Some of my earliest memories of Christmas involve food. Actually, some of my earliest memories of anything involve food, but that’s a whole other story!!
Christmas is the time of year when most people overeat. Is it really any wonder, though? From parties and dinners to edible gifts, there is a lot of food to go around. In our family alone, we attend roughly 3-4 dinner parties not including Christmas Eve at my Momma’s and Christmas Day at our house. That’s a lot of eating!!
I wouldn’t trade it for anything though. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy when other people like my cooking. Even if I am eating at someone else’s home, I try to contribute a few dishes and I always try to bring at least one new recipe.
I have to say, that as far as food goes, Christmas Eve is my favorite celebration! We have spent Christmas Eve with my Momma’s side of the family for my entire life and no matter how old I get, I still look forward to it. We’ve done different menus throughout the years, but the one that seems to be a favorite is appetizers and desserts. Of course, we always have lots of leftovers, but sometimes that’s the best part!
We always have a variety of food, but some dishes have become staples. We almost always have spinach dip (the recipe on the back of the Knorr packet), some form of L’il Smokies (either with bbq sauce or brown sugar and bacon–sometimes both), cream cheese with Momma’s homemade pepper jelly and crackers (I could eat the entire thing by myself!), and sausage balls.
Oh, the sausage balls. These have been my contribution to Christmas Eve (and sometimes Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc., etc.) since I was at least 13 years old. I remember wanting to make something and finding this super easy recipe. They were a hit then and a must-have now! One year, I didn’t make any sausage balls. I still hear about it sometimes…”You remember that one Christmas when Beth didn’t make sausage balls??” It was a sad day!
I’m going to share the recipe with you. I don’t even remember where I actually saw it first or I would give them credit for it! It is so simple and easy. I make them sometimes and serve them for breakfast. And they freeze very well, too.
Easy Sausage Balls
1 box of chicken flavor Stove-Top Stuffing (you can use another brand, this is just my favorite.)
1 lb. of Tennessee Pride Sausage (again, you can use your favorite brand–I just like this one!)
1 cup of water
Open Stove-Top, pour ingredients into a gallon size freezer or storage bag. (You can make this in a bowl, the bags just make for much easier clean up.)
Open sausage and add to Stove-Top.
Pour 1 cup of water into the bag.
Seal bag, squeezing out excess air as you go. Mix the ingredients by squeezing the bag. Move everything around several times and make sure it is mixed pretty thoroughly. Also, make sure that the bag doesn’t come open while you are mixing or you will have a big mess!! Flatten out the ingredients in the bag and put it into the fridge for at least thirty minutes. It is incredibly hard to roll the mixture if it doesn’t chill at least a little. Trust me!
After the mixture is chilled, roll into balls (you can choose the size, but you may have to cook them longer if they are very large), and place on a pan/cookie sheet that has been sprayed with your choice of cooking spray. Cook at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes, remove from oven and turn, and then return to the oven for 15 more minutes to finish the other side.
(One batch generally makes over 30 sausage balls. I couldn’t tell you how much a serving is, because my family will eat a plate full!!!)
Of course, we have lots of other varieties of appetizers and snacks–it really just depends on what everyone is in the mood to make. The menu in the picture below consisted of:
*Cream Cheese with Hot Pepper Jelly
*Bobby’s Hot Tomato, Jack, & Crab Dip (http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/bobbys_hot_tomato_jack_and_crab_dip/ ) …If you have never tried this, make some! It’s so good!
*Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
*L’il Smokies with BBQ Sauce
*Brie with Cherry Chutney
*Homemade Onion Dip
*Cheese Ball with Strawberry Preserves (my grandmothers–I need to get that recipe!)
*Buffalo Chicken Dip
*Tortellini with Pesto Dip
Our menus often vary. Sometimes I make my potato soup or my Mom makes cassoulet. I have also used my bbq and slaw recipes to make sliders. http://thatonemom.com/2013/04/12/lawbreaker-bbq-and-carolina-hot-slaw-yum-yum/
We always have either apple cider or wassail. And of course, there have to be desserts!!
Desserts vary too, but in this picture you will find White Chocolate/Cranberry Holly Jollies, fruit salad, Rice Krispie Treats, White Trash, Apple Stack cake, Cheesecake Dip, Nannie’s Pound Cake, Rocky Road Fudge, and Peanut Butter Roll. There were also some Fruitcake Cookies and a pan of peanut butter fudge, but they kind of got hidden away until after dinner!! Most of these are homemade by my Nan or my Momma, but I’m hoping to get some of these recipes to share with you soon. In the meantime, here are the recipes I used for the HollyJollies and the White Trash:
Holly Jollies…http://www.southernplate.com/2009/12/holly-jollies-christmas-candy-on-a-budget-in-a-hurry.html. I do the white chocolate with cranberries, but I add macadamia nuts to them. YUM!
You really just never know what kind of recipe my family is going to dish up. And I think that’s part of the fun and why I have such wonderful memories of Christmas Eve! I’m going to start planning my Christmas menus now and start stocking up on groceries! But right this minute, I’m getting really hungry. I think I might go make some sausage balls!!!
*I am not affiliated with or being paid by any of the websites, companies, or brands I may have mentioned. This is just an attempt to share some of my favorite foods and recipes with you!!!*