Tag Archives: Crackers

Basic Mini Cheese Balls And Beyond!

During this time of Social Distancing, my next door neighbor has been hosting BYOB Cocktail Hour Parties on her rather large front patio.  We’re all comfortable within our own six foot area and we arrange a table in the middle with shared snacks.  It works really well for us.

I’ve been trying to take over Finger Foods that would be appropriate, you know, everyone being able to maintain their personal space.  Here’s an idea:

Basic Mini Cheese Balls

8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temp
2 Tbsp. Butter, room temp
2 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice
dash Worcestershire Sauce
dash of Hot Sauce (I didn’t have any, so I used a pinch of Cayenne Pepper)
1/8 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Chuck it all into a mixer, Stand or Handheld, and blend until smooth

That’s the basic part, now comes the different flavors …

Divide the Cream Cheese mixture evenly between three bowls

Bacon & Ranch – stir in 2 oz. shredded Swiss Cheese and 1/3 Tbsp. dry Ranch Dressing Mix to the Cream Cheese mix; in a separate bowl, mix approx. 5 oz. finely crumbled Bacon (I bought pre-made Bacon Bites in the Salad Dressing Aisle) along with 1/3 Tbsp. dried Parsley, set aside

Garlic & Herb – stir in 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan Cheese to the Cream Cheese mix, 1 Garlic Clove finely minced, 3/4 tsp. dried Oregano, 1/3 tsp. dried Parsley, a good pinch each of dried Thyme, Dill Weed, Basil and fresh ground Black Pepper; in a separate bowl add about 1/3 C. dried Chopped Chives (fresh is fine too, whichever you have), set aside

Toasted Pecan & Dried Cranberry – stir in 2 oz. Sharp White Cheddar Cheese to the Cream Cheese mix; in a separate bowl mix 1/3 C. each finely Chopped Pecans & Dried Cranberries, set aside

NOW,
line a rimmed sheet pan with some foil; using a teaspoon disher aka cookie scoop; scoop out equal amounts of the Cream Cheese Mixture from each bowl in to their accompanying “dip”, coating each cheese ball well.

 

 

Shape/roll each in your hand to fairly uniform balls. Place them all on the sheet pan, and cover tightly with another sheet of foil. Stash in the `fridge for at least one hour, longer is best and serve with either a Pretzel Stick stuck in each Mini Cheese Ball or on a neutral flavored Cracker.  I went with the Pretzel Sticks for my final service presentation, it just makes it less stressful with a group of folks.  The plate with the Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers was for my taste-test, MMM YUM!  I’m going to make this again!

 

 

I just love this plate!  My Mother gave me a set of three of these for Christmas and I knew it would make a great Pupu Platter!

 

 

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.  Try different combinations, maybe some Dried Fruit or Seeds… My personal favorite is the BACON!!!!

 

 

 

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day

I know I’m late, but my darling husband and I just got back from a terrific long weekend away. We went to visit with our friends in Northern Arizona once again, this time it was just that little bit, more. We all went this great little organic vineyard in Chino Valley, Granite Creek Vineyard.

This is such an adorable place, I only wish that I had not been having such a good time as to walk around and ask questions about the place, but we’ve all decided that in the Spring, when everything is in full leaf, we’ll go back again. DH says that we should make sure to buy a nice bottle of wine to enjoy on the grounds next time and spend more time there.  HE even liked it and he doesn’t drink (he was our designated driver).

There’s this delicious catering truck out back of the tasting room that serves up some mouth watering treats to go along with your glass or bottle, as the case may be. Block Six Catering. We were each offered a complimentary dessert, (sorry no photos, they went so fast and I was having so much fun) of Carrot cake, Chocolate layer cake or Cheesecake. Our choices were three Cheesecakes and one Carrot cake, yum! For a savory, we opted for the Cheese plate, WOW!

An unusual lavash on top, that hit both the sweet and umami on my tounge; Brie, Manchago, Triple Cream Bleu and Smoked Provolone (all of my personal favs), Candied Pecans, Kalamata olives, some sliced tart Green Apple and a sort of Compote (I forgot to ask, maybe too much wine ?) that we think was made of cherries. The four of us shared the dish, which was plenty as a late lunch.

I want to return to this oasis in the middle of NO WHERE  not only for the wine but the food as well.

Valentine Day Sunset in Chino Valley, AZ

This was the end to the perfect Valentine’s Day weekend with my sweet-heart and two righteous friends.