Undercover Chicks. Intrigued, aren’t you?

Fiesta 10k tomorrow! And it’s supposed to rain!

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*sigh*

Note to self: I love running!

So, when I went to the Fresh Market last weekend, I stumbled across some interesting chicken sausage. Yes, they actually sell more than just peanut butter! I am pretty addicted to that stuff but that doesn’t mean I have tunnel vision. Once I’ve grabbed some, the whole world lights up – in color and everything! 🙂

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Hmmm, all-natural chicken sausage with apple and Chardonnay? Um, yes please! Anything that has wine in it is a winner in my book!

So, what to make? I pretty much always revert back to just plain old sausages and peppers but I wanted to try something different. I decided to do a version of pigs in a blanket – grown-up style. Hey, these sausages are sophisticated! And wine lovers! Nothing but the fanciest would do. What does that mean? Why, puff pastry instead of crescent rolls, of course! This IS an upscale, grown-up meal, after all. 🙂
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I’ve decided to call them Undercover Chicks. They aren’t pork (not even the casing!) and chicks in a blanket is so, um, not sophisticated. Undercover Chicks brings sophistication and classiness with a little bad-assery to mind.

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Here’s what I did:
(Makes 4 servings)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Take 1 sheet of Puff Pastry and cut into quarters. Lightly spread each quarter with spicy mustard or dijon or Grey Poupon (fancy, remember?) or condiment of your choice. Sprinkle each square with about a tablespoon of Italian (or your favorite) shredded cheese. Place sausage in one corner and roll up. Tuck corners under, if desired.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve and eat and run right back to the store to pick up more sausage. Om. Nom. Nom!

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– jennifer

Hearty Italian Sausage and Potato Skillet

After a long day yesterday of running, work and eating all of the jelly beans on the planet, I was not really in the mood for cooking. But, alas, I was actually hungry as were the rest of my brood so, I had to cook.

Now, let’s pause for a second and talk about those jelly beans. Why must I feel like I need to eat the entire bag? *sigh* Thank goodness I didn’t but Easter and Halloween really bring out my sweet tooth. You’d think I would know better than to buy a bag of something I can’t resist (jelly beans, mellowcream pumpkins, candy corn) but, somehow, I always end up with a bag on the conveyor and, Whoops! Just paid for it. So, of course I have to eat them.  It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t.  I mean, can’t let a perfectly good *insert candy type here* go to waste, right? 🙂

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But, I digress.  Dinner.  Cooking.  So, I had some Aidell’s Chicken Sausage (Italian Style with Mozzarella Cheese) and I needed something to do with it.  I frequently cook the sausage and add it to pasta sauce or I’ll just saute some peppers and serve the sausages with the peppers and some crusty bread.  I didn’t feel like doing that.  I always do those things.  I wanted something different.  And, I found it!  An amazing, ready in less than 30 minutes, and delicious dinner recipe.  And really, you could use any type of italian sausage in this recipe – your choice.  It will still be fabulous.  And you will be happy.  And your brood will eat.

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Hearty Italian Sausage and Potato Skillet
Recipe from Dash Recipes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 sweet onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound red potatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add sausages and cover. Cook until brown, turning once. After sausages are browned, add onion, potatoes, salt and pepper. Cover. Stir often.

2. Remove sausages once they are mostly cooked through. Spread potatoes out in skillet and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Slice sausages into 1/2-inch pieces and return to pan. Add rosemary, garlic, and half of the tomatoes. Cook about 5 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked. Add basil and remaining tomatoes; stir to combine.

4. Gobble it up! Who needs plates?

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Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew

By now, everyone is probably REALLY tired of eating Thanksgiving leftovers….except for pumpkin pie, of course. Who would get tired of eating pumpkin pie? Definitely not this girl! 🙂

Anyway, everyone’s tired of leftovers, tired from all that crazy Black Friday shopping, and just plain tired. So, why not give your family and yourself a break with this easy, quick, and light stew that’s just perfect for a chilly weeknight meal? You probably have most everything in your pantry already…and your family will definitely thank you. Besides, a meal this quick allows you more time to stock up on all those Cyber Monday deals. 🙂 Now, that’s a win win situation in my book!

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Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, September 2009

2 teaspoons Olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup thinly sliced turkey smoked sausage (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained (such as Rotel)
8 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add bell peppers, sausage, and garlic to pan; saute 3 minutes or until bell pepper is tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in shrimp and beans; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve over rice or with crusty bread and pass the hot sauce!

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