Chicken Italian Sausage and Summer Vegetables

Since the end of June, the SMTR crew has been on a quest to eat healthier and you’ve probably noticed that through some of the recent posts.  The American palate is so used to flavor being mostly fat, that building flavor can be a challenge… we think this dish does a great job of solving that problem!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby red potatoes, cut in half or quartered
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 package Bilinski’s Organic Chicken Italian Herb Sausages with Porcini Mushrooms, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 cups zucchini, 1/2 inch thick and quartered

You have a couple of choices to start off here… if you’re good with your knife and prep work, you can cut your potatoes and get those started while you cut up the rest of the vegetables and the sausages.  If you prefer, you can always cut everything up ahead of time so you’re just ready to go.  If you’re rich, post a job on CareerBuilder or Monster for a prep cook and eliminate the hardest part of the work altogether!

Quartered, smashed, and chopped… medieval torture or getting ready for dinner?

The Bilinski sausages and some zucchini.

Okay, first thing is first… get your oil and potatoes in a large skillet (season with the garlic powder, some salt and pepper), covered.  Turn the burner onto high heat to get the skillet warmed up and sizzling… once you’ve achieved that state, turn the burner to low and leave covered for 25 minutes.  Give the pan a little shake and shimmy every few minutes to prevent scorching the taters.  Remove from the heat for 5 minutes and then put the potatoes on a plate like this:

Don’t be haters… eat your taters!

Once the potatoes are set aside, you’ll want to get your sausages and vegetables (also seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and the rosemary) in the skillet on medium.  Set the zucchini aside for now, it will cook fast and doesn’t need to go in yet! Now we want to get the veggies in and browning along with the sausages.  I can’t tell you enough how great of a decision it was to go with these sausages… they are so flavorful and at only 80 calories per link, it packs a punch to the end result that I don’t think you can beat for the same or lower calories.

Sausages, peppers, onion, rosemary, and garlic.

Stir every few minutes while the vegetables brown and soften.  Now we’re going to add the zucchini and cook another 5 minutes.

It’s a zucchini beach party!

Add the potatoes back in and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste, cover, and cook another 5 minutes or until potatoes are done.  All that’s left now is the serving and the eating.  You end up with 4 servings that come in around 300 calories each with 39g of carbohydrates and 21g of protein.

Dinner is served!

This recipe is a keeper… we were extremely satisfied with the taste, the portion, and the leftovers are going to make a great lunch.

Please be sure to comment below to let us know what you think, and definitely provide some feedback if you give this a try.  As always, happy cooking and enjoy eating!

Easy Chili Verde

Hello everyone, time for another weekly recipe update from Send Me the Recipe!  As always, any comments, follows, likes, twitter followers, etc. are greatly appreciated!  This week we’re going to focus on another budget friendly and healthy recipe… an easy take on a classic Mexican dish, chili verde or green chili!

The goods.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 16-oz jar of green enchilada sauce (I use La Costena and think it’s great!)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 15 ounce can of pinto or kidney beans, rinsed
The first thing we’re going to do is the chop, chop, chop!  Sometimes when you’re cooking, you may feel like a ninja (think mercenary skilled in the art of ninjitsu, not really bad ass blender) but it’s well worth it!

Peppers, onions, and garlic; oh my!

Prep work done… easy enough; time to cook!  Get a large skillet onto medium heat on the stove.  Add in your pound of lean ground beef along with your onion and pepper you just sliced and diced with your handy katana sword and/or kitchen knife.  Do not add the garlic just.

We are family; my onions and my peppers and me!

The wooden spoon you see off to the side there is very important.  There is not a handier nor dandier device created for the crumbling of cooking meats.  Whether it’s spaghetti, chili, or whatever in which you want crumbled meat… the wooden spoon is the way to go!  More experienced kitchen ninjas may use nunchucks, but most of us will opt for the more traditional kitchen utensils.

The desired result.

After about 8-10 minutes your onion and pepper should have softened a bit and your meat should be browned.  Now it’s time to add the garlic along with chili powder (about a tablespoon), the cumin (a couple of teaspoons), and the cayenne.  Cayenne pepper is where you’re going to get most of the heat in this dish beyond the green enchilada sauce.  The rule with cayenne (unlike a dollar these days) is that a little goes a long way… give everything a stir for about 15 seconds and then add in a full jar of the green sauce and the water.

Simmering the night away!

Bring this all to a simmer, reduce to medium-low, cover and cook.  You’ll want to give a good stir every few minutes for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.  The final step is to stir the beans in and cook until they are heated through which should be no more than a couple of minutes.

You’re left with 4 servings of a low fat high fiber and high protein dish (sodium is also a bit high… being fair) which comes in at about 561 calories per serving.

The finished product!

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read through this.  I hope you enjoy the recipe; be sure to comment below and let us know your thoughts and definitely come back and comment if you decide to give this recipe a try!

Until next time… happy cooking and enjoy eating!

Cassoulet Chicken Thighs and Sausage

Typically, the first thing people want to know when I tell them about Cassoulet Chicken & Sausage, is what in the world is Cassoulet?

In simple terms, it’s a French style of cooking which typically contains meat (many different varieties) and white beans.  Cassoulet is common enough in France to be sold in grocery stores in cans.  The higher-end dishes may include lamb, duck, goose, etc.  But, we’re balling on a budget here so this is in the cassoulet with ingredients available to the every day shopper (and not terribly unhealthy either).  Assuming you have the spices and keep cooking wine on hand (also not expensive), you can make this recipe for under $15.

First off… the ingredients:

  • 2 cans of white beans (great northern or cannellini work great)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or “EVOO” as Rachael Ray calls it)
  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs (trim the fat!)
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Black Pepper
  • White wine
  • Reduced-sodium fat free chicken broth
  • Water
  • 1 package Bilinski’s Organic Chicken Italian Herb Sausages with Porcini Mushrooms, sliced 1 inch thick

For a time saving tip… use 2 cutting boards, one for your raw chicken and one for your ready to eat sausage and veggies (avoid cross contamination!).  Trim the fat from the chicken, cut into 1/3 size pieces and then cut each 1/3 size piece in half.  In a large skillet, heat up about a tablespoon of “EVOO” on medium high heat and then add the chicken in a single layer (if it’s piled up it will not cook evenly) with the heat turned down to medium.

Who are you calling chicken?!?

While the chicken is cooking, this is a great chance to prep the other items.  Cut the sausage into about half-inch pieces, and give the garlic and onion a rough chop.  You don’t want to dice or mince the garlic and onion as the bigger chunks will equal bigger flavors and texture in the final dish.

Somewhere in here (usually 3 or 4 minutes in) you would want to turn the pieces of chicken over to brown the other side and cook it another 3 or 4 minutes.  Once the chicken is nicely browned, remove it from the skillet. Do not rinse the skillet… you want the oil and pan drippings for the nextstep.

Pollo!

Now you will want to add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.  Stir every minute or two.  You want the onion and garlic to soften but not deeply browned.  While the onions and garlic are cooking, take a handful of the white beans and mash them up with a fork.

Onions and garlic, one of life’s great couples!

What beans look like on the inside.

After the onions and garlic have softened, you will now want to add the rosemary, pepper, and thyme.  Seasonings, as always, are to taste… go for somewhere between 1/2 teaspoon and one teaspoon each, but keep the measurements about equal so no one flavor profile is dominating the dish.  Keep stirring and you’re about 30 seconds away from aroma central (this is about the time neighbors will start peeking their heads around your windows to find out what you’re cooking in there).  After about half a minute, add 1/2 cup of white wine.

Onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and black pepper.

 Disclaimer:  Normally I do not recommend (in fact, I insist against) stove top cooking on high… your stove has a “high” option which is pretty much meant to boil water, but the point here is to reduce the white wine by about half… so on high it goes!

Once the wine has reduced by half, it’s time to bring the entire flavor party onto the dance floor (i.e. put everything in the skillet).  Add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1/2 cup of water, the sausage, beans (mashed from earlier along with the remaining whole beans) and the chicken.  Give everything a good stir and let it come to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil, put a lid on it, reduce to medium heat, and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the chicken is done.

You should end up with a delicious, fragrant, filling, and economic (see: budget friendly) recipe the whole family should love.  Our 4-year old loves this so much he actually eats as much of it (if not more) than the adults.

The finished product!

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of this recipe, and of course definitely let us know if you try it for yourself!

Until next time… happy cooking… and enjoy eating!