I'm posting this as part of the Frugal Friday carnival at Life as Mom.
Keep cream cheese on hand for easy entertaining. At $1-$3 depending on brand and whether it is organic or not, cream cheese is a versatile ingredient to keep in your refrigerator.
- If you have a boxed cake mix handy, make it seem special. Pick a jelly or loose jam from your refrigerator. With a large tip on a pastry bag, pipe the jelly into the center of the cupcake. This adds a little extra pizzazz to a normal cake mix. Then, whip softened cream cheese with powdered sugar using an electric beater to fluff up the mixture. Adjust the amount of powdered sugar to your liking, but I usually add at least 1/4 cup. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla if you desire, but note that it will tinge the mixture a light tan color if you use real vanilla extract. Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!
- If you have a can of chili in the pantry or some in the freezer, heat it up. Pour it over a block of cream cheese and sprinkle the cheese of your choice on top. Serve with crackers or chips. Yum!
- If you have some graham crackers or pretzels available, top the cream cheese with any type of preserve, jelly or jam for a sweet treat.
- If you have an herb garden, make my Herbed Cream Cheese Spread and serve with crackers or French bread.
- Have a few savory crackers available? Top the cream cheese with an onion relish or hot pepper jelly for a sweet and savory treat.
- Want a delicious sandwich for your next tea party? Chop green olives filled with pimento and mix them into a block of softened cream cheese (adjust the amount based on your taste, but add at least 10 chopped olives per block of cream cheese). Spread onto pumpernickel or another flavor of bread. Sprinkle with a little Tony Chachere’s seasoning for color (optional). If you would rather make this into a cheese log or cheese ball, simply form the ball or log and roll in chopped walnuts or chopped pecans.
- Do you have a can of crab meat in the pantry? By all means use picked crab meat if you are lucky enough to have fresh available. Mix 1 T. cocktail sauce with 1 small can of crab meat and 1 block of cream cheese. Warm in the microwave slightly if desired. Serve with crackers or French bread.
Get creative using what you have. Experiment—that is how I have found some of my best recipes. Enjoy!