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I love entertaining. I love having friends and family over, any time of year, any occasion – whether it’s a holiday or simply a Sunday. When people ask what they can bring, I usually tell them their appetite and a smile.

But as much as I love to entertain, making new recipes and old favorites, I recognize that entertaining can be a lot of work. Now with two kids under the age of three, I feel that more than ever. Over the past several months, I’ve been trying to simplify what I make – keeping the flavor but eliminating some of the time in the kitchen. I make whatever I can ahead so that I can enjoy my time with my family and friends.

These mini-cheese balls quickly became a hit in my house, and a line on my upcoming holiday menus. They’re easy and quick to throw together and can be combined well in advance. The spread has a slight heat from the addition of the cayenne, but being able to customize the coating to our tastes really made this a winner. Last time I made them, I went with a combination of salty-sweet with the pistachios and cranberries, and savory, mimicking an everything bagel. But the combinations are endless.

Check out the recipes at the end of this post, compliments of the Sunday Supper tastemakers, for more easy entertaining ideas. And please, leave a comment with your favorite easy holiday entertaining recipe!

Mini Cheese Balls - Two Ways

Mini Cheese Balls

Mini Cheese Balls

Two Ways: Everything and Cranberry-Pistachio

Base recipe adapted from Sweet and Savory

Coating by Books n’ Cooks

Makes 24 small balls

Ingredients for the Cheese Balls:

  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 a bunch of chives, chopped finely
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the “Everything” Coating:

I used a ration of 1:.5 for this coating – half the salt and onion. The below quantities are based on a 1/2 batch of cheese balls with this coating.

  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds (toasted, if desired)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. onion flakes

Ingredients for the Cranberry-Pistachio Coating:

I used a ratio of 1:1.5, cranberries-pistachios, for the coating. The below quantities are based on a 1/2 batch of cheese balls with this coating.

  • 2 Tbs. dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbs. shelled pistachios, roughly chopped


Mix coatings in small dishes. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the cheese balls. Use a mixer to thoroughly combine, if needed. Use a small cookie scoop (mine is a 2-tsp. cookie scoop) to portion out cheese mixture. Roll in prepared toppings and set on a serving dish.

Serve at room temperature with your choice of crackers.

Make Ahead: Cheeseballs can be made and stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.


Check out more easy, stress-free entertaining ideas from the Sunday Supper tastemakers.



Main and Side Dishes

Desserts and Baked Goods

Plus a No Stress Party Checklist and Recipes for Easy Entertaining by Sunday Supper

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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