Friday, March 16, 2012

Sausage & Cheddar Biscuit Balls (Bonus: Homemade Buttermilk Bisquick)

Many of the foods I make don't show up on my blog for quite some time.  There are many things I love that just haven't made it here yet.  They'll get there day in the sun eventually!  But this is not one of those foods.  I made these sausage and cheddar biscuit balls last night to eat while watching a little (OK, a lot) of March Madness, and I loved them so much I just had to share them today so you can make them ASAP, and enjoy them while you are watching a little, or a lot, of basketball this weekend.

I've had similar sausage balls before, but had never made them before yesterday.  I've had a recipe bookmarked in an old church cookbook for a while.  Although I like sausage, I don't eat it very often.  Actually, I take that back.  I don't cook it very often.  Sausage happens to be one of my favorite pizza toppings, and I eat pizza more than I would care to admit!  I finally decided yesterday it was time for me to cook up some sausage.  This original recipe (which, incidentally, happens to be from my Aunt Kathy) calls for Bisquick.  I haven't bought Bisquick in years.  I have discovered that it is cheaper to make my own version of it, and it takes only a few minutes to do.  So as a bonus today, I'm also including a recipe for a homemade version of Bisquick.  I guess you caught me in a good mood; it's Friday, it's March Madness, and it's a beautiful day!

I didn't take pictures of the making of the dough for my little sausage cheddar biscuit balls (that's my name for them!) because it is so simple, I thought it would be insulting.  I two-year-old could do it, and would probably enjoy it!  Literally all you do is mix the ingredients together.  And there's 3 ingredients.  Technically.  I used a combination of sharp cheddar and regular cheddar cheese.  I thought sharp cheddar would give these an extra kick of flavor, but I didn't have enough to go all sharp cheddar.  So I wrote the recipe as I made it, but you could use only sharp cheddar, or only mild cheddar if you want.

You might notice that this recipe doesn't call for any liquid.  I was really, really tempted to add some milk or water while I was mixing the ingredients together.  At first I tried to stir it together with a spoon, but it just wasn't working for me.  So I went with my hands.  Sometimes your hands are your best tools!  That worked a lot better, but it still took a little bit of almost kneading to get the dough to come together.  So don't worry about it.  You don't need liquid, just a little bit of patience and the willingness to get your hands a little dirty!

When you've got the dough formed, shape into small balls.  I used a 1/8 cup measuring cup.  The original recipe didn't say to use parchment paper, but I did just to ensure easy cleanup!

I was so happy with how these turned out!  My husband took a bite of one and said, "Holy crap these are good!"  I love it when he says that!  I think using the sharp cheddar and a buttermilk Bisquick substitute (recipe below!) instead of standard Bisquick, really gave these an extra punch of deliciousness.  I will officially classify these as an appetizers, but we had them as a main course.  I think they would even be great to have in the morning for breakfast!

My only complaint is that they were a little greasy for my liking.  I'm a wuss when it comes to grease!  I am looking forward to making these again, but maybe with low fat sausage like turkey sausage and reduced fat cheese.
Now, onto the homemade buttermilk Bisquick substitute.  I will say right off the bat that I made this a buttermilk mix not out of pure genius, but by happy accident.  The last time I went to make some homemade Bisquick, I didn't have any dry nonfat milk powder, which the original recipe calls for.  And because the grocery store in my town closed and I didn't feel like pumping up the car (ouch!) and driving 20 miles for nonfat milk powder, I used dried buttermilk powder I had leftover from my blueberry buttermilk waffles.  So if you have a better stocked pantry than me, or a grocery store where you live, and want a lower fat version of this Bisquick substitute, use dry nonfat milk powder.  It's what I usually would use!

This recipe is great if you are trying to cut back on processed foods, or if you just find yourself without Bisquick when you need some.  It only takes a few minutes to do and you can make a big batch of it all at once and then store it to have on hand for whenever you need it.  All you do to make homemade Bisquick is mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and dried milk powder.  I do a half batch at a time so I can do it all in my food processor.  Then cut in shortening until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. 
That's it!  Then store it in an airtight container until you are ready to use it in place of Bisquick.  I have found that an empty oatmeal canister is a handy container! 
So don't delay.  Make some today.  Happy March Madness and Saint Patrick's Day tomorrow!

Sausage and Cheddar Biscuit Balls
1 lb sausage (uncooked)
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz cheddar cheese
3 cups Bisquick (I recommend my homemade buttermilk Bisquick substitutes, below)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl.  Use hands to mix until well combined.  Shape into balls using about 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) of the dough for each ball.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature is 170 degrees.
These can be frozen and taken out as needed.  If frozen, bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Makes about 50 balls.

Recipe adapted from St. John's Ladies Guild Cookbook (thanks Aunt Kathy!)

Homemade Buttermilk Bisquick Substitute
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup dried buttermilk powder (can substitute nonfat dry milk powder)
1/4 cup baking powder
1 Tbsp salt
2 cups shortening
Combine flour, milk, baking powder, and salt in a very large bowl.  Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse cornmeal.  Store in tightly closed covered container in a cool place.  Use in place of Bisquick in recipes.
Makes about 10 cups.

Recipe adapted from Mom Street's Collection

1 comment:

  1. Try cutting back on the reg cheese and add an 8oz pkg of low fat cream cheese...awesome!