Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball

I'm beginning to think cheese balls are a strictly Southern thing after some of the reactions I've gotten from making one for dinner parties. I don't think I ever went to a dinner party at home where there wasn't some kind of cheese ball, and I am thankful I am not lactose intolerant for this reason. I love me some cheese. This recipe is for the most basic and easy cheese ball I've ever made - it's a really simple and quick option for an appetizer. I used the "low fat" options for the ingredients, but really, you're eating a big ball of cheese on buttery crackers, so it's not like it makes a huge difference.

1 tbsp light sour cream
1 pack dry ranch dressing mix
8 oz Neufchatel cream cheese
1/2 lb shredded cheddar
1/2 cup pecans (pronounced pee-cans, not puh-cahns)

Combine the sour cream and ranch mix until it's smooth. Add the cream cheese and the cheddar. I used a form to mix them, but you may need to just combine with your hands to get it totally incorporated. Refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes, and then shape it into a ball. Roll the ball in the pecans and refrigerate until it's time to serve.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Easy Pita Bread

Since I made a big batch of hummus and had it all to myself, I decided to try making pitas because I am not a fan of how store-bought pitas go stale so quickly. These were really easy, and they turned out great! 

1 1/8 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
t tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Combine all ingredients until combined. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and and roll into flat circles. Place the dough on a metal cooling rack, and cover it with a damp towel for 30 minutes again until the circles get slightly fluffy. Keep the pitas on the cooling rack (2-3 will fit), and place the cooling rack directly into the oven. Bake the pitas at 500 degrees for 4-5 minutes, or until the puffed up tops begin to brown slightly. Take them out of the oven and immediately cover with the damp towel again. Repeat this until all of the pitas are baked. After they cool, cut or break them in half.