I know I have mentioned my “posse”; my “wolfpack” before, here on the blog. The Navajo, The Viking, The GraveRobber, The Gaysian, The BroadwayBaby, and The Webmistress. Well, though we are all quite different, we have a few things in common; we all live for food, we all live to sweat, and we all could make Tosh.O blush.
However, three of us; BB, GR, and I, can all trace our roots to one city in West Virginia. My mother and grandparents, as well as BB and GR themselves are from Huntington, WVa. Home of Marshall University and Biscuit World, and birthplace of fried awesome with a heavy dose of staunchly Democratic and strangely sarcastic relatives. We, the three of us bonded over collected similar memories of our MawMaws and the things they cooked for us growing up. (Incidentally, we are all lucky enough to still have our MawMaws with us.)
We can wax poetic for hours about biscuits and cornbread, pinto beans, greens, dumplings, homemade pickles, cakes, johnny cakes fried in bacon grease, and mashed potatoes with so much butter it could serve as Paula Deen’s version of a BDSM porn.
We argue over whose fried chicken recipe is better, and whose MawMaw kicked more ass, as West Virginian MawMaws aren’t known for their light hand in rearing children. (incidentally, in a blind tasting, my MawMaw’s chicken recipe won. Suck it, Trebek.)
The thing is, we simply do not eat that way anymore. Not only is it a trifle unhealthy, but it’s effing MESSY. All that grease? If your kitchen looks like a war zone in an oil rich country, imagine what your insides look like after eating all that stuff. Beyond that, as you know, I suffer from depression, and all of that junk would simply exacerbate my hormonal imbalances, and make my already pronounced rosacea appear as though I’ve been on a 2 week bender with any given former member of the Mickey Mouse Club. Not.Cute.
So we are faced with a dilemma. We want homey foods, especially this time of year. However, we need to remain in our jeans that fit, and in our heads that don’t scream dirty epithets at us. I refuse to hand over the reigns to my mental health to a bucket of canola oil and barrel of flour. I prefer to hand the reigns to more fun carriage drivers, like Jane Austen and/or Kathy Griffin.
It comes to this; we must compromise. We must adjust our recipes and make good our mental escape from the ties that bind us to what we are accustomed. It is not at all unlike what we three did when we left our families behind and moved to NYC. It’s a big step, yes, but necessary for our dreams to flourish and for our hearts to sing. It is a change, but it is a good one.
Today’s lightened up hillbilly fare is that of the humble sausage ball. You simply cannot go to any proper southern gathering without seeing between 3-476983745698346 versions of this appetizer. It’s as ubiquitous to a party in the South as more wine than food is in NYC. They value taste, and we, apparently, value oblivion.
I’ve reduced the calories and fat in this recipe without making it “other”. It still looks, smells, tastes, and feels like a sausage ball. It simply now does not make you have that “morning after” regret, that so many balls do nowadays.
Healthy Sausage Balls
healthy sausage balls
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: bake side snack appetizer
Ingredients (24 balls)
- 1 lb bulk turkey sausage
- 3 tbsp egg whites or 1 egg white
- 1/3 cup quick oats
- 1/2 tsp ground sage
- 1 tbsp hot sauce (I use Texas Pete’s in mine)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup reduced fat cheddar, shredded. (the ALL natural variety)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- cooking oil spray
combine all ingredients save for the panko and cooking spray
preheat oven to 400F
roll the meat mix into 1″ balls
roll each ball in panko crumbs and place on cookie sheet
spray with cooking oil spray
bake for 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted reads 170F