Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, pressing together with hands. Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls into lightly greased 1 3/4" miniature muffin pans. Bake at 400° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans, and serve warm with desired sauce, such as Ranch dressing, honey mustard, or barbecue sauce.
Note: To make traditional Sausage Balls, shape mixture into 3/4" balls, and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: about 8 dozen. Freeze uncooked sausage balls, if desired. Bake frozen balls for 18 to 20 minutes.
Dressed-Up Sausage Ball Muffins: Add 1/3 cup finely chopped onion, 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp. hot sauce to sausage-cheese dough. Proceed with recipe. Yield: 4 dozen
Southwest Sausage Ball Muffins: Use Pepper Jack cheese instead of Cheddar, and add 1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained and patted dry with paper towels, to sausage-cheese dough. Bake 20 minutes. Yield: about 4 1/2 dozen.
Mediterranean Sausage Ball Muffins: Add 2/3 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives. Use 1 cup Cheddar cheese and 1 cup crumbled feta cheese. Proceed with recipe. Yield: about 4 1/2 dozen
Sausage Ball Cocktail: Skewer 2 or 3 warm Sausage Balls onto a small pick or skewer. Spoon a few Tbsp. Ranch dressing into a martini glass; add skewered sausage balls.