Amy’s Classic Cheese Ball

Amy’s Classic Cheese BallPortion Control
The biggest struggle for me on Thanksgiving (and I am sure I have mentioned this before) is managing my appetite leading up to the big event. Because we eat our Thanksgiving around two or three o’clock, my usual meal schedule is knocked completely out of whack.

I’ve tried over the years to have a substantial breakfast and coast into the big meal. But, I find it makes me hangry around one o’clock. Not a good situation for spending time with family. Also, eating that much food before the early morning trek to my mother-in-law’s- house is rough. I have tried to just eat a bunch of little things throughout the morning but I end up not hungry enough to get the whole turkey/gravy/cranberry experience.

I think the sweet spot is to have a normal breakfast at a normal time and then have a reasonable snack somewhere around the noontime hour. This is all well and good considering I am not the one making all the food for the feast. It’s hard enough to make sure everyone’s favorite is on the table—let alone to make certain there are also snacks. So, having something that is easy to prepare and doesn’t require extra ingredients is key. The best thing I’ve found is a cheese ball.

Cheese balls are great! You can make them with ingredients you already have in your fridge. And, you can customize them five weeks from Sunday. So, here is our recipe for Amy’s Classic Cheese Ball. I emphasize that this is my basic recipe because I like to add cayenne to it. Not everyone is into spice. So, you can leave it out if you prefer.

Most of the ingredients should be in your fridge already or they would be easy to grab on the way to pick up your turkey—along with some precut veggies and a box of your favorite crackers. You can make this the night before and pull it out when the I’m starving whining begins.

Amy’s Classic Cheese Ball Recipe
Serves 12 (sometimes more depending on appetite)

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese (It works better if you grate the cheese yourself. Only use the pre-shredded if you have to.)
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

Gather and prep your ingredients.

Mix the ingredients
Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Add the cheddar cheese, green onion, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, parsley, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.

Form the cheese ball
Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and gather the mixture into one lump. Lightly grease your hands and form the mixture into a round ball.

Place the chopped pecans on a plate. Hold the cheese ball in one hand and use the other hand to scoop the pecans onto the outside of the ball, pressing them in gently and turning the ball to coat all sides.

Refrigerate the cheese ball
Cover the cheeseball in cling wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour to allow it to firm up. Take the cheese ball out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving so it softens just slightly. Serve with crackers, vegetables, or anything else you’d like.

Do ahead
Make the cheeseball but don’t coat it in nuts. Store it in an airtight container or ziplock and place it in the refrigerator for up to a week (depending on the freshness of your ingredients). An hour before you are ready to serve it, coat it in nuts and let it rest in the refrigerator until 20 minutes before serving.

To freeze the cheeseball, wrap it well in plastic wrap (without nuts) and place it in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw the cheeseball in the refrigerator overnight and add the nuts once it is completely thawed.

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