FIVE INGREDIENT COOKING: Parties start with Christmas appetizers

Pam Griffin

Christmas Cheese Ball

2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 (1 oz.) pkg. Ranch style dressing mix (not dip mix) minus 1 Tbsp.

2 cups chopped pecans

4 pecan halves

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and dressing mix.

Form into one large ball or two smaller balls. Roll in chopped pecans to coat surface. Decorate the top with pecan halves. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

25 fresh jalapeño peppers

14-16 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 (16 oz.) pkgs. bacon

3 green onions, chopped

Cut stems off of peppers and cut them all in half longways. Remove seeds.

Pre-cook the bacon halfway.

Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese and onions.

Fill each pepper with cheese mixture.

Wrap 1/2 slice of bacon around each pepper half.

Place on baking sheets and place in 450 oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until bacon is fully cooked.

Remove and serve when cooled. Makes 50.

Fresh Herb Dip

3/4 cup sour cream

1 scallion, minced

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1 Tbsp. fresh chives, finely snipped

1 tsp. tarragon vinegar

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until blended. Cover tightly and chill. Serve with assorted raw vegetables.

Spinach Balls

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach

1 1/4 cups packaged herb stuffing

1/2 cup margarine, melted

3 eggs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 small onion, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After cooking and draining spinach very well, combine with rest of ingredients.

Roll into balls, using teaspoon to measure. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet at once and drain. Serve hot. Makes about 36.

Five ingredients do not count salt, pepper, butter, oil and optional ingredients.