Monday, September 11, 2023

Sausage and Spinach Skillet Supper

 Usually, when I'm trying a new dish, my first rule is to always follow the recipe. That was my original plan when I saw a certain recipe from Taste of Home. But then I thought of a bunch of changes I would want to make.. so I thought, ok, lets just improvise this one and see where it goes. 
Do you every do that? 
I just sort of decided what direction I wanted to go, and then started throwing things into the pan. 
  I was originally going to use a smoked Andouille sausage, but then decided it might be too spicy. So I used mild Italian sausage instead. Then I thought of using my home canned collard greens, but decided fresh spinach would be the better way to go. And I had originally planned to include baby red potatoes, but then decided to smash them into a chunky mash and then serve the meal on top.
 You taste as you go, you decide what it needs, and you adjust. Needs salt... needs a little acid.. needs a more savory note.. needs a little sweetness... And then all of a sudden, a new dish is created! 
How fun is that?
 And OMG I'm thrilled with the final result!! It turned out SO good and it came together in a snap! And without realizing it, I made the most perfect meal for this time of year... it's warm during the days, but cooler at night... this dish is made entirely on the stove top, so it doesn't require turning on the oven, but it'll hit the spot and fill you up at night. Perfect!
 So, thanks, Taste of Home, for the inspiration, even though I made a completely different dish! Maybe next time I'll follow the recipe. In the meantime, hope you like this one!
1-2 tbs olive oil
2-3 lbs mild Italian sausage links
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tb apple cider vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
3 tbs butter
1/2 cup water plus 3 tbs flour
2 big handfuls fresh baby spinach
 Place olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Over medium heat, brown sausage links on all sides. Remove from pan and slice into coins. Places sausage coins back into skillet along with diced onions and garlic.
Continue to sauté over medium heat while adding brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
Add a few tbs butter and let them melt right into the sauce.
Make a slurry of 3 tbs flour plus a half cup of cold water. Stir it into the skillet until thickened and well combined.
Add a few handfuls of fresh spinach and place a lid to cover. It will only take a few minutes for the spinach to wilt. Stir well. Adjust seasoning if needed.
Serve with some warm crusty bread.
If you are feeding a crowd, serve it over rice or mashed potatoes. It'll go a lot further!

When you are browning the sausage links, you don't have to cook them all the way through..just brown them on the outside and cook through enough to be able to slice them.
Not a fan of spinach? Try another type of green, such as collards or kale.
For an extra added touch, try crumbling some crisp bacon over the top as a garnish!

Friday, September 1, 2023

Joey's Salisbury Steak Casserole


Ok this is an EASY one! 
One of my favorite comfort foods is a Salisbury Steak. It's just a hamburger that is browned on both sides and smothered with caramelized onions and brown gravy. Sounds delicious, right?  It's perfect with mashed potatoes and a side dish. Boom, dinner's ready.
So then I thought instead of doing mashed potatoes, how about some extra wide egg noodles? Perfect!
I made it as easy as possible. Frozen hamburgers, jarred beef gravy, And then, once assembled, I melted  some mozzarella cheese over the top. How does that sound?
Omg it turned out so good, I ate two bowls of it. It just seemed to hit all the right notes. And now that the nights are starting to get a little cooler, this one easily hits the spot. You don't even need to serve anything else except maybe a crisp side salad. 
So give this one a try. 
Beef and noodles. Easy, right?
 What's not to like? 🙂

1 lb bag extra wide egg noodles
6 frozen hamburgers, thawed
2 large onions
2 large jars beef gravy
Splash Worcestershire sauce
Splash soy sauce
Salt and lots of black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
A handful of snipped fresh chives (for garnish)

Heat oven to 350F. 
Place egg noodles in a large pot of aggressively salted boiling water. Give them a stir. Boil 8 or 9 minutes. Be sure not to overcook them. Drain. Pour into a large casserole dish. 
In the meantime, cut each defrosted burger into several large bite sized chunks. Place in large skillet with a little oil over medium heat until brown on all sides. Resist the urge to move them about. Just let them alone so they can brown. Do this in batches if needed. As the pieces of beef brown, remove them from the pan and add to the casserole dish. 
While the beef is browning, roughly chop the onions. You want nice big chunks, just like with the beef. 
When all the beef is browned and added to the casserole,  drain the pan, add a little more oil (or even butter) and sauté the onions until they begin to caramelize. This step can take a good 10 minutes or more. When they are caramelized to your liking, add them to the casserole dish. 
Now empty the jars of gravy into the pan along with the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer until well heated through. Add a few pats of butter, if desired, just to make it rich and velvety. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Pour gravy over everything in the casserole dish and toss well until everything is evenly coated. Top with mozzarella cheese, then Parmesan cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes until heated and bubbly. Sprinkle with snipped chives. 

As I was enjoying my SECONG helping, I realized I had missed the opportunity to add sautéed fresh mushrooms and maybe even some frozen peas just before baking. That would take it even higher, dontcha think? I think I need to try that next time. 
This can be made and assembled a day or two in advance and then covered and refrigerated until time to bake and serve.