Sausage and Shrimp Skewers

I always think grilling skewers will be a good idea right up until I’m actually in the thick of assembling them.  Then I’m cursing myself.  Hard.  Sure, they are pretty, yummy, and cook really fast but it takes forever to prep supplies, chop, peel the shrimp, and then finally thread them.  Oh don’t forget to make the side dishes to go with…rice or quinoa, steamed veggies, etc.  Urggg!  For some reason I always say “never again” only to put skewers back on the menu again a few months later.  I never learn.

You however, can be better than me if you are efficient and have good time management skills.  I need to remember to make these on a night when I have time for a little extra work, or maybe I’ll remember to do some prep ahead.  I hope I can be organized like that.  For starters – chop the sausage and onion ahead of time, begin soaking the skewers right away, then start on the side dish (quinoa in this case), then peel the shrimp, then assemble. Good luck!

For these skewers I used:

6 or 7 bamboo skewers – soak them in liquid to avoid burning (water, fruit juice, chicken broth)

1/2  pound medium-large shrimp, peel and de-vein them and then toss in salt-free Cajun seasoning

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into large pieces

1/2 of a red onion, cut into chunks

{cherry tomatoes would be awesome, but the store didn’t have any}

Thread everything alternately on the skewers.  Grill for about 7 minutes or until shrimp is opaque.

I served them with Quinoa with black beans {recipe coming soon}.

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Red Beans and Rice with Kielbasa

Here’s the other recipe that calls for dried beans that I mentioned below.  I really should have cut this recipe in half because it serves 8!  We’ll be eating it for awhile, so much so that we’ll be sick of it and I’ll probably never make it again.  But oh well, it was good.   Again – very hearty and intensely flavorful.

Red Beans and Rice with Kielbasa

Source:  Relish Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1  pound dried red kidney beans
  • 1  tablespoon olive oil
  • 1  pound turkey kielbasa, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds
  • 1  cup chopped onion
  • 2  celery ribs, chopped
  • 2  cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2  cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons hot sauce
  • 3/4  teaspoon salt
  • 4  cups hot cooked white rice

Instructions

  1. Rinse beans. Place beans in a large bowl or Dutch oven. Cover with water by several inches. Let soak for 8 hours.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add kielbasa and cook until browned on both sides. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook until onion is tender. Drain beans and add to pan. Add chicken broth and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add parsley, hot sauce and salt.
  3. Cook beans until tender, 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours. Add more water if needed. Serve over hot rice.

Pierogi Skillet

It is snowing like a mo’ fo’ out there!  Everyone be safe tonight and tomorrow!

This is hardly a recipe since it simply uses store bought ingredients, but it is quick to throw together on a weeknight using pierogies from the freezer.  I wish I could make pierogies from scratch, but I just don’t have that kind of time.  And can I just say that I have no idea if pierogi is spelled with an e on the end or not?  Hmmm?  I googled and it came up both ways.

Pierogi Skillet

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp butter

1 pound fully cooked/smoked kielbasa, sliced

1 package of frozen potato and cheddar pierogies

salt and pepper to taste

Boil water in a large pot and drop in the pierogies.  Allow them to parboil for 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet and melt the butter in the pan.  Add the sliced onion and kielbasa.  Cook until kielbasa is browned and onions are tender. Add salt and pepper.

Drain the pierogi and add them to the skillet.  Cook for a few minutes, just until lightly golden.

Then serve up this deliciousness!

Ravioli Casserole

Sorry for my absence.  I really haven’t made anything blog worthy in over 2 weeks.   I haven’t stuck to my menu in over a month and overall just haven’t been in the mood to cook anything new lately.

However, I did make this casserole a few nights ago and it was excellent so I thought I’d share.  I used meat sauce and beef ravioli, but if you’re Catholic and looking for meatless meals for the remaining Fridays during Lent, this would be an excellent meal if you use meatless sauce and cheese ravioli.  It is very filling so you won’t even miss the meat.

Sorry no picture though, just imagine lasagna and that’s what it looks like!

Ravioli Casserole

{source:  given to me by one of Tim’s aunts at my bridal shower}

Ingredients

1 jar {28 oz} spaghetti sauce {I used about 4 cups of my homemade meat sauce}

1 package any flavor {25 oz} frozen ravioli, cooked and drained

2 cups small curd cottage cheese {or ricotta cheese}

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 baking dish.  Layer with half of the prepared ravioli, 1-1/4 cup sauce, 1 cup cottage cheese, and 2 cups mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Yields 6 servings.

Sausage and Potato Skillet

This is a quick dish that I know I can turn to after a hectic day because it takes very little thought and hits the table in a jiffy.  It is also made with pantry staples, so its great for times when I haven’t been able to menu plan or prep for the week.

Sausage and Potato Skillet

4 small red potatoes, cubed

3 tablespoons water

1 pound smoked kielbasa, cut into slices

1 small onion, coarsly chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped or sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

5 or 6 strips of bacon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp ground dried thyme

lots of cracked black pepper

Place the cubed potatoes and water in a dish.  Cover tightly and microwave about 5 minutes on high or until tender.  Check and stir halfway thru.  Drain off water once they are done.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove to a paper towel and then crumble.  Drain the fat from the skillet.

Add to the skillet the kielbasa, onion, pepper, and garlic.  Saute until onion is tender, then add the potatoes and saute another 3 minutes or until potatoes are slightly browned.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Then add it to the skillet.  Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered 3-5 minutes or until heated thru.  Top with the crumbled bacon and serve.

Pasta with Sausage and Spicy Tomato Sauce

This was a pretty quick weeknight meal that I threw together as I went along.  Very tasty!  Leftovers were great too.

Pasta with sausage and spicy tomato sauce

serves 4 or 5

Ingredients

1/2 to 3/4 pound mini bow tie pasta

1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained

1 can (14.5 oz) tomato sauce

salt and pepper

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flake or to taste

1 tsp. Italian seasoning + extra dried basil or to taste

Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions

Boil water and cook pasta as directed.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the oil.  Once skillet is hot, add the onion, pepper and garlic and saute a minute or two.  Then add the sausage and saute another minute or until onions are soft and sausage begins to brown.  Then add the diced tomatoes, sauce, and seasonings.  Bring to a simmer.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.  Serve with parmesan cheese on top.

Sausage and Lentil Stew

This is another recipe that calls for an ingredient that I have never worked with before.  This time it was lentils, last time it was leeks and oddly enough, leeks are present in this recipe too.  I have wanted to try lentils for quite a while, but just never got around to it.  I’m glad I finally cooked with them.  We really liked this stew.  It has an earthy taste, but in a good way.

Due to poor planning on my part, I made this dish on a day that temps were near 70 degrees.  Who would have thought that would be the case in November?!  Especially when it was freezing in September this year! Anyway, it tasted great but would be better suited for a cold night.

I cut the recipe in half (approximately – I tend to wing it.) and the list below reflects my measurements.  I would say that my version serves 6.  Click the link for the full recipe if needed.

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Sausage and Lentil Stew

{source:  Smellslikehome, originally from Ina Garten; Barefoot in Paris}

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound lentils
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 medium diced celery stalks {I’ll probably use 3 stalks next time}
  • 3 medium diced carrots
  • 32 oz. chicken stock or broth
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound kielbasa, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar  {I used the vinegar}
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a large stock pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender.
  3. Knock over the bottle of olive oil.  Watch in horror as it crashes to the floor in slow motion.  Cuss profusely for 60 seconds!
  4. Compose yourself and add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings.
  6. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot.
  7. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

ENJOY!

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