San Luis Sausage
Christmas is right around the corner, are you ready?
- Get Active: It is getting colder and we are so busy with other things this time of year, and with lack of sunlight that's a recipe for Holiday Burnout. Get out, grab a buddy take a hike, or walk to look at the wonderfully festive lights this season brings. Or even throw some ankle weights on when you hit the mall.
- Remember what's important — The barrage of holiday advertising can make you forget what the holiday season is really about. When your holiday expense list is running longer than your monthly budget, scale back and remind yourself that what makes a great celebration is loved ones, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food.
- Have realistic expectations — No Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza or other holiday celebration is perfect. View inevitable missteps as opportunities to demonstrate flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree or a burned brisket won’t ruin your holiday; rather, it will create a family memory. If your children’s wish list is outside your budget, talk to them about the family's finances this year and remind them that the holidays aren't about expensive gifts.
- Take time for yourself — There may be pressure to be everything to everyone. Remember that you’re only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do — others will benefit when you’re stress- free. Go for a long walk, get a massage or take time out to listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries — by slowing down you will actually have more energy to accomplish your goals.
- Volunteer — Many charitable organizations are also suffering due to the economic downturn. Find a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or a shelter where you and your family can volunteer. Also, participating in a giving tree or an adopt-a-family program, and helping those who are living in true poverty may help you put your own economic struggles in perspective.
Recipes for Delicious Holiday Appetites
Small Bites for Holiday Appetites
Holiday celebrations are perfect occasions for festive buffet tables filled with new and interesting dishes along with some old favorites. It's fun to taste a bit of everything and then go back for more of the things you liked best. Whether you're having a pot luck or hosting the whole thing yourself, small bites are a good way to give the guests lots of choices.
We think you'll love these fast and easy-to-make sausage appetizers that will add spice and variety to your menu. Make plenty, because they're sure to be among the most popular items. And remember, while holiday parties are great, you don't need a crowd to enjoy them. Any occasion will do. Make some to pass around while you're watching football, looking for the 'z' tile at a Saturday night Scrabble game, or just relaxing at home with the family.
Andouille Sausage Appetizers
1/2 pound Andouille sausage
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 1/2 cup Biscuit mix (like Bisquick)
Preheat the oven to 325°. Remove the sausage from its casing. Mix well with the other ingredients. Roll into one-inch balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve warm.
Wonton Sausage Appetizers
1 (25-count) package wonton wrappers
1 pound bulk sausage, cooked and well drained
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
3/4 cup ranch dressing
Preheat the oven to 350°. Press a wonton wrapper into each cup of a muffin tin. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and place the wonton cups on a cookie sheet. Repeat until there are about 25 cups. Mix the sausage, Cheddar cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, and dressing until very well blended. Spoon the mixture into the cups. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbly.
Cheese and Sausage Croissant Bites
1 8-oz. can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 brown and serve sausages (uncooked)
Preheat oven to 375° (for convection ovens, preheat to 350°).
Separate crescent dough into 4 rectangles on a lightly floured surface. Pinch and press diagonal perforations together to seal. Brush each rectangle with melted butter. In a small mixing bowl, combine cheese and oregano, then sprinkle over each rectangle.
Cut each rectangle crosswise to form 2 squares (pizza cutters work well). Place a sausage link on the edge of each square, then roll up, adjusting position to make sure seam is on the bottom. Using a sharp knife, cut each rolled-up square into 4 pieces, then secure each piece with a toothpick.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place croissant bites cut-side down on baking sheet (about 1 inch apart) and bake for 10-13 minutes or until croissant bites turn a light golden brown (watch closely towards the last 5 minutes and adjust baking time as needed). Leave toothpicks in croissant bites so guests can easily serve themselves.
Cheese and Sausage Mushrooms
16 medium-size mushrooms
olive oil (as needed for coating mushrooms)
crushed and dried Italian seasoning (see directions for alternate seasonings)
1-2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
5 green onions (white and green parts), diced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Remove stems from mushrooms by either gently twisting base until they break off, or by using a sharp knife. Remove any remaining stem pieces from mushrooms to create a nice cavity. Dice stems and set aside. Generously coat inside and outside of each mushroom cap with olive oil and place open side up on a baking sheet or baking dish.
Sprinkle the insides of mushroom caps with some crushed and dried Italian seasoning (if you don't have Italian seasoning handy, one or more of a variety of dried herbs, such as marjoram, rosemary, sage, oregano, basil and savory may be used).
Remove casings from sausage. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in sausage, crushing with spoon into smaller pieces as you cook. Cook until sausage has no pink color remaining, then stir in chopped mushroom stems and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in green onions and sauté for one more minute. Add Worcestershire (if using) and salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
Spoon sausage mixture (using a small spoon) into each mushroom cap. Top each mushroom with the shredded cheese and broil 10-12 inches from heating unit for about 2 minutes, or just until cheese has begun to melt.
We bet you're getting hungry just reading the recipes (we did), so you can imagine what's going to happen when you serve them. There's a reason they call these things
Did You Know...
It’s the end of a wonderful year of national food holidays. In addition to holiday celebrations with family, friends and neighbors; workplace parties; New Year’s Eve; holiday baking; and all of those food gifts you receive; there are these important national food holidays that are...almost obligatory.