Crispy Spanish Rice Arancini (simple appetizer recipe for a party!)

This simple, three-ingredient recipe makes a fabulous party appetizer, or just a fun weeknight dinner side! This post sponsored by VeeTee Rice. Read my disclosure statement here.  

Here’s a simple appetizer recipe for a party that you can whip up in under 20 minutes! Spicy Latin flavors combine with a classic Italian appetizer to create these Crispy Spanish Rice Balls.

Spicy Spanish rice is bound with egg, coated in breadcrumbs, fried crispy, and studded with melty pops of soft Spanish cheese. It’s a simple appetizer recipe for a party that you can throw together with just 4 ingredients!

I’ve mentioned this before, but we’re rice fiends in our home. I love how versatility and inexpensive it is, and how it bulks up pretty much any dish.

We eat rice spicy, cheesy, fried with kimchi, made ahead as meal prep, bulked up under a fast weeknight curry, and a million other ways.

These Spanish style rice balls are a cross between two of my favorite ways to use rice, Spanish rice, and Italian arancini.


Read: Easy Appetizers for a Last-Minute Holiday Party (& a Video!)


Spanish rice, that bright and fiery rice usually served alongside Mexican dishes like burritos or enchiladas, isn’t really “Spanish”, as in from Spain. It’s an Americanized term that refers to a Mexican style of cooking rice with cayenne, garlic, chicken broth, and tomatoes.

And Italian arancini is an appetizer usually made with leftover rice. They’re small, crispy fried balls of rice and cheese, usually served as an aperitif alongside a cool glass of white wine.

Arancini makes a perfect simple appetizer for a party; they’re just the size to pop in your mouth as you mingle and drink with friends.

But what if you don’t have leftover rice to make into arancini? That’s where VeeTee rice flavors come in.

I’ve spoken before about my unabashed love of VeeTee Rice (especially since they have since become a sponsor of Percolate Kitchen, thanks guys!)

VeeTee, a US company based out of Virginia, sell packs of par-cooked rice that are done after just 2 minutes in the microwave.

Where other ‘instant’ rice brands can often become soggy or oddly textured after cooking, VeeTee rice cooks to the perfect al dente, and in only 2 minutes! It makes for a really quick way to add rice to your weeknight meals without having to babysit a pot on the stove.

VeeTee sells a number of different flavors of rice, including everything from plain, whole grain, mixed with quinoa, lemon, and the flavor I used to create this Spanish-Style Crispy Rice Balls: Spicy Spanish.

VeeTee’s Spicy Spanish rice has flavors of paprika, smokey adzuki beans, sweetcorn, tomato, and jalapenos, making it more than just a standard side dish; it’s a whole meal to itself.

But when you’re short on party appetizer recipe ideas, this spicy rice can turn into a perfectly quick dish in under 20 minutes.

Simply take a package’s worth of cooked Spicy Spanish rice, mix it with crumbled queso blanco, and roll in breadcrumbs. Dry the little balls over medium-high heat, then drain any excess oil on a paper towel.

What you’re left with are crispy little balls of spicy rice, cooled slightly with melty chunks of queso blanco, that are perfect for popping in your mouth as you mingle with friends. It’s a seamless blend of Latin heat and Italian cuisine, and the perfect simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season (or any time of the year!)

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Spanish-Style ‘Arancini’ Rice Balls

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan

Description

Crispy Spanish Rice ‘Arancini’ is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year!


Ingredients

  • 1 package VeeTee Spicy Spanish Style Rice ((9.9 ounces))
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/3 cup crumbled queso blanco
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the rice, egg, and cheese. Use your hands or a large spoon to mix and combine thoroughly.
  2. In a large stainless steel pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Using our hands or a small handheld ice cream scoop, scoop the rice mixture and roll into balls. Toss the balls in the breadcrumbs until coated, then place carefully in the hot oil.
  4. Fry, turning the balls in the oil until they are browned on all sides.
  5. Place cooked balls on a plate lined with paper towel to drain off any excess grease, then serve hot.

3 Ingredient Irish Homemade Chocolate Bark (with Tayto and Crunchie Bar!)

Ok, I know I’m going to get lambasted for this Irish homemade chocolate bark recipe.

For reals: chocolate and cheese & onion crisps and honeycomb crunchie bar!? The Irish people I know are rolling their eyes as we speak.

But to them, I say: wait! YOU NEED TO TRY THIS. I promise you; this is the homemade candy bar you have never known your life was missing.

 

This Irish Homemade Chocolate Bark is weird and wonderful and perfect for a Saint Patrick’s Day treat this March – or just to make, anytime!

There is something so satisfying about all the different textures and flavors going on in here.

Have you ever dumped a box of Milk Duds into your popcorn at the movies? A friend and I were just chatting about this very thing the other day as we pushed our kids on the swings; the unexpected deliciousness of it is a happy surprise amidst overpriced candy and sticky theater floors.

I made this Homemade Irish Chocolate Bark using just three ingredients: chocolate candy melts, Tayto Cheese & Onion Crisps, and Cadbury Crunchie Bars.

Tayto is a mainstay crisp/potato chip of Ireland; In all my years of both living in and traveling to Ireland (my husband is from Dublin; that’s where we met!), I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a pub that didn’t sell them. It’s a thin chip/crisp, coated in powdery cheese and onion flavor. The closest thing to it here in America would be a Lay’s sour cream and onion chip.

Cadbury Crunchie Bar is another thing altogether; it’s hard to describe to someone if they’ve never heard of honeycomb toffee before. You can often buy puffy honeycomb toffee in Amish markets if you’re close to one, and then dip it in chocolate – but the easiest way is to make it yourself. Buzzfeed has an easy link to a recipe and video. 

Of course, if you DON’T want to make it yourself, and wish for a speedier substitution (I’m all about quick workarounds here, after all) I would substitute chocolate coated toffee like a Heath bar.

Just make sure you cut the bar up super fine; you want the chocolate, toffee, and potato-y flavor to all meld in together on top of the chocolate candy melts.

What do you think? Would you eat chocolate, cheesy crisps, and toffee all together in a candy bar!? (After all, Tayto has done something similar in the past already!)

if it helps, I made the cute little video below showing you just how it’s done!

Easiest Dinner Hack Ever – Naan Pizza Freezer ‘Kit’

Naan Pizza is the easiest dinner ‘hack’ that makes life easier for busy parents during the workweek!

Baked naan bakes up a perfect chewy crust, which means it’s perfect for a DIY Freezer Meal ‘Kit’!

I first wrote about naan pizzas on this site over a year ago, when the site was brand new, my photography was horrific, and I was still finding my feet in this space.

But now, a year later, I feel the need to touch on this incredibly simple dinner. Nann pizza are still my favorite last-minute, shit-has-hit-the-fan, crap-whats-for-dinner go-to standard.

Know why? It’s not just because this is an incredibly tasty dish (it is). Or its propensity for using up leftovers (something I love doing).

It’s because naan pizza makes the best DIY Freezer Meal Kits!

What’s a DIY Freezer Meal Kit? I like to describe this little timesaving approach to freezer cooking as ‘Make Ahead Meals Meets Blue Apron.”

This dinner hack has seriously been saving my life this week, since it has been so crazy around here! She's right about the naan pizzas tasting exactly like regular pizza dough, so no using raw or frzoen dough! And I love the tip she includes for how to make a freezer pack diy meal kit thing. Good idea!

How a DIY Freezer Meal Kit Works.

The beauty of a meal kit, such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or Sun Basket, is that they send you a box of prepared ingredients along with a clear-cut, easy-to-follow set of recipes. They take any sort of guesswork out of your dinnertime cooking, which can be a huge relief for busy people.

The popularity of meal kits lies in three things:

  • It solves ‘decision fatigue’ about what to make for dinner.
  • It brings new, fresh recipes to your family table.
  • The whole thing is packaged in a way that your ‘mise en place’ is more or less done for you already.  

But a make your own Freezer Meal Kit is better than a mail order option – because YOU choose the dish!

You control the budget, and you control what you make and when.

Not every recipe makes a perfect DIY freezer meal kit, but many do.

Naan pizza is one such recipe.

See, the beauty of a naan pizza lies in its simplicity.

I mean, that’ss what’s so great about pizza itself, right? It’s customizable and versatile, can be eaten hot or cold, and everyone loves it.

Naan pizzas take what’s great about regular pizza… and makes it even easier.

You literally couldn’t get pizza any easier unless you called for takeout.

Here’s the big, scary ingredients list:

naan bread

pizza sauce 

cheese 

topping 

THAT’S IT.

Naan Pizzas are a great recipe to get kids helping in the kitchen.

In fact, I made naan pizzas with my 2 kids in a Facebook Live earlier this week in my Facebook group, Busy Mamas Cooking.

I put the dish together with my two kids hanging off of me in my tiny little galley kitchen, and the results were sometimes funny (my son ate practically a whole naan bread while I faced the camera from the other direction, for starters. And my normally ‘shy’ daughter acted like she was on Star Search and this was her chance at a big break. But other than that, it went off without a hitch).

I edited the Live broadcast down for this post, but you can see the highlight reel right up above- where I put the pizzas together for a freezer kit:

DIY Freezer Meal Kits are so easy, you’d feel crazy for not thinking about them before! But yep- put everything that you need for one dish in a big plastic bag, and put that plastic bag in the freezer. When you want to make the dish, pul it, thaw it and cook it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Naan pizza works well here because it can all fit inside a plastic bag and the components freeze fabulously. And then once thawed, you have dinner on the table in like, 10 minutes.

I mean, what can be better than that!?

Here’s a list of my favorite naan pizza toppings: 

Spanish chorizo and manchego cheese

Fried egg, sausage, bacon, and cheddar cheese

Ricotta cheese, honey, and almond slivers

Monterey jack cheese, salsa, and pulled pork

The possibilities are literally endless! 

Watch the video I put together and tell me how genius freezer meal kits are. Go on, I’ll wait! 😉 

Homemade Beer Pub Cheese Spread (just 6 ingredients!)

An easy, 6-ingredient recipe for pub cheese spread that’ll be sure to upstage the rest of the appetizers at your party.

There’s something about the cool, creamy, spreadable allure of cheese spread, especially when it’s homemade. I mean, I got nothing against the bright orange ‘cheese’ in a can, but when homemade beer pub cheese is this easy to make, it’s hard to say no to.

Now, for someone who develops her share of party recipes for finger food and apps (it’s a weakness), I know a thing or two about what makes a party spread the bomb dot com. But there’s really nothing to compare to spreadable cheese.

Especially cheese with freaking beer in it. Can I get an amen!?

One thing I love about this easy pub cheese is that it’s – you guessed it – pretty customizable. I LOVE recipes that aren’t stuck in their ways. Recipes that do great when you play around a little with the ingredients.

It’s not a go for all recipes, that’s for sure. But when you’re a busy person who’s trying to just hang on to your every day, being able to stretch a little when it comes to cooking? I’ll take any breathing room I can get, some days.


READEasy Appetizers for a Last-Minute Holiday Party (& a Video!)


You know what I love most about this spreadable homemade pub cheese?

Actually, there are two things:
It lasts for like, a million years in the fridge (ok, more like 2 weeks)
You can make it nice and spicy or have it be smooth and sharp tasting considering the cheddar you use.

One thing I will say is important: don’t get tempted to try a fancy beer here, especially one that’s too hoppy. Something mellow in flavor, like a pilsner or a lager, really works best. Hoppier beers tend to give this cheese spread a dryness that overwhelms the cheesy cheddar flavor.

You’ll love this easy party appetizer at your next get-together, and so will your guests!

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Homemade Pub Cheese Spread

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan

Description

Make this smooth and tasty homemade beer pub cheese with just 6 ingredients (7 if you add some spicy heat!) It’s a simple snack that’s perfect for parties.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅔ cup light beer (pilsner, lager, etc)
  • optional 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and secure the lid.
  2. Pulse the ingredients until mixed, then blend on high until smooth.
  3. Spread will keep in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 2 weeks.