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‘Tastes Just Like’ Pizza Soup

On the heels of Thanksgiving ( and our Tryptophan carbohydrate-induced post coma ) we needed something light, but still packing that flavor punch. We couldn’t stomach more than one course (shoot one whole meal seemed a struggle) so soup seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Pizza Soup

And not just any soup, but pizza soup, a soup that’s a soup but still really not a soup since it encapsulates one of our most beloved dishes (and all its flavors) in one dish, without all those dastardly carbs. Who needs to hibernate in a carb coma two days in a row? Am I right, or am I right?

We’ve found most people frown at the name, but after one taste they get it. It really does taste just like pizza, but better for you. And who can’t get behind that?!

Pizza Soup

Pizza Soup 2

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
8 oz. fresh, washed, sliced baby bell mushrooms (optional)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Italian sausage, browned and drained
4 cups chicken broth
2 (24 oz) jars of marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz. sliced pepperoni, quartered (or use mini pepperonis)
shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh basil, roughly chopped or chiffonade

Directions

  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add in the prepared veggies and saute until they’re tender and slightly browned. Add the minced garlic during the last minute or two of cooking time. Transfer the veggies to a large pot. Brown the sausage in the same skillet and drain it well after cooking, then add it to the soup pot along with the stock, sauce, red pepper flakes and most of the pepperoni, saving a few to use as garnishes. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the soup pot with the cover slightly askew so some of the steam can escape while it cooks. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 to 30 minutes.
    2. Ladle the hot into bowls. Top each bowl with some of the Mozzarella, a few slices of pepperoni and a little basil. Let the bowls rest for just a few minutes before serving. Serve with garlic bread or breadsticks.

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls with a Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

Why order take-out, when you can make you own fake-out, perfectly crisped egg rolls right at home and serve them with some yummy sesame ginger dipping sauce on the side?

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls 7

It doesn’t get any easier than with this recipe. And they’re oh-so yummy.

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls 5

Stuffed with perfectly seasoned, cooked ground pork sausage and a blend of freshly shredded cabbage and carrots these babies are egg roll heaven in a bite. And don’t let the simpleness of the stuffing fool you, each bite is loaded with Asian flavor. You may not want to go back to the take-out version. These pair perfectly with the sesame ginger dipping sauce, but even if you don’t feel like whipping together any special sauce, they’re yummy all on their own. Or pair them with your own favorite Asian dipping sauce(s). We have a whole kitchen drawer full of sauce packets for the hubs and the sons, just for such an occassion 🙂

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls 6

1 lb ground pork sausage
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 ½ cups finely shredded cabbage & carrot blend (I just throw a bit of each into my food processor until I’ve met the mark), or prepackaged coleslaw blend
12 (6 inch square) egg roll wrappers
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp water
1 quart canola oil for frying

Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp orange juice
¼ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Directions

Dipping Sauce

1. In a small pot, lightly saute the minced garlic & the chili flakes over medium heat, just until fragrant. Add in the remaining ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring occassionally. Remove the sauce from heat and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Egg Rolls

1. In a medium-large skillet, over medium heat, add the sausage, ginger, garlic, onion powder, stirring to incorporate and breaking it up as you go, until no pink remains. Set aside.
2. Preheat oil to 375 degrees F.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and water until evenly combined.
4. Lay out one egg roll wrapper with a corner pointed toward you. Place 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture and roughly 2 tablespoons of the coleslaw mixture in the center. Use your finger to spread a little bit of the flour mixture along the edges.

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls 8

5.  Fold two of the corners together to make a triangle, gently press to seal the edges with the flour mixture, and then fold the sides in and roll up tightly.
6. Fry egg rolls until lightly browned and crispy turning occasionally.
7. Serve with sesame ginger dipping sauce.

recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies

Sausage Breakfast Burritos

So if you’ve followed along with us for any amount of time, you know that this mama doesn’t do breakfast. Yes I make sure there are breakfast items available, but All self serve, a la carte style. Hot breakfast? Dad does giant brunches every Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise? It’s pretty much cold cereal ’round these parts.

 Sausage Breakfast Burritos

But I do occasionally take pity on my crew who put up with all my whims, and all my willfulness in the kitchen. What can I say? I run a tight ship, usually it goes my way or the highway, but every now and then I hear a request or two, or I just generally try to prevent a mutiny. And that’s where these handy, dandy breakfast burritos come in.

All cooked up and pre-packaged, all ready to heat and eat.

Sausage Breakfast Burritos

Sausage Breakfast Burritos 2

1 lb ground pork sausage
1-1/2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1/4 cup diced white onion
1/4 cup diced green and/or red pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
12 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Picante sauce and sour cream, optional

Directions

1. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain and set aside. Add the potatoes, onion and pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes or until tender. Pour the eggs in and stir, cooking until they’re set. Return the sausage to the skillet and stir everything together to evenly incorporate.
2. Spoon the filling off center onto each of the tortillas. Sprinkle cheese evenly out over the filling. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up. Serve with Picante sauce and/or sour cream, if desired.
3. To freeze and reheat the burritos: Wrap each burrito in waxed paper and then again in foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. To use, remove the foil and the waxed paper. Place one burrito on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 2 to 2-1/4 minutes, turning the burrito over once during re-heating. Let stand for 20 seconds before eating. These also re-heat just as well in a toaster oven if a microwave isn’t an option.

One Pot Sausage Jambalaya

Everybody runs their kitchens a little bit differently. It’s just one of those places that is immune to the laws and natural orders of the world and is totally unique to it’s user. And every cook is unique from their specific processes right on down to their individual food philosophies. We each have our favorite tricks of the trade and are partial to certain tools and certain methods. Be that as it may, there are certain things you’ll find in any well-stocked, well-used kitchen. They’re kitchen must-haves, and often their little multi-purpose, miracle working, border-line magical devices. Take the trusty dutch oven for example.

<Pardon the pause. I’ll be able to move on and find my train of thought again when the sons stop sniggering over my shoulder. Yes! I said Dutch oven. Now, moving right along …>

 Sausage Jambalaya

Its my my favorite one stop, one pot ‘thing’ in my entire kitchen.

Along with one pot recipes. Little one pot wonders. All cooked up in this bad boy right here. It even cooks up a perfect loaf of artisan style bread. See? Magic! If you don’t own a dutch oven, I’d highly, HIGHLY recommend investing in one. And if you’re thinking (like the hubs) that being limited on space as it is with X amount of people + Y amount of square cabinet space and = no more possible storage space for yet another kitchen gadget his crazy cook of a wife brings home, then you stop that right now. This instant. A dutch oven can do so many things you can potentially consolidate space. If not, then it’s definitely going to be a dirty dishes saver. And worst case scenario, you store that sucker in your oven. Out of sight, out of mind right? And for those days when you forget to check inside it before you turn it on, it’s oven safe 😉

And let me just mention again that this bad boy bakes. bread. Flawless, fool proof bread.

So, if you don’t have one … get one. Oh, and let’s add a nice little kick to our week night meal with the Cajun flavors of this jambalaya in a quick one pot meal that is also fool proof. And simple. Brown your meat, boil your rice, and mix everything together to finish cooking in the oven, all in one fantastic pot.

One Pot Sausage Jambalaya

Sausage Jambalaya 2

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 packages kielbasa, or andoullie, sausage, thinly sliced
1 onion, roughly diced
1/2- 1 whole bell pepper, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups long grain rice
2 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth, or stock

Directions

1. Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat, and once it’s good and hot, add in the oil and butter. Add in the sausage and allow it to brown a bit on both sides and caramelize. Remove the sausage to a bowl or a plate and set aside.
2. Next reduce the heat to medium/medium-low and add the onion, pepper, celery, and garlic to the sausage drippings in the dutch oven. Sprinkle the dry seasonings (paprika, garlic & onion powder, cumin, Cajun & Italian seasoning) over the veggies. Add the bay leaves and salt & pepper, as desired. Add in the tomato paste and let everything saute for a few minutes.
3. Add in the rice, stirring to make sure it’s evenly incorporated and well coated. Continue sauteing everything until the vegetables are just tender.
4. Add in the chicken broth and the tomato sauce, and return the sausage to the pot. Stir everything together, and salt and pepper again (if needed) to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil.
5. Turn off the heat, immediately cover the dutch oven with it’s lid, and transfer the dutch oven to an oven preheated to 375 degrees.
6. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.

If you don’t have a Dutch oven, fear not, you can still enjoy this meal at home. Follow steps 1-4 in a large pot or even a skillet. For step 5, transfer everything to a 9×13 casserole dish. Cover tightly with aluminum oil and bake as directed. You may need to add 45-10 minutes to the cook time to allow the rice to absorb all the liquid. Just keep an eye on it after the 30 minute mark.

Breakfast Eggrolls with Sausage Gravy

We’ve said it before, and well say it again. And probably again, again at some point in the future. We love breakfast. Any day, anytime. For actual breakfast. For lunch. For dinner. We also love egg rolls. Because… eggrolls.

One evening the hubs and I worked some crazy kitchen magic and created this most amazing hybrid. Breakfast eggrolls, with creamy sausage gravy for dipping. It had to have had some divine inspiration behind it. But, like always with eggrolls and sons … there was one small problem.

“Frying things is like giving your kids an ice cream cone: they love it so much and watching them eat it is a blast, but when it’s all over, you’re left looking at the aftermath of the F5 dairy tornado that engulfed your child and everything within a 5 foot radius and now you have to use an entire Costco pack of wipes to clean up the evidence so Mama doesn’t realize you took the boys for ice cream at 10am…after a trip to the donut shop.”

One of my favorite parenting, true story, first world problem quotes ever. We’ve all been there. And sometime we have the fore-thought not to go there again. Other times, well hind-sight is 20/20. But fried things taste so good, despite the weather forecast of caloric hurricanes and grease storms. Luckily, I figured out a way to get that same delicious, delicate crisp on our homemade eggrolls AND manage to avoid any messy aftermath.

Breakfast Eggrolls with Sausage Gravy

 Breakfast Eggrolls

1 lb. ground pork sausage
4 tbsp flour
4 cups milk
3 cups shredded hash browns
3 – 4 eggs
2 tbsp water
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

egg roll wrappers
cooking spray

Directions

1. In a large skillet, brown sausage. Drain the cooked sausage. Remove a 1/2 cup of the cooked sausage to a mixing bowl. Add flour to the skillet and brown a little in the sausage fat. Slowly add in the milk, stirring continuously, while it thickens. Salt and pepper the gravy, to taste. Keep on low heat so that it stays warm while making the egg rolls.
2. Mix the eggs and water and then scramble the eggs in a small skillet until just set. Don’t worry, they will finish cooking when baked. Add the scrambled eggs to the reserved sausage.
3. Add the potatoes and cheese to bowl with the cooked sausage and eggs. Stir in a 1/2 cup of the reserved sausage gravy. Season with salt and pepper and stir well one last time to blend everything together.
4. To make egg rolls, take a egg roll wrapper and put about 1/3 cup of the potato sausage mixture just below the center. Fold over one half to make a triangle. You should have about a 1/2 inch of the bottom part of the wrapper still exposed. With you finger brush a little water along that edge to help seal the egg rolls. Then fold in 2 sides forming the egg roll shape. Then roll up the rest of the way into a sealed egg roll. If you’re having trouble, use the package pictorial as a guide.
5. Spray the outside of the egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
6. Serve with a bowl of sausage gravy for dipping.

Crockpot Chicken, Sausage, & Rice

Do you ever have times where you feel the need to disconnect? To step away from the computer, from social media, altogether for a few days and just reconnect with the world around you? To reconnect with your family, your spouse, your children? For us, it’s been the past four or five days. All the kids are home and it’s summer and sometimes we find we just need to be ‘present’. It’s amazing all that we always manage to get done during our completely unhooked periods. We deep cleaned. I’m talking the whole house, furniture pulled away from walls and cleaned behind. Carpets washed. Walls painted. Clothes and toys purged. We had movie days and movie nights. We rode bikes and threw footballs. We spent time with family. We talked. It was a much-needed and refreshing change of pace. But, starting tomorrow we’ll be back on the blog, emails will be re-opened, and social media re-visited. Thanks guys for understanding the need to occasionally go off-line. I promise the rest of this week holds several goodies in store!

For me, the crock pot is a summer must-have for come dinnertime, because turning the oven on is so not happening. When we think crock pot cooking, I know I typically think warm winter stews and casseroles, but it’s actually the steamy miserably muggy months when the crock pot becomes my BFF. My let’s make beautiful kitchen magic together, and save me money at the same, time forever friend.

Chicken, sausage, and rice is another one of my favorite crock pot meals to make, whatever the season. The chicken comes out cooked to tender perfection and pairs perfectly with the sausage. So much flavor! Round out the meal by serving this with a nice, warm piece of crusty bread and a refreshing side salad.

Crockpot Chicken, Sausage, & Rice

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Chicken, Sausage, and Rice

recipe adapted from Free WW Recipes 

1 tsp crushed red peppers
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp paprika
1 lb smoked sausage, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup sliced celery
1 (14-1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 bay leaves
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs)
2 cups instant white rice
 
Directions
1. Rinse chicken and pat dry
2. Place sausage, bell peppers, onions, celery, tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, and garlic powder in slow cooker.
3. Stir to blend well.
4. Top with chicken and sprinkle with black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
5. Cover and cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
7. Add rice and stir gently.
8. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes until rice is tender.
9. Remove bay leaves and chicken bones before serving.
IMPORTANT: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking.

Sausage & Grits Chowder

A bowl of steaming grits is a Southern wake-up call in many homes, mine included.

While I love grits, I’ve been a bit jaded with the same ol’, same ol’ breakfasty/brunchy blend. A lot of recipes for a pairing of grits and anything incorporate TONS of butter, cheese and eggs. My version is somewhat conservative when it comes to making a typical meal of it. For example, there’s no butter, or eggs, and the cheese was only a garnish. It’s going against the grain, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, Grandma’s grits aren’t only for breakfast or brunch anymore.

Move over shrimp & grits. We’ve upgraded. Sausage & Grits are an award winning combo, and while a chowder may not be a ‘typical’ use for grits in my neck of the woods, one bite and you might be calling it Southern Heaven.

Sausage & Grits Chowder

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sausage & Grits Chowder 2

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

1 lb sausage
2 cans Cream of Potato soup
1 (14.75 oz) can cream corn
3 cups milk
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup quick grits
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

4 Sons 'R' Us: sausage & grits chowder

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of broth to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup of quick grits. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, until grits are done, stirring often.
2. Brown sausage over medium-high heat in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven. Stir in Cream of Potato soup, cream corn, 2 1/2 cups milk and cajun seasoning. Stir in cooked grits. If soup is too thick, add more milk. Simmer over low heat until heated through, approximately 10 minutes.
3. Serve with toast & shredded cheddar cheese for garnishing.

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