So easy to make, yet so many of us reach for the jarred stuff. With this delicious, creamy, and foolproof recipe, you’ll want to make Alfredo sauce more often. The ingredients are simple and nearly always on hand.
Remember the mutant pops we posted about a while back? Our friend Jenn from Cleverly Disguised as Cake sent us those, and they were a huge hit! A couple of weeks ago, we had this whole discussion on healthier, quick, and convenient breakfast options, and she blew me away with her homemade breakfast sausage recipe. Since then, I’ve tried the cranberry-orange version (below) and have made them plain. One of the reasons I love these so much is that they are delicious, easy, and quick to prepare. From Jenn—
Good nutrition can be very confusing. There is an enormous amount of information available and thousands of studies that support both sides of every argument. One thing that most of the experts can agree on is that children learn better when their brains and bodies are fueled with a well-balanced breakfast.
Prepackaged frozen breakfast items are very tempting because they are quick and easy to prepare, and let’s be honest, we’re busy! They taste great—but they are also laden with many undesirable ingredients, not to mention fat and calories. One of our favorite premade breakfast treats is sausage and cheese on a biscuit. But in a quest to make healthier food choices, we forgo the prepackaged variety, and the fast-food variety, and indulge in our own homemade version! These are really tasty on sweet potato or butternut squash biscuits!
This recipe for sausage patties is very versatile. If you have time to cook in the morning, you can make the patties ahead of time and freeze them in between pieces of foil or waxed paper, and cook them from frozen. If time is not on your side, you can precook them. Then it’s just thaw, warm, and serve. To save yourself even more time, you can make and freeze biscuit sandwiches, complete with cheese and sausage patty. Then thaw in the fridge overnight, and pop into the toaster oven or microwave before you race out the door in the morning.
Breakfast sausage is one of my favorite side items to many of our favorites: pumpkin pancakes, waffles, or scrambled eggs. You can season these patties any way you like. And the best part—because you make them yourself, they are BHA–free, BHT–free, and nitrate- and gluten-free. You can use organic pork, or turkey, or chicken. No artificial colors or flavors added. Why do they add color to commercial sausage? What color would they be if they didn’t?! I’m almost afraid to ask!What are some of your favorite ways to serve up breakfast sausage?
Makes approximately 12 patties. For a traditional breakfast sausage flavor, rubbed sage, thyme, and rosemary work well in place of the cranberries and orange zest.
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground lean pork, or a mixture of pork/ground turkey
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 to 1 tablespoon brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced dried cranberries
Zest of one orange
Crush the fennel and salt with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Combine with the pepper flakes, thyme, and black pepper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the pork, orange juice, brown sugar, garlic, cranberries, and orange zest. Mix in the spices. Form into 1/4-cup patties. (I used an old hamburger press to form nice even patties. A great trick if you are forming them completely by hand is to make a small indent with your thumb and forefinger in the center of each patty to help them cook more evenly.)
To cook immediately, place the patties in the fridge for an hour before cooking. This makes them firmer and much easier to cook. Cook gently in a pan or on a griddle. Eat immediately, or freeze individually, or assemble into sandwiches.
To freeze as patties: Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place the patties on the cookie sheet in a single layer in the freezer until frozen solid. Using scissors to cut the waxed paper, place each one in a large freezer bag or plastic container.
About Jenn Sprung: A full-time mom to three wonderful children, with a keen interest in boosting the nutrition in every bite. Because in my world, every bite counts! Visit Jenn’s blog Cleverly Disguised as Cake for additional sneaky resources or learn more about Pediatric Feeding Disorders and how to help your child.
I love frozen dinners. They’ve come a long way since I was a kid, and they’re a really easy, fast way to eat consistent portion sizes and diet-friendly food. That is, if I make them at home with ingredients I can control. I am not saying that store bought frozen meals can’t be healthy… but many of the “healthy” ones have tons of added ingredients that I can’t pronounce! The healthiest ones, like the ones I can find at Whole Foods, are expensive! For the cost of two-three individual single meals I can make my own large pot that will feed my family dinner and I will have several servings of leftovers!
I’ve mentioned here, here and here that since I’ve begun my MOMables™ challenge I’ve lost weight, I feel good about what I feed my family, and I’ve become more educated on what it’s in my food. So, how can I eat healthy foods without going overboard and eating too much, or spending too much money when Christmas is right around the corner?
I’ve discovered the answer: make my own. I can make a big batch of a healthy meal and freeze or refrigerate portions that are quick to heat up when I need them. It’s so much cheaper, and I know exactly what ingredients are going into them.
Some of my favorites are chicken chili, MOMables™ chicken and rice soup (from the subscription meal plan), homemade macaroni and cheese, or cheese ravioli with a broccoli alfredo sauce (one of my favorite store-bought freezer meals, made at home).
When I’ve made a batch of these meals and divided them up, I can grab them when I’m ready to eat (before I get so hungry that I feel like I need to snack on everything in the house), take them in the car (so I don’t need to stop for fast food), and spend the money I’ve saved on the kids’ Christmas gifts or shoes for myself.
Do you do make-ahead freezer meals? If so, do you have a favorite recipe?
Want an amazing Creme Brulee recipe that you can actually make yourself?
Growing up in Spain, our desserts were lighter and smaller portioned; yet, hugely satisfying. My favorite dessert has got to be my grandmother’s custard Crèma Catalana. The recipe is still written down on a post-it in my recipe binder. Every Christmas Eve, I host a dinner at my house for family and friends.
Last year, I pulled my grandmother’s basic recipe out, and the Crèmas were an instant hit. This fall, I’ve experimented a bit since I roasted an entire pumpkin and I have a lot of pumpkin puree left. The result: a delicious dish that is so satisfying, it will be a hit when you make it.
The caramelized sugar crust is totally optional; but don’t I just look like I’m having a blast with the blowtorch? I tell you, I go all out over at the MOMables kitchen! That torch is actually a plumber’s version and not the foodie gourmet one you get for $20 at the store. It was left over from one of my husband’s projects years ago!
Courtesy of MOMables™ Abuela’s Recipe Stash Yield: 6 – 7 Ramekins (depending on size)
3 cups half & half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup pumpkin puree
6 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar, plus 6 tablespoons for browning tops
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet (with sides), and fill with enough water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins (water bath).
In a 2-quart pot, heat the half & half, vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin puree over medium heat.
Place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Mix until you achieve a pale yellow color, and the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the pot from the heat, and slowly whisk while you incorporate the egg mixture into the half & half mixture. Whisk continuously until both mixtures are well combined.
Fill each ramekin with the mixture, but do not overfill. This yields enough for six (5-ounce) oval ramekins (gratin dishes).
Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. To test for doneness, jiggle the pan to see if the custard is set (pudding like). If so, remove, and let it cool on the counter before refrigerating overnight (you can make these up to 3 days ahead of time).
Optional: Before serving, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar on each ramekin, and, using a blowtorch, caramelize the sugar to form a candy coating. Don’t have a blowtorch? That’s okay, these are delicious without the added sugar.