Healthier Appetizer: Mini Pear-Almond Cheese Balls

With an average of 4,500 calories in a Thanksgiving meal, light bites are the best bet to make and eat as an appetizer. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients for a small appetizer are great to keep guests satisfied until turkey time.

Make sure to fill half you plate with greens or vegetables, 1/4 with protein and 1/4 with a seasonal starch is a smart and balanced way to make up your holiday meal. Remember it’s important to promote healthy holiday habits and traditions at a young age to help children make better food choices as they age.

Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium firm ripe pear, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon rind
  • 1 scallion, white and green separated, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted almonds

Mini Pear-Almond Cheese Balls

Instructions
1. Stir cream cheese, goat cheese, cheddar, pear, lemon rind, scallion whites, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Freeze for 15 minutes.
2. Divide cheese mixture into 36 equal portions (about 2 teaspoons each), rolling to form 36 balls. Freeze 10 minutes.
3. Just before serving, combine almonds and the reserved scallion greens in a shallow dish. Roll the cheese ball in the mixture, pressing to adhere. Serve immediately with crackers or veggies. Enjoy!

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