As we’ve mentioned before, no one should try to raise a busy family alone. Many of us need partners to make life worth living. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to my silent partner, coffee, after all, it is caffeine that makes my world go round. However, when it comes to cooking and baking, my partner is cream cheese. This go-to ingredient is universal. It can be used for appetizers, for lunch and dinner, and for dessert. It’s inexpensive and it never lets me down. If a recipe calls for cream cheese, I know that it will pair nicely with any drink in our fridge, and let’s be honest, any bottle in our wine rack. My children love anything that incorporates cream cheese. Even my picky daughter. Here are some of my family’s favorite recipes using the one and only cream cheese.
Appetizer: Salsa Rolls
Is there anything better for a cook out or a potluck than hundreds of little spicy rolls of cream cheese? I don’t think so. It’s also the easiest appetizer to throw together last minute. Chances are also high that most people have these ingredients in the fridge right now. In fact, I think even my college self had all of these on hand.
4 ounces of cream cheese (½ a block)
1 cup of salsa
I start by heating the cream cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds. This helps it soften. I add the salsa and stir it into a thick paste. If I want the spicy kick to be more of a toe tap, I sprinkle about a teaspoon of cayenne into the mixture, but if I want the kick to be full on ninja warrior, I wait until I spread the paste onto the tortilla and then sprinkle the hot powder. I spread a liberal amount of the salsa/cheese mixture onto the middle of the tortilla but I keep in mind that I’ll have to roll it up soon. Then, I sprinkle enough cheese to be satisfied, and add some cayenne for extra heat. I roll the tortillas into tubes and place them on the cutting board. I repeat until the mixture is gone. Once I have them all rolled, I cut them into bite sized portions. I place them neatly in a container and refrigerate for at least an hour before indulging. All of my kids love these, and I’ve never left a party with leftovers. They are simply perfect because cream cheese is involved.
I always knew I loved enchiladas, but I never understood why until I started making my own. The cream cheese factor perfects this dish. Much like the salsa rolls, the base of the cream cheese mixed with the spices makes this a favorite at my house.
1 pound of chicken breasts
1 can diced chili peppers
1 block of cream cheese (Cubed)
Two 8 ounce cans of green enchilada sauce
1-2 cups of Colby Jack cheese
I start by cutting up the chicken into small pieces. I pan cook the chicken through, and then I add the cream cheese cubed followed by green chilies at the end. I make sure to not cook the enchilada filling too high or the cheese will get hard. Once the chicken mixture is ready, start to divide it evenly on the tortillas. I like to make about eight tortillas, but that number will vary depending on how much filling is used per tortilla. Arrange enchiladas in a baking pan and then pour the green sauce over each enchilada and sprinkle with cheese. Put in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Enjoy for dinner (and it reheats nicely for a quick lunch the next day). My boys love this meal the most!
This classic dessert has been one of my favorite treats since I was a child. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to make it myself. Now that I am adulting full time, I enjoy preparing this meal for my family. It’s a win every time.
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookies
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 kiwifruit, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup halved or quartered fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup apple jelly
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. Break up cookie dough in pan; press dough evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Spread mixture over cooled crust. Arrange fruit over cream cheese. Kelly’s family gets creative with this dish. One year she used blueberries, whip cream, and strawberries to make the American flag. Stir jelly until smooth; spoon or brush over fruit. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. To serve, cut into wedges or squares.
There you have it. Cream cheese recipes never let me down. These are my family favorites for sure, and they can add unique flavor to any dinner or get-together. Do you have one ingredient that you love in everything? Please share some of you favorites with us. Thank you for reading, friends!