Be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, one treat which always had to grace the holiday table in my family’s house was the Holiday Cheeseball. It was one of the first recipes I learned to help my grandmother prepare in our kitchen. The cheeseball is a fun recipe for a child to make and relatively easy, provided he or she has learned how to safely handle a chopping knife.
The exact origins of this recipe are unknown to me. It was taped to the inside of my grandmother’s Joy of Cooking, written out by hand in her own handwriting. It could have been passed down by another family member, found in an old magazine, newspaper, or on the back of a cream cheese package at some point in time. Through the years I tried playing with adding different ingredients, but found little to improve what was so tasty and simple already.
This is no ordinary store-bought cheeseball. It is full of vegetables and seasonings to amp up the flavor and put some crunch and variety in the texture. It is best prepared the day before serving, so that it has time to chill in the refrigerator and for all flavors to merge together. It can easily be doubled or tripled, depending on how many people you have to serve. Try rolling each ball in a different type of topping for visual appeal and different flavors. Serve the cheeseball with an assortment of quality crackers, some fruit and sliced hard cheeses to make an attractive appetizer tray for your holiday table.
Makes 1 large or 2 smaller cheeseballs
1 package Cream Cheese softened to room temperature
8 oz. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup green olives, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Toppings for rolling:
1 cup fresh chopped parsley OR
1 cup chopped walnuts OR
1 cup chopped pecans
The cheeseball can be prepared either in the food processor or mixed by hand. If mixing by hand, add all ingredients except toppings to a mixing bowl and blend with wooden spatula or large spoon until evenly distributed and blended. If using a food processor, first mix the cream cheese and cheddar cheese together and blend until thoroughly combined. Then add remaining ingredients, except toppings, and pulse only until ingredients are combined. Don’t over-mix as you want to make sure the chopped veggies don’t get pureed.
When combined, put mixture in a new, clean bowl and chill until firm. When ready to shape, spread out topping of choice on a sheet of wax paper. Use your hands to shape the cheeseball (or balls) until round. Then, roll the ball in the topping mixture until thoroughly coated. Place on serving plate if ready to eat, otherwise wrap prepared cheeseball in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until then.