Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tiny's Tasty Thursday: Meat in the Middle

For this week's Tiny's Tasty Thursday, I made a delicious berry salad and sausage and veggie dish.  I love making a refreshing mixed green and berry blend salad, especially in the summer heat.  I love salads and eat at least one salad a day so making delicious, unique salads is enjoyable for me!  This main course of the meal, however, sort of happened spur of the moment when we arrived at Whole Foods.  I am usually a list maker, but for this trip, I had only developed a mental list of the staples we needed, especially fruits (watermelon, mango, and berries) and veggies.  Upon arrival, Sooper and I hit the produce section first, and I stood there trying to decide which veggies I would use to make a delicious dinner.  Sooper loves hearty meat-filled meals, so I wanted to make him...and his tummy happy.  This meal is the perfect compromise for Sooper and I because it incorporates both meat and veggies.  Since I had been wanting to try the feta and spinach chicken sausage from Whole Foods for while now, I was determined to plan my meal around this good looking meat.  I had perused a few recipes for sausage dishes and combined a few items while omitting others (STARCHES).   In the produce section, we picked up a red bell pepper and a 1 lb. bag of mini carrots.  We already had an onion and fresh garlic at home.  Then, on to the best part, the meat counter at Whole Foods.  We decided to get two links of the feta and spinach chicken sausage, and at the recommendation of the butcher, we got two links of the cilantro, garlic, and pepper chicken sausage, especially for my hot pepper, who loves SPICE!

Finally, we also found some quinoa pasta to make a healthy version of macaroni and cheese as a side for the spicy sausage veggie dish.  Though Sooper doesn't like quinoa in its purest form, he agreed to give the quinoa pasta a chance. Yeah for Tiny!  While we were cooking, we realized we would not need a side, given the heartiness of the dish, so we decided to save it for another meal.  Sooper, don't you try to get out of eating quinoa pasta! :)

Now, on to the meaty main course!  I consider this to be a "quick" meal or at least my definition of quick meaning minimal prep work with the oven doing most of the work!  However, it does take a little over an hour.  The combination of the sausages was incredible.  We actually ended up liking the cilantro, garlic, and pepper chicken sausage even more then the feta, spinach chicken sausage, but them were both yummy, especially the interesting combination of flavors!

Sausage and Veggie Dish (Serves 4)

1 red bell pepper (sliced)
1 1b. bag of mini carrots
1 large onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
4 links of sausage (your choice...mix and match any two for unique flavor combinations)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 - 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt
Coarse ground black pepper (my fav...more potent than regular black pepper)
4-5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Aluminum foil

First, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Chop the onion and garlic.  Slice the red bell pepper into strips.  Place the onions, garlic, and carrots in a large roasting or baking dish.  Combine the oil, Italian seasoning, and chicken broth and pour over the veggie blend in the dish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.  While the veggies are baking, lightly brown the sausage in a frying pan.  Set them aside after they brown and cut each link into four pieces.  After 40 minutes, check the veggies to see if they are tender.  If so, add the sausage and the balsamic vinegar.  Bake for 15 minutes uncovered.  Turn sausages and mix the juices and veggies.  Bake for 10-15 more minutes uncovered.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes...then, Enjoy!

Meat in the Middle Meal: Sausage and Veggie Dish

Berry Salad (Serves 2)

Salad ingredients...notice our LSU cutting board! :)
Geaux Tigers!
50/50 (spring mix and baby spinach) mixed greens
sliced almonds
feta cheese
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 tsp honey (from the Burg's northshore farm, preferably) :)

Put the greens in a bowl.  Slice strawberries.  Put a handful each of strawberries, blueberries, and sliced almonds on top of the greens.  Add the feta cheese to taste.  Blend the vinegar, oil, and honey, and pour the dressing over the salad.  Mix well. 

Tiny's Oyster Pearl of Wisdom (OPW)...If there is an item/ingredient you really want to try, build a recipe around the item.  That way, you can make the desired item your main ingredient and add other ingredients (veggies, seafood, meat, seasoning) to enhance the flavor.  The sausage was perfect as the main ingredient in this dish, because the other flavors did not overpower the sausage taste I wanted.  Adding veggies to your dish will help you "get your healthy on" and get your daily serving of veggies.  Veggies and seasoning provide great additions to any meat or seafood dish.  Don't be afraid to try something new and make something you will really enjoy eating! 

Happy Tiny's Tasty Thursday!
The Tiny Librarian


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  2. I've been eyeing up the garlic chicken sausage at Whole Foods myself. Glad to know you like it...gonna have to try this recipe! Love your blog =)

  3. Love that cutting board ;) And yay! Something that I would eat!

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  5. Rachel BlanchardMay 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    I made this tonight (just with the spicy cilantro chicken sausage, though)! Mmmmm... so good! And Wes loved it. It was so easy; the awesome part is you can clean the kitchen while it's cooking in the oven - which I'm sure you always do. ;)

    Thank Julie!

  6. So glad you and Wes enjoyed it! It is so easy and the WF sausage is delcious! (You know me too well. I love any meal you have time to clean while it is cooking...HUGE BONUS! Great minds think alike) :)

  7. I found you via The Frugal Girls Chic & Crafty linky party. I can't wait to try your recipe for sausage & veggies - it looks delicious and so easy! Thank you for sharing.

  8. I will try your recipe with sausage, carrots & peppers. May change a couple of things but the base will be the same. Also that salad sounds delicious, healthy, fresh and beautiful!!