Do you ever stock up on meat when it’s on sale and freeze it, only to then have to come up with a meal that specifically uses that “great deal” before it gets freezer burnt?! Yeah, that’s what I’m going through today. I thawed out a package of sweet italian ground sausage. I’m sure I bought it with some sort of intention…. but then it got buried in the freezer under half a dozen packages of frozen vegetables. After making winter vegetable soup, I found my meat stash and now had to face the task of figuring out what to make with the ground sausage.
Normally, you can substitute ground sausage in most ground beef or ground turkey recipes. It makes great chili, an incredible lasagna and even is creative in meatloaf. But I wanted to work on a recipe that truly highlighted the spices of the sweet italian sausage. You can use any variety of sausage, just understand that the flavors will ultimately completely change up the overall dish– so if you want hot sausage or you want to un-case a beer bratwurst, that’s totally fine. You can play with the flavors by changing up your meat selection– or using up something you find in the bottom of your freezer!
So tonight, we’re having crock pot dirty rice. I love that this dish uses the word “dirty”, but it’s so true. This is the antithesis of steamed, white rice. It muddles together all the flavors from the spicy meat and the sweet vegetables and somehow the tomato paste marries it all together. Yes, that’s what this is– a “dirty” “marriage” of flavors. Ha! I hope you enjoy this classic spicy one-pot meal and that it warms up your winter night.
1 lb sausage, crumbled and browned
3 cups water
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped Read more
Filed under: Dinner, Recipes, Side dishes, vegetarian
This dish is so easy, so tasty and so complete that I started it while I drank my morning coffee and we ate it for lunch. You could use this decorated-vegetable-and-carbohydrate with pretty much any protein and it would be the perfect complement. Even my kids like it! Try this next time you want a simple side. Enjoy!
1 lb frozen broccoli spears
1 c. white rice, uncooked Read more
This recipe gives me crazy flashbacks! My mom use to make this when I was a kid. She made it in the oven, but it was almost the same recipe— broccoli, chicken, rice and some sauce that had a little bit of an orange color but didn’t taste at all like oranges. It took me a few more years of life to find out that the color was from the curry powder. I think Crayola should add the crayon color “curry”.
It’s hard sometimes for my taste buds to explain the flavors to my head, but I think I’ve figured out most of my mom’s recipe. I’ve added the crock pot. Maybe the celery seed, too, but I think it adds a nice flavor. I start with frozen chicken breasts because I never think ahead to thaw it out and I don’t like when I defrost it in the microwave and then the edges get a little cooked and weird. Using frozen chicken breasts works just fine, it will defrost and cook and fall apart into the creamy goodness of the sauce and the starch of the rice and absorb all of the spices by the time it’s done.
This home cooking will serve a table full of happy tummies and happy hearts. Enjoy!
1 lb. frozen broccoli cuts
1 c. uncooked white rice
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 t. Worchestershire sauce
1 t. fresh lemon juice
2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. celery seed
1/2 t. ground black pepper
2 T. melted butter
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese sprinkles
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. mayonnaise
Put frozen broccoli in crock pot first. Sprinkle with rice. Lay chicken breasts on top. Mix remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and then pour on top of chicken. Cook on high for 4 hours. Prior to serving, shred chicken and mix everything together.
Stuffed peppers are a delicious union of textures and are meant for slow cooking. But sometimes, the prep work of cutting and chopping and mixing and stuffing is just too much. Consider this my recipe for “inside out stuffed peppers”. I’ve figured out a way to get that same great result with even less time. It might not have the same presentation as beautifully stuffed bells, but if you are looking for ease and a great meal, this is a good sloppy way to serve a favorite dish. Enjoy!
1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
2 T. dried parsley
1/2 c. uncooked rice
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground pepper
1/2 t. red pepper flakes Read more
4 chicken breasts (can be frozen)
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can yellow corn niblets, drained
1 can black beans, washed and drained
1 jar of picante sauce (mild, medium or hot)
1 pkg. plain cream cheese (8 ounces)
Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of a crockpot. Layer all ingredients EXCEPT for the cream cheese. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Ten minutes before you serve, stir in cream cheese. Serve over rice. Or– make it a day ahead and just add the cream cheese when you reheat!
(recipe originally provided by Preferred Childcare, Inc., Greensboro, NC)
Some days you might consider dumping everything in a crockpot to still be too much work. I know some of you have great intentions, but that crockpot is still sitting in a box in your basement. Or, the idea of scrubbing the caramelized tidbits from the sides might convince you not to try. Trust me, one pot meals are the easiest way to save time in prep and clean up. Once you start with your crock pot, you’ll realize that it is the best kitchen small appliance you have— other than your coffee pot, of course.
So let’s start simple. Here are some easy things to try that don’t require a lot of work, clean up or preparation.
1. Rice: your crock pot can also be a rice cooker. 1 cup rice to 2 cups water on high. You need to check it to see when it’s fluffy and done because the time can vary depending on the rice, but the ratio should be the same for all varieties.
2. Sweet potatoes: wash them (don’t pat dry), leave the skin on and put them in the crockpot for 4-6 hours on low. They will create enough liquid to cook all the way through. If you want to make it fancy, peel and cube the potatoes, then add a couple T. of butter and brown sugar to the pot for a sweet treat. I wouldn’t be offended if you added mini-marshmellows at the end either!
3. Sauces: Many times you will read that I’ve created a sauce or a glaze or thickened up a gravy. But honestly, you can use most bottled sauces on meats and veggies just fine. BBQ, sweet and sour, teriyaki, italian dressing and broth all make for excellent flavors in the crock pot. Read more