Recipe: Marinated Cheese {Appetizer}

by Cate on March 20, 2014

An easy-to-make marinated cheese appetizer that is perfect for entertaining small and big crowds alike.

Marinated Cheese appetizer-003

To say I have masses amount of new recipes I want to try would be an understatement.

Which may or may not explain my penchant for risking new recipes on new dinner guests.

So it’s safe to say that whenever company comes calling, whether new friends or old, there will be new recipes on the table.

And heck, even when company isn’t calling too.

The only difference is that entertaining allows me to try three or four new recipes, and when it’s just me and the kids, it’s likely one or two.

A few weeks ago, my friend Cathy and her family came over for dinner. A casual affair, kids playing, grown-ups chatting, a perfectly chill vibe hung in the air.

Which, if you need to know, is kind of my favorite vibe.

And appetizers? Pretty much my favorite part of the meal.

I bet you thought it was dessert.

Nope, that course is relegated to my eat-all-the-sweets six year old.

Who lives for dessert.

For this dinner party, we went Southern with a marinated cheese appetizer.

I had seen this recipe floating around for years. Years and years and years. I had clipped the original when I first saw it in Southern Living magazine, and then recently I spotted it on Pinterest. Gotta love a virtual recipe box … all in the name of reducing paper in my house.

It makes for such a pretty presentation, how can you not be intrigued by this one? I’ve gotta say, though, I was a little leery of eating straight-up cream cheese. I mean, it’s just not something you do.

Smear it on a bagel?

For sure.

Use it as an ingredient in a recipe?

No doubt.

But all but its lonesome?

The jury was out.

The recipe comes together in nothing flat and has just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. The most challenging part is cutting the cream cheese in small squares. And it’s not like that’s rocket science. Although the recipe suggested freezing the cream cheese to make it easier to cut neatly, well, ain’t nobody got time for that. All was ok, albeit a little messier, without the freezing.

And, I mean, look at the finished product.

Total party pleasing fare.

The finished cheese stacks have a garlicky vinaigrette-type dressing poured over it and that is just a total game changer.

Marinated Cheese appetizer on cracker-001

Especially when it comes to the cream cheese portions.

Just take a little fork and put a cream cheese and cheddar square on a good cracker and pop it in your mouth.

This, folks, is good stuff.

And even better the next day after it got a chance to marinate even longer in that awesome garlicky dressing.

Spring has officially sprung and outdoor entertaining can begin, in earnest, soon! She says with great hope in her voice. Whether you’re having some girlfriends over, entertaining a small group, or just want something a little special to perk up a ho-hum weekend dinner with your fam, give this one a whirl.

It’s a keeper.

Marinated Cheese
Recipe courtesy of Southern Living magazine, 2006, adapted by The Kitchen is My Playground

1 (8 oz.) block sharp cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz.) block Monterey Jack cheese
1 (8 oz.) 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2 oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1.  Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake to combine.  Set aside.
2.  Make sure cheeses are well-chilled (you can put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes to make it easier to cut).  Cut block of cheddar in half lengthwise; then cut crosswise into 1/4″-thick slices.  Repeat with the Monterey Jack and the cream cheese.  Arrange cheese slices alternately in a shallow baking dish, standing slices on their edges.
3.  Pour the marinade over cheese slices.  Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours.
4.  To serve, transfer cheese slices to a serving platter in the same alternating pattern.  Spoon marinade over the cheese.  Serve with assorted crackers (I used Ritz).

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne March 21, 2014 at 6:35 am

Cream cheese is definitely one cheese I’ve never seen marinated before, but if you say it’s good i must try it! Adding it to MY endless list of recipes-to-try.
Joanne recently posted..Jalapeno White Bean Burgers


Toni | Boulder Locavore March 21, 2014 at 10:40 am

I have certainly had marinated cheese in an appetizer but until I read your post I would not have thought to actually make the marinated cheese myself. What a great idea!
Toni | Boulder Locavore recently posted..Springtime Asparagus Leek Romenesco Quiche


Rebecca {foodie with family} March 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

Okay. I would go nuts on a tray of that. It would have to be for me. ALL for me. :)


Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen March 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

I like that it’s easy to throw together ahead of time too!
Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen recently posted..Cucumber Noodles with Asparagus and Ginger Scallion Sesame Sauce (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan, Paleo)


patsy March 22, 2014 at 12:26 pm

I’m totally making this next time we have friends over! Yum!
patsy recently posted..Sauteed Baby Purple Brussels Sprouts from Frieda’s #healthynewyear


Jean May 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I think freezing the cream cheese for a bit actually turns out to be a time saver when I make this. It’s so much easier to slice and line it up when slightly stiffer than trying to deal with soft gooey cream cheese.


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