Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simple Saturdays

This week's recipe is simple, easy, quick, and a well-known favorite.  Sausage balls!  Growing up, theses were a given at any party or big get together.  And there was never a single one left at the end.  I'm pretty sure just about everyone loves sausage balls so these work well for parties, breakfasts/brunches, appetizers, midnight snacks, anytime snacks... yes, definitely that last one! :)  

Up until recently, I thought that sausage balls could be made ONLY using Bisquick.  Excuse my naivete.  They can be made - quite well! - with flour and the basic ingredients that go along with it.  I don't usually make these because I don't keep Bisquick in the house since I make most things by scratch,but I wanted to make them for the hospitality table at my church in the morning and I discovered that you can indeed use flour!

Begin by mixing flour, salt, baking powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper together.  (The peppers give it a slightly hotter kick that I actually liked!)

Melt 3 tblsp. of butter...

Shred cheese by hand or in a food processor.  (You can, of course, buy the shredded cheese at the store, but it tastes WAY better freshly shredded.  And your taste buds are sick if you don't notice the difference. ;) )

Add the meat to the rest of the ingredients and mix until it looks like this blob.

Roll into balls and cook.  You could probably use a cookie scoop for this part if you didn't want to use your hands.

The finished product!  Now go enjoy. :)

That's it for today folks!  I'm off to enjoy the rest of my weekend.  I have a load of yummy dinner and dessert recipes coming your way soon, though. :)

Sausage Balls

1 1/4 c. all purpose-flour
1 1/2 tsp. baker powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more, depending on how spicy you like it)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz. sausage
1/2 large yellow onion, grated (grating it gives the sausage balls some onion flavor without biting into big chunks of onion)
3 tblsp. unsalted butter, melted

(1)  Preheat oven to 400.  Grease baking sheet.

(2)  Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.  Add the cheese and toss to coat with flower mixture.  Add sausage, onion, and butter.

(3)  Shaped into balls and cook for 25 minutes.  

(4)  Eat hot or refrigerated - whichever your preference!

*I recommend having fun with this recipe and trying different things in it, I think it would be yummy to add crumbled bacon, green onions instead of yellow, or even blue cheese!  What would you add to make it different?*

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I have finally attempted (quite successfully, I might say!)to make one of my favorite dishes of all time.  Lasagna.  This has been a dish that I have wanted to make since I was 4 years old.  That's as far back as I can remember! :)  I've always loved it and always thought it looked so fun to construct.  The first time I have ever took a bite of homemade lasagna I was in love.  Making my very own homemade lasagna has been a goal of mine for a long, long time.  When I received a lasagna pan as a wedding gift I got so excited I could hardly stand it!  

I was pretty terrified of cooking the noodles.  No joke.  I was worried I'd make a mess of it and break most of them.  Although it was rather interesting trying to get them out of the pan of boiling water in one piece, I did succeed!  This was a big step for me in my little culinary world. :)  As you can see, they turned out pretty good! 

While the noodles are cooking, you can go ahead and brown a mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage.  I like a meaty lasagna, so I put a pound of beef and a pound and a half of Italian sausage. 

Whip together Ricotta cheese and an egg in a bowl.  The egg added to the cheese makes the cheese more fluffy and bubbly once it's cooked.  In other words, gives it taste bud tingling visual appeal. :)

Now that everything is all prepped and ready to go - start layering up!



Ricotta/egg mixture...

Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese...

Meats and sauce...

And repeat until you fill the pan up. :)

And voila!  A few sprigs of parsley and it's all ready to go in the oven.  :)


Turned out pretty good for the first time! 
(My apologies for the awful photo quality.  My camera died right before so these were taken with my phone.)

Layer It Up Lasagna

1 1/2 lbs. sweet Italian sausage
1 lb. ground beef
2 big jars of spaghetti/marinara sauce
16 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 egg
5 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups Parmesan cheese
1 box of lasagna noodles
Garlic powder

(1) Boil the noodles.  While noodles are boiling, brown beef and sausage.  Drain a portion of the grease from the browned meat.  Leaving some grease adds great flavor to the sauce! 

(2) Whip Ricotta cheese and egg in a bowl and set aside.  Shred mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  (Or used the bagged kind, but it tastes WAY better freshly shredded.)

(3) Preheat the oven to 350.  Begin layering ingredients in a lasagna pan.  I usually layer in this order - sauce, noodles, Ricotta cheese, mozzarella & Parmesan cheese, meats.  Repeat until the pan is full.  Top with remaining shredded cheeses and then sprinkle with garlic powder.  Garnish with parsley.  

(4)  Bake the lasagna covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the top is lightly browned.  

(5)  Allow the lasagna to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting it.  Enjoy! 

*A salad and a bread of your preference make a complete delicious meal.  This is great to serve when company is over since it's such a large dish and can be made ahead of time for minimal clean up.*

Sunday, June 1, 2014

How About a Little Blue in Your Burger?

Today I bring you a recipe that is perfect for the summer months. Great for the grill and great for any blue cheese lover.  It smells fabulous while cooking and is super moist and juicy-beefy. My husband loves blue cheese which was my inspiration for trying this out.  I was pretty pleased with it too. :)  There are some other ingredients which we'll start with that compliment the blue cheese.  So you'll start by chopping up green onions and garlic - two of my favorites for just about any recipe! ;) 

You'll put a pound of ground beef, the garlic and green onions, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, an egg, some water, salt, pepper, and of course, blue cheese in a medium sized mixing bowl.


...Mix it together with your hands!  My favorite part. ;)

Now for the buns.  I prefer to use white bread buns or ciabatta buns.  (A lot of times I can find a package of 8 buns on clearance at the grocery store bakery for just 99 cents!)  Never forget to make the buns the best they can be.  The burger might be fantastic but if the bread is too soft, or too dry, or crumbly it will put a huge damper on the rest of that deliciousness. I've found that the easiest way for me to make the buns a great compliment to the burger, is to brush them with olive oil and then place them on the skillet or grill until they are honey brown.

So much more visual appeal and they taste better.

All that's left to do now is cook the burgers to your desired doneness.  And then, you have this...

  All you have to do is add on condiments and dig in!  Super easy, super simple and it can be done in about 20 minutes start to finish.  Summer is burger time and this is just one of many ways to switch up it a little and add some different flavors.

Blue Cheese Burgers

1 pound ground beef
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
freshly ground black pepper

(1) Using your hands mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Do not over mix; mix only until the ingredients are all combined.  Shape into patties that are slightly larger than the buns you'll be using.

(2) Heat up grill or skillet.  Brush buns with olive oil and place on cooking surface until lightly browned and crispy around the edges.  Cook the patties 5-7 minutes on both sides.  Don't press down on the burgers while they cook.  

(3) Serve on buns, add condiments, and enjoy! :)