Three Celebration Cheese Balls

No matter the season or occasion, cheese balls with a variety of crackers are always a hit with the crowd.

Ingredients (base for each ball):

  • 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
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Pine Nut-Pesto Cheese Ball:

  • 2 Tbsp. prepared pesto
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted, divided

Horseradish-Bacon Cheese Ball:

  • 2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped

Salsa Cheese Ball:

  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and garlic until blended. Divide into three portions.

Pine Nut-Pesto Cheese Ball: In a small mixing bowl, beat one portion of the cream cheese mixture and pesto until blended. Stir in basil. Chop 2 Tbsp. pine nuts; stir into cheese mixture. Shape into a ball; roll in remaining pine nuts. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill until firm.

Horseradish Cheese Ball: In a small mixing bowl, beat one portion of cream cheese mixture and horseradish until blended. Stir in bacon and onion. Shape into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap; chill until firm.

Salsa Cheese Ball: In a small mixing bowl, beat one portion of cream cheese mixture, tomato paste, and salt until blended. Stir in the cilantro, onion, and jalapeno. Shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill until firm.

Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Serve with a variety of crackers.

Yields: 3 cheese balls

By Connie from Cotter, AR

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