Appetizer Cheese Trees
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- packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- cups shredded Cheddar cheese (16 ounces)
- tablespoons pesto
- tablespoon grated onion
- teaspoon ground mustard (dry)
- or 3 drops red pepper sauce
Have ready at serving time
- cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
- cup pine nuts
- tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
- Assorted crackers, if desired
- 1 Mix cream cheese and Cheddar cheese; divide in half. Mix pesto into 1 half; mix onion, mustard and pepper sauce into other half. Cover each half and refrigerate about 4 hours or until firm enough to shape.
- 2 Place cheese mixtures on cookie sheet. Shape each half into cone shape to look like Christmas tree. Roll trees in parsley, pressing parsley 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 if desired. Serve with crackers.
- This is a great do ahead appetizer. After shaping cheese mixtures on the cookie sheet, wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, label and freeze up to one month. Twelve hours before serving, remove the trees from the freezer. Thaw in wrapper in the refrigerator. Continue as directed.
- Here's an idea the kids will love! Instead of trees, make snowmen! Shape the cheese mixture into a Snowman Cheese Ball (you'll have enough to make 2 small snowmen or 1 large one). Omit parsley, pine nuts and bell pepper. Mix cream cheese and Cheddar cheese; divide into 3 equal parts. Mix 2 parts to equal two-thirds of mixture; mix in pesto. Mix onion, mustard and pepper sauce into remaining one-third of cheese mixture. Refrigerate as directed. Shape each cheese mixture into 2 balls; roll in 1/3 cup finely chopped blanched almonds. Arrange balls on serving plate with smaller ball on top for head of snowman; press together slightly. Insert pretzel sticks for arms. Decorate as desired with capers, sliced olives, chopped carrots, sliced cucumber, chopped bell peppers and fresh thyme leaves.
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