Spicy Sausage and Black-Eyed Pea Chili

Eesh. 4 whole months since I last blogged. Who am I?! The big little girl is at Grandma’s house this week and that allows a little more time in our schedule, so I decided to cook some dinner! Yay! I’ve been sick and needed something spicy to smoke all the germs out and this did the trick. This spicy chili incorporates two types of meat, some gumbo-inspired vegetables, and a Southern twist … black-eyed peas! Super filling, super spicy, and super delicious! Top with your favorite chili toppings – cheese, some onions, or sour cream and serve with cornbread for a fine meal!

One quick food note – if you’re not a connessuer of black-eyed peas (aka you are not from the South!), do not get confused when you go shopping for them. The sell them ‘seasoned’, like the Glory Brand. They are also sold plain:

See!? That doesn’t say anything but ‘black eyed peas’. They’re plain. That’s the kind you want. If you accidentally buy the seasoned kind, it’s ok, you can still use them, but leave the paprika out or you’ll have a giant smoky bowl of chili!

Also, if you’ve never cooked with andouille, do not be afraid!! I bought Aidells brand and they are sold in my store near the hot dogs and kielbasa. They’re fully cooked, so I just quartered them. There are 4 in the pack. You can use all 4 for sure, or save one to fry up with some eggs and potatoes (yum!).

Hope you enjoy!

Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara

Yes, I’m still alive over here! Tired, but alive, and even cooking a little bit 🙂 Tonight’s dinner is a minorly (is that a word!?) tweaked recipe from Rachel Ray’s magazine. It was easy and delish, but not exactly low cal (oh well!). Bacon is one of our favorite foods in this house and I loved that there were green beans in the dish to help salvage the nutritional value 🙂 I’ll make this one again!

Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara

Source: Adapted from Rachel Ray Magazine
Yield: 6 servings

1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

1) Cook pasta according to package directions, adding beans halfway through cooking time; drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.

2) Brown bacon in large skillet over medium heat; add onion and sautee until soft; deglaze with reserved cooking water. (or if you’re like me and forget to reserve it, regular tap water will be ok!)

3) Whisk eggs with cheese. Off heat, add pasta, beans, eggs and cheese to skillet and toss; season with salt and pepper.

Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

I had a BUSY day today. I spent the better part of my afternoon on my keester at the endocrinologist’s office. Boy howdy was that fun… or NOT. By the time I got home, the last thing I wanted to think about was cooking dinner. I grabbed some pork chops from the freezer and did a quick thaw on them and found this great recipe for Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce. I adapted it slightly to match what we had on hand in the house. This was a <30 minute meal and the entire family (2 year old included) loved it! I served egg noodles and green beans – perfect for a quick weeknight family dinner.

One quick note – if you’re like me, when you finish making the sauce you’ll think, “No way. NO WAY. Not enough sauce!!” but I am here to tell you that it’s plenty! The sauce is tangy and rich and a little bit goes a long way!!

Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Yield: 4 servings

4 (3/4″ thick) boneless pork chops
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Pat pork dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, swirling to coat, then brown chops, turning over once – about 8 minutes total.

3) Transfer chops to a shallow baking pan, reserving skillet, and bake (uncovered), until cooked through – about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and loosely cover with foil. Let stand 5 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, pour off any remaining fat from the skillet and then add butter. Over medium heat, cook onions and garlic in the melted butter, stirring, until softened (3 to 5 minutes).

5) Add broth and any juices from the baking pan and boil, scraping up any brown bits (2 minutes). Add mustard and cream and return to a boil, then add lemon juice and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve pork chops with sauce spooned over top.

(78) BBQ Pork Chops

My husband was eyeing my overabundance of zucchini in the CSA box. I weighed the zucchini from last week and it was 5 lbs. I think we probably got that much this week, too!! Ay! We are swimming in zucchini, which is A.O.K with us because we love it!! I made the Fettucine with Zucchini and Goat Cheese and my Mom’s Zucchini Bread. Tonight, the better half got to be in charge of the zucchini and he chose fried zucchini. We battered it in flour, egg, and then panko and deep fried it. Our house smells like the Waffle House, but it was worth it! It was GOOD.

But I digress. We needed something simple to go with the fried goodness, so I pulled this recipe for pork chops out. I had the bone-in kind which are not quite as speedy as the boneless loin chops, but a few extra minutes wasn’t going to kill me. I used Penzey’s Medium Hot Chili Powder and the Hungary Half-Sharp Paprika, so they had a little bit of a kick, but the sweet barbecue sauce matched that spice and made for an excellent main course. We served these with Goat Cheese and Chive Mashed Potatoes and those yummy, fat free, calorie free, cholesterol free fried zucchini (hey, a girl can dream, right?!)! Delish! If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal, these pork chops should go in your rotation!

BBQ Pork Chops

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop)
Source: Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon half-sharp paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder (I used Penzey’s Medium Hot Chili Powder)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 bone-in pork chops
2 Tbsp olive oil (if using grill pan)
1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Prepare grill or grill pan.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub pork with spice mixture; let stand 10 minutes.

Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray or if using a grill pan on the stovetop, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat and then add the pork chops. Grill 4 minutes. Turn pork; grill 4 minutes. Brush each chop with 1 tablespoon sauce, and grill 2 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

(74-76) Homemade Sausages!!

As I mentioned in this post, we made sausages at our last cooking club!! It was a LOT of work, but worth it! Delish! We made three different types of sausages. Each was a different filling, but the concept was the same. We started with a ginormous bag-o-pork. If you’re in Jacksonville, I encourage you to check out Tillman’s Meats. They are on Old St. Augustine Rd and are a family run business. They’re in a small wood-hut looking building with a smoker out in the back (mmm bbq!!) They are just NICE and they know their stuff (prices are good too!). Anyway, the bag-o-meat came from Tillman’s. You want pork that is not too lean – see the marbling in there? That makes for a nice juicy sausage. They were nice enough to grind the pork for us and they also sold us the casings. You can buy natural or synthetic casings for making sausages. We went for the natural ones.

Time for the fillings! We made three types. Recipes to follow. Feel free to modify/adapt them as you see fit (we didn’t make one of them as written – I’m posting the recipe as we made it). We used a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a sausage stuffer attachment (which goes on the food grinder attachment). It was quite the arm workout and it was a team sport. But we think our sausages turned out great! We cooked them on the grill, but you could bake or pan fry them too!

Pork & Apple Sausages

2 small leeks, cleaned
2 large Granny Smith apples
1 large onion, peeled
1/4 cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
5 pounds ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Pre-soaked sausage casings

  1. Chop into leek into small (1/4-inch) dice. Peel, core and chop apple into small (1/4-inch) dice. Cut the onion into small (1/4-inch) dice and chop the parsley.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy sauté pan over moderate heat. When oil is hot, add the leeks, apples, onions and parsley. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the apple/vegetable garnish to a bowl and refrigerate.
  3. Combine chilled ground pork and chilled apple/vegetable mix. Stuff sausage into casings using your preferred machine or method.

Spicy Chipotle & Cheese Sausage

(NOTE: we couldn’t find fresh chipotles so we chopped an entire can of chipotles in adobo! This made the sausages HOT which half of us liked, the other half did not! Next time maybe 1/2 a can would do!)

5-lbs ground pork
8-tsp minced garlic, about 10 cloves
3-tbsp fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1-cup finely minced red onion
1-cup chopped parsley
3-tbsp paprika
4-tsp salt
1-cup cold beer
1 1/2-cup diced fresh chipotle peppers (see note!)
2-tbsp liquid smoke (hickory flavour)
1-cup grated Romano cheese

Combine all ingredients, mix well & stuff into hog casing or make into patties.

Sun-Dried Tomato Sausage

(this one was my favorite!!)

5-lbs ground pork
3/4-lbs whole milk mozzarella, cut into 1/4” cubes
1-bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
7 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, coarsely chopped
1-tbsp dried basil
1-tbsp fennel seed
1-tbsp coarse black pepper
1-tbsp salt
1-tbsp ground coriander
3/4-cup dry white wine

Mix all seasonings together with wine. Mix the seasonings with the ground meat and cheese then stuff into casings.

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