Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it’s everything Christmas. Is your refrigerator full of turkey and pans of green bean casserole? Over the last several years, I have decided that I would eat or give away as many leftovers as possible. Otherwise, it is like throwing money out with the garbage. But let’s be realistic; turkey sandwiches for a week is one thing. However, leftover dressing (mind you I did not say stuffing) I don’t enjoy eating when it is reheated.
I have pondered ideas of what to do with leftover dressing for the last few years. An idea that kept floating back and forth in my mind was a sausage ball that used dressing instead of baking mix. As a child growing up, our family spent many a Christmas Eve evening at the home of Frank and Christine Strickland, lifelong friends of my family. Every year Sausage Balls appeared on the table of delicious hors d’oeuvres that Christine prepared.
To give you a little background on the Strickland’s, Christine was an educator in the Lanier County School System for 30 years, and also served on the South Georgia Regional Library Board. Frank was a lifelong advocate of Georgia’s tobacco industry and an active Georgia Farm Bureau member. Strickland served on numerous tobacco organizations and served as Georgia Farm Bureau 1st vice president from 1984 to 1992. Prior to 1984, he served as GFB 3rd vice president for four years and served as a state director for 15 years. He also served on the Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corporation’s Board for 20 years representing all the flue-cured tobacco producing counties in Georgia and Alabama.
This year as I saw two large containers of dressing in my refrigerator, I decided it was time to try my idea. I used Christine’s recipe for Sausage Balls and instead of baking mix I used the leftover dressing. I mixed all ingredient well with my hands and used my cookie scoop to make perfect sized balls. After baking them and tasting, I loved the flavor but felt this would make an unsuitable appetizer as the balls were not firm enough to stay together as a finger food.
Determined to find a better use for this leftover dressing, I decided to put my mixture in my meatloaf pan. After baking for 40 minutes at 400ˆ, the result was satisfying in taste and in the experience of eating it. As I ate the slice(two, actually), i liked the cornbread texture and I didn’t feel one ingredient overpowered the other. I would be curious to know it would taste if I had doubled the sausage in this recipe. I would imagine it would taste more like an actual meatloaf.
Sausage Balls make a great appetizer and they are great to make ahead and freeze. Christine’s recipe titled “Sausage Cheese Bits” appeared in Flatlanders Cook Book: A Collection of Recipes from Lanier County, Georgia.However, I never remember this recipe being called anything other than Sausage Balls. This was my mom’s go-to recipe and it is mine as well.
10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 pound fresh breakfast sausage, hot
Mix Sausage, cheese, and biscuit mix thoroughly. Form into small balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400° for 12 to 15 minutes or until done