This past Thursday, we just celebrated Thanksgiving with family. The kids couldn’t come down from the Mittens this year, so there were only eight of us. It was still fun though, spending time together with family and enjoying good food.
As usual, if we have Thanksgiving at our house, we would prepare the Roasted Turkeys and Ducks ala La Caja China. These have become the easiest Roasted Turkeys that Hubby ever made. No brining, no nothing. Just seasoned the birds and throw them into the box. Well, not literally. 🙂 The outcome was super moist, and delicious turkeys and crinkly skin.
I was in charged of the other stuff like drinks, dessert and Mom’s Fruit Salad which was super easy and refreshing. Mom cooked the Dressing, Gravy, and Sweet Potato Casserole. Carla and Larry brought Creamy Mash Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie, and Banana Pudding. Lori brought her famous Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans and Pumpkin-Chocolate Trifle. John and Tien brought Pork Tamales for us to nibble on while we waited for the birds to be done. So, all in all, we had plenty of food for eight of us, but not too overly-much food.
Sadly though, since we are all adults, we couldn’t indulge in food like when we were kids. I had to scoop up small portions of each food so I could taste all of the deliciousness, and even that filled my belly up! I remember when I was in my teenager, I could eat fourth helpings for lunch, and still eat two helpings or more for dinner. It is not fun to be an adult, especially when your body is starting to rebel against you.
So, from all the food we had, we were all so full and couldn’t have dessert! And that was supposed to be the fun part! I think next time we should do dessert first and then the meal. At least that’s how we do it at one of the family reunions. Whoever started that tradition, understands their priorities!
So, although we requested John to bring an appetizer, I couldn’t help myself not making these cute pumpkins! I found this recipe years ago for a Halloween snack day at the office. I wanted to share this cute snacks idea during the Halloween, but I remember I just didn’t have time to go to the big grocery store and get the soft cheese I need. So I planned to make them for our Thanksgiving instead.
The recipe called for Cheddar cold pack cheese food. I asked the “Cheese Man” and he didn’t know what it was. Luckily, they have spreadable cheese, so I grabbed that container. The other ingredients were peanuts, pretzels, and parsley leaves.
Since sometimes I am quite anal, I wanted to have the same size pumpkins. So I weighted 4 oz of the cheese, and put them into a small loaf pan.
Then I spread the cheese inside that pan, and divided the cheese into four equal parts.
I scooped one part of the cheese and rolled them into a ball.
When I was done, I had eight round cheese balls, and they were not smooth looking either. As the cheese touched the palm of my hand, the heat was transferred and the cheese started to soften up. So I just put them into the refrigerator to harden. Note: I should have lined them with wax paper instead of putting them directly onto the plate. The cheese somewhat stuck and I had to pry them off of the plate!
Then, I just used the tip of my finger to smooth out the surface a little bit, and used a toothpick to mark the lines for the pumpkin’s ridges.
On a separate plate, I put the chopped up peanuts into small heaps.
Then I placed each pumpkin on top of these chopped peanuts…
Picked parsley leaves, and broke about half an inch long of pretzel, and sticked them on top of the cheese ball.
So there they were! Pumpkin-shaped cheese balls! 🙂
Aren’t they cute?
I think they are!
So, how do you like them? 🙂
Print recipe here.
Recipe courtesy Betty Crocker
Guests will enjoy clever edible pumpkins, whether served as an appetizer or used as a garnish. What a treat!
8 tablespoons smoked Cheddar cold pack cheese food (from 8-oz container), well chilled
2 teaspoons finely chopped peanuts
4 butter-flavored pretzel spindles or sticks, broken in half
16 tiny pieces fresh parsley leaves
Line small serving plate with waxed paper. Roll each level tablespoon cold pack cheese food into a ball; place on waxed paper-lined serving plate. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes for easier handling.
With end of toothpick, draw ridges around balls to resemble pumpkins. Dip bottoms of cheese balls in chopped peanuts.
Just before serving, insert pretzel halves into cheese balls for pumpkin stems. Decorate with parsley for leaves. Store in refrigerator.
Makes 8 pumpkins
Turn the pumpkin making into a family affair! Have one person roll the cheese into balls and another shape the balls into pumpkins, while someone else can dip the pumpkins in peanuts and insert the pretzel. It’s easy to double the recipe, so make as many as you’d like!
Did You Know?
The texture or firmness of cold pack cheese food can vary from brand to brand. Buy two brands, use the firmer one for pumpkins and snack on the softer one while making them!
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