Tina's Sausage Cheese Balls
Comfort Food Inspiration:
A homegrown portable snack
I'd been invited to dinner that Sunday evening and had no idea what to expect. But, given my warm but rather short history with the Howards, I couldn't anticipate anything less than hearty, satisfying food. I had no family when I moved to Bloomington for graduate school as an international student. So receiving an invitation to share a meal from a caring American family was exactly what I needed at the time and still is.
My friendship with the Howards expanded my circle of people on whom I could rely for emotional, cultural (christian way of life), and linguistic (practice my English language) support.
The Howard family are Christian cattle producers in the United States that offer animal products to clients who join up for a yearly subscription. Cattle, pigs, turkeys, lambs, and chickens are among the animals they raise. The Howards own a large number of acres of property in various areas where they move and rotate the animals to ensure that they have access to fresh grass and water.
In 2003, the Howards relocated to a small farm in Bloomington, Indiana. Their experience after eating high-carbohydrate meals caused them to feel groggy and gain weight. They decided to keep some sheep on their farm for food so that they could eat a lot of protein. This resulted in their multigenerational family farm, which included cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, laying hens, meat chickens, and turkeys. Maple Valley Farm - Harvest Partners, as the name of the farm goes, is a family run business. They are a five-person family, consisting of two parents and three young adults. My church pastor first introduced me to this family. They have since allowed me to visit them and spend time with them whenever I have the chance. During the COVID-19 period in 2020, I remember sharing a Thanksgiving meal in their home.
That night's dinner featured sausage cheese balls, which I had never tried before.
The sausage cheese ball was introduced by Tina, the home mother, who said that it was not part of their family's typical or traditional supper. Tina, an IU alumnus, is a lovely and friendly woman in her late 40s. She enjoys cooking as well as experimenting with new recipes. During a visit, one of their acquaintances introduced them to this recipe. Tina’s friend learned the recipe from an online platform and did not hesitate to share with her. Tina adopted the recipe, and they've been enjoying it for about a year. She described it as a simple-to-prepare dinner that can be taken with her as she walks around the farm, a quick snack between meals Ethan, the Howards' oldest son, said that the dish was one of his favorites. "...sausage cheese balls is one of the few foods I always look up to being cooked in the house, even though I didn't grow up with it," he added, smiling. Elena, one of the three youngsters, agreed with his brother with a nod. When it comes to selecting their favorite foods, both of them would choose only giant shrimps — a special food rarely served in the house – over sausage cheese balls.
I wasn’t around for the preparation, but I imagine Tina used some amazing cooking skills to make the taste linger in the mouth for a long time! Larry, the father of the house, would not risk being absent from consuming the food for any other pressing farm duties. He had a good time eating the sausage cheese balls as well,complimenting his wife by saying, "Wow, Honey, it was really amazing!" Until I experienced it, I felt the pre-eating commentary about the special sausage cheese ball was exaggerated but once I tried them, I asked for an (extra) carry-out order to consume the next day. The cuisine was truly fantastic!
But that wasn't all; participating in that meal meant developing a more personal relationship with the Howards.
While it is uncommon in American culture to eat together or share a meal with a 'stranger,' the Howards went above and beyond this dogma by welcoming me into their home through food sharing. That means a lot of love to me, but it also teaches me to share such kindness with others. I hope every international student can find a warm family like the Howards!
Tina was gracious enough to share the recipe, but she had some reservations about the type of sausage to use. Because they raise their own animals on the farm, she claims that the quality of the meat may range depending on where students acquire their sausage. She recognizes, however, that students are more inclined to shop at huge supermarkets than at the farmer's market. Neither of these sources will be a problem, except that the taste may slightly differ and specifically better if the animal is nutritiously fed. She photographed the delicious cuisine in the hopes that it would attract the attention of anyone passing by. I've included images for everyone's visual evidence of the sausage cheese balls' deliciousness. The Howards are to be commended!
Tina's Sausage Cheese Balls
Prep Time: 30 mins
1 pound ground sausage
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
1 cup almond flour
¾ cup cassava flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In the bowl of a mixer, slowly beat all ingredients until everything is incorporated and well mixed.
Using a cookie scoop or your hands, roll about 2 tablespoon dough into a ball and place on a lined cookie sheet. They will not puff or move much, so they can be close to one another
Bake in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes until it gets a golden color.
Serve and enjoy