Friday, December 23, 2011

Big Easy Ball o' Cheese and Ham

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

You know what I like about this recipe. Well, a lot. It's easy. It's quick. It's really really good. Plus, it will work for the casual Christmas party you're throwing tonight for a few friends, or the New Year's Eve get-together next week when you don't want to go all out. And if you're one to eat a ham for Christmas dinner, this is an awesome way to use up some of your leftovers.

All that I ask is that you don't underestimate it for its simplicity. These few ingredients pack a mighty tasty punch. You can make it with deli ham, but if you've got that leftover whole ham, that will really take this up a notch.

Big Easy Ball o' Cheese and Ham
Makes 1 big ball
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cost: $3.50-ish
(cream cheese: 2.00, mayo: .15, nuts: .50?, ham: 1.00?--okay, I'm a little sketchy on the costs here, since I used leftover ham and may or may not have forgotten to measure my nuts)

16 oz. cream cheese
1/4 C mayo or Miracle Whip (I used mayo)
1/4 C onion (it gets pureed if you're not into onion-y texture, but if it's the taste that really bothers you, I must warn you, the onion taste is detectable--not overpowering, but yes, it's there)
5 oz. ham
1 C chopped pecans (or walnuts if you happened to be the unprepared type who has no pecans lying around and is not willing to go to the store on Dec. 23rd)

If you're pecans/walnuts are not pre-chopped, put them in a food processor and give them a go until they're good and fine.

Take them out and put them in a different bowl. Wipe or rinse out your processor.

Now put in your cream cheese, mayonnaise, and the onion. Blend until it's smooth and creamy.

Add the ham and pulse or run it on low until the ham is in small bits, but not pureed. This is the part that kind of makes this cheese ball for me. If you get the ham nice and small, the taste and flavors it has are distributed beautifully throughout the cheese ball, but there's enough texture left that nobody feels like they're dipping their crackers in ham-flavored baby food.

Shape your cheese ball. (Confession: I'd never done this before and was a little nervous. It was easy. You just begin plopping it on your serving vessel and shape it into a ball with a spatula.) Sprinkle/pat nuts on until the entire ball is covered.

Serve or cover and refrigerate for later.


And Merry Christmas from Snowbeard the Pirate here:
Clearly my sense of the aesthetic is defunct.

1 comment:

  1. That looks so delicious! I am definitely making hat with some leftover ham next week! Minus the onion, of course. Maybe some powder, but no raw onion!



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