Monthly Archives: November 2011

Individual Cheddar and Bacon Cheese Balls

Last week it snowed. Enough that there was still snow on the ground in the morning. Enough that driving home, there we some near white out conditions. You know, normal weather for around these parts. It was kind of exciting. I always love the first snowfall. It never fails to put me in a festive mood. (I also couldn’t help but think it would have been an excellent day for snowsuit sales, but that’s just 5 years of retail talking.)

Sadly, the snow had completely melted by  noon the next day, and the temperatures are supposed to soar again by the weekend. Oh well. I’m sure there will be more to come. :)

Anyways enough about the weather. We need to talk cheese. And bacon. All whirled together into a delectable spread, then rolled into two-bite nuggets. Heaven

And really, who doesn’t want their own cheese ball?

This is a part of our holiday spread every year, and has been forever.  And usually, about July, my brother gets sick of waiting, and requests I make him one. It has morphed into many different shapes over the years, but last year, we made them into mini-balls and it worked out great.

Especially, since not a one of us can agree on how we like it.

These freeze absolutely amazing, and are actually a bit better  if they have some time to let the flavors meld.

Individual Cheddar and Bacon Cheese Balls

makes around 30 mini cheese balls, or 2 large ones

  • 12 slices of bacon, crisply cooked + 1 tbsp reserved bacon fat
  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened.
  • 3 cups shredded old, sharp, cheddar cheese
  • dried parsley, to garnish
  •  finely chopped pecans, to garnish
  1. In a food processor, finely chop the bacon.
  2. Add the cream cheese and cheddar. You may have to work in a couple batches for this, depending on the size of your machine. Blitz together until combined.
  3. Pour in the reserved bacon fat, and blitz for a bit more.
  4. Carefully remove the blade.
  5. Scoop mixture out 2 tbsp at a time and roll in to balls. Roll into the chopped pecans then parsley. Alternatively, divide mixture in two, then roll in pecans and parsley. If you aren’t a nut lover like Mr. Ginge, then just omit the pecans.
  6. Cover in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for several hours. If possible let them sit for a couple days to let the flavors meld.  Set them out 30 mins before you are going to serve just to bring them up to room temp.
  7. If you aren’t planning on serving them right away, then bag them up in some freezer bags then stick them in the freezer for up to 3 months

Variation: Pecan and Cheddar Cheese Ball

My sister is a weirdo and doesn’t like bacon. So I tweaked the recipe a bit for her so that she could still enjoy.

  1. Omit the bacon for 1c. chopped pecans.
  2. Cream the cheeses like before. Add 1/2 c. of the pecans to the cheese.
  3. Pulse a couple times, then roll as above, rolling in the remaining chopped pecans.

Seriously try this.

-Mel

P.S- I totally put my tree up this weekend. Yes, that is a deer beside my tree. No it is not a decoration. Mr. Ginge is a bit of an outdoorsman, and “Miss November” was out of the way there. :)

Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I hope every one had a safe and happy Halloween!

Now that it has passed, I can start gearing up for the Holidays! ( Or I can publicly start gearing up for the holidays without getting strange looks from people :D )

Last few days,  have been stressful enough, without throwing in the holidays! Ha!

One such stressful event happened on Saturday morning. Mr. Ginge and I planned to head down to the market for the last weekend before it closes for the season. We were meeting our neighbors and were going to head down. We we get to our neighbors house, I absentmindedly adjust my left hand ring, only to discover that is wasn’t there. My other rings that I normally wear were on my hand, so there would be no reason why my engagement ring would not be on. Instantly my heart sank. It was like a punch straight to the gut. The ring had slipped off and I had no idea where or even how long it had been missing.

So part of Saturday morning was spend crawling around on the ground , retracing my steps, trying to find my ring that could have been lost anywhere in the house, or some where between the house and our neighbors a block away. Let’s just say, you don’t really realize how much of a distance it really is until you are looking for something smaller than a quarter.   Mr. Ginge was about to send me to buy a metal detector in order to find it.

Fortunately, it was found where it has slipped off when I grabbed my shoes. It is now and secure at the jewelery store, getting sized down two sizes (no wonder it slipped off) so that we hopefully don’t have to go through this again! 

For stressful days, one of our go- to recipes are tacos. They are quick, easy, and we almost always have the fixings on hand to throw together.  Including this homemade seasoning. I like it better than the packaged stuff and it is so easily customize to your own tastes. It’s  also great as a rub on meats or fish, and I have even been known to throw it in a pot of chili in a pinch.

Homemade Taco Seasoning:

This makes about 1/2 a cup of seasoning, but is easily doubled.

  • 1/4 cup of chili powder
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder ( or garlic salt if you prefer
  • 2tsbp chipotle powder ( or smoked paprika if you don’t want it spicy)

  1. Dump all of the spices into an airtight container.
  2. Close the lid and shake it a few times to mix up the spices. Store in the air tight container.
  3. Use for taco meat, or as a rub, or use it to kick up your favorite recipes

To use for taco meat:

  1. Brown and drain 1 Lb of ground meat.
  2. Stir in 2 tbsp of seasoning and a couple teaspoons of water if necessary. Let cook for a few minutes.

Adapted from Kraft.
On another note, you should see the enormous sweet potatoes we picked up at the market. Perhaps this is Mr. Ginge’s way of telling me he wants some sweet potato pie?

-Mel

Categories: Misc. | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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