Sausage Balls – Cook’s Country

There are just some things I MUST have for Christmas and probably the two most important things for Christmas morning are toasted banana nut bread and sausage balls. My mom always made them both. For the sausage balls she used, as most people did at the time, Bisquick, but since finding this Cook’s Country recipe that is just not necessary. I never used it for anything but this recipe, so to not have to purchase it and make do with things I already have on hand – well, it just makes so much more sense to me.

So here’s to my mom and to Christmas morning. D&D_2573

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 ozs bulk hot breakfast sausage
4 ozs extra sharp cheddar, grated (1 cup)
3/4 cup whole buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper an cayenne until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal about 12 pulses. Add sausage and cheddar and pulse until combined, about 8 more times. Place mixture in a nice sized bowl and stir in buttermilk until just combined.

Wet your hands and roll dough into 1 1/4 inch ball (about 1 Tbs each). Space evenly on baking sheet and bake until golden brown between 20 – 22 minutes, rotating baking pan halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm. With grape jelly. Yum.

You can make these ahead and bake, cool, and then freeze and just reheat in the oven at 200 degree for 15 or so minutes. Just test one and see if it where you want it to be for reheating.

24 December 2014

24 December 2016 – for Christmas Day brunch/lunch

22 December 2017 for Christmas Day brunch/lunch – 375 degrees convection- 20 minutes – turn 1/2 way through – perfection! Need to double next time and freeze half (after baking). They keep well in the freezer for a month or so. Also, grape jelly needs to be involved.

These are also excellent on New Year’s Day morning too. Pretty much excellent anytime, but you get the point.

Sausage & Eggs

When I was young I had all kinds of allergies. Lord knows that is the truth. I had to go through food allergy testing to see what I was allergic to after my fish incident that sent me into anaphylactic shock at 5 years-old after dinner one night – lips turn blue and throat closed up. So I had to be tested to see what other things I was allergic to. 

Mostly just trees, grass, mold, dust mites, dogs, cats, air in general, but eggs seemed to be a problem too. So my mother never really feed me eggs. Nor did I get the MMR shots as a kid, nor did I get flu shots – No vaccine built in an egg. I did finally get the MMR to go to university, had to – they do not let you in otherwise, but by then I was about 25 then.

But no matter what, the only time growing up that I had eggs was this non-recipe recipe. And I guess that is why this is the only time I eat them now.

It is one of my favorite things, um, ever. 

Basically, you cook a pound of sausage in a skillet and then scramble up a few (4 or 5) eggs and then cook them in the grease left by the sausage. This, to me, is pretty much heaven on earth. My mom made this for us for dinner – not breakfast. I don’t think she used hot sausage, but I always use hot sausage for any recipe that calls for breakfast sausage. In my head there is no other kind. Don’t get me started on sage sausage (blech) or lord help us, maple sausage (I love maple syrup w/sausage, but maple flavor in sausage – that is just too strange to be believed).dd_2016-12-25-14-13-50

I am pretty sure I just told you how to make this. It is quick, easy, and amazingly good. My mom had good handle – a very good handle –  on what was good. And this is good in spades.

It is a favorite Christmas breakfast (not dinner) for us – or maybe just me. Well – sometimes you just want what you want and everyone else has to go along with plan. I am pretty sure no one complained.

2015 – Parmesan Shortbread – Nigella
2015 – Fusilli with Artichoke Hearts and Parmesan Cream

Sausage Balls – Cook’s Country

It just would not be Christmas morning without the ubiquitous sausage balls. I love these and eat them from Christmas through January. And then I’m done. I feel like if I made them any other time of year they just would not be special. That may be stupid, but it is how I feel.

My mom made the bisquick version and I did the same for a long time. But honestly, that was the only time I used bisquick and I would end up throwing it out at a certain point between the holidays. Seemed wasteful so when I came upon this Cook’s Country recipe, I knew I had what I needed. This is no more complicated than the bisquick version either. Dead simple.

So once again, one of my favorite Christmas treats, for breakfast, of course. With grape jelly, that goes without saying. Fred always liked mustard with his, but I eat sausage balls like I eat sausage biscuits with grape jelly. I find that I am not the only person to do that and that makes me less like a strange one. I get that mustard works, but I love the sweet with the hot sausage. Then again, I also like maple syrup with hot sausage and that does not make a lot of sense, unless you are me.dd_1705

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 ozs hot breakfast sausage
4 ozs sharp cheddar, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper an cayenne until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal about 12 pulses. Add sausage and cheddar and pulse until combined, about 8 more times. Place mixture in a nice sized bowl and stir in buttermilk until just combined.

Wet your hands and roll dough into 1 1/4 inch ball (about 1 Tbs each). Space evenly on baking sheet and bake until golden brown between 20 – 22 minutes, rotating baking pan halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm. With grape jelly. Yum.

You can make these ahead and bake, cool, and then freeze and just reheat in the oven at 200 degree for 15 or so minutes. Just test one and see if it where you want it to be for reheating.

24 December 2014

24 December 2016 – for Christmas Day brunch/lunch

Christmas Brunch

When I was growing up we had a few things for Christmas breakfast that were basically snack-able. To me that was an excellent thing. Toasted Banana Nut Bread – honestly, to me the only way to eat it. It was crunchy and smeared with some imitation butter that I immediately changed to real butter once on my own as a grown up. You only live once, why the hell eat margarine? Another was sausage balls – we had them served with a side of mustard, usually brown, and my personal, kind of slightly wrong. choice, grape jelly (do not judge until you try a sausage biscuit with a little grape jelly).  There might have been other things, but those are the two that stick our for years and years and years.

I have made some changes for our Christmas morning since then beyond just going with really rich salted European butter, but that was an excellent call on my part, not too many real changes. First, it is not breakfast. It is brunch around 11:00am-ish (isn’t funny how adding the suffix “ish” gives you lots of wiggle room with time?). In past years, I have added latkes which works well with my Christmas soundtrack. The Boy says it isn’t Christmas with out The Klezmatics and he is correct. How this started, I don’t know, but I love to listen to them on Christmas morning – full playlist below. Latkes I love with sour cream and freshly sautéed Granny Smith apples (not applesauce). They are not something I make often, but something I really really enjoy. Another change I’ve made is to make sausage balls without using pancake mix (Bisquik) and just using Cook’s Country’s recipe – superior in every way and with things I have on hand.

So this year, I was trying to sort out what to make and decided that simple and tasty were good enough. I made banana nut bread ahead of time (Banana Nut Bread Challenge) and decided to make sausage, as a nod to sausage balls, and scrambled eggs – super quick and easy.

There is a story behind the scramble eggs and sausage though. As as child, and to a large degree even now, I was allergic to damn near everything. Consequently, I wasn’t fed eggs as a kid – hell, I didn’t get the MMR shot until in my 20’s because the vaccine was grown (yes, back then – ugh) in eggs and no one wanted to risk it. So I never ate eggs as a young kid. Enter my elementary school age, and my mom would make sausage and scrambled eggs and I loved it, but that was the only way you could get me to eat an egg.D&D_1054.jpg

Let me explain how this process works. In a large non-stick skillet, cook a pound of  bulk breakfast sausage of choice (there is only one choice – hot) until it is cooked through. In a bowl. whisk together with a fork, 5 eggs and a splash of cream or milk. While the sausage grease is still hot, add the scrambled eggs and cook them as you would any other scrambled eggs. Serve while nice and hot.

Dead simple and pretty much amazing. Oh, and they really reheat well with a smidge of time in the microwave the next day, but it is highly unlikely there will be any left over. The three of us polished all that off with no problems whatsoever. And some salted butter soaked banana nut bread. Simple, sometimes is the best thing ever.