Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spicy Chili Cheese Ball (& 2 Variations)

Here's a feisty, full-flavored appetizer to serve at your next March Madness party or other get-together.

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
8 oz shredded cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese (or some of each to total 8oz)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
2 to 4 drops hot sauce (a basic vinegar-pepper sauce like Texas Pete or Scorned Woman Hot Sauce works best)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup chili powder

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the chili powder until thoroughly mixed. Form into a ball. Place the chili powder in a shallow bowl or on a flat plate, then roll the cheese ball in the chili powder until completely and evenly covered. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove plastic wrap and serve with crackers.

Variations: For a tasty barbecue variation, use your favorite BBQ dry rub or seasoning instead of chili powder. And for a mild but flavorful option, omit the hot sauce, substitute 2 Tbs diced pimento for the jalapeno, substitute shredded mozzarella for the cheddar/Pepper Jack cheese, and substitute Big Daddy's Superb Herb Seasoning for the chili powder.

Zestfully yours,

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