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Recipe: Bacon-Cheddar Cheese Ball

Though our Thanksgiving meal is the same traditional menu served when I was a child ¬†celebrating at Grandma’s house, we’ve added appetizers to the celebration. The spread of cold finger-foods keeps the men and kids out from underfoot in the kitchen. Shrimp and cocktail sauce. Corn chips and salsa. Mixed nuts. Cheese ball and crackers. I know, Cholesterol Central. I try to undo a little of the damage with a hefty bowl of grapes.

Bacon-Cheddar Cheese Ball

2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese – softened
1/2 pound cheddar cheese – shredded
1/2 cup green onions – chopped
6 slices of bacon – cooked and crumbled
1 clove garlic – minced
3 tablespoons pimento (roasted red pepper) – diced
3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley – minced

Blend all ingredients. Form into a ball. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. Serve with crackers.

Okay, so that’s the basics. Here’s a few other notes about the recipe:
1. The pre-bagged shredded cheese doesn’t mix in as well as block cheese shredded on a grater.
2. I use turkey bacon. I know. Why bother? For the same reason I serve the grapes.
3. The ball can be rolled in chopped pecans to make it look pretty. I don’t, because there are family members who can’t eat nuts.
4. If there are any leftovers, the flavor only gets better the day after Thanksgiving. I could prepare this earlier, but for some reason I resist the idea. I want it freshly made for THE day.

Easy and tasty. Enjoy!

Pesto Genovese

The basil is loving our hot humid weather. I had more than enough to make a batch of pesto.

 I use my food processor to mix all the ingredients.

Yum!

The recipe originally came from a James Beard cookbook. He adds a little parsley which isn’t always done, but I do like the flavor.

4 cups fresh basil leaves
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup Italian (flat leaf) parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil – to your taste.
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Put first five ingredients in the food processor with 1/2 cup of oil. Process, adding more oil to make a paste as dry or wet as you like. Add cheese and process a few more seconds.

I enjoy this fresh on pasta, as a spread on sandwiches or brushed on grilled vegies. This recipe makes a large amount, so what’s left goes into ice cube trays and is frozen to use through the winter. Just defrost and use as you would fresh, or pop a cube in a pot of beef stew or minestrone for added flavor.

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