It's been about 2 months since my last post, so I guess that I should begin by saying, "Happy New Year!"
I spent part of the past 2 months away from home, living in a hotel Monday-Friday and training for my new job teaching in a correctional facility. Weekends were spent teaching cooking classes and travelling to THREE out-of-state family Christmases! Then I worked until December 23rd. It was a whirl-wind of a holiday season! Christmas day was the first full day that I was at home in over a month. It was so nice to spend the day with my little family; snuggling around the fire, playing games, and cooking their favorite foods. I missed my family so much during my time away- and I missed my kitchen too. It was nice to spend the day enjoying both.
I have spent the past week being a wife and mommy and catching up with friends, putting away the holiday decorations, cleaning, and organizing around here (It seems that after a month away nothing was where or how I left it.)- basically "re-claiming" my house before my Christmas break draws to a close. And now, as school clothes are laid out and backpacks and lunches are packed for the first day back after a lovely break, it is finally time for me to share a recipe with all of you.
I found this recipe for Four-Cheese Pimento Dip in the December 2010 edition of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I thought that it would make a nice mid-day snack on Christmas day between our big breakfast and the "fancy" candlelight Christmas dinner.
As I mixed up the ingredients late on Christmas Eve, I decided that the 5 cups of dip would make excellent cheese balls, and so I divided the mixture into 3 parts, formed it into balls, and chilled the balls until they were ready to be served.
Rolled in crisp bacon and chopped green onion, this cheese ball was a huge hit. We ate one on Christmas, I served the second at our New Year's Eve party, and no doubt we will polish off the final cheese ball at my daughter's 4th birthday party this weekend. These cheese balls are nice to keep in the fridge for an easy snack while entertaining holiday guests. And thinking ahead for next year, they'd make great gifts too!
Here's how it all came together:
First, I beat 3 oz. of cream cheese for 30 seconds.
Then I added in the other 3 cheeses: sharp cheddar, extra sharp white cheddar, and a good Swiss. The recipe called for Gruyere, but that's a little pricey...
Next, I added mayonnaise, diced pimentos, finely chopped onion and jalapeno, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper.
Beat until well combined.
I divided the cheese mixture into three portions. I dropped each portion onto a piece of plastic wrap, then formed them into a ball, using the plastic as a barrier so that my hands didn't get messy.
The wrapped cheese balls went into the fridge to chill.
Then I fried up some bacon.
And crumbled/chopped it into little bits.
I combined the bacon with some chopped green onion in a shallow dish...
Then rolled the cheese ball around to coat it.
To serve, I plopped the cheese ball into a bowl and arranged some crackers around it on a serving plate. We preferred butter crackers and wheat crackers (not pictured) as a way to transport this delicious 4-cheese concoction into our mouths.
Here's a closer look...
And that first delicious bite!
I think that the reason we enjoyed this cheese ball so much is because it combined elements from many of the cheese ball recipes that we enjoy. This one has it all...
Four-Cheese Pimiento Cheese Balls adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Yield: 3 cheese balls
Start to Finish: 35 mins
1 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 4 ounce jar diced pimientos, drained (or 2 2-oz jars)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 small jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced*
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Optional Cheese ball toppings: crumbled crisp-cooked bacon, toasted pecans, chopped green onion
Dippers: celery sticks, carrot sticks, pita chips, and/or crackers
In bowl beat cream cheese 30 seconds. gradually beat in other cheeses. Beat in mayonnaise. Stir in pimientos, sweet pepper onion, jalapeno, Worcestershire, and cayenne. Divide the pimiento cheese into 3 portions. Transfer to plastic wrap and shape into balls. Chill. Roll in crumbled bacon and finely chopped green onions before serving. Serve with dippers.
From the Test Kitchen
•Tip *Hot chile peppers, such as jalapenos, contain oils that can burn your skin and eyes. When working with them, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If using bare hands, wash hands well with soap and water after working with the peppers.
Nutrition Facts (Four-Cheese Pimiento Dip)
Calories 220,Protein (gm) 8,Carbohydrate (gm) 3,Fat, total (gm) 20,Cholesterol (mg) 39,Saturated fat (gm) 8,Monosaturated fat (gm) 3,Polyunsaturated fat (gm) 6,Dietary Fiber, total (gm) 1,Sugar, total (gm) 1,Vitamin A (IU) 680,Vitamin C (mg) 9,Thiamin (mg) 0,Riboflavin (mg) 0,Niacin (mg) 0,Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0,Folate (µg) 20,Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0,Sodium (mg) 275,Potassium (mg) 165,Calcium (DV %) 242,Iron (DV %) 0,Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet