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Grandma’s Cookbook: 3 Cream Cheese Recipes Fit for the Holidays

These three forgotten gems from the 1950s are perfect to bring back (70 years later!) to all your Thanksgiving parties. As always, feel free to make substitutions to customize these recipes!

Cream cheese recipes - party salmon pate
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Party Salmon Pâté

Recipe by Marian Hankins

Almost any spice that goes well with fish can be added (or substituted). Be cautious with the liquid smoke, which can make this dish very salty -- use 1/2 teaspoon to begin and then taste. This recipe can be made the day before to allow the flavors to meld. Great for a Thanksgiving or Christmas party! Ingredients:

  • 1 (14.75 oz.) can of pink salmon

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened (1.5 bricks; can be light or low fat)

  • 2 teaspoons minced horseradish

  • ½ - 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1-2 Tablespoons minced, dried onion (or 3 Tablespoons minced fresh onion)

  • 1-2 Tablespoons chopped, dried parsley (or 3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley)

  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)

  • Paprika, parsley, lemon slices, dill, and green olives for garnish


  1. Drain and carefully remove the skin and bones from the canned salmon. Using two forks, flake the remaining fish into uniform pieces.

  2. Add the softened cream cheese and all the spices; mix thoroughly to achieve a smooth, stiff mixture, not quite a paste.

  3. Lightly spray a fish shaped mold with nonstick vegetable spray. Press the pâté into the mold and refrigerate at least 2 hours before unmolding.

  4. If you don’t have a mold, don’t worry! Wet your hands first so the pâté won’t stick. Then, on a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper dusted with cornmeal, form into the rough shape of a fish about 8” long (shape and size to fit the serving platter).

  5. Sprinkle the tail area with paprika and use a triangle cutout stencil to make a paprika fin. Sprinkle on additional parsley flake scales and a sliced green olive with pimiento center for an eye. Serve on a bed of Panko crumb “sand.” Serve with Melba toast or Wheat Thin crackers.

  6. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. If taking to a party, make a day ahead but wait to decorate until closer to serving time.

Cream cheese recipes, Thanksgiving cheeseball

Aunt Fern’s Festive Thanksgiving Cream Cheese Ball

Of the hundreds of cheeseball recipes available for parties, this is one of the easiest and most delicious. Make it a day ahead, press into a pretty mold, and turn out onto the serving platter just before the party begins. Sprinkle the top with chopped vegetables and voilà! A beautiful, delicious addition to any party table. Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. (2 bricks) cream cheese, softened

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chives

  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes

  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried dill

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

  • chopped black olives, diced yellow pepper, and baby tomatoes for garnish


  1. Mix together the cream cheese, butter and all the spices until well blended. Fold in the chopped red bell pepper.

  2. Lightly spray a circle, pumpkin, or star shaped mold with nonstick spray or vegetable oil.

  3. Press the cheese mixture into the mold and top with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

  4. To serve, unmold the cheese and place on serving plate. Smooth the top with a spatula or knife and decorate with chopped yellow pepper, diced black olives, and baby tomatoes.

  5. Serve with crackers, celery sticks, or cucumber circles.

Cream cheese recipe, pumpkin pie dip

Super Simple Pumpkin Pie Dip

Recipe by Anna Howard, Baton Rouge


  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

  • 8 oz. (1 brick) cream cheese (can be light), softened

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Beat all ingredients until soft and smooth.

  2. Pour into serving bowl and cover tightly. Chill up to 8 hours to thicken.

  3. Serve with pear and apple slices and ginger snap cookies.

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