Bacon and Chive Cheese Ball

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Appetizer season is here, and this is definitely a great one! I got this recipe from my friend Boo Fields, this cheese ball is her creation and her idea the only things I did different was add real bacon bits and dry dill and adapt the exact amounts of every ingredient to come up with this awesome cheese ball dip.  Boo made this recipe for a Christmas party and I could not get enough of it, everyone loved it and it was the star of the party! I recreated this cheese ball dip last night for a movie night with our friends and brought it over their house, we really enjoyed it and it was a great snack for a movie night. I paired this cheese ball dip with flip sides pretzel crackers, let me tell you about this snack… It completes me. It is literally half side pretzel and half side cracker, baked into one and it sounds weird, even looks interesting, but it tastes AMAZING!!! This “pracker” as I call them, totally brings out the flavors of this cheese ball and goes so perfectly with it. I just recently discovered them and wanted to share them with the world, you must try them yourself, you just have to! After all crackers, pretzels, pita chips, potato chips and everything else is so yesterday. If you really want to impress your taste buds, this snack will do it! Okay, enough said, just take a look at these ingredients and you will understand. 😉

Bacon and Chive Cheese Ball {Serves 4-6}

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Cream Cheese (8oz) *Softened about an hour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Dill
  • 1 heaping teaspoon McCormick Perfect Pinch (Spice) Bacon and Chive flavored *Pictured Below
  • 1 teaspoon Real Bacon Bits (+ 1 teaspoon to top/decorate the cheese ball)
  • 1-2 pressed Garlic Cloves, depending on your love of garlic (I like 1 clove)
  • Crackers or Snack or your choice. I used Town House Pretzel Crackers *Pictured Below*
  • Optional: Almonds or walnuts (I did NOT use any nuts)

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Directions:

1) Cut the cream cheese into about 1 inch squares (I cut 4 vertical lines from top to bottom, and 1 horizontal line, to make perfect cubes) and put it into a large bowl.

2) Add the dill, McCormick bacon and chive spice, bacon bits, and pressed garlic to the bowl with the cream cheese and press down with a fork, making the cream cheese soft then mix very well with a spoon.

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3) Put a piece of aluminum foil on the counter top. Using a spoon put the cream cheese mixture on the foil and using your hands, form the cream cheese mixture into a ball. You just kind of roll it with your hands, molding it until it becomes a perfect round cheese ball.

4) Carefully pick it up using your hands, and neatly place it into a little bowl that you want to serve it in. Then sprinkle 1 more teaspoon of the bacon bits all around on top of the cheese ball. This makes the cheese ball look extra pretty and gives it even more flavor.

5) Cover the cheese ball with foil and refrigerate until it is ready to serve, otherwise it will get too soft. *Optional: If you wish you can also cut almonds or walnuts into little tiny pieces and top the cheese ball with nuts instead or along with the bacon bits. I did not do that because I like to keep it simple and was not sure if the friends we were visiting had any nut allergies but my friend Boo used nuts to top her cheese ball at the Christmas party and it tasted great, if you are a nut lover definitely try it.*

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Tortilla Crab Roulette Rolls

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These tortilla crab roulette rolls are super delicious and so simple to prepare! It is one of my hubby’s most favorite appetizers that I make and he requests it for any big dinner event and of course every big Holiday event! It has become a tradition to make these for Christmas every single year and if I don’t, it feels like there is something missing on the table. My favorite part about this appetizer is that it can be made a day ahead of time and stays good in the fridge for up to a week, although in our house it does not last that long! Lol. So it is great for a big dinner or party if you have guests coming over and are overwhelmed with a lot to cook, this dish can be crossed off your list the day before. I have been making this appetizer for years now, just never had a chance to post it yet, it has been tried by several friends and relatives and everyone always loves it. So, if you are having a hard time choosing an appetizer to make for an important event, this recipe will not fail you! 🙂

Tortilla Crab Roulette Rolls {Serves 14-18} 

Ingredients:

  • Imitation Crab Meat, Flak Style 24 oz (Usually 3 packs of 8 oz)
  • 5 Flour Tortillas (Big Burrito Size)
  • 3 1/2 cups Mexican Blend Cheese (Shredded)
  • 8-9 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s Brand)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic

Directions:

1) Cook your eggs to make them hard boiled. Meanwhile, cut all the imitation crab meat into small pieces and set it aside in a big bowl. Once the eggs are done, cool them off, peel them and cut them also into small pieces. Put the shredded Mexican blend cheese into a separate big bowl.

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2) In a separate bowl or measuring cup, put the 1 cup of Mayonnaise. Peel the garlic cloves and add them into the Mayonnaise using a garlic press. Mix very well to distribute the garlic evenly.

3) Take a big piece of parchment paper or foil and lay it down on the table (This is not necessary but makes cleaning much easier afterwards.) Put the tortilla on the parchment paper and using a butter knife, spread a thin, even layer of the Mayonnaise mix on it. It should be about 3 heaping Tablespoons of Mayo mix per each tortilla.

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4) Then using your hands, evenly sprinkle the Mexican blend cheese over the mayo.

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5) Then evenly sprinkle the hard boiled eggs over the layer of cheese.

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6) Then evenly sprinkle the imitation crab meat over the layer of eggs.

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7) Then roll up the tortilla into a roulette, or burrito looking roll. Then put the roll in foil and tighten the foil around the roll so it does not loose its shape and stays like a roulette roll.

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8) Refrigerate over night or at least 8 hours. Then when you are ready to serve it, just carefully take it out of the foil and cut it into pin wheels. *Make sure to cut it into thick (About 3/4 inch thick) pin wheels, if you cut it too thin it will fall apart and loose it’s shape! Cut the ends off, because they do not look pretty with the way the tortilla just hangs off the sides, so I do not put it in the serving plate I either eat it or discard it. I have my husband help me with this step, he cuts and I hold them so they don’t fall and break apart, then neatly transfer them to a serving plate. *Best served cold, right out of the fridge, so cut right before serving them.

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Korean Carrot Salad (Markovcha)

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This is probably my most favorite salad ever, and I do not throw the word “favorite” around. It is the classic Russian carrot salad (Markovcha) Although it is actually an authentic Korean dish that has been adapted by Russians/Ukrainians.  I am sure most Russian/Ukrainian people have tried this salad at one point or another and can agree with me that it has become a traditional favorite. I have this salad on the table at all the special occasions, fancy dinners, and especially Holiday dinners, and it is always the first dish gone! I always make a double or sometimes even triple batch of it to enjoy for the next few days. This salad is common at almost all Russian/Ukrainian weddings and for good reason! This is my version of the salad, I got this recipe from my mother in law Tamara, but of course have added a few of my own changes to it. You should have seen that coming. 😉 I have yet to try a Korean carrot salad that tastes better then this one. I hope you all enjoy it just as much as my family does.

Korean Carrot Salad {Makes about 2.2 pounds. Serves 12-14}

Ingredients:

  • 1 Kilogram Carrots (About 2.2 LB)
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 packs of Korean Carrot Salad Seasoning (Found in most Russian, European, Polish stores.)
  • *IMPORTANT TOOLS*: Mandolin Slicer (My dad bought me one at an Asian store.)

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(I did not take a picture of the ingredients as they are very basic ingredients, But for those that need it, here is a picture of the Korean Carrot Salad Seasoning. It usually cost .65 or .75 cents and can be found at most Russian, European, and Polish stores. I got mine at the Polish store.)

1) Wash and peel all the carrots then set them aside in a big bowl.

2) Take a large bowl and using the mandolin slicer, slice the carrots into thin, matchstick like, neat strips. (I used a big pot because this was for a party and I made 3X as much and it only fit into a big pot lol.)

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3) In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, pressed garlic, pepper, and Korean carrot salad seasoning packets. Mix it very well.

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4) Add it to the large bowl (Or pot in my case lol) with carrots, pour it on top. Then mix the carrots very well until well blended with the sauce and seasonings.

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5)Cover and refrigerate over night or at least 10 hours. It is then ready to be enjoyed. Just make sure to mix it very well before putting it into the serving bowls!

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(And a close up, so you can see the texture, and detail.)