January 13, 2011

Appetizer, Entree or Both?

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Margaret's Morsels | Sausage Balls

There's something about sausage balls and winter that go together. Maybe it's the spiciness of the sausage along with a hot food that warms the body. Whatever it is, sausage balls sure are good on a cold day.

The recipe for sausage balls is, as it is said, a "no brainer."  You only need three ingredients:  sausage, cheese and a baking mix such as Bisquick.  I use regular sausage, sharp Cheddar cheese and Heart Smart Bisquick. You could use hot or sage sausage, mild Cheddar cheese and regular Bisquick.  To make a sausage ball that's out of the ordinary, use ground Italian sausage and Mozzarella cheese.

Although sausage balls aren't difficult to make, it does take time to mix all the ingredients together.  Don't even try to mix everything with a spoon or mixer.  The only way to mix the ingredients is with your hands.  It requires some effort, but there are a couple of ways to make the job easier.

First, let the ingredients warm up at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before you combine them.  Second, mix the Bisquick and cheese together before you add the sausage.

Margaret's Morsels | Sausage Balls
The Bisquick and cheese mixed together.

Margaret's Morsels | Sausage Balls

Margaret's Morsels | Sausage Balls
This is what you'll end up with after all the mixing.

Once everything is thoroughly combined, shape the mixture into 1-inch balls.  A 1 tablespoon cookie scoop is the perfect size for sausage balls and is faster than shaping the balls by hand.

Margaret's Morsels | Sausage Balls
This is what I use to shape the sausage balls.

Put the sausage balls on a rimmed baking sheet such as a cookie sheet. You don't need to spray the baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. There's enough grease in the sausage to keep the sausage balls from sticking.  If one should stick, run a fork under it and it should release easily from the baking sheet.  Once the sausage balls are cooked, place them on a wire rack to cool.

Margaret's Morsels | Sausage Balls

Sausage balls can be frozen either cooked or uncooked.  Place the cooked and completely cooled or the uncooked sausage balls in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Put the baking sheet in the freezer until the balls are completely frozen.  This will prevent the sausage balls from sticking together.  Once the sausage balls are frozen, store them in the freezer in a resealable plastic freezer bag.

When you're ready to heat frozen sausage balls that have already been cooked, you can heat them one of two ways.  Remove the desired amount from the freezer, put them on a baking sheet and reheat them at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.  If they get too brown, cover the pan with foil while they finish reheating.  Or, put the frozen sausage balls on a microwave-safe container and heat them on High in the microwave for 10 seconds per sausage ball.  If your microwave is less than 1100 watts, you might need to add a few seconds for each sausage ball.

Uncooked sausage balls take longer to heat because they haven't been cooked yet.  Put the frozen sausage balls on a baking sheet and heat them at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

If you don't want to freeze them, cooked sausage balls can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days.  You can reheat them in the oven or microwave as directed above.

Sausage balls are usually served as an appetizer, but they also make a great entree too.  They are especially good with scrambled eggs and baked Tater Tots.  Not only is this good for breakfast, it also makes a great supper.  My husband isn't a big fan of eating breakfast for supper, but he makes an exception for this meal.  This from the man who eats leftover supper  -- salmon, pork chops, roast beef -- for breakfast!  

Margaret's Morsels | Sausage Balls

Sausage Balls
Yields 53

1 lb. uncooked sausage
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups Bisquick

Combine ingredients.  Roll into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

© Margaret's Morsels

1 comment:

  1. I actually prefer to have the sausage cold (as you would with the shortening in your pie crust), as if it's warm, it will agglutinate with the dry ingredients. Three diced fresh green jalapenos is a delicious addition, and if you don't care for spicy food, deveined and seeded, they add almost no heat.