Yum: Italian “Sausage”

So, we all know that Italian sausage is delicious, but we also know that it’s super fattening and high in sodium.  Well, I’ve found a quick fix for that at my house.  Here’s how I make lean ground beef (cheap and low-fat) taste like Italian Sausage.

What you’ll need:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb of lean ground beef (I like the 85/15 or 90/10.)
1-2 tsp of fennel seeds
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (If you like your sausage hot, add more cayenne.  I’m a big, old wimp when it comes to spiciness, so I keep the cayenne to a minimum.)
1/2 tsp paprika

To do:

Add olive oil to a pan and heat to medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add your ground beef.  Stir to break it up as it cooks but leave it pretty chunky.  This helps to create the illusion that it’s actually sausage.  Once the meat is mostly cooked, add all of your spices.  Continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink at all.  Then, add it to whatever recipe calls for Italian sausage.

This works great is soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes that call for Italian sausage.

 
Enjoy!

hez

 

Meal Plan: Week of October 7

My meal planning goals:

  • One grocery trip per week to cut down on impulse purchases & because it’s no walk in the park to go to the grocery with a nine month old.
  • Cook no more than three times per week.  Each cooking day should yield enough food to make two meals for each of us.
  • Delicious, easy meals that can be cooked in less than 30 minutes OR have components which can be prepped ahead of time (i.e. during the Pie’s naptime) & then be cooked in less than 30 minutes.

Meal Plan: Week of October 7, 2012

Sunday – leftover beef curry

Monday – Italian “sausage” & bean soup   (In an effort to save calories & cash, I use lean ground beef seasoned like Italian sausage rather than sausage. It is delicious! Wanna know how I do it?  Click here.)   

Tuesday – ground beef tacos with refried beans and corn/black bean/rotel on the side

Wednesday –Italian “sausage” & bean soup

Thursday – red beans & rice with turkey sausage over rice

Friday – nachos made with leftover taco fixins

Saturday – red beans & rice with turkey sausage over rice

What’s in your soup pot this week?

Love!

hez

Yum: Chili

It finally feels like fall here in Memphis, Tennessee.  There’s a chill in the air, and chili in our soup pot.  As mentioned previously, each time that I cook, I want the recipe to yield enough food for two dinners for me and the Husband.  If there’s more leftover to put in the freezer, that’s even better!  So, here’s my strategy to stretch my chili recipe (and those dollars & cents!) as far as possible while still putting a delicious, easy meal on the table.

What you’ll need:

1 cup frozen, chopped onion (10 for $10 at the Kroger, y’all!)
1/2 cup frozen, chopped bell pepper (10 for $10, again.)
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 packet of Lawry’s Chili Seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder (We really like garlic at our house.)
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can of black beans, rinsed & drained
1 pkg of frozen corn (Yet another lovely 10 for $10 find!)
1/2 cup of water

To do:

Heat a pan to high-medium heat.  When hot, add the onions and bell peppers.  Saute until soft.  Add the garlic, stir for one minute.  Garlic burns quickly, and let’s be honest, burnt garlic is no bueno.  Then add the meat. Once the meat is done, drain the grease into an appropriate receptacle*, then return the meat to the pan.

Add the Lawry’s Chili Seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, corn, and water. Stir and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or more.  I’ve been known to leave mine on the stove from the Pie’s dinner time at 5:00pm until we get finished with bath/bed time routine at 6:45pm.  Just be sure to keep an eye on it so that you don’t burn your house down.

Serve hot.  We like our chili over rice with plenty of cheese.  Cornbread, too, if I really have my act together.

 
*I vividly remember the first time that I ever cooked ground beef.  It was the fall of 2000 and my sophomore year in college.  We were at the Delta Delta Delta house at Millsaps College cooking chili for the 1st Annual SAE Chili Bowl (super fun event, by the way)I cooked 20 lbs of ground beef and poured every drop of grease straight down the kitchen sink.  It turns out…this was not the appropriate way to dispose of grease.  I still haven’t lived this one down.  Please do not try this at your home.  Also, if you’re out of dishwashing detergent, using Dawn in the dishwasher is not a good choice.  I learned a lot in college.

Yum: Ground Beef Curry

 

I love a good ground beef recipe.  Ground beef is cheap, readily available at the grocery store, and pretty versatile.  The Husband LOVES Indian food, so I decided to try my hand at some curry.  I started out with a recipe that I found on pinterest, and it’s morphed into something quite a bit different that I now feel that I can call my own!  Here it is…

 
Ground Beef Curry, served over rice

What you’ll need:

2 – 3 tbsp oil
1 cup chopped onion (I buy the frozen onion that’s already been chopped.  10 for $10 at the Kroger!)
2 tbsp garlic (Again, I buy the pre-minced garlic at the Kroger.)
1 lb ground beef
4 1/2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger (I prefer fresh!  Keep in in the freezer, & you can easily grate just what you need!)
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cans of petite diced tomatoes
2 cups of beef broth
2 sweet potatoes, diced
1 white potato, diced
2 zucchini, quartered then sliced
1 head of cauliflower, chopped

To do:

Over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the onions.  Sautee until soft.  Then add the ground beef and cook until done.  I like bigger chunks of meat in this dish, so I try not to break it up too small as I cook it.  When the meat is done, drain it, and return it to the pan. Add the garlic, curry powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, tumeric, and red pepper flakes.  Stir well for one minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Transfer the cooked meat into a large soup pot.  Add the tomatoes, beef broth, sweet potatoes, potato, zucchini, and cauliflower.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.  The smaller you dice your potatoes, the quicker it’ll cook!  You can wait until closer to the end to add the zucchini and cauliflower if you prefer crunchier veggies, but I go with the easy route of dumping them all in the pot at the same time.

Serve hot over rice.  This recipe freezes really well.  We usually get 8-12 servings.

*These are the veggies that I like in my curry.  However, you could throw any veggies that you have into the pot.  So, this is a great way to make use of leftover veggies in the fridge!  I’m considering throwing some mango in the pot next time.

 

 

 

Meal Plan: Week of September 30


Hello, friends.  Sorry that I skipped out on y’all last week.  The Pie and I were both sick…so, what would any sane, adult mother do?  I wouldn’t know…I got a puppy!  This is Alice.

Ok, down to business.  My meal planning goals:

  • One grocery trip per week to cut down on impulse purchases & because it’s no walk in the park to go to the grocery with a nine month old.
  • Cook no more than three times per week.  Each cooking day should yield enough food to make two meals for each of us.
  • Delicious, easy meals that can be cooked in less than 30 minutes OR have components which can be prepped ahead of time (i.e. during the Pie’s naptime) & then be cooked in less than 30 minutes.

Meal Plan: Week of September 30, 2012

Monday – chili with rice

Tuesday – Italian chicken with pasta & lima beans (A few changes: I’ll use canned, diced tomatoes to make this dish quicker & easier.  I also used feta cheese instead of mozzarella because it was what I had in the fridge.  Never fear, it’s still delicious!)

Wednesday –chili with rice

Thursday – beef curry

Friday – Birthday Splurge for the Husband’s Bday!!! fresh salmon with pesto butter sauce (thank you, Costco!), cous cous & crowder peas

Saturday – Italian chicken with pasta & lima beans
I had a lunch sized portion of Italian chicken & two dinner sized portions of curry leftover to put in the freezer.  I consider that a big win!  I’ll post my beef curry recipe if the Pie will cooperate and take an afternoon nap :-).

What’s for dinner at your house?

Love!

hez