My kids absolutely love all of the sweet treats and cute things our friends and neighbors drop by this time of year. It's like sugar heaven! Which is why we started this little tradition several years ago..... cheese balls and crackers. Feeling a little too sugared out one year and looking for something non-sweet to make for our friends, I found this recipe in the Lion House Christmas Recipe cookbook and we've been making them ever since.....
Festive Cheese Ball
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese (Tip: buy the Philadelphia stuff and not a generic. Much better result!)
2 cups finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions (I like to add a little bit more to taste)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 cup finely chopped nuts (I use sliced almonds)
Soften cream cheese. Add remaining ingredients except nuts and parsley; mix until well blended. Dividing mixture in half, spoon into two small bowls lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for several hours. Lift out wax paper with cheese mixture from each bowl and mold cheese into ball, using wax paper to protect hands. Roll each ball in chopped nuts and parsley. Refrigerate. Remove about 15 minutes before serving and serve with a variety of crackers.
We make a lot of these every year, so I usually triple the recipe for each batch and use a giant muffin tin lined with wax paper to portion amounts and chill them in that overnight, or also take them out after filling and place in a glass pan until ready to shape. Once I've rolled them in the nuts and parsley, I wrap them in clear plastic before placing on plates and wrapping in cellophane, of course! =) Some years I've done them on platters with little cheese spreaders, and other times we use cute paper plates. I found some adorable plastic peppermint design plates on clearance at Michael's this year and can't wait to put them together! A seriously yummy recipe that's really easy to make.