Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Basic Turkey Sausage



Basic Turkey Sausage


I am kind of kicking myself for not trying to make my own turkey sausage at home sooner.  In the past, I have purchased Johnsonville brand pre-cooked turkey breakfast sausage (it comes in patties and links).  The packages are 9.6 ounces in size and cost a whopping $4.79 at my local grocery store when they are not on sale.  That's a lot of dough per pound when you do the math; I'll let you do the math because math is not my forte.  

In the recent past I've made four different kinds of turkey sausage and it is so simple.  I am enjoying the fact that my homemade turkey sausage is much less expensive (I can usually get ground turkey under $3.00 per pound) and I like that can control the ingredients in my sausage when making it at home.   

Here is the recipe for Banger Sausage with lemon and herbs (Click HERE).
Here is the recipe for Spicy Italian Sausage (Click HERE).
Here is the recipe for Turkey Blueberry Sausage (Click HERE).

Here is my latest turkey sausage:

BASIC BREAKFAST TURKEY SAUSAGE

1 pound ground meat (pork, turkey, or chicken... I use turkey)
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup finely minced onion (I opted to use about 1 teaspoon of dehydrated onion flakes)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Form into 12 or 13 equal size patties. 

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat.  You will be cooking the patties in 2 batches so as to not crowd the pan.  I use a non-stick skillet and I find no need to add oil to skillet; however, if desired or necessary, drizzle in a scant amount of preferred cooking oil in the skillet (coconut, olive oil, avocado oil) and swirl it around.  Add 1/2 the patties to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes; turn patties and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes until cooked through and no pink remains.  Repeat with remaining patties. 

In the photo at the top, you can see some of those yummy turkey sausages along side some fingerling potatoes, avocado, and some scrambled eggs with broccoli.  This is one of my favorite breakfasts! 

Enjoy!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Easy Fingerling Potatoes


Easy Fingerling Potatoes




Easy Fingerling Potatoes

I've been making these easy fingerling potatoes lately and I think my son will like this recipe.  I told him I'd write up the recipe so he could try it out. At my local grocery store, I find small bags (about 1 pound in size) of fingerling potatoes; they are labeled as "Petite Fingerling Potatoes."  They are a combination of purple and white/yellow fingerling potatoes.  It's been so hot in Southern Colorado that I've not wanted to heat up the oven to roast potatoes.  I came up with this easy method and I really like the results.  I am enjoying these potatoes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Easy Fingerling Potatoes
  1. Scrub a handful or two of fingerling potatoes. I find 3 or 4 fingerling potatoes is a nice size serving for one person, depending of course on the size of the potatoes. Try to select potatoes that are similar in size so the cooking time is similar.  
  2. Toss the potatoes into a pot and add water to the pot, ensuring the potatoes have about 1/2 inch of water over the tops of the potatoes.  Cover with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat; once the water comes to a boil, reduce the temperature and allow the potatoes to simmer covered for about 12-16 minutes.  The potatoes are done when a fork or sharp knife easily pierces into the center of a potato.
  3. Drain the cooked potatoes, allow to cool slightly, and then slice each potato in half lengthwise.
  4. Drizzle a bit of oil (I use avocado oil but you can use any oil you like for cooking... butter would also be good) into a sauté pan/skillet and heat the oil over medium high heat.  Once the oil is heated, carefully add the potatoes to the skillet, CUT SIDE down.  Allow to the potatoes to brown undisturbed on the cut side without moving the pan or the potatoes.  Once the cut sides are nicely browned, toss the potatoes around in the skillet and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Add a pinch or two of salt to the potatoes toss the potatoes around so that all the potatoes are seasoned.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Asian Salad

Asian Inspired Chopped Salad

Here's a new salad I am really loving.  Here is the recipe LINK.  The clever recipe has you make a sauce that serves as both a salad dressing and marinade.  You pour a little bit of the sauce on some chicken thighs before cooking.  I grilled my chicken thighs which makes them extra delicious!  The salad is a combination of crunchy veggies... red and green cabbage, carrot, green onion, cilantro.  You can top with salad with extra goodies such as sesame seeds (black or white or both), toasted almonds, and mandarin orange slices.  I am not a fan of canned oranges and I did not want to buy an entire bag of little oranges, so I used a naval orange on my salad.  The salad is really good even if you don't use all of the ingredients.  I made this salad the first time with no toasted sesame oil. The second time around I did use toasted sesame oil.  It's a really flexible and really delicious recipe.  I am sure I will make this again and again!  As you can see from the photos below, I kept the components of my salad separate. I knew it would take me a number of days to eat all of this and I did not want the veggies to get soggy sitting in dressing.  Enjoy!

Recipe source: Blog called "Whole Kitchen Sink"
https://www.wholekitchensink.com/sesame-chicken-chopped-salad/




Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fajita Chicken Spice Rub


Fajita Chicken Spice Rub



Fajita Chicken Spice Rub


  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Sprinkle spice blend generously on chicken (both sides) before grilling. Store spice blend at room temperature in container with a lid.

Over the years, I've been finding recipes for my own spice blends. When you look at packets of seasoning at the store, you'll find a bunch of salt, MSG, sugar, and additives (words I can't spell or pronounce).  No need to buy the packets any more... make your own blends.  A few days ago, I shared my spice blend to make blackened fish.  The recipe above is the spice rub we put on chicken tenderloins before grilling.  This chicken is great by itself, but also really good in tacos or burritos or on salads.  

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Slow Cooker Curry with Chicken and Potatoes


Slow Cooker Curry with Chicken & Potatoes



I cannot believe how seriously easy this recipe was.  I found this recipe on a blog I used to follow years ago.  The blog name is www.365daysofcrockpot.com 

The recipe is called Slow Cooker Yellow Chicken Curry and I had it in my slow cooker (Crock Pot) in just minutes.  It's not the most attractive dish in my photos, but the flavors are great!  

Since I am currently on Week 3 of a Whole30 Challenge, I left out the brown sugar.  In my recipe, I used little fingerling potatoes, which worked out great.  I just cut the larger potatoes into a few pieces so that all potato bits were similar in size. I did not have any cilantro or lime juice so I left that out and it was still very flavorful.  I served my yellow chicken curry over steamed green beans which was a surprisingly good combination.  Here is the recipe from www.365daysofcrockpot.com


YELLOW CHICKEN CURRY


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced or 2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 1 lb yellow potatoes (about 34 medium potatoes), cubed (I left the skins on)
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced–optional
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In your 4-6 quart slow cooker place the onions, potatoes and chicken.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the coconut milk, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, coriander seed, salt and red pepper. Whisk until combined. Pour the mixture over the contents of the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours (some slow cookers may take only 3 hours). Test potatoes for tenderness.
  4. Gently stir. Stir in the lime juice, if desired. Add in more turmeric and curry powder and salt to taste.
  5. Serve curry with cilantro over rice, if desired.

Notes

I used my 6 quart slow cooker for this recipe.
Click here for the INSTANT POT version of this recipe.



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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

14 days of My Whole30 Challenge


What does a Whole30 Challenge look like?
Melissa's Chicken Hash and banana
Sweet Potato, broccoli, and fish
Grilled chicken thighs, cut green beans, and Moroccan Cauliflower rice


I have shared in the last few posts that I started a Whole30 Challenge.  You can read more about Whole30 here:  https://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/

I am currently on Day 15 and it's going great!

I have really enjoyed creating healthy and well balanced plates and I have taken a snap shot of everything I have eaten for the past 14 days (with a few exceptions... there was a day where I had a peach between lunch and dinner and a few other times where I ate a few pecan or walnut halves).  So I am putting all 14 days of photos here.  Each photo is actually a collage of the three meals I've ate in one day.

What's missing from my plates? Dairy, grains, legumes (no peanut butter!), added sugar, additives/preservatives (MSG, carrageenan, sulfites)… and also no alcohol.  And I've made it for 14 days and it hasn't been too terribly hard.

Egg scramble topped with avocado and tomato with berries and banana on the side
Avocado and tuna mash with Moroccan Cauliflower rice on the side
Steak and bell pepper kabobs, butternut squash, and sautéed kale with toasted almonds

Mexican cauliflower rice over diced onion and iceberg lettuce topped with over easy eggs
Slow Cooker Yellow Chicken Curry with oranges on the side
Egg, turkey blueberry sausage, sautéed spinach and sweet potato

Egg scramble with broccoli, mushrooms, and tomato with a failed attempt at cauliflower hashbrowns
Lunch to go was Banger Sausage, Moroccan Cauliflower rice, and watermelon
Sweet potato topped with grilled chicken, avocado, and tomato with orange slices on the side

Egg, spicy Italian sausage, sautéed spinach, avocado, and watermelon
Curry Tuna salad with homemade mayonnaise, green beans, and sliced peach
Melissa's Chicken Hash with green beans on the side


Zoodles topped with egg and sweet potato on the side
Turkey Blueberry Sausage, sweet potato, and Moroccan Cauliflower on the side
Mexican Cauliflower rice, grilled fajita chicken, iceberg lettuce and avocado

Turkey Blueberry Sausage, butternut squash, and cut green beans
Egg, Spicy Turkey sausage, sweet potato, strawberries, and avocado
Mexican Cauliflower rice, avocado, diced grilled chicken, and onion over iceberg lettuce

Eggs, Banger Sausage, and steamed butternut squash
Grilled Salmon, steamed broccoli, and Moroccan Cauliflower rice
Sweet potato and zoodles sautéed with chopped Banger Sausage

Over easy eggs, Moroccan Cauliflower rice, and berries on the side
Tuna salad with homemade mayonnaise and lots of veggies with watermelon on the side
More Moroccan Cauliflower Rice, steamed broccoli, and grilled fajita chicken



Egg scramble topped with tomato
Grilled Chicken Thighs, Moroccan Cauliflower rice, and red bell pepper strips
A horrible dinner of zoodles, chopped Italian Sausage, way too much parsley and what was I thinking when I added all that fresh lemon juice.  Yuck!
Breakfast scramble with Banger Sausage, broccoli, and chopped tomato
Chopped kale salad with grilled salmon and strawberry balsamic vinaigrette (not a good combo)
Avocado Tuna mash with lots of veggies and fruit on the side
Sweet potato, sautéed spinach, egg, Banger Sausage, tomato and avocado
Curry Tuna Salad made with homemade mayonnaise with red bell pepper strips
Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage, sweet potato, steamed broccoli, avocado, and raw veggies on the side

Eggs, Moroccan cauliflower rice, and sliced banana
Melissa's Chicken Hash with extra walnuts and parsley
Grilled chicken thighs, broccoli, avocado, sweet potato

Sweet potato stuffed with banana, toasted pecans, cinnamon with Banger Sausage on the side
Zoodles topped with poached eggs with watermelon on the side
Avocado tuna mash with extra veggies, Moroccan Cauliflower rice, and kale salad

These photos are NOT in order (Day 1 to 14).  You can see I have definitely found some favorite recipes.  Moroccan Cauliflower Rice!  I feel as the days have gone by, making my meals has gotten easier and easier. I've never eaten so many vegetables in all my life so I felt I was going to the grocery store too often for more vegetables.  I did not want to buy too much and have things go to waste.  Some folks might look at all the cooking involved and think, "No way do I have time for this!"  But the reality is that my meals come together really quickly and the key is food prep ahead.  I would say each day I pretty much do three things at once.  Here are some examples:

  • make hard boiled eggs, cut up celery and carrots and store in the refrigerator, make grilled chiken
  • steam broccoli, steam butternut squash, make a slow cooker dish
  • make cauliflower rice, make some kind of sausage, make a salad dressing
  • make sweet potatoes in the slow cooker, chop up fruit, make a tuna salad
  • chop up zoodles, toast nuts, try another new recipe
So this is what the first half of my Whole30 Challenge has looked like.  I hope you are finding some recipe inspiration along the way.  I am looking forward to trying some new recipes very soon!


Monday, August 12, 2019

Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs


Grilled Marinated Chicken Thighs


This a super simple recipe that just sort of happened when I got home from the grocery store the other day.  We had planned to grill up a few items and I grabbed a few boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds) at the meat counter.  I trimmed the excess fat from the chicken thighs and plopped them in a Pyrex pie plate. To the chicken thighs, I added...

  • the zest and juice from one lemon
  • about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful of Italian flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • about 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, more if desired
  • about 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more if desired
  • a little salt and a little black pepper
Using kitchen tongs, I tossed the chicken thighs around in the marinade to coat all of the chicken and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes.  My husband grilled them over charcoal and they were seriously delicious.  Chicken thighs are a very inexpensive source of protein and are excellent on the grill.  I will make this again very soon!