Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sausage Pepper and Onion Rice...well sort of :)

I don't know where I originally got my first version of this recipe using pork sausage and pasta. But tonight I made a healthier version of a yummy meal I like to sausage and pepper pasta making it with rice instead. Its easy, quick and has few ingredients!


1 package chicken sausage, meat removed from casing
1 small or half medium onion, diced
1 small jar pimentos
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups brown rice cooked in chicken broth
Black or red pepper to taste (optional)

After removing sausage from casing, place meat and onions in a saute pan (non stick does not work as well here!!). Let brown and stir frequently. Once sausage starts to firm up, start to break it up with a spoon. The meat will stick to the pan once it starts to really brown. THIS IS GOOD! Once the meat is cooked through, add 1 cup of the chicken broth. Use the liquid to release the browning on the pan. It will turn the broth a golden brown color and that carmalization creates a delicious flavor. Next add the remaining cup of broth and pimentos. Bring liquid to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until rice is ready. Add some black or red pepper if you would like. Make rice using the broth for added flavor, although water will do if you are short on broth. Add cooked rice to the pan and remove from heat. Let the rice soak in the flavor for about 5 minutes. Serve with some grated parm or on its own!!
Brown Sausage and Onion together
Add broth and pimentos
Sausage and Pepper with Brown Rice
Notes on this dish: I usually make this with regular sausage and put it over pasta but I am trying to eat allittle better now. However, if you choose to put it over pasta, you may want to add some cornstarch to the broth before adding it to the sausage. This will thicken your sauce and make it stick to the pasta! I prefer Goya brand pimentos because I think they add great flavor and I also use Nature's Promise Organic Culinary Stock that is low in sodium but has a ton of added flavor as well!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Treat Idea to make with the kids: Apple Pocket Pies

So everyone loves a good apple pie. However, its not the easiest thing to make with the kids because there are not many things for them to do. However, this weekend Gordon and I, along with Grandma Pic, made pocket pies. They are fun, easy and the perfect size for our kiddos!! Go pick your apples and then come home to make this tasty dessert/snack! Pies can be deep fried but I think we all agree that baking is just as tasty and much healthier!

4 apples (hand picked of course, peeled and cut into mini diced pieces)
Pie crust (you can buy it or make it!)
brown sugar
white sugar
lemon juice
1 egg, beaten with a splash of water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie tray with Pam and set aside.

After preparing your apples, toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add about 1/4 cup of brown and white sugar or all brown or all white as long as it is about 1/2 cup. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix well so that apples are coated. I had Gordon help me dump ingredients and stir!!

If you bought your crust, keep it cold until you are ready for it. If you made your dough then you are advanced and know that you must keep it cold for ease of rolling. Lay out one of the round layers on a floured surface and put second layer back into fridge until you cut into three equal pieces. Use egg wash to brush edges of dough, another good job for the kids depending on age! Have child spoon some apples onto middle of dough.  Fold dough over to form a pocket. You have to seal the edges which can be tricky and is very important so that juices do not leak. Crimp folded edges with your fingers or a fork. Poke a few wholes on the top for steam release. Place finished pockets on greased cookie tray.

Once all pies are assembled, have child brush egg wash on top of pies and sprinkle with some sugar (if desired). Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown. Cool for atleast 5  minutes before serving. Enjoy...I know your kids will!!

Notes on this dish: You can make any filling for your pies. I just used apples because it is apple picking season and we went to a farm yesterday. I also read that you can follow this recipe but puree your apples or use another fruit jelly to fill a thinner pastry for a pop-tart like treat. I did not try this yet but will keep you posted when I do!! What is nice about this activity is that there is little room for error except for sealing the pie. The kids don't have to be too neat about the egg wash and the ingredients do not have to be exact to taste good. You can also eliminate the sugar and use an artificial sweetener (blah) or even honey to sweeten. The type of apple you use will also determine flavor. I used cortland but any baking apple will work!

Apple Filling
So he likes to bake in his underoos!?!?
Baking in his football jersey!
The finished product does not look nearly as good as it tastes!

Dinner#5: Coconut Mango Lime Shrimp over rice

OMG. I know I have been missing in action and I have a lot of recipes to catch up on posting but the dinner I just ate was sooo simple and soooo delicious!!


Uncooked Shrimp
1 Mango, diced
I can coconut milk
Brown or white rice
1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and Pepper
Coconut Flakes

I have said it before and I will say it again. A rice cooker makes everything so much easier!

Make rice following directions on package but using 1/2 can of coconut milk to replace SOME of the water. You need to use some water or your rice will come out a bit chewy. I used jasmine rice in the rice cooker, poured in the 1.2 can of coco milk and then filled to the line with water.

In a saute pan, drizzle some olive oil on the bottom. Cook shrimp until they turn pink on both sides. Add diced mango and lime juice. Cook for about two minutes until mango starts to soften. Add coconut milk and salt/pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes until the milk gets a tint of yellow and the mango is pretty mushy. Add the coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened) and mix into pan.

Serve shrimp and mango over rice!

Notes on dish: I did not tell you how much shrimp or rice to cook because you can determine that based on how many people you are serving. I get the frozen bag of large size shrimp (21-25 per pound) and only need to cook about 12 for Gordon and I. Also, you do not want to change the amount of mango, but may need additional coconut milk if you are serving a lot more people. Only increase the coconut milk you use to make the sauce, I would NOT add more that 1/2 cup of it to the rice or you will get a somewhat greasy product. I made 2 cups of rice so I would have leftovers and 1/2 can was just right :) This is a sweet dish so unless you like sweet tasting fish dishes, this would not be for you!