September 22, 2009
By Bev Bennett, Tribune Media Services
You know what a lifesaver ground beef can be when you're rushing to make dinner. Sausages deliver the same fast and easy recipe preparation, but with the added convenience of robust flavor.
However, if you're cooking for two, you're getting more meat or poultry in a package than you're going to serve in a meal, and the leftovers are highly perishable.
Like ground beef, raw sausage can be frozen, giving you the base for meals weeks from now.
Purchase sausage as links, not bulk, which are more versatile and easier to portion out into meals. Set aside two links for dinner. Wrap the remainder, two to a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Label with the ingredient and date and tuck the sausage into the freezer where you'll find and use it within two months.
Thaw the sausage in the refrigerator overnight and you're ready to cook.
Remove sausage meat from its casings and use in place of ground beef in chili, meatballs or meat sauce for spaghetti. Or, if you prefer, leave the links intact for the mouthwatering sausage and peppers concoction that follows.
The following recipe calls for chicken- or turkey-based sausage. Both deliver the taste and texture you enjoy in sausage, but with less fat and fewer calories than the red-meat counterparts.
Sausages and Peppers in Beer
Makes 2 servings.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut into strips
1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut into strips
1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (3.2-ounce) raw sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausages
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup beer (mild tasting)
1 cup cooked rice
Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Add bell peppers, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently or until peppers are tender. Push vegetables to the side.
Add sausages and brown on all sides. Add thyme, salt, pepper, hot red pepper sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste and vinegar. Stir well to mix with vegetables and sausage. Pour in beer and scrape up any browned bits in skillet. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until sausages are fully cooked turning sausages over once or twice. Serve over rice.
Each serving (without optional salt) has 465 calories; 15 grams total fat; 21 grams protein; 52 grams carbohydrates; 60 milligrams cholesterol; 680 milligrams sodium and 3 grams dietary fiber.
Bev Bennett is the author of "30 Minute Meals for Dummies," John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.(c) 2009, Bev Bennett. Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.