Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Prep-Ahead Easter Recipes - Savory Cheesy Sausage Balls & Easter Bunny Rolls

As with most holidays in our home, Easter is one that's full of traditions.  We check out what the Easter bunny dropped by in the morning, attend church, have an Easter egg hunt in the afternoon, and share lots of yummy, familiar food at a big lunch with extended family.

Since it's such a busy day, I like to have a few prep-ahead recipes ready to go.  So, typically the day before, I get most of the food ready to pop in the oven for Easter Sunday.  This usually includes a special treat for breakfast and a few classic favorites for lunch.

Easy recipe for savory cheesy sausage balls - you probably have most of the ingredients on hand! The cream cheese makes them so rich and delicious.

I have made the same sausage ball recipe for years.  It's a favorite for holidays because it's always an absolute crowd-pleaser (we rarely have leftovers) and it's so easy to prep the day before and pop in the oven while you're spending time with family on a holiday morning.  All you have to do the day of is preheat an oven...it doesn't get easier than that!

I changed up the recipe I normally use this time around, and dare I say it?  I think they were actually better!  Here's what I did this time around.

Easy recipe for savory cheesy sausage balls - you probably have most of the ingredients on hand! The cream cheese makes them so rich and delicious.

Savory Cheesy Sausage Balls


1 lb hot sausage (not cooked)
8oz veggie cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached All-Purpose White Flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups (8 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


Mix together sausage and cream cheese in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  Pour dry mixture into sausage and knead together.  Add cheese and continue kneading until a dough forms, folding the remaining dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl into the dough.

Roll pieces of dough into 1 inch balls and place about 1" apart on a greased cookie sheet.  (Refrigerate at this point until ready to bake if needed.) Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until outside of balls start to brown and inside is cooked through.


I also made a fun treat that would be perfect for Easter lunch - Easter bunny rolls!  These are a super easy variation on a traditional yeast roll.  I rarely experiment with recipes like this, but I'm so glad I tried it - these were delicious!

Easter Bunny Yeast Rolls - so cute!  Includes an easy recipe.

Easter Bunny Rolls


1/4 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, room temperature (Reserve other half stick for brushing at the end)
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached All-Purpose White Flour


Combine water, sugar, and dry yeast in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes or so until yeast is activated (there should be 2-3" of foam on top of the liquid).

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine milk and butter over medium-low heat. Bring mixture to a low simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat and stir in salt. Let cool to a little bit warmer than room temperature. Once yeast is finished activating, pour into milk mixture.

Pour liquid into a stand mixer and add half the flour, one cup at a time. Mix until flour is well-incorporated into the liquid, making a loose dough. Cover with a warm, damp paper towel and set bowl in a warm area. Let the dough rise for about an hour until the dough volume doubles.

Once dough has risen, slowly (maybe a half a cup at a time) mix in remaining flour. Add your dough hook to the mixer and slowly knead for 10-15 minutes (of course, this could be done by hand, your arms are just going to be tired). Let mixture rise again for another hour.

Take dough and form egg-shaped rolls. Place a couple of inches apart on a parchment paper-lined pan.

Easter Bunny Yeast Rolls - so cute!  Includes an easy recipe.

If making the bunnies, cut the ears with a pair of kitchen scissors and poke eyes into front of rolls.  (If I did this again, I'd make the ends of the ears a little less pointy so they don't look quite as much like devil horns. :)) Cover and let rise in a warm area for 30-40 minutes. Once rolls almost double in size, re-form the eyes if needed.

Brush with melted butter and bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes or so.  Stick in the fridge.  When ready to serve,  brush with butter and bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees, until browned.  Add more butter if desired and serve warm.

(If you're skipping the prep-ahead step, bake for 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes after letting dough rise for the final time.)

Note: I only use half of the dough recipe for the bunny rolls.  I freeze a pan of rolls with the other half - just form rolls, place in a disposable aluminum pan, let rise for 30 minutes, and bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes or so...cool, cover well, and freeze.  Then, when ready to serve, thaw and bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.

I loved that I was able to use one kind of flour for two totally different recipes.  Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached All-Purpose White Flour was the perfect addition to both of my prep-ahead Easter dishes.  It's made from organic hard red wheat and isn't enriched with any additives. This same high-protein flour is used by professional bakers and can produce anything from well-textured loaves of bread to airy baked goods.  If you need a flour that suits a variety of different recipes, this is an absolute go-to!

You can find more information on Bob's Red Mill products at their website.  You can also grab a $1.00 off coupon for any Bob's Red Mill product - click here to print!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.