A Soy-Free New Year’s Day

January 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

First off, Happy 2011, everyone! How exciting that this is not only my first official post of the New Year, but also my first official post for the Post a Day Challenge. I feel so accomplished already! πŸ˜‰

Today I thought I would ring in the New Year with three of my (new) favorite traditional holiday fare. Now, with the soy allergy ever present in our day-to-day diets, we occasionally have either to make sacrifices or figure out something else entirely. In my family there are a few things that are sort of always a given on the holiday table: sausage cheese balls, French toast casserole, and cheese dip being among my personal favorites. I’ve started a few of my own traditions, one of which is hosting a New Year’s Eve / New Year’s Day party with our friends. Last year we had all of our favorite holiday items present, including pigs in a blanket. Unfortunately for Robert, this time last year I was still fairly uneducated about what contained soy and what would cause him discomfort. This year, however, I’m much better.

Sausage cheese balls: Bisquick has soy in it. Boo…this is one of our very favorites.
French toast casserole: French bread often has soy in it, too. It’s not even fair to imagine a world without French toast casserole.
Pigs in a blanket: Refrigerated croissants have soy. I don’t even want to talk about it.

But here’s what the wife figured out: Heart Smart Bisquick is made with canola oil–no soy!! French bread may have soy in it, but not all bread does! Those little smokies don’t have to be wrapped with refrigerated croissants, after all.

Here are a few pictures of my new soy-free holiday favorite dishes. (Recipes behind the cut below the pictures.)

Okay, so they're not pigs in a blanket in the technical sense of the word, but breaded tubes of meat are always delicious finger foods!

While watching The Today Show earlier this week, I came upon this recipe, and I had a great idea to replace our soy-laden pigs in a blanket from last year’s party. Why not make miniature corn dogs instead? They were a big hit!

Two packages of little smokies all battered and ready to go!

Serving suggestion: these taste great with whatever condiments you love on your hotdogs/corn dogs.

I was only mildly concerned that people would not feel excited about the miniature corn dogs…because…well…they don’t exactly scream, “classy party.” But apparently if you miniature-ize any food, you exponentially increase its inherent classiness!

This morning, for the breakfast portion of our two-day party (it spilled over to New Year’s Day because we invited people over for brunch and bowl games), I made a French toast casserole and sausage cheese balls.

Mmm...French toast casserole....

Instead of a loaf of French bread, I bought a fresh baked loaf of white bread from Earth Fare that was made with olive oil and canola oil instead of vegetable oil. It was a little bit puffier than French bread once it baked, but it was still amazingly yummy.

Carbo-loaded breakfast...to combat the obligatory New Year's hangover!

The sausage cheese balls are in the top right corner of the plate. I think my oven cooks them a bit badly because they’ve consistently come out looking dark brown instead of a pretty gold like the way my mom makes them. I’ll figure out this old oven, though!

So, who wants recipes?

Sausage Cheese Balls
1 lb. mild cheddar cheese, melted
1 lb. hot/mild sausage (note: use the cheapest sausage you can find–the fattier, the better it holds together)
2 1/2 c. Heart Smart Bisquick (note: if you are not concerned about soy, you may use the same amount in regular Bisquick)

Preparation: Once cheese is melted, mix all ingredients together in a large glass bowl. Caution: mixture will be hot at first and will begin to cool as you mix together the sausage and Bisquick. I use my hands, but do be careful with freshly melted cheese. Once fully integrated, roll into balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. (Note: do not use a dark pan.) Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. Yields: 75-100 cheese balls, depending on how large you roll them. The size pictured above yielded 50 sausage cheese balls. They were a bit large. Sausage cheese balls are best eaten warm, so try to serve them immediately after they finish cooling from baking. Otherwise, they microwave extremely well.

Miniature Corn Dogs
1 cup cornmeal (note: do not use self-rising)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
2 packages Hillshire Farms Little Smokies or Little Franks
Canola oil (Note: use enough to fill a large pot or dutch oven halfway. You want your corn dogs to be able to sink and float in the oil.)

Batter: Set aside Little Smokies and mix all remaining ingredients together. I find it easier to beat the eggs first, and then add milk, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients. Your batter will be grainy and thick.

Preparation: Using a candy/frying thermometer, heat oil in pot to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. As you add corn dogs to the oil, you may find that you will need to adjust the heat to maintain 350 degrees. Be vigilant so that they cook properly but also so that they do not over-brown. Insert toothpicks into one end of each Little Smokies, careful to leave room for guests to grab once these are served. Holding the Little Smokies by the toothpick, insert into batter, careful to coat entire link so that it “seals” the toothpick as well. (If you leave a portion of the link exposed, the batter may slide off, leaving an extremely strange and unappealing “corn dog.”) Once the link is coated, allow excess to drip off, and drop link into your pot or dutch oven of oil. Do not overload your dutch oven; instead, allow room for the Smokies to float around and cook. I tried not to fry more than 10 links at a time. Depending on the size of your pot, you may choose to do more or fewer. Use a wire spider to carefully remove golden brown links and allow to drip on a plate with paper towels for a few minutes before finally putting them in your serving dish.

French Toast Casserole
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup butter (note: if you are not concerned about soy, you may use margarine)
1/4 cup + 2 tsp. of light corn syrup
10 slices of crusty white bread or French bread, sliced to 1.75″ thickness
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups half & half and whole milk, mixed together (1 1/4 cups of each)
1 tbsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. salt, mixed together
3 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted (note: or margarine, if you are not concerned about soy)

Note: this recipe must be refrigerated at least 8 hours before baking, so make ahead.

Preparation: Combine brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter, and light corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until bubbly. Pour mixture into a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish. Arrange bread on top of mixture (note: you may have to cut your slices in half to make them fit properly, but all bread should be laying flat and touching the mixture at the bottom of the dish). Combine eggs, half & half and milk mixture, and vanilla & salt mixture in separate bowl; pour on top of bread evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Just before baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Mix with melted butter. Pour and spread evenly over bread. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes until brown and bubbly. Serve warm.

If you try these recipes, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Happy New Year, everyone! πŸ™‚

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§ 2 Responses to A Soy-Free New Year’s Day

  • Tonia says:

    Sausage cheese balls are Corey’s favorite. My mom made two batches of them for him over Christmas. I think the mini corn dogs look fantastic! I think I’ll try them for our next party.

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