Sausage Balls – On Fire!

It may be no surprise to people that I got my love of food, or the kind of food in particular, from my family. My father likely had the most influence as I would definitely not be a chilihead if it weren’t for him. I’m working on passing that passion on down to my own son.

And one of those passions beyond the taste factor includes what kinds of food I like. While breakfast may be my all-time favorite meal of the day, I would gnaw down on some apps any day of the week. It was not uncommon in my household to see us eating the insanely good cheese dip. However on truly special occasions, my Mom would pull out the sausage balls.

Her recipe was very similar to this recipe, but I want to say she used Velveeta in that recipe as well. And I had not even thought about the recipe until someone posted a similar recipe elsewhere. Like the dip, this is my version of a classic appetizer that dates back to the 70s. Not everything ancient has to be bad for you or contain Gluten – cause we can make almost anything GF! #GFNotTasteFree!

Sausage Balls – On Fire

1 lb (450 g) raw pork sausage
10 oz (300 g) Jalapeno Jack cheese
2 C Gluten Free Bisquick

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (convection or none) while you cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine your sausage, cheese and Bisquick in a large bowl. Note: I like to use Johsonville Hot Italian Sausage. And as always shred your own cheese to remove the possibility of Gluten contamination from the factory’s shredding process. Add a little milk to the mixture to get it to combine into one big ball. The last time I did this I added close to a quarter cup of milk.
  3. Now comes the fun – you could use a scoop to get the size consistent, but you will need to roll them into balls about the size of a loonie (or Susan B. Anthony!) Put em on your baking sheet with a little bit of space – they won’t spread out that much.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. I liked doing mine for about 25 minutes on convection and it makes them a little crispy.

Cajun Pretzels

CajunPretzels-1Ever since CD, it has been harder and harder to find food that does not have gluten. And not all GF products are of the same quality. So finding something to snack on is not as simple as just walking down the chip aisle.

That said there are a ton of GF products out there. And there are more hitting the market every day. But with my penchant for the spicy, they are few and much, much farther between. I had to take matters into my own hands.

I’ve always been intrigued by the recipes featuring flavoured pretzels. This is my version featuring GF pretzels and my Cajun seasoning.

Cajun Pretzels

8 0z. GF pretzels (Glutino)
1/3 cup veggie oil
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp garlic powderCajunPretzels

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the pretzels in a freezer bag. Ensure the oil and seasoning are mixed well before pouring over the pretzels.
  2. Bake at 200 degrees for an hour, turning every 20 minutes.

Hot & Spicy Spinach Dip

A long time ago, my wife loved to go to a chain restaurant in the States. This particular chain had a decent hot spinach dip but the closest one to us was about an hour away. Being the diligent and creative husband, I found a recipe to use and then altered it to fit my parameters.

As my wife does not eat spicy food – I have further enhanced and developed this to better suit my tastes. That said, if you don’t enjoy spice – why are you on this site? I mean you can trade out the Pepper Jack for Monterrey Jack cheese and 86 the chili flakes.

HS Spinach Dip

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) half-and-half
8 oz (225 g) grated Pepper Jack cheese
8 oz (250 g) light cream cheese
1 tsp (5 g) garlic powder
1 tbsp (15 g) chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp (8 ml) GF Worcestershire sauce
1.5 lbs (360 g) frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
4 green onions, chopped

  1.  Bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat and add the Pepper Jack, cream cheese, garlic powder, Worcestershire and chili flakes. Continuously stir to prevent sticking until the cheeses melt.
  2. While slowly stirring, add the spinach and scallions. Stir until mixed and the spinach is wilted.
  3. Serve hot with Doritos. This could potentially go well as a sauce for pasta …

Atomic Peppers

Obviously pre-cooking - I think I ate the majority of these myself.

Obviously pre-cooking – I think I ate the majority of these myself.

I recently had a friend that posted a pic of an infant drooling over bacon with a caption of “Love at First Sight”. My first reaction – maybe if it had been jalapenos. Second thought – Stuffed Jalapenos.

That said I love my recipe for Dragon Bites – bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed jalapenos. But I’ve found another recipe that rivals it in taste and fire!

Originally, this recipe called for Parmesan cheese and was nowhere near as spicy. I changed that and now these cheese and sausage stuffed jalapenos are equally as fantastic as the Dragon Bites with a lot less work …

Atomic Peppers

12 large jalapenos (about 3 inches long)
1 lb. (250 g) spicy GF sausage
8 oz. (250 g) cream cheese
8 oz. (225 g) Pepper Jack Cheese
1 tbsp (15 g) minced garlic
1 tbsp (15 g) crushed red peppers
1 green onion

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. While your sausage is frying up with your garlic and red peppers, wash and slice the peppers in half lengthwise so they form small boats.
  3. Drain your sausage and mix with your shredded cheese, diced green onions and cream cheese. You may have to get in with your hands to ensure that it mixes well.
  4. Spoon 1 large tablespoon into each boat and then cook for about 20 minutes or they just start to brown.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Cayenne-Candied Bacon

I have a number of friends who are bacon fanatics – more so than I. However, I’m not sure how CayenneCandiedBaconmany of them have tried this delectable and hard to limit treat. The cayenne candied bacon is simple to make and goes great with a ton of stuff as a garnish (read four to five pieces for a sandwich)!

1 lb (500 g) bacon
3 tbsp (45 g) cayenne
1 cup (225 g) brown sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the pan.
  2. Combine the brown sugar and cayenne, stirring to mix well. Press both sides of bacon firmly into the spiced sugar to coat – but shake off excess, don’t press down – a lot will be wasted if you pack it on. Arrange the slices of bacon on top of the broiler rack in a single layer, sugared-side up. If there is any sugar remaining in the dish, sprinkle it on top of the bacon slices evenly.
  3. Bake until the bacon is crisp and the sugar is bubbly, 15 minutes. Transfer to cookie racks to drain briefly, then to a plate or serving dish to cool.

Dragon Bites

I came up with this one as a Relay for Life fundraiser in Beulah, ND. And it grew in infamy from there – I’ve done it a few times and most of everyone is salivating just at the mention of them.

These were for baking.

These were for baking.

8 oz. (250 g) cream cheese
8 oz. (225 g) pepper jack cheese
2 tbsp (30 g) minced garlic
1/4 cup (60 g) sun-dried tomatoes
1 tbsp (15 g) cilantro
25 large jalapeno peppers
1 lb (500 g) thin slice bacon

  1. Mix room temperature cream cheese and shredded pepper jack with garlic, finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes and cilantro. The stuffing should be soft and manageable enough to squeeze out of a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off.
  2. Slice each jalapeno lengthwise on one side, being careful not to cut the jalapeno in half. Stuff the pepper with the mixture making sure not to overfill the jalapeno.
  3. Wrap each pepper with two strips of bacon, which should secure the opening. Slide a number of wrapped peppers onto a long wood skewer with a little space in between each pepper.
  4. The stuffed pepper can either be grilled or baked. It is best to soak your skewers in a little olive oil before using them on the grill or in the oven. This will prevent them from charring.
  5. To bake the peppers, the oven should be at about 400 degrees and it should take about 20 minutes. To grill the dragon bites, make sure the bacon is done. And if you grill them, you might want something under them, such as foil or a foil pan since they will be messy.