I’ll never forget the year that I got a stack of handwritten recipe cards from my grandma for Christmas. Sure, it was just a stack of standard 5x7 white note cards with blue lines, and a simple red ribbon tied around it. But it was what was on the note cards that made them super special: family recipes. Over the years I’ve built up quite a collection of tried and true family recipes, but if there is one particular recipe that all of the women in my family favor…it’s my mom’s cheese ball.
Perfect for easy entertaining, this cheese ball originally came from my mom’s best friend, Laurie, in high school. Mom and Laurie are still best friends to this day and her cheese ball recipe has been passed around to all of the women in my family. It even got published in a cookbook, but my cousin Melissa got the credit for it! It’s a long story as to how her name got published next to the recipe, but we sure are going to have a big time teasing her for years to come about it!
One of the reasons I love this recipe (aside from being so easy to prepare) is its ingredient packaging. The dried beef comes in a little glass jar with stars stamped along the rim. The glasses are perfect for reusing as juice glasses, or the larger ones can be repurposed as cracker holders alongside your cheese ball. My mom gave me a whole box of these little star stamped glasses for Christmas a couple of years ago. It was a humorous gift, but also very meaningful because she saved the jars one by one, each cheese ball that she made, until she had a whole box full of them to give to me. Now when I open my cupboard and see the glasses all lined up in a row, I think of my mom, and it brings back memories of family gatherings, undoubtedly with her cheese ball present.
As for the apron in this photo, in all truth…it was chosen around my sweater. I wanted an apron that would match perfectly with my berry-colored cashmere sweater, and this vintage apron was the right one for the job! Kudos to the food stylists for the same pop of color in the cracker jar! I can’t take credit for that like my cousin took credit for the cheese ball recipe. How does that saying go?...“Imitation is the finest form of flattery.” I’ll take after my mom any day of the week.
Rebecca’s Beefy Cheese Ball
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 jar dried beef cut finely
4 oz grated cheddar cheese
Flat leaf parsley for garnish
Crackers for serving
Mix all ingredients in a bowl together and turn out onto a sheet of wax paper. Mold the cheese into a ball and chill in the refrigerator. Before serving, chop up a handful of flat leaf parsley and roll the cheese ball in it. Serve with crackers.
Yield: 6 people
Prep Time: 10mins
Cook Time: Zero