Meet the Cook: Since you can chop up all the ingredients the night before, this can be ready in about 30 minutes. So it's a great after-work dinner. You can also serve it as a snack or an appetizer...similar to chicken nuggets. I've even substituted quail for the chicken, and it was delicious. Next, I may try it with pork!
-Kari Caven, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
"My grandsons tried these savory morsels for the first time as youngsters and loved them," reveals Helen McFadden of Sierra Vista, Arizona. "Though they're all grown up now, the boys still request the squares - and I'm happy to comply!"
Meet the Cook: Needing a quick appetizer one night when dinner was running late, I combined a few leftovers into this easy cheese ball. For variety, you can shape it into a log, or substitute favorite herbs for the pepper. My husband and I are the proud parents of two children, Kenton, 6, and Katie, 4.
-Tamara Rickard, Bartlett, Tennessee
No need to ring this "dinner bell" to summon your guests—the sight of it's enough to make folks come running! The creamy spread from Karen Balistrieri of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin gets a festive look from red pepper, pimientos and parsley on top. If you like, you can mold the mix into a Christmas tree, star, candy cane or any other appealing shape.—Karen Balistrieri, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
To cool off during summer—or any season at all—try the finger food that starts with a flavorful crab filling from Karen Gardiner. "I regularly serve the spread at Christmas get-togethers," she relates from Eutaw, Alabama. "It's a hit every time." For sandwiches, the CT kitchen staff added her mix to bread shaped with cookie cutters.
"If you like mushrooms," assures Patricia Kile from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, "you'll love this appetizer! As soon as I tasted it for the first time at a friend's house, I had to get the recipe." Not on the rich side—but full cheese and seasonings—the puffs are satisfying by themselves or as accompaniments to other dishes.
While it looks complicated, this attractive meatball-filled ring is really very easy to assemble. My family loves tacos, and we find that the crescent roll dough is a nice change from the usual tortilla shells or chips. There are never any leftovers when I serve this at a meal or as a party appetizer!
—Brenda Johnson, Davison, Michigan
Meet the Cook: These good-tasting sausage meatballs seem to disappear before anything else on the table or buffet. They have a delightful tang with a bit of crunch from the water chestnuts. I've used the recipe when entertaining for over 20 years because it's so easy to do and comes out perfect every time.
-Claire Stryker, Delta, Utah
I whip up a batch of these meatballs in a matter of minutes. They're great for busy days when you need something fast that's full of flavor. But we like them so much, I make them even on days I have time to spare.—Olive Lamb, Cushing, Oklahoma