Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Cheese Ball Special)

Hello again everyone and welcome to another Free Recipe Wednesday.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate tons of delicious food.  For today’s Free Recipe Wednesday I’m giving you 4 delicious cheese balls to try.  It’s a bit of a long post but there’s lots of delicious goodness here.  I think at some point everyone has had a cheese ball of some sort and there are so many different ways that you can make them.  Personally I’m a huge fan of cheese, especially cream cheese, so cheese balls are most certainly a favorite of mine.  Unfortunately it never seems to be a holiday treat but maybe I’ll make one for Christmas dinner this year. Give some of these a try yourself and as always feel free to post comments below with your opinions, ideas, etc.

So the first cheese ball recipe, Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball, is just a basic variation of your standard cheese ball that’s sure to please just about anyone.  You can probably omit the black olives if you happen to have a picky person in the family or just don’t like them yourself.

Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

  • 6 slices Bacon
  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 (1 oz) pkg Ranch Dressing Mix (Hidden Valley, etc)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 Green Onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Chopped Black Olives
  • 1 1/2 cups Chopped Pecans (optional)

1. Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes.
2. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate and once cooled, chop bacon into small pieces.
3. Stir together the cream cheese and ranch dressing mix in a bowl until smooth; add the bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and olives and stir until well combined.
4. Shape the mixture into a ball and roll in the chopped pecans; refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Next we have the Hot Pepper Cheese Ball, which is obviously only for those that can handle a little heat.  The pepper jack cheese and Worcestershire sauce really give this cheese ball its unique flavor.  This one is probably my all time favorite.

Hot Pepper Cheese Ball

  • 1 (8 oz) pkg Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup Chopped Pecans

1. In a large bowl, stir together cream cheese, cheddar, extra sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, onion powder, garlic powder, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce; cover and refrigerate mixture 1 hour.
2. Shape mixture into a ball and roll in chopped pecans.

The third cheese ball we have is the Pineapple Cheese Ball.  This one, like the following one, is going to appeal more to those that like sweet and savory flavors mixed.  This cheese ball is also good with a little Canadian bacon chopped up in it for that “Canadian Bacon and Pineapple Pizza” type of flavor.

Pineapple Cheese Ball

  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Minced Celery
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 tsp Minced Onion
  • 1 (20 oz) can Crushed Pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup Chopped Pecans

1. In a medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, celery, bell pepper, onion, and crushed pineapple.
2. Divide the mixture in half and form two balls out of the mixture.
3. Roll each ball in the pecans and chill until ready to serve.

Finally we have what I would consider to be a true dessert cheese ball, the Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball.  The cream cheese, sugars, and chocolate chips make this one interesting but definitely a crowd pleaser and kids really enjoy it.  If you’re making multiple types of cheese balls at once you can toss a few chocolate chips in with the crushed pecans so you can distinguish between various cheese balls easier.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

  • 1 (8 oz) pkg Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup Confectioners' Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Miniature Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 3/4 cup Finely Chopped Pecans

1. In a medium bowl beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2. Mix in confectioners' sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.
3. Stir in chocolate chips; cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
4. Shape chilled cream cheese mixture into a ball; wrap with plastic and chill in the refrigerator for an additional 1-2 hours.
5. Roll the cheese ball in finely chopped pecans before serving.

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