Celebration Cheese Ball III

A handful of simple ingredients that go together in minutes to create three fun flavorful options. These creamy cheese balls are a darling, do-ahead delight for busy holiday hostesses! Packaged in colored plastic wrap and tied with bright ribbons, they also make quick and easy gifts for friends, drop-in visitors, shut-ins and neighbors.

Yield

12 servings (3 cheese balls, 1 cups each)

Basic Cheese Ball Ingredients

2 (8 ounces) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced

Pine Nut Presto Cheese Ball Ingredients

2 tablespoons prepared pesto
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted, divided

Horseradish Bacon Cheese Ball Ingredients

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1 green onion, finely chopped

Salsa Cheese Ball Ingredients

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 the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic until blended. Divide into three portions.

For Pine Nut-Pesto Cheese Ball: In a small bowl, 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 wrap; chill until firm.

For Horseradish-Bacon Cheese Ball: In a small 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.

For Salsa Cheese Ball: In a small 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.

Serve with crackers.

Storage

Can refrigerate for up to two weeks.

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