Saturday, January 4, 2014

Appetizers: Part 1, Old Favorites


To start off our appetizers posts, I wanted to share some old favorites that we have already shared before. You should also check out a few of our past appetizers posts here and here. Oh, and if you do a search for "appetizers" in the search field at the top left-hand corner of our blog, you will find many more!

Rita’s Sweet Red Pepper Sauce


12 – 14 large red bell peppers
2 T. uniodized salt
3 cups sugar
2 c. white vinegar
8 oz. cream cheese


Chop fine or grind in food processor. Add 2 T. uniodized salt. Let stand 3 hours. Drain well. Add 3 cups sugar and 2 cups vinegar. Simmer about 1 ½ hours, until thick. Yield: Around 1 quart. Store in refrigerator up to 18 months. Pour over block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Source: My mom got this recipe from a lady in her ward.

Notes: This is another addicting appetizer, so watch out. If you don't have the time to make red pepper sauce, you can do a shortcut version and serve salsa over the cream cheese and serve it with tortilla chips. It's a completely different taste, but it is yummy too!

Sweet Pumpkin Dip


1 (15oz.) can pumpkin
2 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
Sliced fruit, bite-size cinnamon graham crackers, mini bagels, English muffins


Beat cream cheese and pumpkin in large mixer bowl, until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve as a dip or spread.

Source: I have no idea! Mom, where did you find this one?

Notes: This is wonderful on graham crackers (cinnamon or honey). You can also serve it with sliced apples.

Cheese Ball


2 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 (5oz.) jar Roka cheese (see substitute below, if you are unable to find this in stores)
2 (5oz.) jar Olde English cheese
2 T. grated onion
1 tsp. water
½ tsp. accent
Chopped nuts


Mix together. Chill 12 hours. Roll in chopped nuts.

Source: I believe that this is a Kraft recipe that my mom found in a mailer years ago. It's one of my favorites. It's so flavorful! It's a great Christmas gift idea too. I haven't found this recipe online. If I find it, I'll post the link.

Notes: This makes a lot, so I divided it into two cheese balls. I rolled one cheese ball in chopped almonds, and the other in shredded cheese. 

Kraft Roka Blue Spread Substitute

1-1/4 cups or 10 servings, 2 Tbsp. each


1 tub (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
1/4 cup Athenos Crumbled Blue Cheese


Mix ingredients until well blended.

Add up to 1/3 cup water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if thinner consistency is desired. For added tang, stir in 1/2 tsp. white vinegar.


Use half of this recipe as the perfect substitute for the discontinued 5-oz. jar of Kraft Roka Blue Spread.

Refrigerate any leftover spread. Serve with your favorite crackers.

Source: I found this by doing a web search. For a time, Kraft's Roka spread was discontinued. However, it looks like it is back in production again as I found it in stores in December 2013.

Cheddar Cheese Ball


1 1/4 pounds extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup dry sherry (see notes)
1 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3-1/2 cup sliced almonds


Process all ingredients except almonds in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl lined with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Unmold onto a plate, Press almonds evenly over surface, rounding top. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.

Source: Martha Stewart website. You can find it here.

Notes: I didn't use the sherry. I don't cook with alcohol. Instead, I used about 1/6 cup red wine vinegar mixed with 1/6 cup water (to equal 1/3 cup liquid). The Halloween version of the recipe has you roll the cheese ball in poppy seeds (so that it is black on the outside and orange on the inside). I really like this cheese ball though and wanted to try a non-Halloween version, so I rolled it in sliced almonds instead. It was great this way too.

You can find our Halloween post where we originally included this recipe here.

1 comment:

  1. The cheese ball is such a basic recipe and I've been using it since the 80's. I used to give them out as gifts for our ward family members and they were always a hit. I remember trading one every year for Collette Dennis' home dipped chocolates.

    That red pepper spread is really so good. I keep thinking I want to make it with red, yellow and orange peppers. I think green would be too bitter. It's such a sweet, tangy taste. Yum. The different colors would be so pretty. It's a good gift to give out, too. Nice hostess gift.