COON BALLS aka SAUSAGE BALLS – Raccoon NOT INCLUDED

This recipe or a similar version of it has been around since the beginning of time I believe. BUT, I can’t find any direct links to how they originated. I assume them to have began as a southern recipe based on the name, but don’t let the name fool you – there is no raccoon in them, but I suppose there once was probably around the time that the Bisquick was also homemade.

Most recipes call for just the basic ingredients of Bisquick, sausage and cheese. But, the beauty of this recipe is that you can make it any way you want with any flavors you want as long as the proportions are good 😀 Any way you make them, they are simple with few ingredients and virtually foolproof.

COON BALLS are great by themselves, but consider adding a dipping sauce – especially if serving as an appetizer or at a tailgate party. They are also great for breakfast with a sausage gravy.

COON BALLS aka SAUSAGE BALLS

1 pound ground country sausage (hubby likes the hot variety sometimes)
8-16 ounces (about 4 cups) coon cheese or sharp white cheddar cheese, FINELY shredded
2 1/2 – 3 cups Bisquick
2 tablespoons FINELY chopped sage or thyme leaves (depending on sausage flavor)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika (once again depending on sausage flavor)

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Using your hands blend all together until well mixed. Now if you’re a bit wimpy use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. This will be a THICK mixture.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls. I use my medium cookie scoop to get uniform sizes.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until browned.

NOTES:

  • DO NOT USE PRE-SHREDDED CHEESE! Pre-shredded cheeses contain a moisture blocking cellulose that will dry out your mixture. Shred your own!!!!
  • DO NOT DIP measuring cup into the Bisquick. Spoon the Bisquick into the measuring cup. When you dip into the Bisquick it tends to pack the cup. You need a looser fill.
  • They freeze really well! To freeze uncooked sausage balls FLASH FREEZE (so they don’t stick to each other) them flat and separated on baking sheets before transferring to ziplock bags or containers to freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before cooking. If freezing already cooked make sure to COMPLETELY cool them before the FLASH FREEZE.

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP ENCHILADAS

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP ENCHILADAS adapted from TALKING MEALS

This ooey gooey, creamy, cheesy, spicy, and utterly delicious appetizer dip makes an exceptional ooey, gooey, yet crunch dip, but is even better as a taco or enchilada filler or even to top a salad for an entree.

CHICKEN
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
4 tablespoons Frank’s original buffalo hot sauce
2 teaspoons avocado oil

  • Toss all together and set aside.

DIP BASE
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
8 ounces Mexican sour cream
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup Frank’s original Buffalo hot sauce
¼ cup Blue cheese crumbles or shredded cheddar or pepper jack
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
½ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

  • Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, seasonings and hot sauce together.
  • Stir in the celery, green onion and cheeses.
  • Adjust seasoning.

DIP VEHICLES
Celery sticks
Carrot Sticks
Crackers
Tortilla Chips

  • Transfer the dip to an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.
  • Top with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Bake the dip in the oven for 10 minutes or until its warmed through and the top is melted.
  • Serve and enjoy!!

CHEESY SNACKS

The perfect chewy and cheesy snack, appetizer or soup crouton dippers!

CHEESY SNACKS
2 cups (8 ounce bag) shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounce bag) shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 LARGE egg
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the egg, garlic powder and onion powder until mixed well.
  • Fold in shredded cheeses until well blended.
  • Spread in an even layer on parchment paper.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes. Edges will start to crisp and
  • Cool slightly and cut into pieces.

NOTES:

  • I used a Mozzarella and provolone mix instead of plain Mozzarella and a Parmesan Roman Asiago mix instead of plain Parmesan and it adds just a little extra flavor.
  • Add some minced red onion and minced pepperoni chunks to call it CHEESY PIZZA SNACKS!

JALAPENO POPPER WONTON CUPS

Wonton Cups full of yummy bacon, jalapeños (or green chiles if you’re a wimp), cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and sour cream make the perfect party or game day appetizer!

JALAPENO POPPER WONTON CUPS Yield: 12

12 wonton wrappers, (you’ll find them in the produce section for some weird reason)
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
3/4 pound bacon, cooked & crumbled, reserve 2 tablespoons
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, reserve 2 tablespoons
3-4 jalapeños, seeded and chopped (for more spice, do not remove all the seeds and for wimps substitute green chiles – I used HOT green chiles for a middle of the road)
diced green onion for serving

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place one wonton wrapper in each muffin cup; bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.
  • Stir in bacon pieces, cheddar cheese, and chopped jalapeños or green chiles.
  • Spoon filling into wonton cups, then sprinkle with reserved bacon and cheese.
  • Return to oven and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until wontons are golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of diced green onion.

VARIATIONS ON THIS RECIPE:

  • Bacon can be replaced with ground beef, crumbled sausage or small diced ham
  • Add crumbled blue cheese, Gorgonzola or flavor of choice
  • Substitute a flavored cream cheese for the plain cream cheese
  • Use a Mexican Sour Cream instead of plain
  • Add chopped red peppers
  • Add chopped onions

SMOKEY WHISKEY WINGS

SMOKEY WHISKEY WINGS Serves 4

Sweet, savory AND a bit of a kick.

WINGS
2 pounds chicken wing sections
3 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 quarts cold water
2 tablespoons canola oil
FRESH ground salt and black pepper
2-4 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Combine the 3 tablespoons salt, sugar, and water in a large bowl.
  • Add the wings and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Remove wings from brine and pat dry.
  • Toss wings in a bowl with the FRESH ground salt and black pepper and cornstarch until coated evenly.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Arrange wings in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 30-45 minutes until cooked through and crispy.

SAUCE
3 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, FINELY minced
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup whiskey
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup Tabasco OR Frank’s Original hot sauce (optional)
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (flavor of choice)

  • Melt butter in a saucepan.
  • Whisk in the brown sugar, whiskey, hot sauce, liquid smoke, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper.
  • Stir occasionally 10-15 minutes.
  • In a large heatproof bowl, toss together the wings and sauce, coating them well.
  • Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing.

PASTEL DEVILED EGGS

PASTEL DEVILED EGGS

This recipe is making the rounds these days and is absolutely perfect for the late Easter this year. These colored deviled eggs will make a beautiful addition to any Easter table! Also fun to do for baby or wedding showers as well.

EGGS
12 LARGE eggs

  • Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
  • Set pan over medium-high heat and bring water to a boil.
  • Turn off heat, cover pan with a lid and let sit for 12 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse eggs under cold water.

FILLING
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons pickle juice
2 teaspoons QUALITY mustard
4 tablespoons FINELY chopped dill pickles
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper (to taste)

  • Peel shells off of the eggs.
  • Cut eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out yolks into a bowl.
  • Add mayonnaise, pickle juice, and mustard to bowl, then mash the yolks and stir until mixture is smooth.
  • Stir in minced pickles and then season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the mixture in a large ziplock bag.
  • Cut the tip off of the ziplock bag and pipe the egg mixture back into the colored eggs.

DYE
6-8 ounces water in a cup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
GEL Food coloring

  • Stir desired color of food coloring into cups of water.
  • Add the vinegar to the colored water.
  • Gently place boiled and peeled eggs into the cups.
  • Let the eggs soak in the colored water for at least 10 minutes until desired shade is achieved.
  • While the eggs are soaking in food colored water prepare the deviled eggs from the recipe above.
  • Gently remove the colored eggs with a large slotted spoon and place them on a stack of paper towels to dry.
  • Pat dry with additional paper towels.
  • Fill with prepared egg mixture.

KARAAGE AMAZU? AMASU? Chicken I’ll just call it TANGY YUMMY Fried Chicken

I have a small piece of a note that says AMASU Chicken on it from an old folded recipe in an antique box I found in an antique store. I have no idea when or even when I found it. I started researching it and came up with a few recipes that sounded interesting, but none of them sounded interesting enough by themself to be worth trying in my book. So, I piece mealed the bits and pieces of all of them into a recipe we like.

Karaage is basically a Japanese term/technique for deep frying in oil. It is most often used for chicken. The meat is usually coated in a corn or potato starch dredge before frying.

Amasu – means “leave over” in Japanese
Amaza – means “ no one knows everything” in Zulu

Karaage Amazu? Amasu? Chicken I’ll just call it TANGY YUMMY Fried Chicken Serves: 4-6 people
3 pounds chicken thighs (cut into bite size) OR chicken wings
1 cup cornstarch
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup Mirin
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 cup water
1 small can crushed pineapple (DO NOT DRAIN)
1/4 cup ketchup (Jalapeno ketchup adds a bit of a kick!)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 LARGE lemon)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon FRESH, FINELY chopped cilantro coriander
1 teaspoon red chili flakes (or more if you like more heat)
Chopped green onions for garnish

  • Marinate the chicken pieces with liquid aminos and set aside.
  • Combine mirin, rice wine vinegar, water, pineapple, salt and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook until the liquid thickens.
  • Completely cool the mixture.
  • Whisk in lemon juice, cilantro and red chili flakes, to taste.
  • In a large ziploc bag coat chicken in cornstarch, shaking to coat well. Tap off excess cornstarch before frying.
  • Heat oil to 350° and fry until crispy and cooked through.
  • Add chicken to large bowl.
  • Pour sauce over and toss to coat.
  • Plate, garnish and serve hot.

SUPERBOWL PARTY DIP TRAY ~ CHEESY GAME DAY DIPS ~ BUFFALO CHICKEN, BACON & CHEESE, SPINACH & ARTICHOKE, PHILLY CHEESESTEAK

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? or FOR SOME RACING? or HOW ABOUT SOME OLYMPICS? On this weekend we are doing grazing meals and this recipe I found on Facebook will be perfect!

I found this recipe on Facebook a couple years back and it was written for 4 dips done in a rectangle. Since it’s usually just the 2 of us I make much smaller quantities and have adjusted the flavors to our liking. I’ll then take the leftovers and mix them together if they are compatible and make another plate for the next day!

CHEESY GAME DAY DIPS

serves 12 people if you make ALL 4 dips

1 pound of your pizza dough

Avocado oil

BACON and CHEESE DIP
1 3/4 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, split
1 cup cooked bacon bits
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1-4 to 1/2 cup Frank’s original hot sauce (depending on your level of heat)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup FINELY grated cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic, FINELY minced
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped chives

SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped artichokes
1/2 cup chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
FRESH ground sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

PHILLY CHEESESTEAK
1 cup cooked beef, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
cooking spray
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces shredded mozzarella “provolone” cheese

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Grease and line a deep sheet pan.
  • Mix together all ingredients for each dip until combined.
  • Roll pizza dough into ping pong size balls (20 grams) and place around the edge of the sheet pan and across through the middle to create four equal quarters. If only making 2 or 3 dips adjust your size and shape accordingly.
  • Spread one dip into each of the areas and smooth out.  
  • Brush the dough balls with avocado oil and let proof for 20 minutes.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until dough balls are golden brown and dips are bubbling.
  • Serve while warm, enjoy!

CHARCUTERIE BOARDS

The greatest meal on a busy holiday eve is a charcuterie board to graze on while you work. 😃

This time of year can be stressful and super busy (normally pre-pandemic) so to make things easier we have gone to making charcuterie boards on the “eve” nights of holidays. The word charcuterie sounds a bit intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

Charcuterie Boards are suddenly all the rage, but the culinary art of preparing charcuterie boards dates back to the 15th century. The person who prepares the charcuterie board is a charcutier which literally means “Pork Butcher” in French. The original process/meaning was intended as a way to preserve meat before the invention of refrigeration, especially pork products.

The revived comeback of the charcuterie board brings it front and center to our tables and has been born out of the necessity of our busy lives as well as our love for farm to table and deli style meals that are also quick and easy.

Since the original meaning dealt with preserved meats, adding fermented, farm to table, home canned and prepared foods just falls into place along side the meats.

One of the best things about serving a charcuterie board at your own party is that there are NO RULES! It’s yours for the making – make it as simple or as sophisticated as YOU like. One of the greatest aspects of a charcuterie board is that you can mix it all up to fit EVERYONE’S taste.

You can make these as simple or as sophisticated as YOU like. For us it is ALL about favorites and yummy satisfying and filling “bites” of food. Below is a list of some suggestions for building your own charcuterie board for your next party.

Next year I’m going to do a “DESSERT” charcuterie board for a girlfriends party instead of a cookie exchange.

  • Breads & Crackers – Crostini with toppings, Artisan Breads, Crackers, Fruitcake
  • Spreads – Jams, Chutneys, Dips, Flavored Mustards, Sauces, Dressings, Flavored Honeys, Flavored Horseradishes
  • Fermented/Pickled – Stuffed Olives, Pickles, Green Olives, Giardiniera, Peperoncinis, Pickled Carrots, Baby Corn
  • Cheeses – Cheddar, Havarti, Brie, Baby Swiss, Gouda, Pimiento Cheese, Manchego, Bleu Cheese
  • Meats – Salami, Roast Beef, Pancetta, Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Ham
  • Nuts & Seeds – Pistachios, Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamias, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, Chocolate covered raisins
  • Dried fruits – Dates, Prunes, Apricots, Golden Raisins
  • Fresh fruits – Grapes, Oranges, Berries, Apple slices, Pears, Grape tomatoes, Kiwi, Starfruit
  • Decorations – sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme or Basil

 

BAKED BEAN DIP

One of the things I have realized lately that is I have become TOO precise in my blogging. Some days it just seems to be a struggle to get the words out so I write my recipe precisely and get it posted without the commentary. Well, that needs to end. Not only do I need to add more commentary to the recipe, I need to get back to regular blogging.

I LOVE cooking and only post those recipes that are successful so I need to use more words and tell you WHY we love the recipe and WHY it works and WHY I use certain flavor combos and cooking dishes. I promise to try and get better starting with this recipe.

It’s fall y’all and tailgating season for NFL and NASCAR on top of that was what I wanted to be able to and intended to write, but time got the best of me and now we’re having it as an appetizer for New Year’s Eve 🙂

Who couldn’t resist this warm to the touch AND the taste buds creamy, cheesy, mouth watering re-fried bean dip???? It is so easy to make AND ALWAYS a crowd favorite, even if that crowd is just the two of us,  when you add your favorite tortilla chips and garnishes for that extra crunch.

BAKED BEAN DIP

16 ounce can of FULL FAT re-fried beans
1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
4 ounce can diced mild green chiles, drained WELL
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa
1-2 tablespoons Pampered Chef Tex Mex seasoning
FRESH ground sea alt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, divided

GARNISHES
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
chopped cilantro,
copped avocado,
sliced jalapeños
chopped grape tomatoes
chopped olives
a dollop or two of sour cream
sliced limes
Cotija cheese sprinklings
Tortilla chips, for serving

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • In a large bowl, combine the re-fried beans, sour cream, salsa, seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese.

  • Spread the bean mixture into a 2-quart baking dish (8×8). Personally I like a nice enameled cast iron to retain the heat, but also make it easy to clean.
  • Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Top with garnishes of choices
  • Serve warm with tortilla chips.



NOTE:

  • You CAN use low fat ingredients, but I truly believe the flavor suffers if you do! You can also substitute the sour cream with Greek yogurt, but again I feel that the FULL fat sour cream works best.
  • You can also add a protein if you want to load it up

ALTERNATIVE SEASONING BLEND
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smokey paprika

DRIED BEEF PICKLE DIP

DRIED BEEF PICKLE DIP
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon onion powder
5 ounces dried beef, chopped and rinsed WELL
1/4 cup small chopped dill pickles

  • Beat together sour cream, cream cheese and onion powder, beating until smooth and well blended.
  • Fold in dried beef and pickle pieces.
  • Cover and chill 2 hours at least.
  • Serve with tortilla chips and/or crackers.

HOT ITALIAN SANDWICHES

HOT ITALIAN SANDWICHES
1 package King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls
1/2 cup QUALITY mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Classico tomato pesto
6 slices provolone cheese
6 slices Tavern ham
6 slices Hard Salami
6 slices oven roasted turkey
6 slices Pastrami
1 cup giardiniera, chopped small
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup FRESH basil leaves
1/2 SMALL red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup River House Parmesan Herb dressing (or a zesty Italian)
Pepperoncinis, garnish
Giardiniera, garnish

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Slice the rolls horizontally in half.
  • Lightly spray a 11×7 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the mayonnaise and pesto until well blended.
  • Spread mayonnaise mixture over the cut rolls.
  • Place roll bottoms in baking dish.
  • Layer the provolone cheese followed by the meats in an even layer.
  • Add basil in a single layer followed by the red onion slices and giardiniera.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Place roll tops over the ingredients.
  • Gently press to flatten.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and and brush with dressing.
  • Bake another 5 minutes.
  • Cool slightly before slicing.
  • Serve with pepperoncinis and giardiniera.