Roasted red peppers and fresh herbs basil, chive and thyme add notes of sweetness, licorice and a hint of peppery finish in ways that will surprise you. Add a drizzle of oil just before serving, and pass the pita chips. —Laura Julian, Amanda, Ohio
For a pretty holiday presentation, I like to place this cheese ball on a festive platter and surround it with wedges of unpeeled apples and assorted crackers. People are always pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors in every bite. —Pat Habiger, Spearville, Kansas
Gloria Wark has been serving this thick mild-tasting mixture with snack crackers for more than 20 years. "I usually have everything for the simple yet delicious dip on hand, so I can prepare it in a snap and refrigerate if for parties and get-togethers," explains the Houston, Texas cook.
Curry and chutney combine nicely in this out-of-the-ordinary spread. "For dippers, use thick apple slices, carrot sticks, crackers, cocktail bread or a combination of these," suggests Barbara Beard of Lexington, Kentucky.
This recipe is pretty simple as is, but to save even more time, leave the block of cream cheese whole and let your guests spoon up what they'd like. If you can't find crystallized ginger, simply substitute with a 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger. —Lori Stefanishion, Drumheller, Alberta
In Graysville, Alabama, Beth Parker has contributed this rich creamy spread to family get-togethers for years. "I was able to lighten up the original recipe with out loosing any of the terrific flavor," she says.
If you "carrot" all about serving up a good time for your guests, plant this playful appetizer on your party menu. I make this for parties, and it catches everyone's eye.—Pam Goodlet, Washington Island, Wisconsin