I've mentioned this before...that we have a pig in our freezer, as in a whole pig. Actually, we bought a pig each year for the past two years. When you buy a whole pig, you get a lot of sausage. We had a different processor each year and it varies, but I would estimate we received 55-70 pounds of sausage with each pig. We don't eat a lot of breakfast sausage, although we love sausage gravy so I have been finding other ways to use all of this sausage.
Two of my family's favorite meals I make with ground sausage are this Sausage and Mushroom Rice and Asian Pork Sausage Lettuce Wraps. While I love making lettuce wraps, I really love the simplicity of this Sausage and Mushroom Rice. You really don't even need a recipe. Simply cook the sausage, onions, and mushrooms, then stir in cooked rice and a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach. Heat through and wallah...dinner is served.
1 lb. ground sausage (I use mild)
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cups rice (uncooked)
2-3 big handfuls of fresh spinach
Fresh ground salt and pepper (optional) to taste
1. Cook rice according to package directions.
2. In a large skillet or wok, brown sausage with mushrooms and onion.
3. When sausage is browned and mushrooms and onion and tender, add rice and spinach and heat through. Spinach will wilt.
4. Salt and pepper to taste if you like. The sausage seasonings and onion will flavor this dish, but you may find you like the addition of a little fresh ground salt and pepper.
Serves 4-6 as a main dish.
Chicken Noodle Soup
I originally posted this recipe on here on a cold 9 degree night in January 2012. It's fun to look back and remember where we were and what we were doing 6 years ago. We only had 3 kids then, but they were all 4 and under so life was really busy. My husband was in grad school and a graduate teaching assistant so he was on campus much of the time. We didn't have much money, but we were happy. We were and still are frugal. We ate most of our meals at home because it's much easier with little ones and to save money. We always had a warm meal on the table. One of my favorite things to make was chicken noodle soup which I still make today.
This is my easy version of chicken noodle soup because sometimes you just don't feel like cooking a chicken carcass and messing with it. I do freeze them after I roast a chicken and usually have one in the freezer for bone broth or bone broth chicken soup, but sometimes...I just want easy.
My 15 month old and I were both under the weather earlier this month so I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup. I didn't feel like making a bone broth, but I found bone broth at the grocery store (32 oz. carton) with the regular chicken broth so I bought some and tried it in this soup. It was more expensive than conventional chicken broth, but delicious and comforting and we did get over our colds within a couple of days. I always feel like chicken soup from bone broth helps to shorten colds around our house.
I recently discovered that our kids really like this small ditalini pasta in their chicken noodle soup. It is easier for them to manage on a spoon so mealtime is easier. We like it too!
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 stalk celery diced
2 T. butter
6 C. water
8 C. chicken broth or bone broth
1 lb. boneless chicken
1 t. salt
1 t. Cajun seasoning
1 C. sliced carrots
1 C. frozen peas
12 oz. ditalini pasta or egg noodles (I often use the whole 16 oz. box of pasta which makes it thicker)
1. In a large pot, sauté onion, garlic and celery in butter until tender and caramelized.
2. Add water, chicken broth, chicken, salt, Cajun seasoning. Cook on low to medium for about an hour or until chicken is cooked.
3. Remove chicken from the pot and shred/chop it with a knife and a fork. Return the chicken to the pot. Add sliced carrots and peas and bring pot to a boil.
4. Add noodles and continue to boil uncovered (for the time suggested on the noodle package) until noodles are cooked.
5. Once noodles are tender, remove from heat and let soup rest for a few minutes to cool before serving.
If you asked my kids what their favorite vegetable was they would answer with...GLAZED CARROTS! Or they might say caramelized (we really do use this word in our house) carrots or those yummy carrots or something along those lines.
We have been making glazed carrots forever...at least since before we had children which would seem like forever to them. You don't even need a recipe to make glazed carrots, just an understanding of how to make them. I am sure I learned the basics of making glazed carrots from my husband's family because they make them for every special meal and much to everyone's delight, if there is roasted meat, there are glazed carrots on the table alongside it.
The process is simple. Put carrots in the pan. Add water until about half full. Cover and simmer until tender. Then remove lid, drain any leftover water. Add butter and sugar and cook stirring often to caramelize.
You can make them more sweet or less sweet depending on how much sugar you use. I like a subtle sweetness and have found I like using about a tablespoon coconut sugar per pound of carrots. It is lower on the glycemic index than granulated sugar and the kids can't tell the difference.
Ingredients for 6-8 servings:
2 lb. carrots
2 T. butter
2 T. coconut sugar or granulated sugar
1. Peel and cut carrots to desired size. Bigger pieces will take longer to cook.
2. Add carrots to the pan then fill about half full with water. Cover and simmer until fork tender.
3. Remove lid and drain any leftover water. Add butter and sugar and cook over medium heat stirring often until sugar dissolves and carrots caramelize. Brown a little if you like, but be careful not to burn.
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Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
When we left my in-law's house after Christmas break, my mother-in-law sent a large ziploc bag of cut red pepper strips with us. After being gone for over a week and returning home to a sparsely filled fridge, I made good use of the peppers in this delicious soup.
This soup is actually pretty simple to make and it was so nice to get back into our normal routine with a nourishing warm meal. I made this the day after we returned, not the night we came home. I am pretty sure we had Wendy's or some other fast food when we were traveling and were just glad to get home and get the kids in bed and the car unpacked.
I do love the simplicity of this soup. I honestly threw it together, making notes as I went and it turned out fabulously. The kids even scarfed it down. I think that is when cooking is the most fun...when you have an idea and try something and it turns out beautifully. While we love this soup the way it is, I always want to encourage creativity in the kitchen and soup is very forgiving, so please make it your own.
A while back, my Mom gave me bags of frozen tomatoes from her garden. They are quart ziploc bags. I used a bag of these tomatoes (thawed) in this soup, but you could use a large can (29 oz.) diced or crushed tomatoes or about 4 cups fresh diced tomatoes.
3 red peppers, diced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 quart frozen tomatoes, 29 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes, or 4 C. diced fresh tomatoes
2 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Dash red pepper flakes
Splash balsamic vinegar
Creole seasoning to taste (optional)
Cream and basil for garnish (optional)
1. In a dutch oven or large pot, saute peppers, onion, and garlic in olive oil until tender.
2. Add tomatoes, broth, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, balsamic vinegar, and creole seasoning if using.
3. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to blend flavors. Then blend smooth with an emulsion blender or a blender.
4. Pour into bowls and garnish with a little cream and basil.
It was hard to decide on just 10 favorite recipes from 2017 since there were so many delicious choices. I chose recipes I make over and over again, some of them by request. Then threw in a couple of our favorite desserts even though I don't make desserts as often.
Here they are...our favorite recipes of 2017. Enjoy!
2. Apple Crisp
I had such a hard time deciding on just 10 favorites so I am including a bonus recipe that was very popular on pinterest last month. It is also one of our favorite Christmas traditions that we make every year.
Bonus: Peppermint Bark
What are your favorite recipes? Since it is the new year, I am thinking healthy vibes right now and would love more ideas, especially for dinner.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned food blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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