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Rack 'em Up Cheese Balls

 Rack 'em Up Cheese Balls
With chipped beef and three kinds of cheese, this appetizer from our Test Kitchen appeals to everyone. Make ahead of time to blend the flavors.
28 ServingsPrep: 2 hours + chilling

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 packages (2-1/2 ounces each) thinly sliced dried beef, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/4 cups crisp rice cereal, crushed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • TOPPINGS:
  • Blue paste food coloring
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 can (4-1/4 ounces) chopped ripe olives
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 package (2-1/2 ounces) thinly sliced dried beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (green tops only)
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet yellow pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
  • 15 small water chestnut slices
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • Black paste food coloring

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Rack 'em Up Cheese Balls (continued)

Ingredients (continued)

  • 2 breadsticks
  • Assorted crackers

Directions

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta and sour cream; add
  • beef. Beat in the cheddar cheese, cereal, onion and Worcestershire
  • sauce. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  • In a small shallow bowl, combine blue food coloring and Swiss cheese;
  • set aside. Shape cheese mixture into 16 balls. Roll one ball in
  • white onion for the cue ball. Roll another cheese ball in olives for
  • the eight ball. Roll a third ball in colored Swiss cheese; make a
  • stripe of colored Swiss cheese on a fourth ball.
  • With remaining cheese balls, make six solid-colored balls and six
  • striped balls by rolling in the cheddar cheese, beef, red onion,
  • green onions, yellow pepper and red pepper. Cover and refrigerate
  • until serving.
  • Thoroughly pat water chestnuts dry with paper towels. In a small
  • bowl, combine the cream cheese, milk and black food coloring. Cut a
  • small hole in a corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert round tip
  • #4. Fill bag with cream cheese mixture. Write numbers on water
  • chestnuts; lightly press one water chestnut onto each ball (except
  • cue ball).
  • Arrange pool balls on a wooden cutting board. Use breadsticks for
  • pool cues. Serve with crackers. Yield: 16 cheese balls (about 1/3
  • cup each).