Well, it’s December. The Holiday Season is in full swing now. That means I better be prepared for a few parties.
Time to roll: sausage balls, cheese balls and meatballs. The whole family can get involved, it’s become a fun part of our annual traditions.
Sausage Cheese Balls
These quick and nutritious protein packed snacks are easy and relatively cheap to make. They bake quickly and can be frozen for up to three months.
The most recognized recipe is the Bisquick sausage cheese ball recipe, but there are many other varieties. For those that would rather stay away from pork, consider using ground beef, ground turkey, or chicken cooked with sage, onion, and garlic.
If desired, use a variety of cheeses. The traditional recipe calls for cheddar. However a mixture of Colby, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella can be used too. Most recipes call for a balance between the meat and the cheese. Some families prefer 1 part meat to 2 or 3 parts cheese. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
For a fun twist to a plateful of sausage balls, provide a variety of dipping sauces: honey mustard, spicy mustard, BBQ sauce, cocktail sauce, Ranch Dressing, ketchup, and marinara Sauce.
If the meat can be ground up, it can be made into a meatball. Over the years, chefs and cooks alike have come up with several variations on the basic ground meatball. The Italians like to add pork, Italian sausage, and veal to their meatball mixture. Swedish Meatballs have been a main dish on family tables for generations. Those that like to spice it up have added jalapeno peppers into the mix.
Basically though, meatballs are easy and cheap to make. Don’t buy the pre-made frozen ones at the grocery store unless there is just no time to cook. Find a meatball recipe that works for the family. Make several batches,bake and then freeze family size portions in freezer bags until ready to use. Meatballs can be enjoyed as snacks or appetizers. They make great sandwiches and of course they always go well with pasta.
Basic Meatball Recipe:
- 1 lb ground beef, pork, turkey, chicken, sausage, or a blend of desired ground meats
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- salt, pepper, and season to taste depending on the flavor desired
- Mix ground beef with beaten egg, bread crumbs, and seasoning. Mix well
- Add onion and ketchup until well blended.
- Shape into 1″ balls and place on a large sheet pan. Cover the pan with foil or cooking spray for easy clean up later.
- Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes. Let rest and cool completely before serving or bagging for the freezer.
For a gourmet twist on traditional meatballs, roll meatball mixture around a small piece of Blue Cheese or a cheese cube of Colby, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella. It’s like a wonderful explosion of flavors in your mouth!
Olive Cheese Balls
This is a tangy, cheesy, party appetizer straight out of the Betty Crocker archives. For generations, mothers, grandmothers, and aunts have made this their traditional holiday snack. It’s definitely not low in calories, but it’s oh-so-good!
It’s an easy recipe of butter, cheese, and flour shaped and formed into a dough. That dough can be rolled into balls or sticks. Shape it into anything desired. Don’t like olives? Try mushrooms in the center or a cheese cube or even a mini meatball. Again, be creative.
More Holiday Appetizer Ideas
This is the time of year when finger foods are really fun. Appetizers don’t have to be extravagant and expensive. Flavor a block of cream cheese with chives. Shape it into a ball and roll that ball in chopped pecans, slivered almonds, or walnuts. Use it as a centerpiece for a plateful of various crackers, breads, and chips.
That same cream cheese can be spooned onto wonton wrappers and baked or fried quickly for a light snack. Other traditional appetizer recipes include: pigs in a blanket and cocktail sausages served with flavorful dips and sauces.
Each year, there’s always something new to try. What are your holiday party favorites? What new and fun party favorites have you found? Go ahead, share your recipe. Let’s keep this party hopping!