Holidays are often more chaotic than relaxing, but regardless of elevated stress levels, there is always good food to be had. Do you sometimes have unexpected guests drop by because "it's the holidays" and find yourself unprepared, munchies-wise? Are you cookied-out? Make a holiday cheese ball! Cheese balls are impressive-looking and usually spawn the flattering question, "did you really make that?" They are also incredibly easy to make, and keep well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for 2 months! As long as you have crackers on hand and a festive plate, you are ready to entertain at a moment's notice. This recipe has many shortcuts: buy pecans that are already chopped, cheese that is already shredded, and a package of ranch dressing mix in place of chopping up garlic and onion.
Step 1: Prepare
Gather the ingredients and utensils! You will need a cutting board, knife, medium-sized bowl, spoon, and measuring cup. Here are the ingredients:
1 12-oz container cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 9)
1/2 of a 1-oz package ranch dressing mix
2/3 cup chopped pecans
Step 2: Mash cream cheese
Empty the container of cream cheese into the bowl. Mash with the back of a spoon to soften.
Step 3: Chop sun-dried tomatoes
Measure out 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (from produce section OR jar), or count out about 9. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces.
Step 4: Mix in tomatoes, ranch, and cheese
Add the tomatoes, the 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, and half of the ranch dressing packet (save the other half for another cheese ball!). Mix together well.
Step 5: Pour pecans onto the cutting board
Well, the title basically says it all! Measure out the chopped pecans and pour onto the same cutting board you were using. Spread out.
Step 6: Get your hands dirty!
Well, not dirty, but a bit cheesy. This is the fun part! Scoop out the cheese mixture and form into a ball with your hands.
Step 7: Drop and Roll
Roll the cheese ball in the pecans, making sure to coat the entire ball.