opened a can of black beans and put them in a separate pan to warm up. I also made some Cilantro Lime Rice to include in the burrito. If you prefer Mexican Rice then you can make that instead.

When everything was ready, I warmed up some flour tortillas on our cast iron griddle. When the tortilla was ready, I added the rice beans, cheese, vegetable mix, sour cream, salsa, and avocado into the tortilla and wrapped it up.

Fiesta Veggie Burrito by Cooks My BooksFiesta Veggie Burrito by Cooks My Books

Not to pat myself on the back, but it was just as good as the ones I used to get at Pollo Rey.

Pollo Rey Fiesta Veggie Burrito Copycat

Pollo Rey Fiesta Veggie Burrito Copycat

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1 cups carrots, chopped or shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 bell peppers, shopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 15 ounce can of beans of your choice
  • Prepared rice of your choice (either cilantro lime or Mexican rice)
  • cheese
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • guacamole or avocado chunks
  • Tortillas

Instructions

  1. Place butter and vegetables in a large pan with lid over medium heat. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cover and let cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, warm your choice of beans in a small pan, and prepare your choice of rice.
  3. Warm the tortillas, either in the microwave for one minute or using a flat cast iron pan on the stovetop.
  4. Assemble your burritos by adding the above ingredients into your warm tortilla, and wrap it up. Enjoy!
https://cooksmybooks.com/2018/01/21/pollo-rey-fiesta-veggie-burrito-copycat/

Homemade Broccoli Cheese RiceARoni

Have you ever made a boxed version of something and thought to yourself, “I wonder how hard it would be to make this from scratch?” I had that exact thought as I was making a box of RiceARoni a while back. So I decided to do some poking around online to find a recipe.
Guess what? I found a recipe on Pinterest by Life Currents. And guess what else? It was super easy to make. Turns out RiceARoni is a combination of rice and Orzo pasta. Honestly, I think the hardest part for me was finding the Orzo pasta. Mostly because I kept accidentally walking past it in the pasta aisle at the grocery store.
I’ve made this recipe a few times now, and have made some tweaks. There has even been a few occasions where I thought I had broccoli in the fridge but didn’t, or I forgot to put the cheese on, and it was still super good. I usually make a double batch of the recipe to make sure that we have leftovers. 🙂
Before I start cooking, I like to chop up the veggies first. I try to make the onion bits on the smaller side, but usually leave the broccoli a little larger. If you’d like the final product to look like the boxed version, then I would recommend chopping the broccoli into smaller pieces.
To get started, put the oil and onion in the pan over medium heat. Cook until the onions start to get tender. This will take a few minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.
Note: Make sure the pan you choose has a lid, as you will need to cover it later on.
Broccoli Cheese RiceARoni By Cooks My Books
Next, stir in the rice and orzo pasta until they are coated with oil. Let the rice and pasta cook for a few minutes. The pasta will brown and the rice will start to look translucent.
Broccoli Cheese RiceARoni By Cooks My Books
Next, stir the broth into the RiceARoni mixture. I’ve used both chicken broth and vegetable stock when I’ve made this, or a combination of the two. It is delicious either way. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low  (it should still boil on low). Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until a majority of the broth has been absorbed.
Broccoli Cheese RiceARoni By Cooks My Books
Stir in the broccoli. Re-cover and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and the broccoli is tender. (If you accidentally wait too long to put in the broccoli, don’t panic. You can always add a little more broth to help the broccoli cook and it will turn out just fine.)
When the broccoli is tender, remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese to melt, or serve as is and let each person add as much cheese as they want. Or both. Enjoy!

Homemade Broccoli Cheese RiceARoni

Homemade Broccoli Cheese RiceARoni

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup jasmine rice
  • ½ cup orzo pasta
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cup finely chopped broccoli
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place olive oil and onion in a large pan (that has a lid) and warm over medium heat until the onion starts to get tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute.
  2. Add the rice and orzo to the pan, stirring to coat in the olive oil. Allow to cook for a few minutes until the orzo starts to brown and the rice becomes translucent. Don't let it sit for too long without stirring or it will burn.
  3. Add the chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook covered for around 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  4. When a majority of the broth has been absorbed, stir in the broccoli and cook covered until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese to melt and/or sprinkle on top. Enjoy!
https://cooksmybooks.com/2018/01/15/homemade-broccoli-cheese-ricearoni/