If you are entertaining in a pinch, one of the old classic standby’s is the perennial cheese-ball. It tastes great and pleases a crowd. Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks to the cheese-ball is one of its strengths – being the classic standby it is, it’s also been done to death! Unless you take particular care to make it memorable and savory, the cheese-ball can get real old real fast. While we want to maintain the smooth flavor palate of what makes the cheese ball a classic, we also don’t want our guests thinking that we are serving them a balled up grilled cheese sandwich. We want to add just a bit of sophistication while keeping it simple.
The key here is to mix it up a bit without going overboard. We’re adding a it of sea salt, garlic salt, savory dressing mix, and so on, to increase palate interest without doing anything too intensive.
* 2 packages cream cheese, softened
* 3 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
* 1 packet Ranch-style dressing mix (the more herb-like and savory, the better)
* 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
* 1 tsp garlic salt
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 2 cups chopped pecans
* 4 pecan halves
1. Combine all ingredients, except nuts, in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly and either form into one large bowl, depending on volume, or perhaps two smaller bowls.
2. Coat ball(s) by rolling in chopped pecans. You can then garnish the top with pecan halves for decoration.
3. Refrigerate preferably overnight if possible, but if not, then at least 2 hours.
4. When serving, dimple the bottom of the ball to create a more stable surface so that the ball(s) can’t roll off.
Again, the key here is to mix it up a bit without going overboard. Here we just added some subtle additions in the form of sea salt, red wine vinegar, and so on, to give this Cheese Ball Recipe Appetizer a bit more complexity. However, you don’t have to stop there. Remember its versatility.
For instance, if you or your friends are seafood lovers, then a bit of shrimp or crab could open up all sorts of possibilities. For vegetable lovers, you could add some spinach or even some chopped cucumber. You might also add some salsa to the mix (both figuratively and literally) if you want something a bit more Tex-Mex or Southwestern, along with perhaps a teaspoon of cumin, or even some cilantro.
These are just some suggestions to jazz up what is already a tried and true standby, that just might need the occasional twist every so often.
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