Holiday Tree-Shaped Cheese Ball
An easy, eye-catching way to serve a holiday cheese ball. The best news? You can make it up to a month in advance!
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons basil pesto
- 1 tablespoon grated onion
- 1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard
- Red pepper sauce
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
- Piece of lemon peel, if desired
- Assorted crackers, if desired
- Stir together cream cheese and Cheddar cheese; divide in half.
- Stir pesto into 1 half; stir onion, mustard and 2 or 3 drops pepper sauce into other half.
- Cover each half; refrigerate about 4 hours or until firm enough to shape.
- Place cheese mixtures on cookie sheet.
- Shape each half into cone shape to look like a pine tree.
- If desired, wrap each tree, label and freeze up to 1 month.
- Twelve hours before serving, remove trees from freezer.
- Thaw in wrapper in refrigerator.
- Just before serving, roll trees in parsley, pressing it evenly onto trees.
- Press pine nuts onto trees in string form for garland.
- Press bell pepper pieces onto trees for ornaments.
- Top each tree with star shape cut from lemon peel.
- Serve with crackers.
Yield: 7 cups spread
Special Touch: Place the tree in the middle of a platter covered with a cloth napkin "tree skirt," and surround it with crackers of all shapes and sizes for the "gifts."
Substitution: A combination of fresh basil and oregano instead of the parsley or cilantro gives this tree Italian flair!
Nutrition Information: 1 Serving: Calories 165 (Calories from Fat 135 ); Total Fat 15 g (Saturated Fat 9 g); Cholesterol 45 mg; Sodium 180 mg; Total Carbohydrate 1 g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 6 g
Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 12 %; Vitamin C 2 %; Calcium 10 %; Iron 2 %
Exchanges: 1 High-Fat Meat; 1 1/2 Fat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Recipe and photo credit: Betty Crocker 2007/TM General Mills