As promised, I am here to give the secrets of cheeseballs. If I had known how simple these things were to make, I would have made them ages ago.
I needed to do something simple this year for our friends and neighbors' Christmas gifts, due to our financial situation. Since I have already given all our friends and neighbors wreaths, Gingerbread houses, afghans, paintings, jingle elves and various other handmade items, I wanted to take it a little easier this year. Every year we receive cookies, cakes, and candies, and this year I wanted to give a tastey gift. A couple of weeks ago, when I was doing our grocery shopping, I spied a small gift pack with a salami type sausage and some crackers... and I thought to my self "Self? You could make a homemade cheese ball to go with that gift pack and have a great tastey gift for everyone."
So I did an internet search and read oodles of cheeseball recipes, and found they all had the same basic ingredients:
cream cheese ~ regular, fat reduced or fat free AND
some other kind of cheese-mild and sharp cheddar, parmesan, roquefort, blue cheese, pepper jack, monterey jack ~ finely grated
sour cream OR
Worcestershire sauce OR
Lemon juice OR
onions-green OR red OR shallots
Spices-garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, oregano, onion soup mix, taco seasoning mix, cayenne pepper, salt, horseradish, fresh garlic, Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce, or whatever suits your fancy.
Nuts-almonds, walnuts, pecan, sunflower seeds, peanuts~chopped, for rolling your ball in.
Optional ingredients were a variety of meats-bacon, ham, dried beef, bacon bits, shrimp, etc...
And olives, pineapple, peppers~bell and hot, celery, mushrooms, basically anything.
Now which ingredients you choose is pretty much up to your taste buds.
You must have the cream cheese and it must be softened somewhat. I put mine in the microwave for 30 seconds.
I also used smaller portions so that I could make several different flavors.
Basic proportions for the cheeseballs I made were:
1- 8oz. pkg of cream cheese AND approximately 1 cup of some other kind of cheese-I used sharp cheddar.
1-2 Tablespoons of one of these~ sour cream, mayonnaise, dijon- I used sour cream in all mine.
Approximately 1-2 teaspoons of one of these~Worcestershire sauce, lemon or lime juice-I tried all three but only 1 in each ball. In other words it was either lemon or lime or Worcestershire. I did not mix two flavors in one ball.
Onions-approximately 1/4 cup diced very fine- I used green onions sliced thin with scissors in all my balls.
And then the spices:
For my garlic ball, I used 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 3 medium cloves finely minced.
For my Taco flavored balls, I used 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning mix and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and one of these I spiced up with 1 Tablespoon Green Tabasco.
For my green onion ball, I used 1/4 teaspoon garlic and increased the dice green onions to 1/2 cup.
For my oregano ball I used 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon garlic.
For my toasted onion ball I used 2 teaspoons of dried toasted onion soup mix.
After I softened the cream cheese, I put it into a mixing bowl with the other cheese, onions, sour cream, juice, and seasonings and mixed it with my mixer on medium high for a couple of minutes until all ingredients were thorougly combined. I tasted with a cracker to make sure the flavor was pleasing, and then each flavor was submitted for Mr. Clay's approval.
Then I lined a small rounded bowl (2 cup size) with plastic wrap and pressed the cheese mix into the lined bowl and refrigerated for an hour or so. Now I had a neatly formed dome that was easy to lift out of the bowl, pull the plastic wrap off, and roll the top and sides into my chopped nuts. This recipe made a 4 inch diameter dome approximately 3 inches tall; a pretty good size cheese ball. It is recommended refrigerating the balls at least 2 hours or overnight for better flavor before serving, so that the flavors could meld together.
That's all there is to it! Total prep time for each was no more than 10 minutes.
How simple is that?
There are alot of varieties of cheeseballs. For further reference you may want to check out this site: All Recipes and do a search for Cheese Ball. There are pages of recipes with reviews from people who have tried, tested, rated the recipes AND given their own suggestions and variations. I hope I have inspired you to try and make a cheeseball. It is an inexpensive dish for an office party, family get together, or picnic. They are simple, quick, travel well, and can be made ahead of time.
Til my next epiphany :D