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Appetizers Breakfast Featured Jason's Favorites Recipes Snacks

Sausage Balls

Temperature375°Time15 – 20 mins

Sausage Balls

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I started this week with Buffalo Chicken Balls and I’m ending the week with the thing that inspired them: Sausage Balls. Sausage Balls (or Cheese and Sausage Balls) have been my favorite appetizer since I was a week tyke. My mom has made them for me for breakfast on my birthday almost every year of my life (I was at the beach one year and in Ireland the other year) and then again at Christmas and then they would not come out again until my next birthday.

This is one of 3 recipes for sausage balls that I know how to make. My mom’s recipe is different but I can only make that recipe between my birthday and Christmas so I’ll post that one in a couple of months. This recipe is perfect for any party or tailgate so grab some sausage, cheese and Bisquick and mix some up for yourself!

The RecipeRecipe
Sausage Balls
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 Cups Bisquick
  • 1 lb Bluk Hot Breakfast Sausage
  • 10 – 12 oz Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line a sheet pan with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until it forms a stiff dough. Your hands are probably the best tool for this but you can use a stand mixer if you’d like. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
  3. Form the dough into 1 oz balls (about 1 ¼ inches in diameter) and place on the sheet pan. You can put them pretty close together but don’t let them touch.
  4. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until they start to brown and they are cooked through.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

Use a small ice cream scoop to make short work of rolling out the sausage balls.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

These sausage balls will hold up really well in the freezer. I freeze them after portioning and rolling the dough and before cooking. You can cook them from frozen by adding another 5ish minutes to the cooking time.

Fun FactsFun Facts

The only reason we have Bisquick in our house is to make sausage balls!

Categories
Breakfast Featured Recipes

English Muffin Breakfast Casserole

Temperature375°Time40 mins

Breakfast Casserole

BackgroundBackground

Every good southern cook should have a breakfast casserole up their sleeve. There are hundreds of different recipes and they’re all variations on “pour scrambled eggs over tasty breakfast foods and cook” so you should be able to find one that suits you. This recipe is the first breakfast casserole that I ever had so I thought I’d share it with you first.

All of the prep-work for this sausagey, eggy, cheesy breakfast casserole is done the night before, so this the perfect breakfast for a large crowd. Once you learn the basics of this casserole, you can substitute your favorite things in until you create your very own perfect breakfast casserole.

The RecipeRecipe
English Muffin Breakfast Casserole
 
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Author:
Serves: 9 - 12
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Hot Breakfast Sausage
  • 1 Large Onion, Thinly Sliced into Half Moons
  • 1 Large Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced
  • 12 Eggs
  • ¾ Cup Sour Cream
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 7 English Muffins
  • 2 Tbs Butter, Melted
  • 2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
Instructions
Prep the Casserole
  1. Crumble and cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until it’s browned.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked to a paper-towel lined plate and pour off all but about 1 Tbs of the fat left in the pan.
  3. Add the peppers and onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until they are soft and translucent - about 5 minutes.
  4. While the peppers and onions are cooking, beat the eggs, sour cream and milk together in a large bowl.
  5. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Split the English muffins and line the bottom of the dish with them. Pour the butter over the English muffins and then layer on the cooked sausage, peppers and onions, and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cook the Casserole
  1. Wake up and stumble through putting the coffee on
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°
  3. Cook the casserole for 35 – 40 minutes until the eggs are set in the middle.
  4. Let the casserole rest for 10 – 15 minutes and serve.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

Leave the sausage out for a tasty vegetarian (or at least ovo-lacto vegetarian) breakfast casserole!

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

This casserole, like many other casseroles will freeze beautifully! Instead of refrigerating overnight before cooking, freeze before cooking. Move it to the refrigerator before you go to bed and cook as normal.

Fun FactsFun Facts

Breakfast casserole also goes by the names egg strada and crustless quiche.

Categories
Appetizers Breakfast Featured Recipes

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Mini Empanadas

Temperature375°Time15 – 20 mins

breakfast empanadas

BackgroundBackground

Not only am I a big fan of breakfast, I’m also a big fan of empanadas – the wonderfully versatile Spanish pocket pie! I thought mini sausage, egg, and cheese empanadas would be a perfect brunch appetizer so I turned on the Al Green and let the empanada and the breakfast sandwich get together to give birth to this super awesome breakfast empanada.

Empanadas are super easy to make when you use refrigerated pie dough as the pastry. You can also use frozen empanada wrappers or make your own dough and mix up virtually any filling to put inside of them. This recipe would work equally well with bacon or ham instead of sausage – or leave out the meat all together for a vegetarian start to your day.

The RecipeRecipe
Sausage, Egg and Cheese Mini Empanadas
 
Prep time
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These flaky and delicious sausage, egg, and cheese mini empanadas make a perfect appetizer for a brunch or are a great grab-and-go breakfast treat.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Ingredients
  • 5 oz Hot Breakfast Sausage
  • 3 Eggs
  • ¼ Cup Milk
  • ¼ Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 2 Refrigerated Pie Crusts
  • Egg Wash (1 egg beaten with a splash of water)
Instructions
Make the Filling
  1. In a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.
  2. Brown and crumble the sausage in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat like you would brown ground beef.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked sausage from the pan and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low, pour off all but one tablespoon of the fat in the pan, and place it back on the burner – your goal here is to cool the pan off a bit so you can cook your eggs gently.
  5. Pour the egg mixture in the pan and sprinkle the cheese on top. Leave it alone for about a minute while the bottom layer of eggs cooks a bit.
  6. Using long strokes with a rubber spatula, gently scramble the eggs. You should form some nice big curds when you do this. Leave the eggs alone for another minute or so to let the eggs on the bottom of the pan cook some more.
  7. Gently scramble the eggs again and keep an eye on them, scrambling every 30 seconds or so using long gentle strokes.
  8. When the eggs all come together and still look slightly moist, remove them from the hot pan. Carry over cooking will take them to the finish line.
  9. Mix the eggs and sausage in a large bowl to finish the filling.
Make the Empanadas
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Unroll the pie crusts and use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut rounds out of the dough.
  3. Gather up the scraps and reroll the dough to the same thickness as it was when you got it out of the package and cut more rounds.
  4. Discard any scraps from the second cutting – if you reroll them again, they’ll start to get tough.
  5. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling just to the left of the center of each round and fold over to form a half circle.
  6. Being careful not to pierce the pocket, seal the edges of each empanada together using a fork.
  7. Put the empanadas on a sheet pan, brush with the egg wash and bake in a 375° oven for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

If you’d like to make the empanadas the main event, cut bigger rounds and use more filling for each empanada. The cook time will be about the same as everything inside the empanada is cooked, you’re just looking to brown the dough.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Empanadas freeze really well so make a bunch and pop them in the ice box for later use. Freeze them after filling and before egg washing in one layer until they harden and then transfer to a zip-top bag. Cook from frozen by removing them from the freezer, putting them on a sheet pan, giving them a quick egg wash and cooking them at 375° for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and heated through.

Fun FactsFun Facts

The southern version of the empanada is called a fried pie and is usually filled with a sweet filling. While Mrs. Lovett may sell the worst pies in London, the best pies in Georgia are at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge (IMHO).

Categories
Breakfast Featured Recipes

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

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Eggs Benedict is the Beef Wellington of brunch foods. It seems mysterious and elusive to the home cook and can be super intimidating. While the components are simple enough, poached eggs can be finicky and how many of us have ever made a hollandaise before? I’m here to tell you that I made it (proof is above) and impressed a brunch crowd and you can too!

This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe. I also highly recommend watching the Good Eats episode about eggs benedict for a visual guide on how to make this persnickety brunch staple.

The RecipeRecipe
Eggs Benedict
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the Poached Eggs
  • ¼ Cup White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 8 Eggs
  • For the Hollandaise
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tbs Water
  • ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp Ground Red Pepper
  • 3 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Sticks of Butter Cut into 1 Tbs Pieces
  • ¼ tsp Sugar
  • For the Benedicts
  • 4 English Muffins
  • 8 Pieces of Canadian Bacon
Instructions
Poach the Eggs (if you’re cooking for a crowd, you can do this the night before)
  1. In the bottom of a large pot, put 4 small custard cups. Fill the pot with water so that the water line is about ¼ of an inch above the tops of the cups, add the vinegar and salt and bring to a boil.
  2. When the water begins to boil, crack an egg into another custard cup and carefully put it into one of the cups in the pot. Repeat with 3 of the remaining eggs cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water and place in a large bowl filled with ice and water to hold them until you’re ready for breakfast.
  4. Repeat the poaching process with the remaining 4 eggs and place them in the ice bath too. Put the bowl with the ice and the poached eggs in the refrigerator and hold for up to 12 hours.
Make the Hollandaise
  1. Take a deep breath and get all of your ingredients ready. Making sure everything is measured and ready to go is critical for this hollandaise recipe. This process will take about 15 minutes of constant vigorous whisking.
  2. In a small saucepan away from the heat, whisk the egg yolks, water, salt and red pepper together for about a minute.
  3. Set the burner to medium low heat and begin to gently heat the eggs, whisking the entire time. Once you start making this, you can’t stop whisking or you’ll wind up with scrambled eggs.
  4. Keep the eggs on the flame for 10 - 15 seconds and then take it off. Put the eggs back on the flame and then take them off again, repeating this on the flame and off the flame thing for about 3 minutes – whisking the whole time.
  5. Now start adding the butter, one piece at a time, while whisking and alternating on and off the flame, letting it melt before adding the next piece. Whisk, butter, flame, whisk, off flame, whisk, butter, repeat.
  6. When you’ve added half of the butter, put in the lemon juice and then keep going with the remaining butter until it’s all melted into the sauce.
  7. Once all of the butter is melted, take it off of the flame and whisk in the sugar.
  8. You’re done. Phew. It should look like a thin pudding.
  9. Put the hollandaise in a thermos and have a mimosa…you deserve one.
Make the Benedicts
  1. Preheat the broiler and bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Split the English muffins in half and toast under the broiler for 3 – 5 minutes until they’ve got some color. Don’t forget about them or they will burn.
  3. Stack the Canadian bacon on a plate and put it in the microwave for 1 minute to heat it through
  4. Place 2 halves of English muffins on each plate and top each with a slice of Canadian bacon.
  5. Once the water boils turn remove from the heat and gently place the poached eggs in the hot water to heat through. Let them hang out in the water for a minute or two to heat through and then place one egg on each benedict.
  6. Drizzle on some hollandaise and enjoy!
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

Make the poached eggs ahead of time to give you some breathing room before your brunch crowd arrives. They’ll hold in an ice bath in the refrigerator for a day so you can do them the night before and reheat them when you’re ready to serve.

The Eggs Benedict episode of Good Eats is filled with loads of tips and tricks for the hollandaise. I watched it before I made this recipe and I’m really glad I did.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

You can freeze unshelled eggs, Canadian bacon, and English muffins. You probably shouldn’t freeze a completed eggs benedict though. Frowny Face.

Fun FactsFun Facts

Over the course of her life, an average hen will produce about 320 eggs and one poulet basquaise.

Categories
Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites

Shrimp and Grits

TemperatureN/ATime15 mins

Shrimp and Grits

BackgroundBackground

Shrimp and Grits is one of the quintessential southern dishes – right along with fried chicken, biscuits and collard greens. This combination of creamy grits and perfectly cooked shrimp evokes fond memories of Charleston or Savannah and is the perfect main event for brunch, lunch and dinner!

There are lots of variations of Shrimp and Grits – sometimes there’s a thick sauce, sometimes there’s smoked sausage, or peppers and onions, or garlic. I prefer to keep my version simple and let the shrimp and the grits speak for themselves.

A note about cooking shrimp: homemade shrimp is often tough and fishy so people shy away from it. The solution to tough and fishy shrimp is to take it off of the flame when it firms up a bit and turns a pale pink. Shrimp turns tough and rubbery when it’s overcooked.

The RecipeRecipe
Shrimp and Grits
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Grits
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 1 ¼ Cup Quick Grits
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 ½ Cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

For the Shrimp
  • 2 Slices Thick-Cut Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
  • 1 Tbs Reserved Bacon Grease
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1 lb Medium Shrimp, Peeled, Deveined, Tails Removed
  • 1 Green Onion, Sliced into Thin Rings
  • Juice of 1 Whole Lemon
Instructions
Make the Grits
  1. In a medium pot, bring milk, water, chicken stock, and butter to a boil over medium high heat. The milk will overflow the pot when it boils if you let it so keep an eye on it and use a 3 quart pot for this.
  2. As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, add the grits, salt, and pepper and reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Stir the grits pretty much constantly until they are thick and creamy – about 5 – 10 minutes. The grits will thicken more when you add cheese and as they cool.
  4. Once the grits are thick and creamy remove from heat and add half of the cheese.
  5. Stir the cheese into the grits until it melts fully and then repeat with the remaining cheese.

Make the Shrimp
  1. Heat the bacon grease and butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Once the pan heats up, add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and toss frequently until they are pale pink all the way through. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice over all of the shrimp and remove from the heat.

Put it All Together
  1. Place grits on a plate and top with shrimp. Finish with a sprinkling of green onions and crumbled bacon!
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

To quickly defrost shrimp, place it in some cold water for about a half an hour. There’s no need to buy the more expensive defrosted shrimp as frozen shrimp defrosts under cold water in a flash.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Buy frozen shrimp for this meal. It’s less expensive and the shrimp at your grocery store’s seafood counter was almost definitely frozen before they thawed it and put it in the window.

Fun FactsFun Facts

While there are slight differences, southern grits and Italian polenta are essentially the same thing – they’re coarsely ground corn meal. If you like polenta, give grits a chance!