Try these super meatballs for the Super Bowl

Associated PressJanuary 20, 2014 

The spicy sausage meatballs can be made in advance, then frozen until party time.

BY MATTHEW MEAD — Associated Press

Supposedly, we all have our dirty little food secrets, those crazy things we're embarrassed to admit we love. But the truth is, I don't consider any of my loves to be secrets.

If I love something, I am proud to eat it, no matter how trashy or elegant it is. If I was ashamed to eat it, I wouldn't eat it.

Which is why in this day of aspirational organic, local, vegan, sustainable, nose-to-tail eating, I think a little honesty about what tastes good and satisfies the soul is important. And that's why I'm sharing my No. 1 pick for great Super Bowl party food, a trashy, delicious little recipe for sausage meatballs I got from my Aunt Mert.

I made them twice this Thanksgiving for a tony northern crowd, and I served them right alongside smoked salmon and caviar. The sausage balls were scarfed up while the more sophisticated offerings were ignored. They are spicy, savory, salty and full of protein, so they are the perfect pairing for the beer that typically flows on Super Bowl Sunday!

The simplest southern sausage meatball recipe is three ingredients -- bulk hot breakfast sausage, cheddar cheese and Bisquick. They are so simple that even someone who can't boil water can make them. All you need is a bowl and a fork (or clean hands) to mix everything together and a baking sheet to cook them on.

If you don't like spicy foods, you can leave out the cayenne, but I think it helps balance the richness of the meatballs. I also use the sharpest cheddar that I can buy and prefer to grate the cheese myself because it seems to melt better. If you prefer Italian flavors, you can adapt the recipe and use bulk hot Italian sausage and substitute half a cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for a quarter pound of the cheddar.

You can prep this recipe in advance. Follow through the step of forming the meat mixture into balls, then arrange them on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, store in plastic bags. Cook frozen meatballs as directed, but increase oven time to 35 minutes.

What you need:

  • Two cups all-purpose flour.

  • One tablespoon baking powder.

  • Half a teaspoon salt.

  • One tablespoon melted butter.

  • Half a teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic.

  • Quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper.

  • One pound grated sharp cheddar cheese.

  • One pound loose spicy sausage meat.

  • Two eggs.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, butter, garlic and cayenne. Set aside.

In a second large bowl, use your hands to mix together the cheese, sausage and eggs until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix for several minutes to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Pinch off about a quarter cup of the mixture and roll into 1.5-inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Start to finish: 40 minutes (15 minutes active).

Makes 36 meatballs.

Nutrition information per meatball: 110 calories; 60 calories from fat (55 percent of total calories); 7 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 35 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 6 g protein; 220 mg sodium.

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