sausage + broccoli brown rice skillet.

After making last week’s sausage sauce, I had a few links of sausage leftover that I stashed in the freezer. I was craving simple and comforting food that didn’t need a ton of effort to put together. You know what I mean? As much as I love to cook, sometimes when I know I’m going to have a really busy week I try and make a dish like this: much of the cook time is low to no hands on effort, it makes enough for multiple leftovers (if you’re feeding one or two) AND it reheats well! Exactly what I was looking for.

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I used brown long grain rice for this, which will require a longer cooking time. If you prefer, you can use quick cooking brown rice or white rice, and adjust the cook times accordingly (you’ll want to toss the broccoli and peppers in earlier if you use either of those options so it cooks all the way through).

Feel free to use your favorite veggies in this… swap asparagus for broccoli, or toss a handful of kale in!

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sausage + broccoli brown rice skillet.

ingredients
8 ounces hot Italian poultry sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 cups broccoli florets (about 2 broccoli crowns)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
splash of dry white wine or rice vinegar
scant 1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken stock (or water) plus additional 1/4 cup if needed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper if desired

directions
Heat a 3 quart skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once oil is heated, add the sliced sausage and cook, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until sausage is cooked through. Add splash of wine or vinegar and let bubble and reduce, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the rice, chicken stock, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if using. Stir together, allow to come to a boil and reduce heat low, and cover, allowing mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, checking and stirring once or twice while cooking to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan (add additional liquid if needed).

After cooking for 30-35 minutes, Add the broccoli and red pepper, lightly stir and recover, allowing the mixture to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the vegetables soften, the rice is tender, and the liquid is absorbed. Let rest for a few minutes and fluff with a fork.

Serves 4.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

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sausage red sauce.

This recipe has always been known to me as H’s sausage pasta sauce, or more affectionally, ‘sausage sauce’. It was a recipe from a previous boyfriend’s stepmother, and it. is. divine. And addictive. I cannot wait for it to finish cooking so might as well taste test a spoonful, or twelve addictive.

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The first several times I had it, the thick and flavorful sauce was spooned over penne pasta, with plenty of crusty bread to sop up every last bit of sauce. Utterly delicious and addictive, but decidedly not friendly to your waistline. For my interpretation, we are using poultry sausage and serving over spaghetti squash. For all you spaghetti squash novices, here is a great tutorial on how to cook one. These lightened up swaps work when I want comfort food but am trying to watch what I eat. For total comfort, serve with pasta and bread. Also feel free to use pork sausage! I flip flop, and it’s amazing either way.

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I usually use diced or petite diced canned tomatoes, but I accidentally grabbed a can of crushed and realized it once I started to cook. It won’t change the dish at all, the sauce will just be smoother with crushed, so use what you prefer. I recommend petite diced: it’s a nice way to meet in the middle. 🙂

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Don’t skip the pesto – the richness really rounds out the finished sauce. If you don’t cook with wine, use half the amount of red wine vinegar. This makes A TON (I usually halve the recipe) but freezes beautifully. Enjoy!

red sauce with sausage.
from H. 

ingredients
a few tablespoons of olive oil
1.5 pounds Italian poultry or pork sausage (about 4-6 links)
2 sweet onions, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated or minced
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 jar marinara sauce, your favorite
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup jarred pesto

directions
Heat a large heavy pan with a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add sausage links and cook, turning halfway through for 8-10 minutes, partially covering the pan while cooking. Remove from pan and after letting rest for a few minutes, slice into 1 inch rounds.

Add additional tablespoon of oil if needed, and add onions, carrots, and bell pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and saute for additional 1-2 minutes.

Return sausage rounds to pan and add diced tomatoes, marinara sauce and wine. Heat to a slow boil and then reduce to a simmer, and cook on low for an hour to an hour and half. Add pesto and simmer for additional half an hour. Taste and season with a touch of sea salt if desired. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Serves 8 (generously). Freezes well.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

kale + potato soup with chicken sausage.

I think sometimes we all need fast and easy recipes to go back to time and time again. This recipe for an easy and filling soup is one of those recipes for me.

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The potatoes keep this broth-based soup rich and hearty, and the inclusion of Italian poultry sausage helps add flavor, so we can keep the ingredients list nice and short. Of course, we’re adding kale, because, well, it’s me, and I love it! You can substitute escarole, spinach, or even mustard greens in place of the kale, but please know that mustard greens are spicy, so you’ll end up with a higher heat level in the finished soup.

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I used ground sausage that was out of the casing already because it was on sale at my grocery store, but you could certainly use links if you’d prefer. Just cut into rounds and brown them in the first step.

To make this vegan, you could substitute brown lentils or white beans for the sausage, and add in a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Enjoy this – a fast, easy recipe that is perfect for a midweek meal!

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kale + potato soup with chicken sausage.

ingredients
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 pound turkey or chicken sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 cup water
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 pounds white or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaved shredded
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

directions
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up into pieces until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside (cut into rounds now if using links). Pour off all but one tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for one minute longer.

Add the stock, water, and salt and bring the soup to a boil. Add the sausage, potatoes, red pepper flakes and bring back to simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add the kale and bring the soup back to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes and kale are tender, about six minutes longer. Add the black pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and parmesan shavings, if desired. Serves 4.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

sesame-soy turkey meatballs.

A gluten free, egg free, healthy, Asian-inspired meatball that doesn’t fall apart? Yes, it can be done! To ensure this dish is gluten free, make sure to use certified GF soy sauce, or use tamari, which is common in Japanese cooking, a thicker, more fermented soy sauce, and is usually gluten free (but make sure to double check!).

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For some reason, meatballs always seem like such an ordeal. A liquid, an egg, a binder, meat, spices… and my eyes are glazed over already. Granted, I do make meatballs in the classic fashion (see these delicious chicken parm ones!), but these Asian-inspired ones are  SO. EASY. Just a few ingredients, mix together, roll and bake. Done.

They are delicious on their own, but I’ve been eating them with quinoa and steamed carrots and green beans, drizzled with a touch of sesame oil and soy sauce. You could even make these smaller and use them in soup. Or stick a toothpick in them and serve alongside your favorite Asian dipping sauce. Endless possibilities!

Make a double batch and freeze them for a rainy day!

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sesame-soy turkey meatballs.
adapted from Cooking Light. 

ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey breast
1/3 cup scallions, sliced very thinly
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons reduced sodium, gluten free soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon chile garlic paste
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
cooking spray

directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a baking rack over a baking sheet and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add turkey, scallions, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chile garlic paste and garlic. Using your hands, mix together until all combined, being careful not to over mix.

Using a one tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop a heaping tablespoon and roll into a ball. Place onto baking rack. Repeat with remaining mixture; you should end with about 15 meatballs.

Cook for 15-20 minutes until no longer pink and browned on the outside. Remove and cool completely prior to freezing.

Yields 15-16 meatballs.

**Please use all organic ingredients**

 

NOTES:
*I like to use a baking rack to let any extra fat drain off during the baking process! This is not necessary, and you can skip it if you’d like.

*Over mixing will yield a tougher meatball, so mix only until ingredients are combined.

 

mole-style turkey chili.

I love chili. It is one of my go to dishes for a meal that is easy, filling, inexpensive and oh so simple to make. Although I love a traditional chili recipe, and this amazing sweet potato turkey chili, I’m always looking for a new take on a beloved recipe. I came across this recipe for turkey chili, which included traditional mole ingredients such as cocoa powder and cinnamon. If you’ve never heard of mole, it is a very traditional Mexican sauce that can be prepared in tons of different ways. Moles can be yellow, green, orange, red and the classic dark red and brown sauces. They almost always start with chiles, maybe some sour ingredients like tomatillos, spices, nuts/seeds and/or dried fruit, thickeners like day old bread, and chocolate. If chocolate is used, it is added at the end of the cooking process, as moles typically cook for long periods of time.

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But this post is about chili, not mole! I call it “mole style” because of  the unsweetened cocoa powder and cinnamon that is added the recipe, along with chipotle chile in adobo sauce. Chipotles in adobo are super spicy, but delightfully smoky and best of all, a little goes a long way!

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I highly recommend this spin on a beloved, classic dish such as chili. Feel free to serve with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and shavings of bittersweet chocolate atop the bowl. Trust me!

mole-style turkey chili.
adapted from myrecipes.com

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ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 14 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz. can tomatoes, diced or petite diced with juices
1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced (seeds removed if desired), plus 1 teaspoon of the sauce
2.5 teaspoons chili powder (NOT cayenne)
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon of unsweetened raw cocoa powder (I really love the Nativa Naturals cacao)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
3 scallions, sliced, for garnish
tortilla chips, for serving

directions

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon oil, until slightly shimmering and hot. Add turkey and cook for 5 minutes, breaking apart as it cooks until cooked through. If desired, drain turkey in a colander and return to pan.

Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to turkey and add onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Cook for 3 minutes and add carrots. Cook for additional 3-5 minutes, or until onion is translucent and soft and garlic is fragrant. Stir spices frequently, and allow them to bloom and become fragrant. Add a tablespoon or two of water and scrape gently with a wooden spoon if needed to release spices on the bottom of the pan.

Add tomatoes, chipotle chili and adobo sauce, chicken broth, water and cocoa powder and stir to combine. Increase heat and allow pot to come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Top with cilantro and scallions prior to serving. Serve with baked tortilla chips if desired.

Serves 6. Freezes beautifully!

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**

 

sweet potato turkey chili.

My dad and I were at the market on Saturday, and now that it’s harvest season, the offerings were plentiful! Our main mission was to secure a ton of green beans for us to pickle into sweet hot beans (yum!). Bell peppers were everywhere, and dirt cheap. My dad even commented “I wish I had chili in my plans this week; I would snap those right up”. I nodded in agreement, as chili wasn’t on my menu this week either. Of course, the universe and my stomach had other ideas. Later that afternoon I came across a recipe for sweet potato and black bean chili over on Minimalist Baker. Sweet potatoes and black beans are a match made in food heaven, and as soon as I read through the blog post, I knew my plans had to change. The original recipe is meatless, but I decided to amp up the protein but still keep it light by using super lean ground turkey along with the black beans. Plus, Sunday’s forecast was a high of 59 degrees. Bring it on, fall! Perfect excuse to whip up a batch of warming chili while wearing head to toe sweats. No shame. I’m a pajama/lounge/comfy clothes fiend when I am home.

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I am finicky about my sweet potatoes, though. Smothered in brown sugar and marshmallows a la the beloved Thanksgiving side? Nothankyouverymuch. But mixed with smoky, spicy flavors? Um, yes please! Besides using the traditional chili ingredients like cumin and chili powder, I also added in smoked paprika, a chipotle chile in adobo, and a pinch of cayenne to amp up the smoky, spicy flavor. The spices mixed with sweet potatoes yields a finished chili that has a nice balance of sweet and smoky.

The sweet potatoes break down the longer the chili cooks, acting as a natural thickener. If you prefer, you can reduce the cooking time so that the potato cubes stay intact. I happen to like the almost creamy texture the broken down potatoes provide, but it’s up to you!

This recipe makes about 6 large servings, so I froze half for a quick meal in the coming weeks when the chili craving strikes! This is paleo-friendly, but feel free to scoop this deliciousness up with some tortilla chips and pair with a margarita. Perfect for cool days and football watching afternoons!

sweet potato turkey chili.
inspired by minimalist baker. 

chili 2

ingredients

1 lb. 99% fat free ground turkey breast
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
1 tablespoon grape seed oil

directions

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add turkey breast  and cook until browned and cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. Once turkey has browned, reduce heat to medium, add in diced onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions and garlic are softened, about 2 minutes. At this point, add in chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and allow spices to cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes longer, or until onions are translucent.

While the onions and garlic are cooking, peel and slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Add them to the pot and stir to coat them with the spices. Allow them to cook for 1-2 minutes and add in the chopped chipotle chili in adobo. Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir in can of drained and rinsed black beans, and cover pot. Cook for 15-20 minutes longer, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender and beginning to break down.

The longer you cook, the more the potatoes will break down; yielding a thicker chili.

Top with cilantro and serve immediately with tortilla chips. Serves 6. Freezes well.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**