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Celebration Cheese Balls

A handful of simple ingredients that go together in minutes, three fun flavorful options…these creamy cheese balls from our Test Kitchen are a darling, do-ahead delight for busy holiday hostesses! Why not whip up several batches? —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    3 cheese balls (1 cup each)

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • PINE NUT-PESTO CHEESE BALL:
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 10 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, divided
  • HORSERADISH-BACON CHEESE BALL:
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • SALSA CHEESE BALL:
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno pepper
  • Assorted crackers

Directions

  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic until blended. Divide into three portions.
  • For Pine Nut-Pesto Cheese Ball: Beat one portion of cream cheese mixture and pesto until blended. Stir in basil. Chop 2 tablespoons pine nuts; stir into cheese mixture. Shape into a ball; roll in remaining pine nuts. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm.
  • For Horseradish-Bacon Cheese Ball: Beat one portion of cream cheese mixture and horseradish until blended. Stir in bacon and onion. Shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm.
  • For Salsa Cheese Ball: Beat one portion of cream cheese mixture, tomato paste and salt until blended. Stir in cilantro, onion and jalapeno. Shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm.
  • Can refrigerate up to two weeks. Serve with crackers.
Editor's Note
Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.
Nutrition Facts
1/4 cup: 57 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 16mg cholesterol, 98mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.

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