Pumpkin-Shaped Cheese Ball

October and November have been very mild months for Michigan which allowed us to enjoy some beautiful Fall foliage and everything else the season has to offer.

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Apples and pumpkins come to mind as well as the beautiful trees.  These pretty Honeycrisp apples and giant pumpkins are from Robinettes, a nearby orchard that I visit on a regular basis.  I bought the apples but not the pumpkins which were slightly too large.

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Giant Pumpkins

I never attempted to make a cheese ball until I found recipes for a cute Pumpkin-Shaped Cheese Ball (no pumpkin in it though).  What it does have are wonderful flavors of cream cheese and cheddar cheese with a slightly spicy taste from the salsa and Fiesta Ranch Dip mix.

I make the cheese ball to serve as an appetizer for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  But it is good any time of the year and for any special occasion.  There are several versions of this recipe out there but this is what I have come up with to suit our taste.  If you are looking for a tasty and easy appetizer to add to your Thanksgiving Day dinner, try this one.

Pumpkin-Shaped Cheese Ball

Pumpkin-Shaped Cheese Ball

16 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons Hidden Valley Brand Fiesta Ranch Dip Mix
3 tablespoons salsa
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups crushed Doritos nacho cheese chips
pretzel rod or bell pepper stem

Using a stand or hand held mixer beat the cream cheese, onion powder, and Fiesta Ranch Dip mix until  creamy.  Add the salsa and cheddar cheese and mix until combined.

Scoop mixture into a plastic food storage bag and use the plastic bag to form a ball.  Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

After chilling, score the sides of the cheese ball to resemble a pumpkin.  When ready to serve, roll ball into the crushed nacho chips and place a pretzel rod or bell pepper stem on top.  Serve with crackers or your favorite chips.  Keep any leftovers in the fridge.    

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Cheese Ball and Cracker

Notes:
1.  If the salsa has a lot of liquid, strain it before adding to the cheese mixture.
2.  I have used the food processor and also a rolling pin to crush the chips. They both work equally well.

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