I struggled with the title for the post. I went with ‘feta-ccompli‘, but also considered asking for your un-feta-d attention. Because, you guys – I made mini feta cheese balls. You know what the three best things about that sentence are? ‘Mini’, ‘feta’ and ‘cheese balls’.
The conditions for making mini cheese balls were just right: Nick and I were hosting dinner for some of our family members, and I had an unopened pack of feta in the fridge that was just begging to be used. And, as with other snacks I like to make, the transition to making them miniature was a natural one.
I do have a go-to recipe in my Party Girl Cookbook for a ’50s Cheeseball – packed with pimento, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, and sharp cheddar- and I could snack on good sharp cheddar cheese all day. But with the tang of feta blending with herbs, something about these mini feta cheese balls just seemed downright fancy, and too hard to pass up.
Mini Feta Cheese Balls (adapted from this recipe)
Cheese balls are so easy (instructions: mix it all together, shape it into a ball) but can look so impressive. Here’s what you’ve got to mix together:
- 2 8-oz packages of softened cream cheese
- 4 oz of crumbled feta cheese
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 chopped green onions (the recipe said 5 green onions, but for me, any more than 3 would have been too much)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 teaspoons dried dill weed
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, then mix them up using a hand mixer (or a big spoon, I guess, if you’re the less lazy type).
Scrape down the sides of the bowl – so you won’t leave any cheese spread exposed – and cover the cheese with plastic wrap.
It’s a little too soft at this point to roll into mini balls, so set it in the fridge to chill for a while. I can’t tell you exactly how long because, well, it was late and I got tired and went to bed. But I would guess at least an hour in the fridge, or if you’re in a hurry you can try the freezer for a while.
To make the balls, lay out a piece of waxed paper on the counter – just so you don’t have to clean an extra plate, or the counter – and scoop the cheese onto it in rounded teaspoons. I used one of those fancy mini-ice-cream-scoop looking things.
The recipe didn’t say how to cover the cheese balls, and I wanted to stray from the traditional covered-in-nuts method, so I took a cue from the recipe’s photo: roll it in dill. But straight up dill would have been overwhelming to me.
So, to cover the cheese balls, mix together 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese with 2 teaspoons dried dill.
Gently roll each scoop of cheese into some approximation of a ball, and roll them in the Parmesan and dill mixture.
This could go a bit faster if you enlist your husband (or roommate, significant other, or bff) to help, but if he’s busy making pasta sauce from scratch, you can handle this task on your own.
Arrange the cheese balls prettily on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
To serve, place a toothpick in each cheese ball, and arrange your favorite crackers on the plate. Done!
This recipe made a ton of cheese spread. If you’re making large cheese balls, it makes two. I made 32 mini cheese balls, and had enough spread and Parmesan/dill mix left to make a cheese log to take to the office.
If you make the full recipe like I did, but don’t have a pack of hungry coworkers to share it with, I hear that cheese balls freeze very well. But I can’t verify this – there’s no cheese left!
Oh, except for three mini cheese balls. Which I’m going to eat right now.