Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls & A Stress-Free Guide To Hosting Your First Holiday Dinner

by Kate on December 12, 2017

Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls -

**Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Sonoma-Cutrer through my relationship with Honest Cooking however, the opinions expressed here are my own. I love Sonoma-Cutrer wines and know you will too!**

Hosting your first holiday dinner shouldn’t have to be stressful. It can seem overwhelming but with a little planning, it will run smoothly and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your company. Prepare festive appetizers, a beautiful meal and tablescape, all paired with Sonoma-Cutrer wines which are the perfect complement to the season. Whether you choose a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, these wines are cause for celebration.

Then follow this simple advice to make sure fun is had by all, including you!

Prepare Linens & Dishes: The last thing you want on the day of your holiday meal is to realize you don’t have enough place settings or utensils. About a week before, take the time to wash your dishes, tablecloth and think about a simple tablescape. A simple flower arrangement, a bowl of beautiful seasonal fruits or candles make the perfect centerpiece. The day before you can set the table as well leaving your free to handle other tasks the day of.

Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls -

Plan Ahead: Choose recipes that can be made ahead of time which makes the day of the big holiday meal, much less stressful and enjoyable for you as the host. Many vegetable recipes can be prepped the day then simply popped in the oven the day of.

Appetizers that don’t require cooking like a cheese plate, charcuterie with fruits, jams and crackers make are easy and elegant. These Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls can be made the day before. Goat cheese and mascarpone are rolled in a mixture of chopped pecans, cranberries and sage to make a beautiful, yet quick and easy appetizer recipe. Smooth, creamy and bursting with flavor. Serve them with crackers and you’ve got an elegant appetizer that will wow your guest with very little effort on your part!

Delegate: Just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you have to do everything! So many times a big holiday meal is a team effort. Don’t turn down help! People will ask what they can do or offer to bring a dish. Accept those offers. As the host, you should choose the main dish and a few others recipes that you definitely want to make then let other people bring side dishes or desserts.

Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls -

Wine! What is a celebration without a festive libation? Sonoma-Cutrer wines are the perfect choice. Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir or Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay are my personal favorite. Have them all ready to go when guests arrive as they begin to relax and socialize.

No matter whether your guests drink red or white, Sonoma-Cutrer has something for everyone. These California wines bring together tradition with Californian ingenuity and a deep appreciation for Sonoma Valley’s terroir.

Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay opens with scents of Bosc pear and Honeycrisp apple accentuated with notes of nougat, roasted nuts, oak spice and a hint of citrus blossom. This wine is refreshing and juicy with crisp, zesty flavors of lemon, green apple, barrel spice and lime.

The Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pino Noir is a beautiful, dark ruby red color. This wine has blackberry fruit aromas followed by a touch of vanilla and tobacco accented with hints of baking spice and red licorice. The flavors of black cherry, tobacco and sweet barrel spice shine throughout and it has a long, smooth finish.

Be sure to check out all the Sonoma-Cutrer wines for your holiday gathering!

Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls -



Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls

Yield: About 24

Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls

Smooth, creamy goat cheese and mascarpone rolled in pecans, cranberries and sage make an easy, elegant appetizer recipe.


  • 6 ounces plain goat cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage


  1. In a medium bowl, beat together goat cheese and mascarpone until fluffy and well blended. Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. On a plate, combine pecans, cranberries and sage.
  4. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the goat cheese mixture and roll into a ball. Roll ball in pecans, cranberries and sage. Reshape ball if necessary. Place finished ball onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cheese mixture.
  5. Place baking sheet with cheese balls into the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Serve with crackers.

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