Tag Archives: sausage

Savory Onion, Mushroom, Sausage, and Cheese Strata

I love bread. People that don’t eat bread? Sheww… I feel bad for them. French bread? Yes please. Italian bread? Sure thing. Baguettes topped with anything? Absolutely. Sliced sourdough packed with cheese and toasted on a griddle? MY FAVORITE. So when I go to the store and the bakery has discounted bread on the day-old rack, I stock up. Last week I made a bread pudding out of French bread and today I’m making a strata for dinner out of a stale baguette.

Today’s dinner uses the long, skinny, unassuming baguette. Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside. Perfect for sucking up milk and eggs. Here you go.

Wipe the drool from your chin and read on, my friend.

Wipe the drool from your chin and read on, my friend.

Savory Onion, Mushroom, Sausage, and Cheese Strata

Ingredients:

  • one large Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
  • 16 ounce container sliced mushrooms (white mushrooms are okay, baby bellas are better)
  • 1 tsp basil (dried)
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 1 pound fresh mild flavored sausage (breakfast sausage or mild italian sausage)
  • 1 baguette cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 16 ounce container whole milk or heavy cream
  • 6 eggs, whisked in large bowl
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 7-8 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 7-8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

Place 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in large skillet and add chopped onions.

My one large sweet onion made 4 cups of chopped onion

My one large sweet onion made 4 cups of chopped onion

Sprinkle a pinch of salt over onions. Cook on medium heat 10 minutes.

sauteed onions

sauteed onions

Add sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over mushrooms. Cook 10 more minutes.

Add mushrooms to sauteed onions

Add mushrooms to sauteed onions

Add some cracked black pepper. Place a tsp oregano in palm of your hand and crush to release oils while adding to onions and mushrooms. Place a tsp basil in palm of your hand and crush to release oils while adding to mixture.

top with basil and oregano

top with basil and oregano

Stir mixture and allow to cook 20 minutes until softened and a bit caramelized.

stir to combine herbs and onions and mushrooms

stir to combine herbs and onions and mushrooms

While that’s cooking, whisk the 6 eggs and milk/cream in large bowl.

Whisk eggs and add whole milk or heavy cream.

Whisk eggs and add whole milk or heavy cream.

Add sprinkle of nutmeg.

Add nutmeg. If it's dried powder or fresh makes no difference. Just add some.

Add nutmeg. If it’s dried powder or fresh makes no difference. Just add some.

Whisk to combine.

Now remove the mushrooms and onions to a medium sized bowl and place the sausage in the pan and cook until brown and crumbled.

Remove the mushrooms and onions and place sausage in the pan and brown.

Remove the mushrooms and onions and place sausage in the pan and brown.

Now combine the sausage, mushrooms and onions back in the pan and toss to create a delicious pan of yumminess.

Combine mushrooms and onions with the sausage and allow to cook for five minutes more. TASTE IT! Adjust it with salt and pepper if necessary. Keep in mind the cheese will add a ton of flavor.

Combine mushrooms and onions with the sausage and allow to cook for five minutes more.

TASTE IT. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Allow to cook together for 5 minutes and then remove from heat and allow to cool for a bit.

Cut the baguette into bite-sized pieces.

My baguette made about 6 cups

My baguette made about 6 cups

And place the baguette in the milk/cream/egg mixture and toss to coat.

While bread is soaking, prepare your pan and finish cooking sausage mixture

While bread is soaking, prepare your pan and shred the cheese

Allow to soak while you prepare the pan and shred the cheese.

Spray a large casserole dish or cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Shred your blocks of cheese.

Good cheese. That is all.

Good cheese. That is all.

I chose cheddar because it’s tasty. I added Gruyere to it because I like the melt-ability. I lucked out at the store because I found this one: APPLEWOOD SMOKED GRUYERE. Perfect with sausage.

Assembly:

Place some of the bread in the bottom of the pan.

Layer 1 - soaked bread

Layer 1 – soaked bread

Top with half of the sausage/onion/mushroom mixture.

Layer 2 - Sausage mixture. Layer 3 - Cheeses

Layer 2 – Sausage mixture. Layer 3 – Cheeses

Top with half of the cheese.

Layer the rest of the bread on top of that. And don’t waste that milk and egg that’s left in the bowl.

Layer the rest of the bread and milk/egg mixture

Layer the rest of the bread and milk/egg mixture

Place the rest of the sausage/onion/mushroom mixture on top of the bread.

Finish the whole thing with the remainder of the cheese.

Top with the rest of the sausage/onion/mushroom mixture and the rest of the cheese.

Top with the rest of the sausage/onion/mushroom mixture and the rest of the cheese.

Rip off a piece of foil and spray it with non-stick spray.

Prepare the foil with non-stick spray

Prepare the foil with non-stick spray

Place it over the strata and push down on the contents. Your goal here is to allow that custard mixture to soak into the bread cubes and the flavors to all marry together. Yum. Place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. I made mine midday and will eat it this evening for dinner.

When you are ready to make it, remove it from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350F. Allow to bake (foil on) for 45 minutes. Remove foil carefully

Remember when I had you spray the foil with non-stick spray? Yeah. That's why. None of the cheese gets pulled off the top of the strata. I'm pretty smart.

Remember when I had you spray the foil with non-stick spray? Yeah. That’s why. None of the cheese gets pulled off the top of the strata. I’m pretty smart.

and bake for 15 more minutes until bubbly and crusty. Allow 15 minutes or more to rest before serving.

Um what? I'm so distracted right now I forget what we're talking about.

Um what? I’m so distracted right now I forget what we’re talking about.

We had creamed corn in the freezer from last summer so that’s what we had with this hearty meal. It was nice to have something sweet and simple paired with this since it’s so rich. A nice glass of Pinot Grigio would be nice with this, too.

Enjoy!

Spicy Southern Style Stew

Years ago I found a recipe on All Recipes called Sunday Gumbo. I never made it exactly as it was written because I never had the right spices and I didn’t use okra. But it helped guide me when I was venturing out to bigger and better one-pot meals. I have written a recipe all my own but I am not calling it Gumbo or Jambalaya. I’m calling it a stew. Spicy Southern Style Stew… because I don’t want to insult anyone by calling it something it is not.

Spicy Southern Style Stew

Boom! Spicy Southern Style Stew!

Boom! Spicy Southern Style Stew!

  • 1 pound package of sweet Italian sausage links
  • one small sweet onion
  • 2 Cups of chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  •  2 T Ketchup
  •  1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  •  1/2 tsp cumin
  •  1 tsp red pepper flakes
  •  1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 small bay leaves or one large leaf
  • 1/2 C uncooked instant brown rice
  • 1 Cup peeled, thawed shrimp

Before you start, if you have frozen shrimp with the shells on, place about 1 cup of shrimp in a single layer on a plate with cool water. It will thaw by the time you need it.

1 pound package of sweet Italian sausage links  cut into bite size pieces and browned in a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven or just a heavy bottomed pan. (You can use hot Italian sausage if you’d like even MORE spice)

Remove the sausage from the pan and drain most of the fat.

Add one small sweet onion, diced, to the pan.

Place sausage back in the pan with the onion and sautee and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add 2 Cups of chopped cooked chicken and toss around with the sausage and onions. (If your chicken is raw cook it with the sausage and onions. I just happened to have leftover cooked chicken.)

Here comes the flavor:  1 T Worcestershire sauce, 2 T Ketchup, 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves,  1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp garlic powder

stir to coat the chicken, sausage and onions with these flavors

now add 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 small bay leaves or one large leaf

Add 1/2 C uncooked instant brown rice and stir.

cooking the stew BEFORE adding the shrimp

cooking the stew BEFORE adding the shrimp

Turn your attention to the shrimp. If you have cheesecloth you can place the shrimp shells in the cheesecloth and tie it up and place it in the stew. It adds flavor! If you don’t have cheesecloth, it’s no big deal to just skip this step.

shrimp shells in cheese cloth allow the flavor to permeate the stew.

shrimp shells in cheese cloth allow the flavor to permeate the stew.

Add the 1 Cup peeled, thawed shrimp to the stew and push down into the broth to cook. It will only take about 5 minutes.

raw shrimp added

raw shrimp added

It doesn’t take long for the shrimp to turn pink. You don’t want to overcook the shrimp so go. Eat some. Eat some now.

shrimp are done!

shrimp are done!

Remove the cheesecloth and squeeze it out to get all the yummy shrimpy broth out of it. Then put the leftovers in a container and put it in the fridge and eat it again tomorrow. It’ll be even better!!!

Sausage and mixed potatoes

Growing up one of my favorite meals, that my dad always made, was sausage and potatoes. I always thought it was his recipe. I asked him about it recently and he said it was, in fact, my grandmother’s recipe. His mother-in-law, not his mother. My mom’s mom. So cute. She must’ve made it when they were dating or early in their marriage because I remember this meal from early in my childhood. And I remember my dad making it. Anyway, I’ve adapted it to make it a little more wholesome by adding sweet potatoes for fiber and vitamins but that doesn’t mean I’m not still dipping each bite into plain yellow mustard like I’m a ten year old.

Sausage and Mixed Potatoes

(I don’t have a picture of this. It’s potatoes and ground sausage on a plate. Use your imagination.)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

one pound of loose country sausage or sweet Italian sausage links (sausage removed from the casings).

1 large sweet potato cut into bite sized chunks

1 large russet potato cut into bite sized chunks

1 large or 2 medium yukon gold potatoes cut into bite sized chunks

1 medium sweet onion or half a large vidalia onion cut into small pieces (Make the onions smaller than the potatoes. This is a bite that accents the sausage and potatoes, not a giant chunk of onion that gives you the chills kind of bite.)

Spray a 9×13 casserole pan with nonstick spray. Mix the potatoes and onion in the dish. Rip chunks of the sausage and dapple/sprinkle/dollop it around the potatoes and onions. (Forgive me, I can’t think of the right word.)

Place the casserole dish, uncovered, into the oven and bake it until you smell it (isn’t that a song from the 60′s?). Mix the potatoes and sausage mixture around and poke each type of potato (because they are all different in density) and if it slides off the knife, you’re done. If you don’t trust your nose, open the oven and toss the sausage and potatoes after about 30 minutes. Poke a chunk of each type of potato with a sharp knife and if it slides off the knife you are done. If not, close the oven and allow to cook another 15 minutes. It could take up to an hour. You are looking for roasted, fork tender potatoes but not so soft they turn into mashed potatoes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a little bit. Oh and serve with a little childish pile of yellow mustard. Or ketchup… if that’s your thing.