THREE HOLIDAY INSPIRED APPETIZERS.
Three different items from them to create these recipes. All the recipes shown within this post can be made ahead of time, making entertaining at home easy. You can make these, set them out and not have to worry about them for the rest of your event, meaning you’ll enjoy more of the party! Plus, I’ll share a few tips on how to make these dishes travel in case you want to take them to a potluck, office party, or wherever you are headed this season.
Chili Cheese Ball
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag of Fritos corn chips, I prefer the scoops here
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cumin, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (reserving the other 1/2 teaspoon), red pepper flakes, cayenne, black pepper, and salt. Cream until well combined.
Using a soft, rubber spatula, form the mixture into a ball and place in the center of a piece of plastic wrap. Roll up into a ball. Place this inside a piece of tin foil and roll that into a ball as well. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, in a food processor grind together 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1/3 cup Fritos corn chips. Roll the cheese ball in the mixture and place on a serving plate. If you want to dress it up in a little fresh chopped cilantro, you can but this is optional. Serve alongside the remaining Fritos corn chips.
If you are taking this to a party, simply leave the cheese ball in the tin foil and bring the ground chip mixture in a small plastic bag. Roll and put together your plate once you get to your destination as this will ensure your cheese ball is looking top notch, because no one likes a lumpy misshapen cheese ball.
Fruit Cake Party
2 cups Rold Gold Pretzels, tiny twists are best here but original are OK too
1 small pound cake (from the bakery section at most grocery stores), approx. 12 oz.
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried dates
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 oz. rum
Prep the pound cake by cutting into small cubes and letting those dry out a little, at least 1 hour but (covered) overnight is OK too. Think French toast, as the bread dries it will absorb more flavor later. Also cut the dates into 2 or even 3 pieces depending on the size.
Add the pretzels, cubed cake, pecans, cranberries, and chopped dates to a large mixing bowl. In the microwave (or on the stove top), melt the butter and then stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and rum. Drizzle this over all the ingredients and toss so everything gets coated in the mix.
Bake at 375° for 10 minutes, tossing once in the middle of bake time.
Once this cools it’s ready to serve, or you can store in an airtight container for at least 2-3 days. This one travels super well, in a bowl or in a big plastic bag (if a serving bowl will be available once you arrive at your destination), so you don’t really need any tips on that from me.
Hot Chocolate Popcorn Balls
1 bag (10 oz.)
1/2 cup butter
1 bag (10 oz.) marshmallows
1 packet hot cocoa
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
In a large pot (I like to use a stock pot when making popcorn balls), melt the butter over low/medium heat. Once melted, stir in the hot cocoa mix. Then add the marshmallows and stir as those melt. As soon as they are melted (or like 95% melted), remove the pot from the heat and stir in the popcorn. After a minute or two, as it cools a little, then stir in the mini marshmallows as well.
Coat your clean hands in either a little butter, oil, or cooking spray. Quickly press the popcorn into balls and place on a piece of wax paper. Working with the popcorn quickly here and handling it the least you can helps so it won’t stick to your hands. If it sticks too much, you may need to wash your hands halfway through to remove the residue and re-butter your hands before finishing all the popcorn balls.