Tag Archives: sausage

Sausage and Red Cabbage Sauté

Cabbage has such a bad rap.  I think it’s because so many people cook it to death, until it’s a nasty, smelly, soggy mess.  Who wouldn’t hate that?  I love cabbage.  Especially red cabbage, which always seems a bit sweeter and the leaves tend to be a little thicker, which means they hold up well during cooking.  Cabbage is full of vitamins, especially vitamin C, but the more you cook it the more nutrients you destroy.  I prefer to eat it raw, in slaw or salads, or to do just a quick sauté to give it a bit of heat and bring out the flavors.

This sauté is quick, flavorful and pretty too!  I like to use a sausage that has fruit in it, such as chicken apple sausage, or mango jalapeno.  The fruit in the sausage adds a subtle sweetness to the dish that offsets the vinegar, resulting in a lovely sweet and sour dish. The trick to getting the cabbage perfect is to cook everything else first, throwing in the cabbage just for the last couple of minutes to heat it up and soften it a bit, but not so much that you lose the texture.

Sausage and Red Cabbage Sauté

Sausage and Red Cabbage Sauté

Sausage and Red Cabbage Sauté

1 pound sausage links (I used Aidell’s mango jalapeno sausage), sliced
1 head purple cabbage, sliced or coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
Salt & pepper

Slice up everything ahead of time.  This doesn’t take long to throw together.

All ingredients ready to go.

All ingredients ready to go.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and heat.  Add onion, fennel seed and sausage to pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is tender and sausage is browned (if your sausage is really greasy, drain off the extra grease at this point; if you use a lean sausage this will be unnecessary).  Add cabbage and sauté 2-3 minutes until slightly tender.  Add vinegar and salt & pepper to taste.  Stir to combine and continue to cook a minute more to let the flavors mingle.  Serve hot.

This paired beautifully with Vinegar Roasted Potatoes.

Sausage and Red Cabbage Sauté with a side of Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

Sausage and Red Cabbage Sauté with a side of Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

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Jambalaya Night

A friend asked me recently if I knew how to make jambalaya and I honestly couldn’t even remember.  I’ve EATEN jambalaya.  Does that count?  I seem to recall making it many years ago, but if it’s been that long, obviously it was high time to make it again.

Searching for recipes for this little project, I realized something:  there are about a million variations of jambalaya.  I chose one that was fairly basic for the test drive.  This particular variation has a lot of tomato, which I personally liked.  The Creole spices (which appear to be a mixture mostly of pepper and garlic) give the dish a real kick and the combination of ingredients lead to a wonderful smelling house!

Luckily this recipe also serves 6-8 people, so invite a few friends and have a jambalaya night!

Jambalaya with a side of fresh green beans.

Jambalaya

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. Creole seasoning
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 green onions, chopped

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove sausage with a slotted spoon; set aside.  Add onion, pepper, celery, garlic and seasonings.  Saute 5 minutes or so until veggies are tender.

Veggies and seasonings. Smells so good, but don’t breathe too deep right over the pan, those peppers will get you!

Stir in reserved sausage, tomatoes, broth and rice.

This is what it looks like before the rice sucks up all the liquid. Looks pretty good to me! Is there a jambalaya soup experiment in my future? I think so!

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Stir in shrimp, cover and cook 5 minutes or until done.  Sprinkle each serving with green onions.

**If you are making this for a group that includes vegetarians (which I was), you can saute the meat first and set it aside to serve on top of the rice dish, rather than cooking it with it.  I sauteed the sausage and then added the shrimp for a few minutes at the end and sprinkled it all with a bit of Creole seasoning for some extra flavor.  Vegetable broth can also be substituted for the chicken broth.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Put Down The Weenie!

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’ve eaten many weenies roasted over a campfire, perfectly blackened in the flames.  And loved every bite.  In fact, I would even say I excel at weenie roasting.  But, sometimes I prefer real food, even when I’m camping.

The view from my campsite, if you tilt your chair back and look up.

I went camping this week at Silver Creek Falls, in Oregon. You’d think camping would lend itself to a pretty healthy diet.  The cavemen probably didn’t suffer from obesity.  I imagine they ate a nice low-carb diet, full of lean protein with the occasional handful of berries and greenery.  I’m pretty sure there are a couple of fad diets going around very similar to that at the moment.  I’m guessing the cavemen didn’t stock their picnic baskets with cookies, mac salad and hot chocolate either.  Too bad for them.

This time around, we kept the cookies and mac salad for lunch (gotta have standards), had lots of fresh berries for snacks and dessert, and for dinner one night I made some delicious foil packet dinners.  I threw them together before I left, stuck them in the cooler, and then onto the fire they went when we were ready. And they were AWESOME!  While I would consider this perfect camping food, I’ve also done the exact same thing in the oven or on the grill in the backyard.

Dinner cooked on fire. No bun necessary.

Campfire Foil Packets

For each packet:
Aluminum foil (I used the heavy duty “for the grill” foil)
1 chicken apple sausage (I like the Aidell’s brand, they have several different flavors), cut into 3 or 4 pieces
Portobello mushrooms slices
A handful of fresh green beans
A few slices or wedges of red bell pepper
3-4 small red potatoes, cut in wedges
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Lay out a large square of foil.  Put the potatoes and sausage in the center first, and then top with the veggies.  Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Keep everything in a fairly small area in the center so you have plenty of foil left for wrapping it up securely.

Making the packets. Feel free to vary the ingredients to your tastes.

Bring two ends together over the top, fold several times and crimp to make sure it’s well sealed.  Do the same thing with each end, making a somewhat flat rectangle.  Pile them in the cooler until you are ready to cook.

Make sure you have a decent fire going, but not huge flames, you don’t want to flash fry them.  Set the packets on the grate and let them cook for about 30 minutes, flipping and repositioning every 5 minutes or so.

Cooking dinner! Make sure you play “musical packets” and switch them around so they cook evenly.

Be very careful when you open the packet!  They are full of steam and it can burn you if your fingers are in the way when it escapes.  Carefully open one, make sure the potatoes are cooked all the way through (throw it back on the fire for a few minutes if they aren’t), add extra seasoning if it needs it and then eat!

Top off your happy belly with a cup of hot cocoa by the campfire.  I forgot my marshmallows.  Darn it.  I guess I’ll have to go back.

Relaxing by the fire after dinner. So nice!

 

 

 

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Dinner in a Skillet

My grandma used to fry potatoes and onions in a cast iron skillet, and I thought it was just about the best thing in the world to eat.  I still do, and every time I make it – or eat my Aunt Flori’s version – I think of her.

This takes the potatoes and onions a step further.  Add sausage and peppers and you have a whole meal in a skillet.  It’s one of my favorite lazy day comfort foods.  It’s also what I cook on the rare occasions I go camping.  I chop everything up ahead of time, throw it into a skillet over the campfire, and give it a stir once in a while until it’s all done.  Heaven on a plate.

This is a recipe definitely open for variation.  You can use whatever kind of potatoes, peppers or onions you like best.  If you want a vegetarian version, leave out the sausage, vary the herbs for different flavors, etc.  This is the version I made this time.

Potato & Sausage Skillet Dinner

Potato & Sausage Skillet Dinner

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
4-5 russet potatoes, peeled, halved and sliced
2-3 links of lean sausage or kielbasa, sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped chives

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and heat for a minute.  Add potatoes and sausage. (Note:  if you are using a higher fat sausage, I would recommend boiling or microwaving first to render some of the fat so the dish isn’t greasy.  I usually choose a leaner sausage so that’s not necessary).  Cover and cook potatoes and sausage, stirring once or twice with a spatula, for about 5 minutes.  Uncover.  Add onions and peppers.  Add salt & pepper and Italian seasoning.  Continue to cook, stirring once in a while until potatoes are tender.  Don’t stir too often, it’s nice to let it sit from time to time so you get some crunchy bits here and there.  Toss in the fresh herbs and cook a few more minutes.  Serve hot.  If you’re feeling healthy, eat it with a big salad, or just dig in to a big bowl of this.  If you have leftovers, it’s wonderful with scrambled eggs the next morning.

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Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes

I grew up eating scalloped potatoes made with cream o’ mushroom soup and – I’ll admit it – loving every bite.  But as my tastes and cooking skills have evolved, I have found there is a better way.  Not to mention that lately I just don’t see any reason to eat the extra sodium and chemicals that come with most canned food if it can be avoided.  So ditch the can, get out a saucepan, and spend an extra five minutes making a scrumptious cheese sauce to replace it.  You won’t regret it!

For those of you not so keen on the veggies, or trying to disguise them for picky kiddos (or husbands), this is one of those recipes that I use to “hide” veggies.  I added a layer of fresh spinach in this one.  Don’t like spinach?  Try a different green like kale, or chopped peppers, zucchini, eggplant, whatever!

This is a great vegetarian meal, but if you want to take it way over the top add some lean sausage or fresh franks to the top.  I was lucky enough to score some lean, freshly-made spicy frankfurters last time I went to farmer’s market and they made a fine addition to this!  Lip smackin’ good!

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes – Sans Meat

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes – Over The Top Version!

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes (I used half small yukon gold potatoes and half baby red potatoes)
3 large spring onions
2 cups fresh spinach
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup grated parmesan
Lean sausage or frankfurters (optional)

Slice potatoes in thin rounds.  Chop spring onions (if you don’t have spring onions you can substitute leeks or regular onions). In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, dry mustard, cayenne, and black pepper.  In a saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour mixture.  When the butter is absorbed, gradually whisk in milk.  Continue to cook and whisk until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.  Whisk until smooth.  Add a little more milk if it seems too thick.

In a large casserole dish, start with a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with onions and generously drizzle with sauce.  Repeat.  After two potato layers, add all of the spinach in one layer.  Top with at least one more potato-onion-sauce layers (I had enough ingredients for two more layers).  End with sauce.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 375˚ for 1 hour.  Remove foil.  If you are using sausage or frankfurters, scatter over the top now.  Either way, continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender and top is browned.

In theory, you should let it sit for 10-15 minutes so it can set up and be cut into pretty wedges.  But let’s face it, it smells so good that I usually cannot wait.  So if you don’t let it set up, it will still taste great, but instead of a wedge it will look more like this:

Scalloped potatoes in a bowl when you’re too impatient to wait!

 

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