Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicken Apple Sausage

If you have not discovered Aidell's Chicken Apple Sausage....well, now you have. This is a great last-minute dinner to keep in the fridge or freezer. The 15 packs that Costco sells come in three separate packages and they are a better value than the 4-6 packs available in your standard grocery store. They are low in fat and calories, too, so a good protein choice if you are watching your weight. They are delicious with BBQ sauce, too.

While they are fully-cooked and can be served simply warmed, I prefer to have Corey grill me up a pack when he already has the charcoal grill out for another grilling assignment. If he is grilling me steaks, chicken, or burgers, he just throws on a pack of these after we've sat down to dinner and gives them a nice char. I then refrigerate them until later in the week, reheat them in the microwave, and serve with some freshly-prepared sides. It feels like a newly-cooked dinner but only requires partial prep!

Here are some suggestions for sides that go well with a chicken apple sausage dinner:

And of course, don't forget a salad! Happy grilling this Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grilled Corn with Cilantro Butter

Summertime means that it is time to grill. Corn on the grill is divine - when grilled with butter and herbs such as cilantro, it's even better! Here's an easy update to plain old grilled corn.


Recipe Notes

Allow butter to come to room temperature before you add the cilantro, salt, and pepper. It will mix much easier than cold butter and it will spread much better than if it were melted. I recommend buying your corn already husked and cleaned - Costco has eight-packs that are handy and quick.


  • Ears of corn, husked and cleaned

  • Butter, softened to room temperature

  • Cilantro, chopped

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


1. Place each ear of corn on top of a square of aluminum foil.

2. Mix butter, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Spread on ears of corn.

3. Wrap corn in foil and place on indirect heat on a hot grill.

4. Grill for 10-15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness/char.

5. Enjoy with grilled meats and summer salads for a healthy side!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pasta Puttanesca

This is a nice, quick, easy weeknight pasta from Cooking Light. Enjoy!


Recipe Notes

I can't stand anchovies, so I left them out and no one was any the wiser. So if you would like to skip out on the little fishies too, I don't think your dinner guests would mind!

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)

404 calories - 17.5 g. fat - 13.1 g. protein - 3.9 g. fiber - 51.5 g. carbs


3 tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 anchovy fillets (I left these out)

1-1/2 c. crushed canned tomatoes

3/4 c. pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 tbsp. drained capers (I used more because I really like capers)

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

8 oz. uncooked fettuccine

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese


1. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp. oil and minced garlic.

2. Cook garlic for 30 seconds, then add anchovies. Mash in the pan to form a paste.

3. Stir in tomatoes, olives, parsley, capers, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add fettuccine (approximately 1/2 of a 16-oz. box). Cook 8 minutes until al dente.

5. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 c. pasta water.

6. Add pasta and pasta water to tomato sauce. Increase heat.

7. Cook 5 minutes, tossing to combine.

8. Divide pasta among four bowls and top with cheese. Drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp. oil, if desired (I skipped the last of the oil).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sausage & Cheddar Cheese Strata

My wonderful friend Emily had her bachelorette weekend last weekend down in Seaside, Florida - what a fabulous place it was! We had a beach house, so we cooked most meals, and my contribution was this tasty casserole from The Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook. This cookbook is absolutely fabulous - even if you are neither a bride nor a groom, I highly recommend buying this cookbook. There are lots of recipes that serve fewer people (generally 2-4) and there are great basic dinner preparation ideas and party preparation ideas.


Recipe Notes

I do not recommend skimping on the half-and-half. I had fat free half-and-half available to me last weekend, and while the flavor was good, it was slightly runny. The beauty of this particular breakfast casserole is that it does not require "marinating" over night - therefore, no forethought or preplanning are required. You can whip this up the morning of your breakfast or brunch in less than one hour. Also, the original recipe calls for 24 oz. breakfast sausage and that is a LOT of sausage - I cut the breakfast sausage in half and only used 12 oz.


  • 24 oz. ground breakfast sausage (12 oz. regular & 12 oz. hot) - I used only 12 oz. Jimmy Dean reduced fat breakfast sausage

  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 2-1/2 c. half and half

  • 1 tsp. dried sage

  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper

  • 6 potato bread or soft white bread slices, crusts removed

  • 2 c. grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives, flat leaf parsley, or green onions (both white & green parts)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with Pam or grease with butter.

2. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly browned (5-7 minutes). Drain sausage and transfer to a paper towel.

3. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, sage, kosher salt, and pepper.

4. Layer the bread in the prepared baking dish and top with sausage.

5. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and top with cheese.

6. Bake until the strata is set in the middle, about 30 minutes. Do not overcook. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.

7. Garnish with chives, green onions, or parsley.

Soy-Glazed Salmon with Arugula & Orange Salad

Three words. Easy. Fast. Delicious. This recipe is an adaptation from a Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe. The original recipe calls for a watercress salad - I personally find watercress difficult to eat and generally gritty, so I subbed baby arugula and it works great. The original recipe can be found (here) if you prefer the watercress salad.


Recipe Notes

Steam some basmati rice in a rice cooker while you prepare the fish and salad - everything is ready just about the exact same time. Couldn't be easier or quicker.


  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce

  • 4 tsp. honey (divided)

  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented, with juice reserved from membranes

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 4 salmon fillets, approx. 6 oz. each

  • 1 bunch watercress OR several cups of baby arugula (my preference)

  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced


1. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, 3 tsp. honey, and juice from two segmented oranges to create a glaze. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In a larger bowl, whisk together one tbsp. glaze, remaining tsp. honey, rice vinegar, and oil. Set aside - this will be your salad dressing.

3. Heat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat.

4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Season salmon with salt and pepper and broil for 5 minutes. I lightly brush on a small amount of glaze before this initial broil - the recipe does not call for this.

5. Remove fish from the oven after 5 minutes and brush with glaze. Broil until opaque throughout, approximately 2-4 minutes more depending on fish thickness. Brush with additional glaze.

6. Add orange segments, watercress OR arugula, and sliced red onion to salad dressing. Toss until coated.

7. Serve fish over white or brown rice with salad.