A lot of people think a cheese ball would be gross... I used to be included in that group of people. Then I actually tried one that wasn't purchased from the grocery store display and vacuum-packed. And I discovered that they can be really good.
You can really adapt a cheese ball depending on what flavors you want. Bacon, green onions, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, etc would all be great additions. In this case, I went with the ranch spice packet because my sister is a big fan of ranch dressing and it was her shower. You can also shape a cheese ball into various shapes, like a football for a tailgate party... cheese balls are great appetizers because they are so easy and versatile.
Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 packet powder ranch dressing mix
1 tsp cayenne pepper
6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, ranch mix and cayenne pepper until light and creamy. Add cheese and scallions and stir until well incorporated. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes until the mixture is slightly firm.
Spoon mixture onto a large sheet of wax paper, wrap the paper around the mix and form into a ball. Remove from wax paper, add chopped pecans to wax paper and roll cheese ball over them, squeeze remaining nuts into the ball using the wax paper. Keep wrapped and refrigerate for at least 1 hour more before serving.