Sausage Cranberry Stuffing.



Sausage Cranberry Stuffing might be my favorite part of holiday meals.  Savory with a little hint of sweet and tangy, crunchy on top and chewy in the middle.  Mmmmm.  It comes together in no time,  can be made ahead and is a major crowd pleaser.  This stuffing is a winner all around.  I always make a double batch and usually regret not doing triple!





Sausage Cranberry Stuffing, Ingredients:


  • 1 package herb seasoned stuffing mix, 14 ounces
  • 1 pound mild ground pork sausage, browned - not drained
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 stick butter, melted


Sausage Cranberry Stuffing, Directions:


  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except butter, mix well so everything is moist.
  2. Spoon stuffing into a casserole dish (if you're going to freeze for later, stop here and pack it up) and drizzle the melted butter over top.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, until the top is browned and crispy.
  4. Enjoy!


















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Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!




This Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food recipe and article was developed for Collective Bias and its advertiser.  Mama Loves Food has been compensated for the associated time and work.  All opinions are mine alone. #SeasonedGreetings #CollectiveBias


Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!



Game day is a BIG deal around these parts.  And by "game-day" I mean any Sunday, Monday, or Thursday during football season.  And/or, any morning after an original game day, if the actual game was on too late for one of my boys.  (I have four boys.  Five if you include the big one I married.) (Yes, you read that right.)  I have to be honest, despite watching countless hours of football with my dad.  And infinity more with my husband.  I have only the most tenuous grasp of the game.  Which is fine, really, because I'd much rather be in the kitchen whipping up some delicious party food for the masses.


Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!


When I was asked to develop a recipe using one of Tabasco's sauces, I knew immediately that I wanted to make a chipotle meatball.  My boys love (love love love) meatballs, and smoked chipotle just brings them to the next level.  I slipped away (alone!) to Target while the boys were running drills in the back yard (not kidding!), and possibly took just a few minutes longer than absolutely necessary.  The meatballs came together in no time at all, and when the guys piled onto the couch for game time, everything was ready Freddy.


Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!


This is definitely going on my list of holiday party recipes, and I'm going to give you one of my favorite party food tips - make these ahead and freeze them!  Make a double, triple, or quadruple batch and freeze in gallon bags.  You can whip them out and impress people for months!  Well, if they last that long.  Which, they probably won't.  Because they're amazing.


Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs, Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, original style
  • 3/4 cup cooked/crumbled bacon (I like to cook mine ahead and stash it in the freezer)
  • 1/4 cup fine grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
  • blue cheese dressing, for dipping


Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs, Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except blue cheese.  Mix together with your hands (go ahead, get a little dirty!) and roll into meatballs (makes about 40 appetizer sized balls).
  2. Place in a single layer on an oven-safe baking pan or dish, and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (until centers are no longer pink).
  3. Serve warm with blue cheese dipping sauce, or be like my husband and stuff it all in a hoagie and enjoy a giant smoked chipotle meatball sub!


Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Meatballs - Delicious Party Food!



For more Tabasco inspired awesomeness, you can follow Tabasco on Facebook and Twitter!






10 Rules for Hosting a Successful Holiday Dinner!




These Ten Rules for Hosting a Successful Holiday Dinner are tried and true by... yours truly.  I have hosted or cooked at least one big holiday for the last five or so years, and each time we get closer and closer to perfection.  Or ambivalence.  I don't know.  But what I am sure of, is that you should read these rules at least twice if you're planning to host a holiday meal.  Paying special attention to numbers 8, 9, and 10.  Really.  (No, REALLY.)





1. Plan (Far) in Advance.  

Having a basic plan a few weeks ahead of time (even if it's just a general outline of your day) allows you to work through the details in your mind over a long period, so the end game isn't  overwhelming.  I like to figure out my basic timeline at least a month in advance.  I start planning the food about three weeks ahead, and I start shopping and cooking about two weeks ahead.  You could even do this even more in advance, but even I'm not *that* organized.


2. Cook Ahead.  

Choose meals that can be prepared ahead of time and then frozen.  If you have a deep freeze, some items can be started as far as six months in advance!  With an upright freezer, you could start as much as a month or two earlier than the event.  I generally start cooking about two weeks before the holiday, so I'm not feeling crazy and overwhelmed on the big day.  Don't have freezer room?  You can still get things chopped and prepped in the days leading up, so you're not drowning on the big day.  Do what you can in advance and it's one less thing to worry about!


3. Use Technology.  

Can it be done in a slow cooker, so you don't have to slave over the stove?  Good, then do it.  Can you set your coffee maker to come on at dessert time so you don't have to remember?  Good, then do it.  Can you use a table oven for the casserole so you're not trying to play turkey jenga?  Good, then do it.  Can you program your phone alarm to chime and remind you when to check dishes and take out the turkey?  Good, then do it.


4. Simplify Things.  

Does the recipe call for fourteen types of spices when a tablespoon of seasoned salt would work just fine?  Use the seasoned salt, no one will know.  Do you hate chopping onions?  Buy them pre-chopped.  Does your dishwasher suck?  Use disposables.  Can you dump a bag of frozen hash browns into the pan instead of peeling and cutting twenty potatoes? DO IT.


5. Stick with What You Know.  

Now is not the time to experiment with a new recipe.  Or buy a fancy new gadget.  I would love a sous vide as much as the next foodie, but I'm not going to whip one out for the first time on Thanksgiving morning!  Arm yourself with your star recipes that you know how to make and you know people love.  Why mess with a good thing?  Who has time for that?


6. Ask For Help.  

Do not be a martyr.  I repeat DO NOT BE A MARTYR.  If your friend wants to bring a dish, say THANK YOU.  If you want something in particular, just let them know.  If you'd rather have help with non-food items, ask for cocktails or paper goods.  When your father-in-law creeps into the kitchen, hand him a dish towel and point to the sink.  When the kids start whining about being bored, let them set the table.  This is an orchestra, not a drum solo.  Be the conductor and make beautiful holiday magic happen.


7. Borrow Stuff.  

Keep in mind that most people aren't doing the hosting, so there are gads of super helpful tools being entirely unused and neglected on holidays.  You should borrow those sad appliances and make them part of your festivities.  Would a second (or fourth) slow cooker make your day easier?  Borrow one.  Need a cheese board?  Snag one.  Don't have enough knives.  Steal thy neighbors! (Okay, maybe just ask nicely).


8. Prepare for Disaster.  

Possibly the curtains will catch fire.  Or a small child will eat all your butter.  Maybe Uncle Bert will knock over a punch bowl.  Just know that something WILL go wrong. And it's okay.  If you accept this fact at the outset, you can respond with level-headedness and impress the guests with your ability to swiftly adapt.  No one will remember the disaster, because, what disaster?  You dealt with that minor inconvenience like a pro and moved on with your merry self.


9. Relax.  

This day is for you too.  Breath deeply and enjoy the cacophony masterpiece you've created.  Make sure to take a moment (several moments!) and sit with your friends and family.  If you've followed this list, you should have plenty of time to put your feet up and let that little sister bring you a fizzy drink.  You don't want to look back and think "that was SO MUCH WORK!" - instead you want to look back and think "that was SO MUCH FUN!"


10. No, Seriously.  RELAX.  

Get a cocktail already.  No one cares if the napkins are shaped like swans.  I promise.  











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