cream cheese conundrum
February 14, 2010 3:30 PM   Subscribe

What can I do with 3 lbs of cream cheese?

I just received a large tub of Philadelphia brand cream cheese, a whole 3 lbs worth. It expires in 2 weeks.

Aside from spreading on a bagel, what else could this be used for? I Googled cream cheese recipes and found mostly ideas for cakes and pies. I'm not much of a baker so is there something easier I can make with it?
posted by cazoo to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is a very commonly used recipe for NO BAKE cheesecake.

1 (8 oz.) pkg. softened cream cheese
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. sour cream
1 lg. graham cracker crust

In medium size bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add Eagle Brand milk, stir in lemon juice and sour cream; blend ingredients well. Chill 20 minutes then fill pie crust. Chill 2 hours and garnish with your favorite fruit topping. May be covered and frozen (thaw 45 minutes).
posted by mmf at 3:33 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

You don't need to be a baker to make non-baked cheesecake.
posted by flabdablet at 3:34 PM on February 14, 2010

I know you're not much of a baker, but here's a really easy cupcake cream cheese recipe:

Philly Blackforest Stuffed Cupcakes

It's basically just sticking a layer of cake mix in a muffin tin, then a layer of cream cheese, cherries, and then the rest of the mix.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:37 PM on February 14, 2010

Cream Cheese Flan
Flan de Queso

½ cup sugar
1 - 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
8 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients together. Carefully pour into prepared pan and bake at 350º in a "baño de Maria" (bain marie) for about 50 minutes or until golden. Test with a knife as you would a cake, it should come out clean. Remove from oven, cool and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

I'll be right over
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:38 PM on February 14, 2010

note bain marie is not as frickin complicated as it seems - put your smaller baking pan inside a larger baking pan with water in it.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:39 PM on February 14, 2010

You can use cream cheese in a lot of savory stove-top things. I used to make something similar to this Alfredo sauce and I've been briefly obsessed with this Buffalo Chicken Dip (I usually poach a chicken breast, leave out the cheese, and do it all on the stove). The Ingredient Search on AllRecipes is pretty good for when you have a lot of some ingredient. You can specify what category of food you want: dessert, appetizers, etc.
posted by loulou718 at 3:42 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cream cheese makes unbelievably good grilled cheese. If you throw a little thyme, garlic, black pepper, and teeny bit of nutmeg in, it's even better.

You can stir it into mashed potatoes.

You can mix it with the aforementioned ingredients, spread it on pre-toasted bread, run it under the broiler, and put the resulting awesomeness on a salad.

It is good in omelets, making a luscious, creamy center.

You can mix it with a little shredded cheddar and stuff jalapenos with it.

It's actually a lot more versatile than people give it credit for; it's got a good texture, melts well, plays well with others.

And if you go nuts with a cheesecake, I, a total non-baking person, made this by scrupulously and obsessively following every detail of the recipe and reading it over and over before trying anything. Then making Mr. Llama check my every step. It was worth it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:42 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lump a spoonful into the pan when you're scrambling eggs. Mmm, mmm, good.
posted by ixohoxi at 3:58 PM on February 14, 2010

Spinach-artichoke dip is basically a load of cream cheese mixed with spinach, artichokes, sour cream, and whatever else you want to add to make it better (garlic, chili, parmesan topping under the broiler...). Cream cheese is the biggest ingredient though. A lot of bubbling baked & broiled dips and casserole-y type things are basically cream cheese with other stuff mixed in.
posted by jeb at 3:59 PM on February 14, 2010

Self link, but cream cheese chocolate chip cookies.

(3 pounds will make a LOT.)
posted by Lucinda at 4:00 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cream cheese frosting for carrot cake is a good reason to love cream cheese. It's pretty straightforward - a package worth of cream cheese, several cups of confectioner's sugar, some lemon juice or vanilla extract. Carrot cake is best made with pineapple juice, in my opinion.

You can also slather the stuff on a variety of delicious cupcakes - is my goto for baked goods.
posted by ajarbaday at 4:03 PM on February 14, 2010

You can mix it into pasta sauces. Mix it into mashed potatoes. You can use it in place of sour cream on baked potatoes. Add some garlic, chives, Parmesan cheese to softened cream cheese. Spread on a loaf of french bread and bake.

I love this recipe: It's easy. It's not baking, it's assembling.
posted by Fairchild at 4:05 PM on February 14, 2010

Assembling might not be the right term. Dumping is better.
posted by Fairchild at 4:06 PM on February 14, 2010

take what you want, donate the rest, the sooner the better, or they'll just throw it out.
posted by Max Power at 4:14 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

make truffles!

three ingredients required to make some dead simple truffles.

1 (16 ounce) package OREO chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.

Dip balls in chocolate using 2 forks or tongs; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs or colorful sprinkles, if you wish.

Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.
posted by ibechase at 4:20 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

The equivalent of a brick of cream cheese + a tin of refried beans + a jar (+/-) salsa + equivalent of a can of corn (+ chopped jalapenos? black olives?) --> bake = dip! It freezes very well. Very vaguely similar
posted by kmennie at 4:23 PM on February 14, 2010

If you are willing to experiment with deep frying, you could make cream cheese wontons and/or crab rangoon. Get some wonton skins at the grocery store and you can stuff them with a variety of fillings and deep fry for a few minutes.

I second the grilled cheese suggestion, although I also like to have other cheese in there (like maybe cheddar).
posted by cabingirl at 4:25 PM on February 14, 2010

I just today made a wonderful mushroom pate which uses cream cheese. I found it in one of the early Moosewood cookbooks.

8 oz mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 onion
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup ricotta
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 tsp. thyme
cayenne pepper, to taste
black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
1 T. dry white wine
2 T. flour or wheat germ
paprika (a dash)

Preheat your oven to 400. If you want a firm pate, grease a loaf pan; if you want a softer, spreadable pate, grease a 2-cup casserole dish.

Chop the onion. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a saute pan and saute the onion for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt, mustard, thyme, pepper, and cayenne. Stir well, and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 5 minutes, stir in the wine and cook another 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour or wheat germ, and cook about 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Cut up the cream cheese into chunks and dump them into a food processor. Dump in the onion/mushroom mix on top and process until smooth. Dump out into a mixing bowl and stir in the ricotta really well.

Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan or casserole. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400 for 1-1/4 hours. Remove from oven, let cool a bit, and then stick it in the fridge to chill.

This made for a quite nice sandwich for lunch today -- this pate spread on toast.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:28 PM on February 14, 2010

Go get some Fischer & Wieser Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. Mix with cream cheese. Spread on everything.
posted by 26.2 at 4:30 PM on February 14, 2010

Lump a spoonful into the pan when you're scrambling eggs. Mmm, mmm, good.

This is good, but even better, in my opinion, is to fold small globs of cream cheese into the scrambled eggs after they're off the heat and plated. Sprinkling of chives or scallions optional.

I am always recommending this on AskMe, but if you can't use it all (3 lbs is a lot), I wonder how it would take to ice-cube-tray freezing? (Freeze in an ice-cube tray, then pop out and put in freezer bags.) Some cheeses take on a grainy consistency, so it might not work, but then some (parmesan, for instance) freeze very well.
posted by palliser at 4:32 PM on February 14, 2010

I would make a cheese ball!

8 oz cream cheese
around 6-8 oz ham or turkey
1 bunch green onions
hot sauce
walnut pieces, chopped fine (optional)
ritz crackers

Mix the meat and onions in a food processor until chopped fine. Mix in the cream cheese and hot sauce by hand until well mixed. You don't want a ton of hot sauce, just enough to taste it in the background. Roll the whole thing into a ball and roll it in the chopped nuts to make a crust. Serve with crackers. Mmm.
posted by beandip at 4:57 PM on February 14, 2010

Blend it up in a food processor with garlic and herbs.
posted by ishotjr at 5:00 PM on February 14, 2010

I'd use some of it to roll up in sushi! I've personally never made sushi before, but I'm sure if you haven't either, it'd be a great learning experience!

Your co-workers will love you to death if you brought in a couple cream cheese coffee cakes too. The recipe linked there uses blackberries, but you can substitute any berry in for that or just leave it plain cream cheese. My roommates hated (and loved) that recipe I used because they'd eat the entire cake in one sitting.

On another note, if you absolutely love cream cheese, you can always eat it with a spoon.
posted by astapasta24 at 6:18 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Use it (generously) instead of mayo, with or without herbs mixed in, on wraps and sandwiches. It's especially nice on turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches.

Mix it with dill and fill a smoked salmon omelet.

Give half to a friend who bakes. Ask him/her to share the results.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:21 PM on February 14, 2010

There's always the option of covering it with shrimp sauce and serving it for appetizers with shrimp.

Maybe you should have a themed party and invite friends over to help you eat it all?
posted by questionsandanchors at 7:33 PM on February 14, 2010

My family's favorite hors d'oeuvre is simply cream cheese spread out on a dish with pepper jelly (or sweet pepper relish) on top. It tastes great on Ritz crackers, or anything really and is absolutely addicting :)

Also, my every day version of this is spreading out cream cheese, putting salsa on top (I prefer Newman's Own Peach Salsa), and then eating it with tortilla chips. You should be able to go through 3 pounds in no time!
posted by karyotypical at 9:45 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Savory noodle kugel is a good choice.

And seconding the wonderfulness in mashed potatoes.
posted by eleanna at 10:25 PM on February 14, 2010

Make loads of these.
posted by InsanePenguin at 3:12 AM on February 15, 2010

You can freeze it. When it defrosts you might have to mash it up a bit with a fork, but it'll be fine.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:24 PM on February 15, 2010

Thank you guys. Lots of good suggestions in here. I don't even know where to begin.
posted by cazoo at 9:04 AM on February 16, 2010

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