Friday, December 18, 2009

cheese balls

One of my favorite christmas time treats are home made cheese balls. Now there are a zillion recipes out there for them and some are very good. Unfortunately often times they also cost crazy money to make. We are poor folk and simply cant afford a $20 ball of cheese to go with our Dollar General crackers.

My favorite is very simple to make and can be made with a number of minced type meats. I normally make it with dried beef that I chop finely however one can use ham, roast beef, corned beef, chicken, shrimp, crab etc.

I generally only use the cream cheese but have added shredded cheddar, mozzarella and bleu cheeses. It just depends on my budget and the flavor I am looking for . I have also taken fresh or dried veggies and processed them down into tiny bits and stirred them into the cheese mixture. Broccoli, sweet gr or red peppers,hot peppers, scallions and carrots make a colorful addition and add some flavor and nutrition. I sometimes add a dash of wine, a splash of liquid smoke or hot pepper sauce as well.

The outside coating can be done with most anything. I like the nut and parsley mixture because it is pretty more than any other reason.Many like to use pecan or almond slivers t coat the outside, I tend to like walnut because they are cheaper. Depending on what I have used on the inside of my cheese ball I change up my coating, sometimes its herbs of various sorts with bread crumbs or crackers and sometimes it is nuts with herbs. It really just depends on what I have and what my taste buds say..

basic recipe

2- 8 oz packages cream cheese
1 pack onion soup mix
4 oz chopped meat of choice
dash hot sauce
nuts or spices

soften cream cheese. Add meat, hot sauce and soup mix and mix completely. Refrigerate about 1 hour then roll in either chopped nuts or parsley nut mixture. Wrap and chill several hours to several days before serving. With just two of us here, I make 2 balls instead of one.

I also quite enjoy dessert or fruited cheese balls. Pineapple and strawberries are my favorite flavor. Some people like to add green or red pepper bits or pieces of jalapenos or even green onions. I prefer to make them simple and with just the fruit and nuts.

Basic recipe

2-8 oz packages cream cheese
8 oz of fruit chopped and drained
1 tbsp powder sugar
1 tsp season salt
1 cup nuts chopped fine

Soften cheese. Mix fruit, cheese, sugar and 1/2 cup nuts. Refrigerate one hour and form in to ball and roll in chopped nuts and wrap

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