Mini Cheese Balls

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. (1 cup) shredded white, sharp cheddar cheese
1 teapsoon garlic powder
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, diced
1/4 cup green olives with pimento, drained well and diced
chopped nuts, chopped herbs, grated parmesan cheese, poppy or sesame seeds, paprika, and/or dried parsley for rolling
assorted crackers
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar, and garlic powder on medium-low speed until blended. Divide mixture in half and place in two small bowls.
In one bowl, add the roasted red peppers and stir to mix well. Add the olives to the other bowl and stir to mix well. Cover both mixtures and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop and roll each batch of the cheese mixture into 1/2-inch or 1-inch round balls. Roll each ball in finely chopped nuts or herbs, grated parmesan, or poppy or sesame seeds, or sprinkle the tops with paprika or dried parsley.
Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Makes about 96 1/2- inch, or 48 1-inch mini cheese balls.
Instead of peppers and olives, try sun-dried tomatoes, diced green chiles for heat, chopped fresh herbs, green onions, or any other addition that your palate suggests.
You can also use different types of cheese. Replace the cream cheese with a sharp cheddar spread, or substitute blue cheese for the grated cheddar. Flavored cream cheeses would work well too.


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