Redneck Thanksgiving: Appetizers

I love my family. I have loved every childhood trip into the hills of eastern Ohio for Thanksgiving, gorging on thick, homemade egg noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy.

That said, Coshocton County generally is not an outpost of culinary excellence.

Flipping through my aunt's church cookbook shows how her neighbors who don't share her cooking skills are celebrating Thanksgiving -- and sometimes it's not pretty.

For those pressed for time, looking to do some ironic cooking or just plain angry at their arteries, we present the first in a series of recipes to help you enjoy a Redneck Thanksgiving.

Let's start with some appetizers. It's not a holiday without a cheese ball.

Cheese Ball

• 1 large cream cheese, softened • 1 small container cream cheese with chives • 1 small jar pimento cheese • 1/4 lb. Velveeta cheese • ¼ lb. Cheddar cheese • A little bit of Worcestershire sauce • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard • 2 Tbs. mayonnaise • 2 Tbs. butter • Paprika, salt, pepper to taste • Chopped nuts • Parsley

Blend all ingredients except nuts and parsley together and chill. Form into a ball and roll in chopped nuts and parsley.

Well, it does have some veggies in it. Parsley packs a powerful health punch, right?

Now let's add a shrimp dip from Wendy.

Shrimp Dip

• 1 can tiny shrimp • 1/2 cup chili sauce • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened • 1/2 cup mayonnaise • ¼ cup chopped onion • 2 Tbs. horseradish

Mix and serve with Bugles.

Cream cheese and mayo? ...Why not?

We're obviously missing some meat in these nibbles. Let's try Betty's ham puffs.

Ham Puffs

• 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened • 1 egg yolk • 1 tsp. baking powder • Dash of salt • 10-12 slices Wonder bread • Mayonnaise • 1 large can (4.5 oz.) deviled ham • Paprika

Combine cream cheese with egg yolk, baking powder and salt; mix until blended and smooth. Cut about four small rounds from each slice of the bread, using a biscuit cutter. Spread each round lightly with mayonnaise. Spread each with a thin layer of deviled ham. Spoon the cheese mixture onto the ham and sprinkle with paprika. To serve, put into the oven at about 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until puffed and browned. Serve immediately. Yields about 45 puffs.

Enjoy. And, you know, go for a jog soon.

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