Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

From the Kitchen of Crabbie Abner

Nibbles for the Holidays

 


Hello, and I hope you are ready to get down to some serious eating tomorrow. Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine because I love turkey. Yes, even though we crabs are scavengers, we do have discriminating tastes, and turkey is one of mine.

This time of the year is also a time for casual and impromptu get togethers, and nibbling – one my favorite things to do. I would rather nibble on foods I really like, especially when they are being served at someone else’s home or office – it means someone else had to take the time to make them. I know, sounds strange coming from someone who loves to cook, but I do occasionally like to be able to enjoy myself, and try other people’s cooking.

Being from south of the Mason-Dixon line, sausage is a component in many of the dishes we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas – sausage stuffing and sausage balls to name a few. It’s the sausage balls I am focusing on today – those little juicy brown orbs of deliciousness that can bring such pleasure, whether you eat them as an appetizer, or even for breakfast, which is how I was introduced to them.

Sausage balls can be found already made in the grocery store, but it is so much more economical, and I might add pleasing, to make your own. I never had sausage balls until I was married to a former Crabby spouse, and it became a tradition to make a large batch – enough to last until Christmas – the day after Thanksgiving. My former spouse would have them for breakfast each morning. Me? I would wait until sometime later in the day, and pop a few in the oven and have them as a snack. By the way, these are not something you can cook in the microwave. If you do, well, let’s just say they will no longer look like sausage balls, but puddles. Sausage balls are something that must be baked in an oven.

As I said, I am a nibbler, and I do so enjoy nibbling tasty little treats, so I am going to give you another one to nibble on. Unfortunately, I am unable to enjoy these because even we scavengers can develop food allergies, and mushrooms and I just don’t get along. We did at one time, and then, well, we had a parting of the ways – it wasn’t pretty. However, I do know a number of people who love mushrooms, so the following recipes are dedicated to them.

But first the sausage balls!

SOUTHERN

SAUSAGE BALLS

1 Pound Hot Pork Sausage Roll (you can also use mild pork sausage)

1 Cup All-Purpose Baking Mix

2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Mild, Medium or Sharp)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl just until blended. Use teaspoon sized portions to make balls.

If you intend to bake all of the sausage balls off now, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place on two lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheets.

These sausage balls do well in the freezer. If you don’t want to cook the whole batch, but instead just a few at a time, put the raw sausage balls in a freezer container lined with wax paper, and use wax paper to separate layers, and when you are ready preheat the oven, then take out as many or as few as you like when you have a craving, or in addition to your breakfast.

STUFFED ‘SHROOMS

Sausage and Cornbread Stuffed Mushrooms

20 Large Fresh Mushrooms (about 1 pound)

¼ Pound Bulk Pork Sausage

1 Cup Cornbread Stuffing Mix

1 Cup Water

2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place wire rack on foil-covered rimmed baking sheet.

Remove stems and gills from mushrooms, place cap sides up on rack. Bake 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms on paper-towel covered plate. Remove wire rack and discard foil.

Brown sausage in non-stick skillet, add stuffing mix, water and parsley, and mix well.

Spoon sausage mixture into mushrooms, return to baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

20 Large Fresh Mushrooms (about 1 pound)

14 Ounce Can Artichoke Hearts

¾ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

½ Cup Mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place wire rack on foil-covered rimmed baking sheet.

Remove stems and gills from mushrooms, place cap sides up on rack. Bake 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms on paper-towel covered plate.

Remove wire rack and discard foil.

Drain artichokes and finely chop them. Mix with grated parmesan cheese and mayonnaise and spoon into mushroom caps.

Return to baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until heated through.

 

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