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Monday, December 29, 2014

{Our Favorite} Cheeseball

Cheeseball, new years appetizerCheeseballs have been a New Year's Eve tradition in our family for as long as I can remember.  They start appearing at Thanksgiving, at my Grandma's house, and then again at Christmas, and making one final debut for the year on New Years Eve. Are you a cheeseball lover?  I sure am, but especially for this particular recipe. 

What New Year's Eve snack do you have each year? 

I've only tried store-bought cheeseball a few times, I've never been super impressed with them.  The ones I've tried taste like that have easy cheese or something too soft and too fake for me.  This cheeseball is inspired from my Grandma King's recipe.  She has told us she does it a little different each time, so we've tried over the last few years to nail down what we love, and I think we've got it.  

Leesh and I love cheeseball.  We don't live very close - about 10 hours away from each other.  But when we were together right before Christmas you better believe that cheeseball was involved.  We love this cheeseball so much in fact - we might have cleaned off an entire block of cream cheese just by ourselves while we were chatting and snacking after our kiddos were in bed.

The recipe is simple - and comes together in 10 minutes or less.  The blue cheese can be optional but it's what "makes the cheeseball" for us.  We are blue cheese lovers!  Our kiddos even love it!  We serve it with crackers.  I'm a huge fan of Wheat Thins and Triscuits. But it will work on any kind of cracker you love too!

We hope this is something you'll try out for your New Year's Eve party this year.  

Try it and then tell us about it.  We with you a Happy New Year.


2 blocks cream cheese (full or less fat), softened to room temperature
½ cup crumbled blue cheese, more or less to taste (optional, but recommended)
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon McCormick Bon Appetit seasoning salt blend (see *note* below for substitute) OR 2 tablespoons ranch powder
8 ounces sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional) I prefer pecans or almonds


*Note* - you can use ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground celery seed, ½ teaspoon onion powder in place of the McCormick Bon Appetit seasoning salt.

Chop nuts fine and leave in a small plate or dish for rolling the cheeseball in

In a medium size mixing bowl mix the cream cheese, blue cheese, worcestershire sauce, and seasoning of choice together.  Once mixed thoroughly add the shredded cheddar cheese and mix until incorporated. Roll into a ball (I like to wear plastic disposable gloves so I don’t have to clean it all off my hands), and then roll into ball (or you can simply put it in a serving dish without it being a ball) and then roll to coat the outside in the chopped nuts.  If you are going to serve immediately place on a serving dish with crackers.  If you aren’t going to use til later, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe Source:

Inspired by our Grandma Kathy King’s famous cheeseball.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

We wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas!  We hope you have a wonderful holiday and that you get to spend it with those you love, and that you get to eat lots of good food!  

Thanks for supporting us in our blogging adventure this past year. We're almost at year 4 of sharing recipes here at Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box.  It's been a fun few years! We hope you have enjoyed the recipes we've shared.  We enjoy sharing them with you!  Having followers makes this fun!  We love good food and can't help but share it! 

We are thankful for all we have. For our family, friends, and most important our Savior Jesus Christ.  Christ is the most wonderful gift of the season.  

Merry Christmas from Leesh....
 and Merry Christmas from Lu! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry Berry Salad

Isn't this salad pretty?  I love how pretty it is!

This is one of my favorite salads and it's perfect for the Holidays. My mom has been making this salad for several years now. If I remember right she first made it to take the their annual Christmas party that they do with their college friends.  I love that they still keep in touch!  I think it's so awesome. But since this salad made it's first debut in the family, it's been coming back again and again.  

It really could be made year round, but it seems seasonal with the dressing that is loaded with fresh cranberries. Isn't the color wonderful? It's not only beautiful, but super delicious.  

It comes together rather fast.  You can buy a pre-bagged salad mix or wash and prepare your own.  We enjoy it with Romain and red/green lettuce.  The apples (or strawberries or blueberries) really add some pretty color to the salad, and so do the dried cranberries.  I'm a fool for fruity salads! The dressing is easy to whip up. It calls for fresh cranberries and some thawed apple juice concentrate. We've found that buying it in the handy Langer's brand bottles makes it easy to use a small amount at a time and save (it comes in a clear plastic bottle with screw on lid). 

I hope you will enjoy this salad this holiday season!

Merry Christmas!
Merry Berry Salad

1 head of romaine or green leaf lettuce, washed, and chopped
1 honeycrisp or other sweet apple, diced into bite size pieces
1 green apple, diced into bite size pieces
½ - ¾  cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
(you can also use other berries, like strawberries and blueberries if you don’t want apples)

½ cup fresh cranberries
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons thawed apple juice concentrate
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ cup canola oil


In a small skillet heat over medium heat and add almonds. Toast by stirring them constantly until slightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool before placing on the salad.

Wash and spin salad and place in a large serving bowl.  Top with grated parmesan cheese, as much as desired (½ - ¾ cup about).  Next you’ll arrange the other salad toppings in rings around the bowl. Chop apples  (toss in a small amount of lemon juice if you won’t be serving soon, to prevent browning) and arrange in a ring around the outside or the bowl (see picture in post), then arrange the cranberries around the bowl just inside the apples. Next place the almonds in the center.  Wrap with saran wrap and place in the fridge if not ready to eat right away.

With an immersion blender or regular stand blender. Add all the dressing ingredients except the oil and blend til smooth, slowly add the canola oil in a small drizzle to the mixture and blend til smooth and creamy looking.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Toss salad with dressing before serving.  

Recipe Source:

Slightly adapted from Diana K., who got it from

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Creamy Pumpkin Coconut Curry Pasta

I shared this recipe on Landee Lu a few weeks ago.  This is the perfect pasta for fall and winter!  I feel like there are a few flavor combinations that are meant to be together.  Some of my favorites, to name a few, are: apple and cinnamoncoconut and chocolatepeanut butter and chocolate. Would you agree?  Have you ever tried this combo?  Pumpkin, coconut and curry? If you love Indian food you probably have.  I'm a big fan of this flavor combo - and couldn't resist the thought of these flavors combined with pasta.  This is great with or without chicken.  And if you use gluten-free pasta, you can have a gluten-free meal. It's also dairy free for those with allergies.  Pasta is something my whole family enjoys! The results of this creation have been enjoyed by us all. 

So, enter Creamy Pumpkin Coconut Curry Pasta.  If you don't want the chicken, this is a one pot meal. Which I am a huge fan of! Please tell me I'm not the only one who strives for less dishes. When we make this we like to grill the chicken on our outdoor grill, which also equates to less dishes.  Cooking is fun for me on most nights, but I dread the clean up, so I cheer loud and hard for meals with less dishes!

This dish is full of flavor!  The coconut flavor is soft and subtle, and the spices keep you coming back for just one more bite.  I hope this will warm you up this Fall and Winter season!

Happy eating!


Creamy Pumpkin Coconut Curry Pasta {with or without chicken}

Printable Version {Click Here}

3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 pound pasta (I used penne)
1 (13.66 oz) can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, separate cream from milk
3 - 3 ½ cups chicken broth (can use water with 3 teaspoons chicken base or 3 bouillon cubes)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
¼ - ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (choose your spicy scale)
1 teaspoon yellow curry
⅛ teaspoon turmeric
a pinch of cinnamon (I use Saigon cinnamon)
1 ½ tablespoons dried parsley flakes
More red pepper and parsley for garnish (optional)
For the chicken:
1 pound chicken breast, pounded thin
Olive oil
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon yellow curry
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried onion (or ¼ teaspoon onion powder)

If you want to add chicken to the pasta, start by preparing the chicken.  Combine black pepper, salt, curry, red pepper and the dried onion/onion powder in a small bowl.  Pat chicken dry and brush with olive oil and rub with the seasoning mix.  Grill or pan cook until cooked thoroughly.  Set aside and slice into strips to top the pasta.

For the pasta: In a medium size saucepan or 12-inch deep dish skillet add the coconut oil and onion, and saute over medium heat until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.  Open the can of coconut milk and separate the cream from the milk. Set the cream aside. Place the milk in a 4 cup measuring cup. You’ll need 4 cups of liquid, so use chicken broth or water and bouillon/chicken base to make 4 cups liquid.   Add the liquid to the pot with the onion, along with the pumpkin, salt, red pepper flakes, curry, turmeric, cinnamon and parsley.  Bring mixture to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until pasta is done to your liking and most of the liquid is absorbed.  You’ll be left with nice pasta and sauce left.

Top with chicken if desired and serve hot. 

Reheat leftovers on the stove or in the microwave with  little extra water or broth added (1-2 tablespoons) and stir to incorporate.

Source: Created by Lu from - inspired by my favorite Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup and this pasta. Originally posted on the Landee Lu Blog.