When I think of cream cheese, I immediately think of bagels. I love bagels and cream cheese. However cream cheese is wonderful in many other recipes.
I think one of my favorite recipes is crab and cream cheese wontons. Although meant as an appetizer, I can easily devour a dozen of them leaving no room for the actual dinner.
Crab and Cream Cheese Wontons
4 ounces of crab meat (you can use fresh or canned)
2 ounces cream cheese (solid is best, not whipped)
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons chives
Small dish of water
Mix the crab, cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chives together. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.
Put a spoonful of mixture into each wonton shell. Use water to moisten the edges and fold into triangles.
When ready to eat, heat in oil until brown on both sides.
Another of my favorite recipes using cream cheese is this recipe for chocolate cupcakes, using cream cheese to make them very moist:
Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes
1 package chocolate cake mix (any brand)
1 package cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips (I always use milk chocolate, as I like the cupcakes sweet)
Preheat oven to 350F. Put cupcake papers into pan. Prepare chocolate cake mix according to package instructions and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and the softened cream cheese until smooth. Beat egg and add to sugar mixture, mix well. Gently mix in the chocolate chips. Fill cupcake cases 1/2 full of chocolate cake batter. Then add 1 full teaspoon of cream cheese mixture to center. Top with more chocolate cake batter. Cupcake cups should be 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched in center.
Note: You can use peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips for a wonderful peanut butter and chocolate taste.
And finally, a wonderful cream cheese dip to serve with either crackers or vegetables:
Horseradish & Cream Cheese Dip
2 packages (3 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use low fat)
1/4 teaspoon salt pepper to taste (experiment using both white and black pepper)
6 slices of bacon, crumbled
Mix the cream cheese, horseradish, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Add bacon pieces and mix. Refrigerate over night so flavors can blend.
This is just a small sample of what you can do with cream cheese as your main ingredient in recipes.