Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sausage Three Ways: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

It's been no secret how much my family likes Johnsonville sausage products.  I've posted some fantastic recipe ideas using them here, here, here, AND here!  Today, I'm sharing the latest creations I prepared through this month's partnership with Allrecipes and Johnsonville that can be served for any meal--you won't be disappointed!  The recipe links are under the photos. 
Amazing Muffin Cups
First we tackle breakfast.  Johnsonville's Amazing Muffin Cups feature a hash brown base filled with eggs, cheese, red bell pepper, and their Original breakfast sausage links.  These can be prepared in advance, and reheated for quick breakfasts.
Sausage, Potato, & Cheese Tart
 The next two recipes can be for either lunch or dinner.  I was challenged to recreate recipes that had 6 ingredients or less and substitute sausage for one of the ingredients.  I'm happy to share these with you, and my family LOVED them!  The Sausage, Potato, and Cheese Tart features thinly sliced sausage and potatoes--I didn't peel them, and my trust mandoline slicer did most of the work!  Layers of potatoes, sausage, and cheese--how can you go wrong with that combination?  You simply substitute cooked sliced or ground Italian sausage for the bacon in this recipe.

Salad Recipe Link that inspired this one

Have you ever heard of the classic spinach salad with bacon, or hot bacon dressing?  The last recipe is a play on both.  Using Johnsonville's Mild Italian Links as a substitute for the bacon, you can use the ranch dressing the recipe calls for, OR make my hot Sausage Dijon Vinaigrette--just save the drippings.  Here's how:


2 tbsp. Johnsonville Italian sausage drippings
1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
Salt & Pepper to taste


Whisk the sausage drippings, sugar, vinegar, Dijon, and cornstarch together in a small saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until slightly thickened.  Drizzle over your Spinach Sausage Salad and enjoy!  Makes 4 servings.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Luck 'o the Irish--a Treat for St. Patrick's Day

My girls love any reason to celebrate ANYTHING, so in the spirit of fun, I recently tested out this new recipe for St. Patrick's Day.  I'd never done anything outside of green "leprauchaun" milk in their cereal on March 17th, so these little bites were a great find.  Plus, they were from one of my Allrecipes acquaintances--Elizabeth made these with her Irish grandmother.  Aren't they cute?
Here's how you make them.  Find the recipe here on Allrecipes:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk, or as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups dry roasted salted peanuts, finely chopped
1 pound cake, cut into bize-size cubes
1.Pour confectioners' sugar in a bowl. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture has a thin frosting consistency; whisk in vanilla extract.
2.Place chopped peanuts in a bowl. Line a flat surface or a plate with waxed paper.
3.Dip 1 pound cake cube in frosting and roll cube in peanuts; place on wax paper to dry. Repeat with remaining pound cake pieces.

I used salted dry roasted peanuts, and the delicious combination of the cake, glaze, and saltiness might make your little leprechauns want to kiss you afterward!



Monday, March 10, 2014

After School Sweet & Salty Snack

When my oldest gets home from school at 4:30, she's normally starving.  I'm always looking for fun and wholesome snacks to tide her over until dinner.  This one is GREAT!  My youngest and I made it together and it took no time at all.  It's sweet, salty, and full of everything we snack on anyway!
Recipe from

Popcorn & Pretzel Sweet Snack Mix


Original recipe makes 6 servings       


  1. Line a 15 1/2x10x1-inch baking pan or large tray with a sheet of Reynolds® Parchment Paper; set aside.
  2. Pop popcorn according to package directions; shake bag so that un-popped kernels fall to the bottom.
  3. Pour popcorn, pretzels, almonds and dried cranberries into large bowl. Discard un-popped popcorn kernels.
  4. Melt white morsels according to package directions. Stir in cinnamon; pour over popcorn and pretzels. Toss to evenly coat.
  5. Spread evenly on parchment lined tray. Let set to harden, about 1 hour. Break apart large pieces. Store in airtight container.

Using Reynolds parchment paper makes cleanup a breeze!  It can also be used to serve it for parties or groups.  Cut it into squares and fold it into serving cups and you have an easy & portable hand-held container. I love parchment and keep it on hand at all times for baking cookies, roasting vegetables, and serving baked goods.
I can envision my middle-schooler and her friends devouring this recipe in 10 seconds flat! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Let's Eat Better for Spring--Two Easy, Fresh Weeknight Dinners

It FINALLY feels like Spring in NC!  After a winter of roller-coaster weather, 65 degrees and Sunny is a welcomed change.  Flowers will be blooming soon, the birds are already chirping, and it's time to slim down my family menus. 
This month, as an Allrecipes Allstar, I worked with Mazola corn oil to create two of their heart-healthy recipes. Find out more of Mazola's clinical study findings here:
Eating well has always been a priority for me, and I've strived to prepare clean and healthy meals that my family will enjoy.  My husband is an avid marathon runner and works out every day. My oldest girl also runs, and my tiny girl is a constant bundle of energy--if she's up, she is MOVING!  Beat the what's for dinner blues by choosing one of these recipes instead of convenient frozen pizza for your next weeknight meal, and it won't slow you or your family down.
First is a fantastic salmon that's coated with a sweet & spicy rub that includes paprika, brown sugar, and a few other ingredients.  Topped with a grapefruit salsa, it is a super-fresh way to boost your omega-3 intake.  Almost everything can be prepared ahead of time, and the salmon only takes 15 minutes to cook.  My husband and I loved this and I'll definitely make it again!
Next is a recipe that slims down Mexican fare.  If you've ever wanted an authentic Mexican street taco, try this recipe.  You may choose to add more toppings, but as-is, I enjoyed them with a squirt of fresh lime juice.  It's so fresh topped with raw veggie salsa, and again the pork and salsa can be prepared ahead of time so all you have to do is heat and eat!

Taking care of our hearts can be delicious!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

PINK Cereal Bars for Valentine's Day

These little beauties are a fun treat for Valentine's Day for the kids in your life!  They're easy to make, and can be made more nutritious by adjusting (or leaving out) the added candy and substituting nuts.  I used strawberry gelatin, but cherry would also work if you can't find the cranberry listed in the recipe.  My girls really enjoyed them.

Find the recipe here:  So PINK Cereal Bars

Have fun!

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