Sausage offers multitudes of fast meal ideas for your hungry family. Sausage is simply seasoned ground meat, sometimes stuffed into casings. Sausages were traditionally hung in a smokehouse to cure for storage, and many of today's sausage products use smoke flavoring to echo this practice. Any meat can be used to make sausage, including pork, beef, venison and turkey. Whether it's loose-pack ground sausage, short links or long stuffed casings such as Italian or Polish sausage, the seasonings, cures and preparation possibilities vary widely. Salt and pepper plus sage, thyme or rosemary are some traditional herb seasonings. Make sausage an ingredient in quick-to-make meals for your family.
If you are trying to limit your family's consumption of processed meat products, fresh ground meat sausage patties or fresh link sausages are a good choice. Unlike the quick-cooking, hot dog-like processed links, fresh sausage links are raw meat that must be cooked thoroughly. After you cook any type of sausage, drain it on paper towels to absorb excess fat. Serve links or patties at breakfast with eggs, toast and juice, or use sausage in a flour tortilla with scrambled eggs, onions and shredded cheese to make a quick breakfast burrito. For another quick breakfast, brown lean smoked sausage in a skillet and smother it with maple syrup. Serve it warm over toasted frozen waffles with fruit.
Make pee-wee pigs-in-blankets using small, cooked link sausages with refrigerator biscuit dough wrapped around them. Flatten raw biscuit dough slightly and cut it into narrow strips before wrapping the sausages. Or if macaroni and cheese is on the menu, serve it with slices of Italian or Polish sausage. Offer finger-food vegetables and fruits to round out the meal.
Browned Sausage Dinner
A simple one-dish sausage meal begins with a package of lean ground sausage, or have your butcher grind pork steaks for you, trimming the fat to order. Brown the meat in a skillet with seasonings of your choice; a packet of dry ranch seasoning mix adds instant zing. Add your favorite chopped vegetables, such as celery, onions and peppers, or perhaps some mushrooms or apples. Place the mixture in a baking dish over a bed of cooked rice or pasta, and keep it warm in a moderate oven while you prepare a salad. Browned ground sausage is also ideal to use in spicy wraps, on nachos, in chili or over pasta. Substitute it for ground beef in any recipe.
Sausage is an economical meat for outdoor cooking. Grill sausage patties as you would burgers. Link sausages, bratwursts and any kind of casing sausage are quick to grill and easy to serve, with or without buns. Small sausage chunks are ideal for skewers. Grill sausage kabobs with chunks of pineapple, sweet bell peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes. Roast foil-wrapped sweet potatoes on the grill and serve assorted melons for a nutritious picnic-style meal.
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