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.

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.

Turkey, Cranberry and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

The best part about a holiday party? The food! These turkey cranberry pinwheels are the perfect easy finger food for holiday parties.

If you’re looking for something simple to throw together, this is it.

It’s also a great lunch, kids think it’s awesome, and look at that gorgeous shade of red from the cranberry sauce.

Doesn’t that just scream festive!?

Other reasons to love this adorable, easy finger food option:

  • They’re no-bake.
  • They can be transported easily from your house to someone else’s, making them a great potluck option.
  • They’re super easy for kids to help with. That’s whether you need their assistance or just need to keep little hands busy for a while. (because yeah, I’ve been there).
  • You can use leftover Thanksgiving ingredients to make them (no extra shopping trips!)

If you’ve got Thanksgiving leftovers, they can really shine in these turkey pinwheels.

Did you know cranberry sauce freezes fantastically?

If you’ve got a lot left over after Thanksgiving, pop it in the freezer and pull it out to serve these pinwheels at a New Year’s Eve party!

The flavors in these pinwheels can be played around with as well. If cranberry’s not your jam, pesto makes a great substitute.

I’ll often make turkey rollups for my kids’ lunchboxes by rolling up pesto and cream cheese in a slice of turkey. It jazzes up the normal turkey lunchtime routine and by rolling it makes it easier for little fingers to grab!

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Turkey, Cranberry and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan

Ingredients

  • 4 slices deli-style turkey breast
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 3 tablespoons cranberry sauce

Instructions

  1. Arrange the turkey slices side by side on a flat surface and in a straight line, overlapping by about 1-2″ each.
  2. Spread the cream cheese on the turkey slices evenly, spreading right up to the edge of the slices
  3. Spread the cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese in an even layer
  4. Starting from the bottom (widest part), slowly and tightly roll the slices up into a log.
  5. Slice into rolls and serve

4-Ingredient Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Balls

[disclosure]

No bake, 4-ingredient, healthy peanut butter and jelly protein balls! Try these addictive, simple paleo and low carb snacks whenever you need a push of energy. They whip up super quick and keep stored in the fridge for up to two weeks! Gluten free and great for kids.

No bake, 4-ingredient, healthy peanut butter and jelly protein balls! Try these addictive, simple paleo and low carb snacks whenever you need a push of energy. They whip up super quick and keep stored in the fridge for up to two weeks! Gluten free and great for kids.

No bake, 4-ingredient, healthy peanut butter and jelly protein balls! Try these addictive, simple paleo and low carb snacks whenever you need a push of energy. They whip up super quick and keep stored in the fridge for up to two weeks! Gluten free and great for kids.

I think I figured out why these easy, 4-ingredient pbj protein balls are so tasty and delicious – it’s like eating a ball of cookie dough, without any worry of raw egg or flour!

Plus, with no added sugar, these are a great after-school snack for hungry kids. And hungry adults, too!

The apricot adds just enough sweetness to these protein balls. When combined with the peanut butter flavor, it tastes just like a tiny little peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I found peanut butter powder at my regular old grocery store, stocked with the prepared peanut butter. I used to think powdered peanut butter was just for bodybuilders making smoothies, or thrifty people who prefer to mix their own, but I’m finding that there are dozens of other uses for powdered peanut butter than what you might think.

I’m pretty psyched to keep using it, to be honest! I like how it adds peanut butter flavor without extra sugar or oil. It’s a bit pricier than regular peanut butter, but a little goes a long way.

As for the protein powder, I used a neutral flavor in this recipe, but I bet most flavors would work well here; especially chocolate!

One other awesome thing about these protein balls: they’re a great grab and go snack on the way out the door.

Some mornings are so insane around here that I barely have time to make my kids breakfast, let alone myself. But grabbing a protein ball on the way out the door gives me just enough energy that I don’t turn into a hangry mom-monster before I can eat. Nobody like hangry mom-monster, right?

So I think it’s not a stretch to say, making these protein bars would be doing your family a favor. I hope you love them as much as we do!

4-Ingredient PBJ Protein Balls

  • 10 dried apricots
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with an “s” blade, and pulse 10-12 times, until the apricots have chopped into uniform size. 

  2. Turn the food processor to high and blend until mixture resembles wet sand, about 1-2 minutes. 

  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and using your hands, roll into balls about 2″ wide. 

  4. Serve at room temperature. Store in a tightly covered container for up to 2 weeks. 

This recipe makes about 6 balls total. 

You might also like: 

Overnight Blueberry and Maple Almond Milk Chia Pudding 

9 Best Cookbooks Every Busy Cook Needs 

Peanut Butter, Banana and Nutella Pastries 

Extra-Crispy, Melty Cheesy Chorizo Potato Skins

Love the spicy chorizo in these! We served them at a tailgating party and they were really easy and a total hit.  Good party appetizer and super simple, just different enough from the usual!

Make these super easy chorizo potato skins for your next gameday or Superbowl party!

Hellllllo, 1980’s calling! Is that you? Yes, it’s me- bringing back a variation on the bestest “fast casual” bar recipe of the 1980s with extra crispy, melty-cheesy chorizo potato skins; just in time for tailgating and football parties.

When you think of loaded potato skins, don’t you just feel like you’re hanging out at a TGI Friday’s, in all its red and white striped glory, with 13 extra loud televisions playing around you? Admit it. You have a hair crimper stashed under your sink. Or at least you miss the days when you did. You know crimped hair is back in style, right?
Know what never actually went out of style?

A crispy baked potato skin that splits with a crunch when you bite into it.

Melty, sharp cheddar cheese that smothers spicy chorizo sausage.

Creamy, tangy sour cream and all the bite of diced green onions.

Basically, we’re gonna crisp the hell out of the outside of the potato, add the spicy chorizo sausage filling, and then cover the whole motherlover in melted cheese and a dollop of cold sour cream. It’s a surefire party starter, I assure you.

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Chorizo Potato Skins

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes (, scrubbed clean)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 lb Mexican chorizo sausage (, casings removed if necessary)
  • 1 cup shredded pepperjack or sharp cheddar cheese

To garnish:

  • 4-5 green onions (, white part removed, diced)
  • Sour cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400*. Rub the potatoes all over with the vegetable oil, then bake for one hour or until cooked through. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool until cool enough to handle.
  2. While the potatoes are baking, cook the chorizo sausage. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, add the chorizo and cook, stirring often, until completely cooked through. Break the chorizo apart as it cooks using a wooden spoon. Drain of any excess grease and set aside.
  3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice each potato in half. Using a spoon, carefully remove the cooked insides, leaving a “rim” of about ½” around the outer edge of each potato. You can discard the insides or save for use later. Place the emptied potato halves back on the sheet pan, skin side down, and brush all over with melted butter.
  4. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of chorizo into each potato half. Top each half with shredded cheese.
  5. Place back in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove potatoes from oven and add a dollop of sour cream to each half. Sprinkle the potatoes with green onions and serve immediately.

Notes

Rubbing the potatoes with vegetable oil first, then brushing with melted butter later gives you perfectly crisp, crackling skin. You can purchase chorizo in links or patties; if you buy in links form, just make sure to remove the casing before cooking