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Volume II
December 11, 2008

Easy, Freezy, Cheese Balls
By Bethany Booth

As an appetizer, a snack for drop-in guests, a welcome change for Santa after all of those late night Christmas cookies…is there anyone who doesn’t enjoy a good cheese ball?

Cheese balls are simple to make and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer. A box of crackers, a festive plate, and these tasty recipes are all it takes to entertain at a moment’s notice.

Traditional Christmas Cheese Ball
Flecks of green onion and red pimento make this traditional cheddar cheese ball a holiday favorite.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 package ranch dressing mix
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped
1 (2 ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup pecan pieces
Assorted crackers

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in cheddar cheese, ranch dressing mix, onions, pimientos, butter and Worcestershire sauce. Press into a small bowl; smooth top. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before removing from bowl “mold”. Top with pecan pieces. Serve with crackers.

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Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
A sweetly non-traditional cheese ball best served with gingersnaps.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugars, beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Place cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball. Refrigerate at least on hour. Just before serving, roll cheese ball in graham cracker crumbs. Serve with gingersnaps or graham crackers.

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Artichoke and Feta Ball
The classic duo of spinach and artichoke is a crowd-pleaser… as usual!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (4 ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled
1 (4 ounce) can artichoke hearts, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, spinach, feta cheese, artichokes, garlic, and pepper. Mix together with clean hands until well blended. Form into a ball or log and set on serving plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers, baked pita or tortilla chips.

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* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *

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