Super Bowl Sunday: Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball Recipe

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Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Appetizers are my favorite part of any football party and today is no exception! Here’s a fun recipe that you can whip up in no time before the game: a Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball recipe. I made it before for my Girls Fantasy Football Draft party and it was a hit! (please excuse the photography here…it was a quick pic snapped on my iPhone that night!)

Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball Recipe | FoodMarriage.com

Needless to say, my participation in a Girls Fantasy Football league (3 years in a row) has not enhanced my knowledge of the game much. However, it has increased my attention span for watching football games! It was always so fun throughout the season to recognize players’ names and cheer for my guys! While I didn’t win the big money, what I really got out of this football season was the friendship, camaraderie, and competition with the girls! It’s something I think we will keep going for years to come!

This recipe is so easy with only 4 ingredients: cream cheese, pimentos, pecans, and string cheese. Anyone (even the kids) can make it! You can make it an hour before the game or you can make it the night before so it is ready to go. It also transports very easily if you are traveling to a party – I put it on the serving tray and covered it with plastic wrap. I brought two different boxes of crackers and opened them up once I got there.

Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 Pimento Cheese Ball

Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball

Ingredients

  • 2 (8oz) blocks of cream cheese
  • 1 (4oz) jar of pimentos.
  • 1 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1 piece string cheese

Instructions

  • Let your cream cheese sit out to soften.
  • Finely chop your pimentos (do not discard the extra juice).
  • Add your chopped pimentos _(and the extra juice from the jar) into your cream cheese.
  • Mix together well (I used a hand mixer).
  • Set the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking. Using your hands, shape the mixture into a half football shape.
  • Crush your pecans into smaller pieces.
  • Sprinkle pecans onto the top of the football, slowly pressing in so they stick to the cream cheese/pimento mixture. Continue adding pecans until the entire top is fully covered.
  • Refrigerate for at least a half hour to allow it to harden again (you can also make it the night before and allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight. This will also allow the flavors of the pimentos to infuse into the cream cheese even more).
  • Remove from the parchment paper onto your favorite serving dish.
  • Pull a couple strings of string cheese and lay on top to make the laces of the football.
  • Serve with crackers and enjoy!
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This Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball will be a great addition to this year’s Super Bowl Sunday Spread! If you make it, let me know how it turns out for you!

Love pimentos? Me too! Check out these other Pimento recipes deep from the archives of Food Marriage!

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Homemade Parmesan & Thyme Crackers

If you told me a year ago that one day I would be making crackers, I would think YOU were crackers! Seriously, walk into any grocery store and you can find a whole aisle of different types of crackers. They are the kind of thing that people always buy to go with their homemade dips and appetizers.  I didn’t even know it was possible to make homemade crackers!

Parmesan & Thyme Crackers - Ina Garten Recipe @FoodMarriage

For my mom’s 55th birthday celebration, the Ina Garten-themed dinner party that I threw, I found a recipe for Parmesan & Thyme Crackers while flipping through the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook. The recipe seemed simple enough, so I decided to give it a whirl. The best thing about this recipe is that I was able to make it a couple days in advance and refrigerate the dough (But you could make it weeks in advance and freeze the dough too).  Then when you are ready to make your crackers, all you need to do is slice and bake!

Let me tell you how impressed everyone was with these crackers!  First, they could not believe that I actually MADE my own crackers.  As if that wasn’t impressive enough, they were then in awe with the perfect roundness of them and their golden-brown color. Finally, once my family tasted them, they were literally melt in your mouth, almost like the texture of a cookie, with a lot of parmesan and herb flavor! I had sliced cheese out to go with the crackers, but everyone also started using the Sun-Dried Tomato Dip as a spread for on top of the crackers too! What a great idea!

Parmesan & Thyme Crackers

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 22 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 2 minutes

Yield: Approximately 20-25 crackers

Parmesan & Thyme Crackers

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Let the butter sit out to reach room temperature.
  • In a mixer, cream the butter for about a minute.
  • Turn the mixer down to low, and add in the parmesan cheese, thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Next, add in the four a little at a time.
  • Once all ingredients are added, keep the mixer going on low for another minute until it becomes crumbly in texture.
  • Sprinkle some flour on a cutting board and pour your dough from the mixer onto the board.
  • Press the dough into a ball and then roll it into a log shape, about 9" long.
  • Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough for up to 4 days. If you plan on waiting longer to bake the dough, put it in the freezer instead)
  • When you are ready to bake your crackers, preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice the log of dough into thin pieces about 3/8 inch thick. Place each round of dough onto the parchment paper.
  • Bake for about 22 minutes until the crackers become lightly browned.
  • Remove the sheet from the oven, and then remove the crackers from the sheet and place crackers on a wire rack to cool completely.
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Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s “Parmesan & Thyme Crackers from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics Cookbook.

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip Recipe

As I was putting together the menu for my mom’s 55th birthday celebration, her Ina Garten themed dinner party, I knew that I wanted some appetizers that were quick to make.  I wanted to be able to have the appetizers ready and out on the coffee table before everyone arrived, so I could really focus on the dinner.  I decided to make a couple different dips that you could use with crackers, chips, or even vegetables!  As I flipped through the two Ina Garten cookbooks that I borrowed (stole) from my mom, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics and Barefoot Contessa Family Style, I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to look online!

Sun Dried Tomato Dip - Ina Garten Recipe @FoodMarriage

What’s great about the Barefoot Contessa Website, is that if you don’t happen to own one of the particular cookbooks, you can still find the recipes!  I came across a yummy looking recipe for a Sun-Dried Tomato Dip, which actually comes from the original The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I whipped it up the morning of the dinner party and stored it in the refrigerator until serving.  I thought it was great!  However, I did let my mom take home the leftovers (lucky her!) and she said the next day it was AMAZING and 10 times better!  Based on that feedback, I would definitely recommend making this the night before you plan to serve it so the flavors can really mix together. That seems to be the trick to making a great dip even better!!

Sun Dried Tomato Dip

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups of dip

Sun Dried Tomato Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 10 dashes of hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 scallions

Instructions

  • It is best to make this recipe the night before you plan on serving it to allow the flavors to mix together well.
  • Let your cream cheese sit out to soften.
  • Drain the sun-dried tomatoes from the oil. Chop about 8 tomatoes to make 1/4 cup.
  • Thinly slice the scallions and set aside.
  • Using a food processor, puree the sun-dried tomatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and salt.
  • Once everything is well blended, add in the sliced scallions and pulse the food processor twice.
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Serve with crackers, chips, or vegetables!
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Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s “Sun-Dried Tomato Dip Recipe” from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Gluten Free Friday: BBQ Chicken Salad Bites

With some time off of work for the 4th of July holiday, I’ve had some time to experiment in the kitchen!  And I may just have come up with the greatest new appetizer ever by accident!  It started out by me trying a shortcut to shredding chicken for dinner.  I thought to myself, instead of using two forks to shred, why not try throwing the chicken in the blender!?  Instead of just shredding, it ended up pulverizing the chicken…making it look almost like tuna fish straight from the can.

BBQ Chicken Salad Bites @FoodMarriage

So then I thought- why not try making chicken salad!?  But I know Pat HATES mayonnaise, so I had to get creative and do something different yet again.  I added in a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce, some Italian Dressing, and a bit of BBQ sauce and continued mixing in the blender.  Final product?  BBQ Chicken Salad Bites!!!!

You can serve these bites on regular crackers OR to make the recipe gluten-free like I did, you can use something like Blue Diamond Natural Almond Nut Thins!  (They are my favorite alternative to regular crackers!)  While I can’t say this recipe is perfectly measured out like some of my other ones, it gives you the idea of what to do!

BBQ Chicken Salad Bites

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: A large appetizer serving.

BBQ Chicken Salad Bites

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cucumber
  • Crackers
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Italian Dressing
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove.
  • Cut three chicken breasts in half and place each piece into the boiling water (cutting them in half will help them cook quicker).
  • Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove and let cool for a bit.
  • Put your pieces of chicken into a blender along with a couple dashes of worcestershire sauce, a big squeeze of Italian dressing and a medium squeeze of barbecue sauce. Add a little salt and pepper and then blend until the meat is pulverized and the sauces are mixed in.
  • Scoop your barbecue chicken salad onto individual crackers.
  • Peel a cucumber, cut off the ends and then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Dice your cucumber into tiny pieces.
  • Sprinkle a few pieces of cucumber on top of each cracker.

Notes

You can use regular crackers for this recipe. OR to make it gluten free, use something like Blue Diamond Natural Almond Nut-Thins!

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xoxo, Food Marriage

CSA Cooking: Kale Chips

I picked up kale from my local CSA last week.  I had eaten kale in the past and had even used it in my college waitressing days as a plate decoration, but I had never actually purchased kale for myself for cooking.  My recent kale chip making process was trial and error – and lucky for me I got it right on the first try!  I just had to keep checking the oven to see when the kale chips were perfectly cooked.  And I used a timer that counted up so I could record the exact cooking time to be able to share with everyone here on Food Marriage!

Kale Chips Recipe @FoodMarriage

If you’re a Food Marriage Instagram follower, you’ve already gotten a preview of my Kale Chips AND a sneak peek of the recipe!  That’s because it’s such an easy recipe I could type it right into a quick Instagram comment!  Many people think that kale chips are too difficult to make (or they’ve just gone about making them the wrong way before and they haven’t turned out right).  So before you give up on making vitamin-rich homemade kale chips, try out my recipe!!

Kale Chips

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Yield: 1 bowl of kale chips

Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Cut the stems off your kale and cut the pieces of the stems that grow up into the center of the leaves out. You will just want to work with the large leafy portion of the kale.
  • Rinse your leaves and spin them in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Even though the spinner will get a lot of the water off the kale, I recommend laying the kale out on paper towels to dry out even more.
  • Once the kale is dry, cut it into bite sized pieces.
  • Toss the bite sized pieces of kale in a bowl with a bit of olive oil until the leaves are well-coated.
  • Line baking sheets with foil. You will probably need 2 or 3 baking sheets for one bunch of kale.
  • Lay each piece of kale onto the baking sheet. Do not allow the kale to overlap at all. Each piece should be placed flat on the sheet.
  • Sprinkle salt over all of the kale.
  • Place baking sheets into 300° oven and bake for about 13 minutes.
  • If you want to test the chips as you go, take one out and try it. If it is gummy or chewy in any places, it is not done. When they are done, they will be very crisp and fragile. Be sure to keep a close eye on them as you get close to the 13 minute mark - they will burn very fast if left in a minute too long!
  • Remove baking sheets from oven and gently remove kale chips and place into a bowl. Enjoy!
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xoxo, Food Marriage