Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For the Love of Sausage

When I cook we try to eat rather healthy around here. We splurge a bit on naughty things (like chips, they feel so sinful) and we splurge way to much on sweets (I know I'd be at least 20 pounds thinner if I could kick my sugar addiction).

But when I cook at home I try to cook meatless sometimes (note to you all, Taco soup with just beans is just not the same) and I'm a little nuts about trimming fat and skin off meat. I use reduced fat cream cheese, we almost never buy sour cream, I hate mayonaisse, and I won't let myself cook much with cream.

But one giant exception to this rule is sausage. Joe in particular LOVES sausage. So when it went on sale a few weeks ago at our local market (the good stuff, at the butcher counter, made in house) I bought two pounds and made some plans for using it (one used right away, one pound in the freezer which I only cooked up this week).

I made a Sausage & Black Bean Soup in the slow cooker--it rocked. You can find it in this cookbook. Yum.

Then a few weeks ago over on Stephmodo she linked to this recipe, Baked Ziti with Spinach and Tomatoes. One of Joe's favorite foods to eat out was the Twice Baked Ziti which was taken off the menu. So baked ziti, with sausage in it, that could use up some jarred pesto and fresh spinach in my fridge--win, win, win!

It was easy, it was delicious. And I think an entire package of fresh spinach helps offset the fattening nature of the sausage. Make this sometime when you have guests--it makes a 13 X 9 pan and really requires no sides. You could add a side salad if you are ambitious but it really has a lot of spinach. I'm all for one dish meals.

Do you want some pictures? Oh okay here are a few.

Seriously look at all that beautiful spinachy goodness. I of course have to photos of the final all mixed together baked goodness, but trust me it was yummy. Next time we'll use less sausage to up the healthy factor. The recipe calls for 3/4 lb, but just cooked up the 3 links I had which was 1lb and it was too much. Live and learn.

And while I'm at it, here's a third sausage recipe (I know, I KNOW sausage...I promise we don't eat it daily around here). Every year at the holidays my mom makes stuffed mushrooms. They are a treat so we don't make them year round. It's really simple.

Cook up some sausage.
Add a package of cream cheese.
Stuff them into the mushroom caps
Bake for like 20 min at 350.

Delight in the mushroomy, cheesy, sausagy goodness.

And a few more links just because I can:

  • I'm taking appetizers to a party tonight and tomorrow. I made this cheese ball, reduced the amount of ranch dressing seasoning and split it into two good sized balls. It is easy and tasty, try it out.
  • I made these wheat rolls for Thanksgiving, they were very fluffy but my husband says he still prefers white rolls....who wouldn't. But if you want to be a bit healthier these are a good start even for beginning bread makers.
  • I made this apple tart on Sunday because I was too lazy for pie and I had frozen puff pastry. I should have let it cook (and puff) a bit longer...will do next time. It looks beautiful, requires no peeling, and will impress everyone you know.
  • As if that wasn't enough and you want to indulge a bit more, may I recommend you make some white chocolate chex mix (not the recipe I used...but it's not really a recipish thing...its a coat a bunch of stuff in melted chocolate sort of a thing) I recommend going easy on the nuts, heavy on the cereal, and light on the candy (we used reeses pieces instead of M&Ms) -- btw I saw online someone calls this treat "White Trash" which Joe thinks is hilarious and now that name has stuck around here. We're classy. :)
Phew, long food post. Love to you all. I'm off to shower and get ready for the holiday party before the baby wakes up (I hope).

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