Community Cookbook Throwback Thursday–Spicy Sausage Balls

Breaking with tradition, we decided not to host anything for the Super Bowl this year. I hosted a LOT of parties last year, and I’m still just kind of burnt out. While I love entertaining, I was just not up for a party on a school night. I wanted to watch the game and relax, preferably with PJ pants and a cocktail.

Despite it being just us, I planned on a small scale spread so we still had a special occasion feel. While I was looking up a dip recipe, I stumbled across these sausage balls and since I had everything on hand, I decided to give them a try.

This recipe comes from Revel, a cookbook from the Junior League of Shreveport/Bossier Louisiana (1980) and was submitted by Edie Broyles Williams. These were super quick to make, and the sauce showcased a really good balance of sweet, savory, and (a very mild) sour. The boys devoured them, and considering the incredibly low effort, it was a winner all around. For a pantry pull recipe, you really can’t beat this one for fast and easy. It’s safe to say that Spicy Sausage Balls will definitely remain in the appetizer rotation.

Notes

  • Remember, I publish the recipes for CCTT as written. I write these notes to clarify how I interpreted the recipe or streamlined it.
  • For this recipe, I used red wine vinegar and ginger powder (which is what the author most likely intended).
  • My broiler resembles a fire-breathing dragon, so instead of smoking us out of the house, I baked the sausage balls at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
  • I was in a hurry, so rather than rolling out 80 balls, I used my one-inch scoop which resulted in about 30 balls.
  • Next time, I will use one pound of sausage and one pound of ground beef, rather than straight sausage. I think the sausage seasoning flavor can be pretty strong depending on the brand and cutting it with some ground beef would balance things out perfectly.

Spicy Sausage Balls

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds hot sausage
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger

Instructions
 

  • Roll sausage into balls about the size of pecans. Broil in oven 10 minutes. Turn while broiling. Drain. Mix sauce in a saucepan and heat until bubbly. Add sausage balls to sauce. Serve in chafing dish. Men especially love this.
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Spicy Tamale Meatballs–Stupid-Easy & Delicious Party Food at Its Best

If you are looking for a new, easy, and delicious snack for your big game party, have I got the recipe for you. These tamale-inspired meatballs combine the sweetness of cornbread with the spice of enchilada sauce, while the cumin comes in to punch up the flavor. My family devoured these meatballs at the Christmas party and have already requested them for our game-day spread.

Recipe Notes

  • While this recipe calls for ground beef, you could use ground pork or a combination of the two. I have not tested these with ground chicken or turkey, but commonsense tells me that, should you attempt it, I think they would end up on the dry side so take that for what it’s worth.
  • If you want more spice, use the spicy enchilada sauce, or add some hot sauce. I stuck with mild to make sure the gaggle of kids at the party could eat them, but will use the medium this weekend since it’s just the five of us.
  • To make portioning easier, I use my one-inch cookie scoop, and spray my hands with a little non-stick spray, but that’s because I truly suck at eye-balling portions.
  • I whipped up a box of the Jiffy Corn Muffin mix in an 8×8 pan as a shortcut, which was the perfect cornbread portion for this recipe.

So, overall, this ended up being a stupid-easy recipe that wowed the crowd, and I’ll take that kind of victory any day (especially one that gets me out of frying some damn wings come Sunday). Whip up a batch of these this weekend and you will become everyone’s new best friend.

Spicy Tamale Meatballs

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Appetizer

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups cornbread crumbled
  • 2 10-ounce cans mild red enchilada sauce divided
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray it lightly with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce, and salt, stirring lightly to combine. Add the beef and mix well, but not to death. Shape the beef mixture into one-inch balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 minutes.
  • While the meatballs are baking, spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine remaining enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, and cumin, stirring well to combine.
  • Remove meatballs from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer meatballs to prepared casserole dish, and pour sauce mixture over them, being sure to coat meatballs evenly. Place casserole in the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Top meatballs with cheese, and return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
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Creamy Garlic-Herb Tomato Tartelettes

It’s no secret I was on the struggle bus this holiday season. By the time I hit New Year’s Day, I was so dang tired of cooking, while also trying to balance menus for various events. When I was planning on what to bring to the family Christmas party, I knew I was sick of the usual dishes and wanted something different. However, when I bring food to large parties, I have to follow the basic rules of etiquette: nothing that requires reheating, an electric outlet, or assembly in the host’s kitchen. They already have their hands full, so commandeering counter space or a stovetop burner is a big no-no.

So, in my abject laziness and apathy, I dove deep into my fridge and came up with a super-simple, yet tasty and beautiful appetizer. These Garlic-Herb Tomato Tartelettes combine ready-made garlic-herb cheese spread with a touch of cream, which is scooped into frozen phyllo tart shells. The mixture is then topped with sliced cherry tomatoes and parmesan and baked until nice and hot. A drizzle of balsamic glaze finishes them off. These can be served warm or at room temperature. If you need a quick, easy appetizer, this fits the bill.

Creamy Garlic-Herb Tomato Tartelettes

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1.9 ounce boxes of frozen phyllo tart shells (approx. 15 shells per box)
  • 1 6.5 ounce container garlic & herb soft spreadable cheese (such as Alouette brand) room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 to 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup botted balsamic glaze
  • chopped basic for garnish, if desired

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place tart shells on a baking sheet.
  • In a medium bowl, combine cheese spread and whipping cream until smooth. Spoon about a heaping teaspoon of cheese mixture into tart shell and top with two of the tomato halves. Sprinkle tarts with parmesan cheese.
  • Bake tarts for 12-15 minutes, until hot, being careful not to burn the tart shells. Remove tarts from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Lightly drizzle tarts with balsamic glaze and garnish with chopped basil if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

This may make more or less tarts depending on how heavy-handed you are when distributing the filling. 
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Super Bowl Snack–Bourbon Meatballs That Will Make People Love You More

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Ya know, for the life of me, I do not understand why the Super Bowl is on a Sunday night. Rumor has it that many of us have work and school the next day, so staying up late, partying, and feasting would probably be an event best served by a Saturday timeslot. Alas, since we all do have to do that whole responsible work/school thing, we usually keep our festivities low-key. I make some snacks, maybe have a family member or two over (if that), and put on my fat pants. I love an excuse to have a menu consist entirely of appetizers, because I like variety…and not having to construct a singular meal that at least one picky eater is going to complain about.

Rather than the fancy Crab Mornay or Lamb Chops from holiday parties, the big game is all about hearty, easy-to-make (and eat) food. These Bourbon Meatballs are just that. Stir everything together, cook for a bit, then settle down and watch your attendees go bananas over them. You can transfer them to a slow cooker to keep warm, making them an easy, hot appetizer for any event. I even took them to a Mardi Gras parade last year. My husband thinks these are manna from heaven, and no one ever needs to know how freaking easy they are. It’ll be our secret, ok?

Bourbon Meatballs

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 32-ounce package frozen Italian-style meatballs thawed
  • 2 cups good-quality barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, combine barbecue sauce, bourbon, honey, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Add meatballs and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Provide toothpicks to your hungry guests and give them death threats if they even think about double-dipping.  Oh, look, there some bourbon left in the bottle! Whatever shall we do?
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A Trip to the Farmers’ Market, a Day of Cooking and Gran’s Fresh Tomato Dip

With my husband out of town, doing whatever it is guys do on a “guys’ weekend,” I decided to split my time today between fun and productivity. First, the heathens and I headed out early to explore our town’s new and improved Farmers’ Market. We tried to support our local Market last year, but with limited vendors and few genuinely local products, we wrote it off after our first visit. However, the organizers must have really listened to the community, because they’ve tripled the size of the Market and I was amazed at the diverse offerings from many north Louisiana vendors. Because my garden is overwhelming me with my own produce, I was more interested in finding other handcrafted products in my efforts to buy locally whenever I can. Well, by the time we left, I had a pound of local honey (from Hummer & Sons), a bottle of Southern Hurricane wine (from On Cloud Wine) and a tub of sundried-tomato goat cheese from a central Louisiana goat farmer (WesMar Farms). In the meantime, the boys snacked on fresh beignets, bought various knickknacks from local artists with their allowance money, and charmed the honey guy out of a couple of fresh sunflowers.

The heat soon drove us back home, and I got started on taming my own mountain of vegetables that was overtaking my kitchen counters. First, I tackled the eggplant by making Baba Ghanoush, as well as a completely improvisational roasted vegetable ratatouille. Both are now chilling in the refrigerator, so the jury is still out on whether those experiments will be tasty treats or epic failures. Next, I popped about 30 tomatoes in the oven to slow roast, with the plan to make some roasted-tomato pesto, and save any leftover tomatoes to snack on throughout the week. Finally, I used up the remaining tomatoes on my homegrown tomato standby recipe: Gran’s Fresh Tomato Dip.

This dip is a weird in that it is neither a salsa nor a pico de gallo. If I had to describe it in a few short words, I’d say this dip is just a delicious way to appreciate the sheer perfection of a homegrown tomato. In fact, I usually will not make this recipe using store-bought tomatoes, so we seem to enjoy Gran’s Dip only during the summer months. Got a tomato invasion of your own? Here’s Gran’s Tomato Dip, step by ridiculously easy step.

First, let’s start with the players:

Gran's Tomato Dip

Notes

  • 2-3 large tomatoes, preferably homegrown or locally produced
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 small can chopped black olives, drained (4.25 oz…I think)
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies (about 4 oz…I think…again)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (not pictured, because I am a dork)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Black pepper to taste and additional salt if you so choose
  • To make Gran's tomato dip, start by chopping the tomatoes and placing them in a medium-size bowl:
    Next, chop the green onions, including both the white bases and green tops:
    Add the green onions, green chilies, olives, olive oil, vinegar, garlic salt and pepper to the tomatoes:
    Stir gently until well-combined. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably 8 hours or overnight. Taste and see if it needs additional salt before serving, but it usually doesn't.
    Serve with tortilla chips, Frito's scoops or whatever similar chip you prefer.
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    I’m going to make a cocktail now…I’m tired.

    It’s just not natural to have so much productivity on a Saturday…