I have a couple recipes I copied from The Complete Tightwad Gazette which was a book written back in the 90s about being frugal before it was as fashionable as it is today. Most of the recipes she wrote about how to stretch your food dollar weren't very good, like adding water to leftover casseroles to make soup the next day. Yuck! If you are looking for a much better book on economical cooking, I would suggest An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, by Tamar Adler. However, Amy Daczyzyn did leave me with one recipe that I have adapted as my own over the years for a cheese ball. Her other recommendations, such as having a perpetual garage sale at your house or using a menstrual cup instead of a tampon really didn't leave a lasting impression on my life, but her cheese ball recipe has become mine.
I have made it so often, I no longer use the recipe itself. I ditched her suggestion of using pimientos in it in lieu of using more fresh peppers and I much prefer using garlic powder instead of garlic salt. I added fresh ground pepper to the mix, too. Not sure why she went for pimentos in the first place - they are way more expensive than red peppers. She suggested making cheese balls for Christmas gifts, and I have to agree it's a great hostess gift. I make it for family gatherings - at Christmas time, I like to make it with red and green peppers. I also make them for the green room for every production of the Dexter Drama Club, and the high school kids love it. I will make them in bulk the week of the show and store them in the fridge wrapped in plastic, but I haven't tried freezing one yet to see if that would work, too. Maybe this holiday season, I will give freezing one a try!
1/4 brick cream cheese
1 T minced onion
1 t garlic powder
2 T mayonnaise
1/4 c green pepper, chopped fine
8 oz finely grated cheddar cheese
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 c chopped or ground nuts (optional - there's usually a kid with a nut allergy in every production, so I usually skip this when I make it for the drama club)
Combine all ingredients except the nuts in a medium bowl, it's easiest to fix with your hands. Add salt and pepper to taste. Form into a ball, and roll in nuts. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours so the flavor melds and the cheese softens and forms a cohesive ball. Serve with crackers.