This jalapeño cheese ball is a delicious party snack that’s a little bit kitschy, a lot delicious, and sure to be a crowd pleaser! Just a few ingredients: cream cheese, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, bacon, and pecans. It’s a perfect appetizer for any get-together, especially at the holidays! Scroll down for video!
Perfect Christmas Appetizer!
To me, Christmas season is cheese ball season. Woe is the holiday gathering that does not have at least one cheese ball for me to dip a zillion crackers into. Have I told you the story about the work Christmas party where my BFF and I ate approximately 3/4 of the mango chutney cheese ball so that we could avoid uncomfortable interactions with our coworkers? I’m pretty sure I have (I definitely did in the story about this other easy cheese ball recipe) I am definitely a “linger by the refreshment table” sort of girl. It’s a blessing and a curse, really.
I certainly do not need a holiday or a party to enjoy a cheese ball, though. Show me any random Saturday night and I will show you a cream cheese based snack that Philip and I can enjoy in front of our favorite shows on Hulu. Actually, we enjoyed this jalapeño popper on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, when I had been cooking all afternoon and just couldn’t quite bring myself to assemble a full meal. And then again for a mini-lunch on Thanksgiving day, because my family ate late in the day.
Vintage Appetizer Recipes
Cheese balls seem pretty kitschy, and I’m sure that you could dig around in your mom or grandma or even great-grandma’s recipe file and find a few cheese ball recipes. You know what, though? Kitschy food can still be darn tasty, and I promise you that I’m only on board for flavor. I don’t care too much about trends (though I’ll hop on board if they’re delicious). You probably won’t catch me posting any aspics on here, but I will never apologize for my cheese balls.
Easy Cheese Ball Recipe
My jalapeño cheese ball has all the flavors that I think that a perfect jalapeño popper should have:
- jalapeños (duh)
- cream cheese
- cheddar cheese
There’s no stuffing, roasting, grilling, or frying involved, though, and that makes this easy cheese ball approximately 1 million times easier and less mess than an actual jalapeño popper.
I used canned diced jalapeños, which meant that I didn’t have to slice and dice a bunch of peppers, but you could definitely sub in 1/2 cup of diced fresh jalapeños, or add them to the canned peppers to increase the spice level if you’re brave. Me, I found the faint tinge of spice provided by the canned peppers to be perfect for my wimpy taste buds.
But you…you can feel free to customize this jalapeño cheese ball to meet your spice needs! You could also try my Reuben cheese ball for something completely unexpected!
Yield: 1 large cheese ball
15 minPrep Time:
15 minTotal Time:
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 ounce can diced jalapeños, drained
- 4 ounce can diced fire-roasted green chilies, drained
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried dill
- 1 tablespoon dried chives
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Place all ingredients, including ranch seasoning ingredients, EXCEPT pecans, in a large bowl. Stir until well combined (I used my Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed to do this). Form into a ball and roll in the chopped pecans until thoroughly coated. Chill for at least an hour. Serve with crackers.
I did not include the time to cook the bacon in the prep/cook time.
These easy sausage balls from scratch are a classic party favorite without the need for boxed mixes! Everyone at your holiday party or potluck will love them, and they are also perfect for a Christmas breakfast treat! Your family won’t be able to get enough. Sausage, cheddar cheese, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, and a little milk…so easy and delicious! Scroll down for video!
Christmas Food is the Best Food!
There are so many things to eat at Christmas. I could never pick a favorite. I mean, ranch Goldfish? My grandmother’s egg soufflé? All the cheese balls?? For Christmas dinner, we eat prime rib and twice baked potatoes. Can you see why I❤Christmas?
At every Christmas gathering (including my family’s Christmas breakfast) you are likely to find sausage balls. Little nuggets of breakfast sausage, cheese, and biscuit mix (aka Bisquick), these things are addictive. They’re low-calorie too, so you can eat as many as you like (⬅that’s a total lie). Truth be told, though, I don’t wait for Christmas to make sausage balls.We love to eat them for breakfast or for an occasional Saturday night snack (Saturday night is snack night in my house).
No-Bisquick Sausage Balls
I have nothing against Bisquick. My mom makes her sausage balls with Bisquick and Cheez Whiz (because Cheez Whiz helps them to mix up more easily) and those things are goooood. I’m a biscuit purist, though, so I don’t keep Bisquick or any other type of baking mix in the house, so I’d rather just make my own than go buy a box when I want to make sausage balls.
Easy Sausage Balls from Scratch!
These take approximately one minute longer to make than sausage balls made with a baking mix (that minute being used, of course, to measure the ingredients) and they are every bit as delicious.
Yummy Christmas Treat!
So, whether you want to go the traditional route and use a baking mix or make these easy sausage balls from scratch, just make some sausage balls. It’s Christmas! They are perfect for a holiday potluck or party or for serving for Christmas breakfast. Everyone in your family will love them, and you don’t have to buy a box of mix to make them!
Yield: about 60 sausage balls
20 minPrep Time:
20 minCook Time:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
- 1 pound breakfast sausage (mild or hot, your choice)
- 1 pound cheddar cheese (2 8-ounce blocks), grated
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If desired, spray 2 sheet pans with cooking spray (I actually never bother).
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the sausage and cheese to the bowl along with a couple of tablespoons of milk. Using your hands, work the ingredients together until well-combined, adding milk a tablespoon at a time to moisten the mixture so that you can get all the dry flour (you can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to do this, but I just prefer to use my hands).
- Portion the sausage ball mixture into tablespoon size pieces (I use a cookie scoop to do this) and roll into balls using your palms before placing them onto the baking sheets.
- Bake the sausage balls until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Stack on paper towels for a few minutes to absorb excess butter. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
These bacon sliders are served on Hawaiian rolls with sweet and spicy pineapple-jalapeño jelly. They are perfect for tailgating, parties, or a snack dinner! You can adjust the heat level based on your preferences.
I am fully aware that there is a camp of people who stand firm on their belief that the only sandwich that qualifies as a slider is a burger. And I get it. I mean, I’m from Chattanooga, birthplace of the Krystal burger. But I just feel like there’s room for everyone in the slider game. Mostly because “mini sandwich” just feels so darn clunky.
It is a well-known fact that my favorite type of food is the kind of food that one would eat at a bar or at a tailgate. #spinachdip4eva (seriously, spinach dip is the reason that I basically lived at TGI Friday’s as a college student). Any type of slider included in that list of my favorite foods.
Funny thing is, there are a million different kinds of sliders on the internet. I think the original party sandwiches had ham and cheese and a sweet buttery glaze. Don’t get me wrong, I love those. But I can’t seem to stop making my sliders with bacon. Because you know I.Love.Bacon.
A guy came into Philip’s shop recently with dried pineapple that had been wrapped in bacon, smoked, and drizzled with jalapeño jelly. I wasn’t there, but Philip hasn’t stopped raving about it since. Now, I have a smoker and I have a bag of dried pineapple and I 100% intend to attempt to replicate this recipe.
Problem is, most of you guys probably don’t have smokers, so when I was thinking about how to turn the flavors into something bloggable, bacon sliders were the thing that came to mind. I thought that jalapeño jelly might be a little much, fresh pineapple too wet, and dried pineapple too chewy.
So, I settled on these ingredients for my bacon sliders:
- Hawaiian rolls
- Mozzarella cheese slices (baby Swiss would work too…the idea was to give the sandwiches some texture but not add a ton of flavor since the bacon and jelly are both such strong flavors)
- Pineapple preserves
- Fresh jalapeño
- Poppy seeds (optional, but I like them for a little crunch and visual interest)
Did you even know that pineapple preserves are a thing? I have bought them a few times for various recipes and they are delicious! I like to stir a little bit into plain yogurt. For this recipe, I chopped up a fresh jalapeño and heated it with the pineapple preserves. I only used one jalapeño but you can add as many as you want based on the heat level that you prefer.
What do you like on your sliders?
Yield: 12 sliders
10 minPrep Time:
15 minCook Time:
25 minTotal Time:
- 12 Hawaiian rolls (1 pack)
- 6 sandwich slices mozzarella or baby Swiss cheese
- 1 cup pineapple preserves
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
- 12 strips bacon, cooked and cut into quarters
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the Hawaiian rolls from the package without separating the rolls. Use a serrated knife to slice the rolls crosswise through the center and set the tops aside. Place the bottom halves in a 9x13 baking pan.
- Place the pineapple preserves and the diced jalapeños in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about five minutes. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- Lay the cheese slices across the bottom halves of the rolls. You will need to tear some of the slices in half. Distribute the bacon evenly over the cheese. Carefully distribute the pineapples preserves mixture over the top of the bacon. Replace the top halves of the rolls.
- Melt the butter and mix the honey into the butter. Brush the butter over the tops of the sandwiches. Sprinkle evenly with poppy seeds, if using. Cover with foil and bake for ten minutes. Serve immediately.
The cook time does not include time to cook the bacon. Even though it logistically seems easier to spread the preserves on the bottom rolls, do not do this as it will make the bottom of the sandwiches soggy (ask me how I know).
If you are like me, you can’t get enough grilling in the summer. What better way to hang out in the great outdoors, keep your kitchen cool, and get great tasting food? Grilled naan bread pizza is an easy crowd pleasing weeknight dinner!
Who’s Responsible for the Grill?
I used to fall squarely into the trap of “men grill and women cook in the kitchen”. I just started grilling last summer, after almost 16 years of marriage. One day I just decided that it was summer and I wanted grilled food and since Philip’s schedule is too crazy for him to do much grilling I was going to have to do it myself!
Our grill went kaput at the end of the summer last year so we just got a new one. Cook’s Illustrated recommended the Weber Spirit E-310, but since it is just the two of us we decided that we didn’t need three burners. We went for the two-burner Weber E-210 instead and it has been great so far!
Grill All the Foods!
Speaking of Cook’s Illustrated, I got an America’s Test Kitchen book, Master of the Grill, to help me with cook times and ideas for the grill. I am sure that you will see me refer to it plenty of times over the summer! I have been putting everything I can think of on the grill. I make it a goal to never turn on my oven from May to October because it is so hot here. Grilling helps me accomplish that goal (I occasionally break the rule if I need to bake something in a pan that is too big to fit in my countertop oven).
Grilled Naan Bread Pizza
Costco sells giant packages of naan bread in the bakery section for just a few bucks and I love the stuff (if you happen to think ahead, though, this is an amazing recipe for homemade naan bread). I prefer it to storebought pita bread for dipping into hummus, and of course it is amazing with homemade curries (this butter chicken from HalfBaked Harvest is one of my personal favorites).
One of my very favorite ways to use this naan bread, though, is grilled naan bread pizza. I mean, what’s not to love about something that is (a) pizza; and (b) thrown together in less than 10 minutes on the grill? As in, you literally assemble it on the grill? Mine has grape tomatoes and basil, but you can customize this anyway you want.
Tips for Perfect Grilled Naan Bread Pizza
- Don’t grill too hot! I preheated my grill to medium and honestly, I could have turned the heat down a little bit more and been in good shape
- Get your ingredients ready before you put the pizzas on the grill. Once those bread rounds hit the grates, this is all going to go very quickly! I like to put everything in individual bowls and transport them on a cookie sheet to the grill.
- Use plenty of oil! I clean my grill with a brush once it gets hot then I oil the grates with a wad of paper towels held on long tongs. Then I oil the naan bread too!
- For extra non-stick insurance, use foil or parchment paper. For foods that might easily fall apart or that have toppings, I like to put a little square of foil or some parchment on the grill. The food will easily lift off of that without leaving behind half of your dinner!
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Yield: 4 servings
10 minPrep Time:
4 minCook Time:
14 minTotal Time:
- canola or vegetable oil for the grill
- 4 naan bread rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces mozzarella, grated (I used fresh but you could also use low-moisture)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped or julienned basil
- Preheat the grill to medium heat for fifteen minutes. Use a grill brush to clean the grates. Hold several paper towels folded or wadded in long grill tongs. Dip the paper towels into the canola or vegetable oil and thoroughly oil the grill grates.
- Brush both sides of each piece of naan bread with olive oil. Place 4 sheets of aluminum foil or parchment paper on the grill and place a piece of naan on each piece. Cover and grill for two minutes.
- Flip the naan bread rounds. Divide the mozzarella and halved tomatoes among the naan rounds. Cover and grill for an additional two minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Use a large grill spatula to carefully remove the pizzas from the grill. Top with the basil, slice, and serve.
Prep time includes active time to top the pizzas while they are on the grill.