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.




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.

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?



Well…here goes nothing!

Well…here goes nothing!

Why am I blogging?

  • I think I’m funny.  Maybe you will, too?
  • I think that I have something to share.  I’m not the best mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, cook or homemaker.  But I’m doing the best that I can.  Maybe we can support one another as we strive not to be the best, but to simply be good enough.

Why “The Pie Safe?”

  • We call our daughter “The Pie” as a nickname.  She was born in November of 2011 and changed our life oh so much for the better immediately.  Now, it’s hard to imagine life before her.
  • I. Love. The. South.  And, in the South, we love baked goods.  A pie safe is” a cupboard with pierced-tin doors for ventilating pies after baking” (thanks, http://dictionary.reference.com). Knowing that a delicious pie is waiting in the cupboard for you can really brighten your day.  Perhaps, knowing that kind words, silly stories, and yummy, easy food ideas are waiting for you on this blog will also brighten your day.  Here’s to hoping!

With love,