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    Nutty Pimiento Cheese Balls

    These bite-size pimiento cheese balls from Jamie and Bobby Deen are a huge hit with kids (of all ages). They’re the perfect appetizer to bring to a summer picnic. Jamie and Bobby share a passion for great home-cooked food with a Southern flair with their celebrity-chef mom, Paula Deen. These brothers are following in their mom’s footsteps with their own TV shows, books and website. Our favorite part of what they’re up to: healthy makeovers of some of Paula’s recipes! Recipe adapted from The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up, by Jamie & Bobby Deen and Melissa Clark (Ballantine Books, 2011).

    Ingredients

    • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, Neufchâtel, softened; generous 1/4 cup
    • 8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, about 2 cups
    • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, about 2 cups
    • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
    • 3 tablespoons pimentos, chopped, drained
    • 1 teaspoon onion, grated
    • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1 pinch pepper, freshly ground
    • 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, finely chopped

    Instructions

    Step 1
    Process cream cheese in a food processor until smooth. Add Cheddar, Monterey Jack, mayonnaise, pimientos, onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Scrape into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
    Step 2
    Place pecans in a medium bowl. Roll the cheese mixture into 1-inch balls and coat each ball evenly with pecans.
    Step 3
    Serve the cheese balls at room temperature or chilled.

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