Wow, It is hard to believe that there are only four days before Christmas. If you are like me, you are still putting all the finishing touches on decorating your home for this season, baking last minute Christmas cookies and wrapping that last present and placing it under your Christmas tree. I prepared this cheeseball last night for my husband’s work place Christmas party today. As usual, I wanted to modify my original recipe calling for cream cheese, shredded cheese, chopped nuts and a one ounce packet of ranch flavor dressing mix. I purchased the 1/3 less fat Neufchatel Cheese to replace the higher fat cream cheese. Next I walked over to the cheese aisle in the grocery store, admiring all of the wonderful varieties of cheese. I selected a few for the holiday season and also purchased a package of Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese made with 2% Milk in place of the shredded cheese made with whole milk. I chose the reduced fat version because I have found that these do not alter the taste and still have a smooth consistency. The revised version of this recipe still contains dairy fat, but much less now per serving with these minor changes. Dairy products are a good source of calcium and protein so I use them in my diet for that reason. I have used some organic dairy products and find the taste of these is very good. My favorite dairy food of all is Black Cherry Greek Yogurt.
I used ground walnuts in my recipe but you could use ground pecans or another variety of nuts as well. Walnuts contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids called alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is a very beneficial for heart health and may also reduce inflammation in the body. Walnuts are also a rich source of polyunsaturated fat, including an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid which also benefits our hearts. Walnuts have also been linked to improving brain health and prevention of cancer in some medical studies. Including a handful of nuts in your diet each day is also a great way to receive dietary fiber, protein and heart healthy fats. Add them to snack mixes or cereal in the morning also. Two tablespoons will provide 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 0 mg of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrate, 2.5 grams of protein and 1 gram of dietary fiber.
- 2 8 oz packages ⅓ less fat Neufchatel Cheese
- 1½ cups Reduced Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese made with 2% Milk
- 1¼ cups chopped walnuts or pecans
- 3 tsp Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Salt Free Seasoning Blend
- 2 tsp minced Dehydrated Onion
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- Set cream cheese out at room temperature in a large bowl for ½ hour before mixing the ingredients together to make it easier to work with. Mix seasonings into the cream cheese with a spoon or mixer. Crush the chopped nuts. After the seasonings are mixed into the cream cheese, add the cheddar cheese and mix well. Form into a ball and roll in the chopped nuts. Refrigerate until serving time and serve on a platter with a variety of crackers and raw vegetables.
If you are a label reader, you will no doubt find that many prepackaged seasoning mixes are very high in sodium content and many also contain monosodium glutamate which I prefer to avoid in my diet. For this reason, I experimented with my spices on hand in my cupboard and substituted the Garlic and Herb salt free Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blend, garlic powder, onion powder and dehydrated minced onion in place of the ranch flavored dressing mix.
You may wish to serve this cheeseball with a variety of crackers and raw vegetables for your Christmas Eve or New Years Eve celebrations. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year readers.
I love decorating my kitchen with vintage table cloths or table runners, antique pictures and other vintage memorabilia. I purchased the table cloth pictured above at an antique store here in my small Minnesota city of 18,000 residents that I reside in. It is right at home on top of my old singer sewing machine purchased for me by my late mother in an antique store in Mapleton, Minnesota. The The Singer Sewing Machine is displayed in my entryway to my home. My advent wreath with red candles sits on top of my old sewing machine welcoming guests into my home.
Have a Merry Christmas as well as a blessed and prosperous New Year!