Christmas morning goodies #2: Hanky Pankies

I have started to write this post every day since Christmas.

And every day I realize that I didn’t get a picture before the Hanky Pankies were all gone.

Seriously. They are gone that fast. This is all I ever have to take a picture of:

This is what leftover Hanky Pankies look like. Seriously.
This is what leftover Hanky Pankies look like. Seriously.

What are Hanky Pankies, you ask? They are little bits of sausagey-beefy-cheesy goodness. Everyone loves them. They are great little snacks for any time of the day. I made them on Christmas morning because I could do most of the prep the night before. I just got up and popped them in the oven and then into a basket to set in the den with us while we opened presents.

Put 1 pound of sausage (I like Zeigler’s black label sausage, but you can use whatever kind you like) and 1 pound of ground beef in a large skillet to brown. Squish them together so they will be blended. Add a tablespoon of oregano and stir it around so it is evenly distributed.

When the meat is all browned, drain the grease off in a colander. Rinse the meat with hot water to get even more grease out, but be careful not to rinse all the seasoning off!

Put the meat back in the skillet and add 1 pound of Velveeta cut into small pieces. Turn the heat to medium and stir while melting the cheese completely. Don’t be surprised when the meat and cheese try to stick to the skillet. That’s why you have to stir it almost constantly while the cheese melts.

BONUS! You can do all of the above in the microwave if you like. When you are browning the meat, do it in 1-2 minute increments, so you can stir the meat for even browning.

At this point, you can refrigerate the meat mixture until just before you are ready to serve the Hanky Pankies. If you do refrigerate it, it is a good idea to warm it slightly before  the next step. It makes it easier to work with. Or you can go right ahead and finish them up now. Just try not to eat too much of the meat mixture with your fingers.

When you are ready, cover baking stone/baking sheet with as many Party Rye slices as will fit on the sheet. You can go ahead and line them up touching each other. (If you haven’t ever had Party Rye, it’s this. You may have to look around for it. Some stores only carry it seasonally. I don’t know why. Makes NO sense to me.)

If you have trouble finding Party Rye, you can use regular rye bread cut into quarters. I don’t like this as well because the bread is softer and doesn’t hold up as well.

Put about a teaspoonful of the meat mixture on each slice. Once each slice of bread has meat, sprinkle mozzarella cheese over each one. (This is when you will be glad that the slices are touching. If they aren’t, cheese will fall between the slices and will burn on the baking sheet. Trust me on this one.)

Put in the oven at 400 degrees until the cheese is melted and starting to brown (about 8-12 minutes).

That’s it.

If you want to prepare them even further in advance, you can do everything but add the mozzarella cheese and freeze them on the baking sheet. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. When you are ready to eat them, pull them out and add the cheese on top and bake.

You can also keep the meat mixture in the fridge for several days and prepare them a few at a time for breakfast or snacks.

I promise everyone will think you are the most awesome cook ever when you show up with these.

Yes, I have given you the gift of awesome. You’re welcome.

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