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/

Parmesan Chicken

A few years back, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. I was bored with my usual go-to chicken dinners, so I decided to try something new. After poking around on the internet for a bit, I stumbled across this recipe for Parmesan Chicken on Simply Recipes. After looking over the recipe, I decided to make it for two reasons.

  1. I had all the ingredients
  2. Little bites of paremsan chicken baked in butter sounded delicious.

Since then, I’ve made it many times and it has always been a big hit. I’ve even had family members request that I make it for special occasions. But don’t take my word for it, give it a try for yourself.

(This post contains affiliate links)

To get started, melt the butter in a bowl or pie plate. Add the minced garlic and stir together. Then, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, dried parsley, salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper in a separate bowl or pie plate.

Dip the chicken chunks into the garlic butter to coat. Be sure to reheat the butter if it starts to thicken.

Parmesan Chicken by Cooks My BooksIMG_0058
Pieces in garlic butter

Next, move the pieces to the pie plates with the breadcrumb mixture and coat. When I first started making this, I would use small bowls, but I’ve found it’s easier to use pie plates.

Parmesan Chicken by Cooks My Books
Pieces coated in breadcrumb mixture

When coated with the breadcrumb mixture, place the chicken into a greased 9 by 13 baking dish (or whatever size you have), leaving a little bit of space in between each piece. Depending on the amount of chicken, you might need to use more than one baking dish. When all of the chicken is in the pan, drizzle the remaining garlic butter over the chicken pieces.

Parmesan Chicken by Cooks My Books
Ready to go in the oven

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).

Parmesan Chicken by Cooks My Books

We usually eat this with spaghetti marinara and corn.  Yum!

Parmesan Chicken

Category: Entree

Parmesan Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds of skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into small chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius).
  2. Stir the minced garlic and the melted butter together in a pie plate.
  3. In a separate pie plate, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, dried parsley, salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
  4. Dip the chicken chunks into the garlic butter to coat. Be sure to reheat the butter if it starts to thicken.
  5. Next move the pieces to the pie plate with the breadcrumb mixture and coat.
  6. When coated with the breadcrumb mixture, place the chicken into a greased 9 by 13 baking dish, leaving a little bit of space in between each piece. When all of the chicken is in the pan, drizzle the remaining garlic butter over the chicken pieces.
  7. Bake the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius) or higher.
  8. Serve with spaghetti marinara. Enjoy!
https://cooksmybooks.com/2018/01/28/parmesan-chicken/

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/

Easy Garden Fresh Salsa

It seems like forever since I wrote a blog post. Probably because it has been. But I promise I haven’t been ignoring writing for no reason. I have been in the garden pulling weeds, making sure everything was growing, or trying to figure out what to do with 50 pounds of cucumbers. Literally 50 pounds of cucumbers. But I didn’t start writing this post so I could rant about cucumbers. I wanted to write today because our tomatoes are finally starting to ripen and I’m super excited about it. 

I already made a list of all the things I plan to make with them, but I since I haven’t blogged in a while I figured I’d start with something simple. Today I wanted to share with everyone a recipe for a simple garden fresh salsa.
Easy Garden Fresh Salsa by Cooks My Books

In the past, I’ve mentioned that I’m a little obsessed with vegetables in unusual colors. For example, last year we had a yellow tomato plant. The yellow tomatoes looked so pretty in salsa. SO, when picking out plants this spring I made sure to include a yellow lemon boy heirloom tomato plant.

Do you have to include yellow tomatoes in your salsa? Nope. It will taste just as good with any color tomato that you decide to use. The best thing about this recipe is that you can tweak it to taste however you want it. 
Easy Garden Fresh Salsa by Cooks My BooksTo get started, chop 4 to 5 cups of tomatoes. I used roma tomatoes and the yellow lemon boy tomatoes. Roma tomatoes aren’t as juicy as other tomatoes. They are usually the main ingredient in making tomato paste because of their lower moisture content. If you want a less juicy salsa, you can use all roma tomatoes.

Kitchen Tip: When you are cutting the tomatoes, try putting a towel under your cutting board. This will keep your cutting board from wiggling around, and it will hopefully soak up any excess tomato juice that drips off.

Next, chop the onion and jalapenos. I used 2 small red onions, but white or yellow will work just as well.

Did you notice that I didn’t say how many jalapenos to use? That’s because it depends on how spicy they are. And how spicy you want the salsa to be. This time, I chopped up 4 jalapenos and the salsa ended up being between mild and medium. Other times when I use 4 jalapenos the salsa is too spicy for me to eat. If you don’t like spicy at all, you can skip the jalapenos or substituting for sweet or bell peppers. 

Lastly, add the cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir everything together. Ta da! You have salsa. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments or on the Cooks My Books Facebook Page.


Easy Garden Fresh Salsa

Easy Garden Fresh Salsa

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 cups tomatoes
  • 1 cup onion
  • Jalapenos
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped Cilantro
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the cilantro, lemon and salt and pepper.
  3. Stir and enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips.
https://cooksmybooks.com/2017/09/14/easy-garden-fresh-salsa/