Brent's Food Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Sausage

Spinach Sausage Lasagna

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Prepare your favorite Red Sauce and add the cooked sausage and let it simmer covered for an hour or two. The longer your sauce cooks, the better it comes together and ultimately tastes. Other things you can do ahead of time are shredding the cheese and wilting some spinach. I have no idea if this is the best way to wilt spinach, but it works for me – wash your spinach and toss a bunch in a medium-low heat skillet. The volume will shrink dramatically, so as it reduces, remove the wilted ones and replace with un-wilted take care not to burn the spinach. Now that you’ve got most of the ingredients prepped, you’re ready to prepare the lasagna! Preheat oven to 375° and start a 6qt pot of water for the lasagna noodles. Mix the Riccotta & Egg together until it’s a goopy mess and add your wilted spinach and mix well. When the noodles are cooked, strain off the water and rinse noodles with cold water so they stop cooking (we don’t want overcooked noodles!). To a 13″x9″ baking dish, add a thin layer of sauce then following layers: Noodles, Ricotta Mixture, Mozzarella, Red Sauce. Repeat until you run out of room or ingredients. The top layer should be some Mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is starting to brown. Let it cool down closer to room temperature (~2 hours) then pop it into the oven or freezer! Of the possible reheating options, I prefer the toaster oven method as it produces the tastiest and best consistency, but the microwave does a speedy job.

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Red Sauce
32oz Tomato Sauce
12oz Tomato Paste
12oz Crushed Tomatoes
8-10oz Water or Pasta Water
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Italian Spices
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
12 oz cooked Sweet Italian Sausage, crumbled

Ricotta Mixture
16oz Ricotta
1 Egg
1 cup wilted Spinach

16oz fresh shredded Mozzarella
16oz Lasagna noodles (cooked according to the box)

Makes 12 large slices. 2 hours total, can prepare elements ahead of time. With the sausage, spinach and other healthy goodies, this is a respectable meal but may be on the starchy side with the layers of noodles.


Written by Brent

May 16, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Homemade Sausage and Pepper Pizza

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Pizza pizza!! Having previously experimented with everything from pizza bagels to Red Baron frozen pizzas, we decided it was time to try making our own dough = Perfect excuse for the ESC to play with her standing mixer!

Pizza dough (from Baking Illustrated)
Makes about 3 medium-ish pizzas.

1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees- it’s very important that it’s not too cold or too hot)
1 envelope instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I substituted an oil infused with herbs and garlic)
4 cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl
– Measure the warm water into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine
– Place flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with a paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes) Form the dough into a ball, put in a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
-At this point, we put the dough in the refrigerator overnight and made the pizzas the next day. Otherwise, it says to let the dough rise until double in size, 1.5 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
– If you’ve refrigerated the dough, make sure to pull it out an hour or so before you intend to make the pizzas so it can warm up to room temperature.
– Heat the oven to 500 deg F. Divide the dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, -round ball and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for 10 minutes (but not longer than 30).
– Working with one piece at a time, shape the dough into a nice circle.

– Spread some cornmeal (or semolina) on a baking sheet (or a pizza peel if you have one) and then carefully lay the dough down
– Cover with a layer of pizza sauce (Brent made a delicious red sauce- I’ll leave it to him to describe)
– Now for the fun part! Toppings! We used shredded mozzarella, sliced garlic chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s (delicious), and slices of green pepper- but you could do anything.
– Bake at 500 F for 12-15 minutes (Depends on toppings and whether you have a pizza stone or not) Pull it out when the crust is golden-brown-ish.
– Cut into slices and enjoy!

Verdict: Deliciousness! Most expensive parts of this were the sausage and the cheese, Brent estimates about the total is something like $6-7. There are many variations we intend on trying in the future: whole wheat crusts, different recipes, endless combinations of toppings.

Written by kkduncan

January 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Sausage Quinoa Enchiladas

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Puttin' in the goods

Puttin' in the goods

So here’s my summation of enchiladas: a cheesy, beany, meaty, saucy, quinoa-y goodness. Yummy! Who doesn’t like the sound of that?? Oh, and it’s also a great post-night adventure food for when your kickball team wins another championship and is awarded bottle service downtown(!). This is definitely a dish you can cheat with pre-cooked items. We used precooked chicken sausage and shrimp to help with making things easier (it’s also what we happened to have in the freezer!). Plus, we cut down dramatically on the prep and baking time because there’s no raw meats we need to cook or worry about. Now the quinoa is a relatively new thing for the ESC and I… we’ve had a box of quinoa in our pantry for a few months and hadn’t ever cooked it until a week ago. Now we’ve had 3 dishes and will definitely be buying more. ESC definitely agrees that it has become our new best friend.

Quinoa Enchiladas Pre Baked

Just before going in the oven

The quinoa takes the longest to make so we’ll start with that – we have Trader Joe’s brand that comes in a yellow box but used veggie broth instead of plain water. Following the directions on the package, it was a 1:2::rice:water/broth ratio you bring to a boil then simmer for ~15 minutes until the little white germ thingys pop out of the grain and the broth is all absorbed. While the quinoa is bubblin’ away, brown the pre-cooked sausage slices in a skillet. This helps keep their flavor within themselves but also warm them up a bit. I also spooned about 1/2 can of the refried beans into a pan to heat them up too. While everything is heating on the stove, you should have time to grate the cheese, if not do it before starting and set aside. Almost done… Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce across the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish so the tortillas don’t burn or stick to the bottom. Lastly, warm up some tortillas in the microwave (covered for 15-20 seconds). Having warm tortillas makes them a bit easier to roll and handle as they stretch instead of just breaking when you bend them. Now comes the fun part: Combine and Smother! Everyone prepares burritos/enchiladas differently, so here’s how I do it: Spread a nice spoonful of beans on a tortilla then layer with two or three spoonfuls of quinoa, add your shrimp and/or sausage, top with a sprinkle of cheese, and finally drop two spoonfuls of sauce into the middle. Roll it up and place it in the baking dish. Repeat until there’s no more room or you run out of ingredients! Top with a healthy amount of cheese and sauce and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown.

Quinoa Enchiladas Baked

Ready to be devoured!


1 cup uncooked Quinoa
1/2 lb cooked sausage, sliced
1/3 lb cooked shrimp, peeled
1 can low-salt refried beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 16oz can green enchilada sauce (El Pato)
8 flour tortillas, standard size

Makes 8 enchiladas. 30-45 minutes from start to finish. ~$2/plate – shrimp & cheese the most expensive parts. By using low-salt beans and adding the quinoa, I think this is actually a fairly healthy dish. Especially so if you drop the cheese down to a cup total.

Written by Brent

January 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

Sausage w/ Bell Peppers & Onions on Sourdough Roll

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Steamy boiling action

Steamy boiling action

This was surprisingly delicious. I didn’t have great expectations for a flavorful dish thinking the peppers & onions would just be a side note to the sausage, but they were really flavorful due to the wine and sausage bits. The sourdough roll was a great addition instead of using a simple white/wheat roll, it added some tartness to a sweet dish. Make this with your favorite green veggie!

Sear sausage in olive oil on high for ~5 minutes, turning every minute or so. Remove sausage links and set aside, leaving the hot oil. Add bell peppers, onion & garlic to pan and sauté ~5 minutes. Once the veggies are browned a bit (not just softened), add all spices, red wine, canned tomatoes and sausages back to pan in that order. Stir for good measure. Boil together for 5-10 minutes until red wine has almost all evaporated. If you decided to make your own (recipe idea!) or are using uncooked sausages, cook for 15-20 minutes instead. If you want toasty buns (who doesn’t?!), slather the sourdough rolls with butter and toss in a toaster oven for 5-10 minutes to get a nice warm toasty bun. Now it’s time to get your plate ready! Put a toasty bun on the plate, place the sausage on a bed of peppers & onions and top with another scoop.

Sausage with peppers and onions on sourdough plated

Great color, great flavor, great meal

4 Pre-Cooked Sausage Links
3 Different colored Bell Peppers, sliced to 1/4″ strips
1/2 small Yellow Onion, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Red Table Wine
1 8oz can crushed (or diced) tomatoes
4 Sourdough Rolls
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Sprinkles of Spices (Oregano, Crushed Red Pepper, Salt & Pepper)

Makes 4 Rolls. 20 minutes. ~$3/roll. Needs a side of green veggies, pretty healthy with some fat from the sausage. Go light on the olive oil and omit the butter for a healthier option!

Written by Brent

May 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Posted in Main Course

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Brent’s Homemade Homestyle Chili

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I’ve made chili a couple times, each with slightly different ingredients, but now that I have a handy-dandy blog to keep track of what ingredients I put in it, I can tweak it with some reliable knowledge of what I’ve already tried!  This is a ridiculously inexpensive meal that is great for lunches and cold days. It actually wasn’t that hot even with the three peppers and other spices.  Next time I think I should get one of those dried mexican chili peppers next time and see how that changes things in the spice department.

Closeup of chili, it'll eat your face with goodness.

I started by pan cooking the sausage still in the casings (I wanted the sausage to be the larger chunkier bits in the chili, and the ground chuck to be the littler meat bits). It took ~20 minutes to cook all the way through, turning every 5 or so.  During which time we can get the crock pot ready with everything else: drain & wash all beans, add tomato paste, sauce, half of the chopped onion, green onions, and assorted peppers.  When the sausage is done, cut them into chunks and brown the remaining meat and sauté the other half of the chopped onion. Add both meats to the pot. Add water and mix everything around.  Add all spices and mix again.  Top with cheese.  Cover and cook on High for 3 hours or Medium for 5-6 hours, stirring every 45-60 minutes to prevent burning.

It ended up being a 3.5/10 on my spicy-ness meter. Eat it with cornbread muffins and a glass of milk and you wont even notice the spice. In the past, I’ve added Cajun Spice (cayenne pepper & paprika apparently) to give a nice burning in the back of the throat taste, but it’s never been higher than a 6.

I really need a larger crockpot. And to remember to take pictures before devouring the bowlful. And to remember that chili needs garnishes when taking pictures of it, otherwise it just looks like a giant bowl of poo. Or Cornbread muffins for eyes and a submerged ladle for a giant awkward nose.

Chili monster says "EEEAAAATTTT MEEEEEE!!!!"


3/4 lb ground chuck – browned
3/4 lb Spicy Italian Sausage – cooked then chopped
1 can Black Beans
1 can White Kidney Beans
1 can Pinto Beans
1 16oz can Tomato Sauce
1 6oz can Tomato Paste
1/2 lg yellow onion chopped
3-4 green onions
1 Jalapeño Pepper
1 Serrano Pepper
1 Red Jalapeño Pepper
2 cups water
3 tbsp Chile Powder
1 tbsp Ground Pepper
1 tbsp Ground Cumin
3 tbsp Italian Style Herbs (A mix of Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Rosemary)
1/4 lb Cheddar Cheese, grated

Serves 7-8 depending on bowl size, high in protein, fiber and calories.  Low in vitamins & other healthy things. ~$3 per bowl.

Written by Brent

March 12, 2010 at 11:15 am

Posted in Chili, Main Course

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