Sausage Stuffing

My mom makes some seriously awesome stuffing. It works like a side dish but I figured holding strong on 2 food groups meant I’d make it the main dish! I love this and would eat it far too often if it were at all good for me. It’s a fantastic wintry food and makes a great dinner or side dish. There’s a secret ingredient that is the trick.

My sous chef wanted to help #kitchendogs #fluffybailee

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

4-6 sausage links, removed from the casing (I used turkey sausage this time)
1 loaf of sourdough bread or something crusty
1 can golden mushroom soup (even mushroom-haters will not notice this is in here)
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup water
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat while you chop the onion and remove the casing from the sausage links.
Brown the sausage, breaking it into smaller chunks with the back of a wooden spoon.
In a medium pot, warm the soup, wine, water, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic over medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Cut the bread into chunks.
When the sausage is mostly cooked through, drain any excess grease and add the onions into the pan with the sausage. Cook a few minutes until the onion gets soft and a bit translucent, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked sausage and onions and bread together.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl and mix well.
Empty the whole bowl into a large baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Broil the last 3 minutes if the top hasn’t crisped enough
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Yum. I love this one. The golden mushroom soup is so flavorful – just don’t confuse it with cream of mushroom soup.

I served this with some roasted asparagus for a quick dinner. The leftovers are great and it is just an inviting unfussy meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
I found a loaf of artisan bread with garlic in it. It was pricey but I only used 4 sausage links and the bread. Other ingredients were super cheap and this was about 5 servings for us.

Shhhh. I nibbled on some leftovers for breakfast one morning when all I wanted was a non-sweet breakfast. What? A touch of maple and this is the ideal salty breakfast…just call it savory bread pudding and nobody will think twice.

some suggested adaptations:
this recipe + celery/kale/portobello/peppers = more veggie-ful stuffing
this recipe – golden mushroom soup + low sodium chicken broth = less salty/lower sodium meal (or reduce the soup to half a can and increase the water to 3/4 cups
this recipe + muffin tins = easily servable stuffing cups
this recipe – turkey sausage + soy sausage crumbles = vegetarian stuffing
this recipe + dried cranberries + sage = super seasonal flavors

Stuffed Acorn Squash

A while ago I was at the grocery store and I asked a guy working the produce area if they had any tomatillos. He pointed me towards squash and said the “weird vegetables” are over there. By weird he pointed me to acorn and spaghetti squash. Not weird at all to me, but I decided to take his answer as “I don’t know”.

Anywho, I’ve been thinking about acorn squash lately and thought it would actually make a super simple weeknight dinner. It has some really great flavors and was so easy. I didn’t know if it would seem like too much of one thing but we liked it. It was like hitting all the food groups in one meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients (for 2 people):

1 acorn squash
2 sausage links
1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup wheat germ/breadcrumbs
1/3 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut squash in half and scoop out the middle (I saved the seeds).
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Roast face down in a baking dish for 20-30 minutes (or until tender when pricked with a fork).
While squash is roasting, remove the sausage from the casing and brown over medium heat with the onions.
Spoon out any grease/fat.
After 5 minutes or when the sausage is almost fully cooked, add in the rice, garlic, salt, pepper, and wheatgerm/breadcrumbs.
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When fully cooked, add in the dried cranberries and stir well to incorporate the cranberries.
Remove the squash from the oven and flip the squash halves onto their skin. Spoon the filling into them.
The Three Bite Rule - Stuffed Acorn Squash
Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Optional: while squash are cooking rinse any seeds you saved away from the stringy part and toast in the oven.
Serve squash halves with some toasted seeds on top.
The Three Bite Rule - Stuffed Acorn Squash

I loved this. It is so easy and quick. It felt very fall to me. The cranberries honestly make it. I think it needs the sweet/tart to contrast the savory sausage and the soft squash. I used a cup of single-serve brown rice that just needed to be microwaved. This would also be a good use for any leftover rice you wanted to use up.

Kale Pesto over Pork Chops and Polenta

I know, right? How amazing does that sound?!? Mr. J was in charge of dinner and that is seriously what he came up with. I loved it! It was really good and actually surprisingly easy. I assisted as his sous-chef so I snapped some photos as he cooked.

This is super easy feels totally special and is such a wow meal.

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He found the pork chops with roasted kale and walnut pesto on the food network site. It was so good and definitely one to jot down. If you think you aren’t into pork chops then get a meat thermometer. If you’ve had hard-as-rock pork it isn’t pretty. The thermometer will save the day.

The pesto takes 10 minutes. Polenta takes about 5 minutes. The pork cookes quickly too.

Roasted Kale Pesto

from Food Network
Ingredients:

1 head of kale
olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbs lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Tear the kale off the stems and spread onto a sheet pan.
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Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.
Roast for about 5 minutes (be careful not to let it burn)
Transfer into a food processor with walnuts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
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Blend until smooth while slowly streaming in the olive oil until you reach your desired thickness (add more olive oil if using with pasta, add less for topping on meat).
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It stores well and we froze half for a “rainy day”. This pesto would be amazing for a vegetarian dish. It is so flavorful, unique, and not overpowering at all.

For the pork chops we used were boneless but bone-in would be fine as well. Season generously with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary, on both sides.

In a pan large enough to fit all the chops, preheat it to medium-high heat.
Add the pork chops to sear on one side for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook until the center reaches 140-150 degrees on a thermometer.
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We made some polenta too. I haven’t had polenta in awhile but I forgot how quick it is. As in, 5 minutes quick. It makes dinner feel really different.
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Have leftover pesto? Spread it into a panini and dip the grilled cheese into marinara for an Italian grilled cheese. Or use it on pizza or pasta. Leftover polenta? Form into patties and fry like I did here with scallops. Polenta works well with anything spicy like chorizo or with anything earthy like duck.

Recreating French White Bean Cassoulet at Home

Let’s start with the best thing: THE SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES. So happy. I’m glad they did it in 6, instead of 7 because I wanted Halloween to just be Halloween. I thought there also would be lots ‘o parents trying to decide what to do if the Sox needed one more to win it. It’s a good time to be in Boston.

In completely unrelated news, sometimes the best tasting dishes are not the most photogenic. After indulging and falling in love with cassoulet in Paris I knew I had to make it at home, but it isn’t the prettiest food I have ever made. I loved it in Paris and couldn’t even come close to finishing it.
The Three Bite Rule - Paris Dinner Like a Local

I made it myself and skipped the duck but used white beans, bacon, and sausage serving it with some bread for dunking. The beans are really filling and it can almost be done in one pot!

Ingredients:

28 oz can white beans
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
4 strips of bacon
3-4 chicken sausage links, cut in half.
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp tomato paste
1 -2 cups water (depending on how much broth you want)

Directions:

Drain  and lightly rinse the beans, adding them to a heavy pot with veggie broth over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - White Bean Cassoulet
Pan fry the bacon until cooked through and crisp.
Add sausage links, bacon, and thyme to the large pot.
The Three Bite Rule - White Bean Cassoulet
Cook for 10 minutes and then finally add tomato paste. Add some water and cooking for another 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - White Bean Cassoulet
Serve with some French bread for dunking.
The Three Bite Rule - White Bean Cassoulet
I love this. Cassoulet is maybe my new favorite comfort food! It’s super salty so I didn’t add any additional salt. I think the broth, tomato paste, and beans provide plenty of salt. I added the tomato paste and thyme so salt and pork wouldn’t be the only flavors.

The chicken sausage I used is already cooked so it just had to heat, but using a raw pork product would need to cook through completely.

Next week is PUMPKIN WEEK here on The Three Bite Rule. Have a happy weekend and see ya on Monday for some pumpkin favorites, after the Red Sox victory parade, of course!!

Restaurant Recreation: Pork Pizza with Mustard Beer Sauce

A few weeks ago I had dinner at Salty Pig and got a pizza. It was too dark for pics but I loved every bite of it and knew instantly that I had to recreate it at home. I made a recreation of Salty Pig’s pizza “today’s pig parts” mustard and pale ale caramel. Sold! I tweaked mine a bit and it was a success!

Follow me on twitter @threebiterule to see the restaurant’s response leaving me feeling HONORED that they responded. Yay!
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Ingredients:

pork butt/shoulder roasted and pulled
2 tbs butter
1 large white or yellow onion
pizza dough
1 bottle beer (I used blue moon)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
1 cup fontina cheese, sliced or shredded
1 tbs garlic, chopped (optional)
2-3 tbs whole grain mustard

Directions:

Roast the pork in advance. I used a small one that went into the crock pot overnight for 6 hours.
In a large skillet, add onion slices over medium to medium low with 1 tbs butter. Cook until caramelized (about 20 minutes for just 1 onion).
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While they are cooking preheat oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400 degrees.
Empty the beer into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. This should come to a medium boil for about 10 minutes.
Put the pizza dough onto the stone (or pan) and poke a few holes into it with a fork. Cook for about 10 minutes. This is just to get it started to be cooked though so it will be crispy.
While the dough is pre-cooking pull the pork with a fork, and slice/shred the cheeses.
Turn the beer to low to keep reducing it.
When the pizza dough is partially cooked, take it out to top it with a little olive oil then with mozzarella, garlic, pork, onions, and fontina.
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Return the pizza to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Add 1 tbs butter and mustard to the beer to make it a bit creamy. Whisk it until smooth and keep cooking on low to get it smooth.
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Take the pizza out of the oven once the cheese has all melted and the crust is crispy enough to your liking.
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Drizzle with mustard beer sauce.
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I loved this pizza. I sprinkled a few chives on top to add a touch of color and freshness without overpowering any of the flavors. The pork, onions, and mustard beer sauce are strong flavors but they go so nicely together.

The pork needs to be cooked in advance. While you’re at it, caramelizing onions takes for-freaking-ever. I should have done a double batch some other time. It is a good thing to put on the stove and stir every-so-often when you’re not in a hurry. You can’t hurry a caramelized onion but they’re worth the wait.

Let’s talk about how cheap and easy the pork is. I put it into the crock pot (much like this pork in the crock pot) but minus the brown sugar & tomatoes since this wasn’t a bbq one. I eyeballed it adding some vinegar, veggie stock, garlic, and herbs. I discard the cooking liquid afterwards and then had super tender pork. I didn’t want to run the crockpot all day because I’m afraid it drives the pups bananas to smell delicious pork when nobody is there. I set it before bed and it was ready when I woke up.
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Mine was little and had the bone out. I think it was just a regular one cut and packaged smaller. I read the cooking instructions on it and I cost about $9. We ate it on this pizza (4 servings of pizza) then I mixed it with bbq sauce and onions for pulled pork sandwiches (2 servings) and I have another 2-3 servings I froze. They’ll likely be tacos. That’s about 8-9 times we will have eaten this tiny $9 pork butt. $1 per. serving. Even if I graciously let you count the pizza has really only having 2 servings over the whole thing that’s 6 servings, or $1.50 per serving. Stop. It.

This pizza was hands down one of my favorites. I love everything on it and think nothing overpowered anything else. Each bite was interesting and memorable.

Pork and Vegetable Spring Rolls

On vacation to Bermuda, Mr. J became OBSESSED with a pork and vegetable spring roll. I think he ordered it almost every night. I recreated them for Dad & Mr. J’s combo birthday/father’s day meal. Our theme was “best of vacation” foods.

The eggroll wrappers are from the produce section of the grocery store. They feel like fresh pasta and are easy to use. There are about 20 in a package and I made them all. They were easy to make in advance and bake for a few minutes when it was time to eat.
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Ingredients:

3/4 pound ground pork
10 oz cole slaw mix (or chopped cabbage)
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbs cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 package eggroll wrappers
1 tsp cornstarch & 2 tsp water

Directions:

Fry pork in a large pan until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes over medium heat.
Drain excess oil off the pork and add in the cabbage and garlic to the pan.
Add in sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce.
Mix well and cook another few minutes. The cabbage quantity will shrink up.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lay out wonton wrappers. Add about 3 tbs of the filling onto each one. Brush the edges with the cornstarch/water mix.
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Fold the point in the front over the filling, then fold the side points inward towards the filling. Then roll the whole thing over, continuing to wrap the sides towards the center.
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Place the spring rolls on a baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 5 minutes at 375 degrees.
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Then flip and bake another 5 minutes.
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I sprayed them and flipped them often. I wanted them crisp all the way around. They also could be pan fried, but I thought baking would keep them from being oily or greasy.

Sesame oil and rice wine vinegar are ingredients I try to keep around. They take any Asian-inspired dishes to the next level and they never go bad. They are good for vinaigrette on salad or a stir fry.  I have another dish to blog for you next week that uses them…stock up now!

I served them with a chipotle orange ginger barbecue sauce. They were a hit!

Sausage Puff Roll Up

These were pretty addictive. I made them for dinner thinking they’d reheat well too but it got me thinking they’d be a good brunch addition! These Sausage Roll Ups use only a few ingredients and are quick to whip up while tossing salad together.
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Ingredients:

1 sheet of puff pastry (or crescent rolls)
3 sausage links, casing removed
1 tsp fresh thyme
salt & pepper
1 tsp garlic, chopped
2 tbs heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Defrost puff pastry to room temperature.
Saute sausage, thyme, salt & pepper, and garlic in a hot pan over medium heat. Add heavy cream when mostly cooked through.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lay out puff pastry sheet, top with sausage and cheese. Roll up into 1 long roll.
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Cut into 3/4 inch slices. Reform if the slices if they get a bit squished. Lay them on the cut side up in a greased baking pan.
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Bake 25 minutes until golden brown and puffed.
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I served it with salad and it was perfect. I appreciated how few ingredients it took. I knew it would be hefty so I used pretty minimal cheese. I had a few mozzarella string cheese laying around so they became my cheese addition (in case you were confusing my cheese disks for hearts of palm or something).
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Guy Fieri’s Chorizo and Polenta

I was thumbing through a Food Network magazine when I stumbled upon this. I actually love Guy Fieri’s way of cooking and recipes. For as many burgers he slams down on Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives, he cooks really interesting and quality food. He often grills, uses a lot of marinades, and fresh greens. I wasn’t at all surprised to see swiss chard in this recipe.

This as good, but not amazing. I liked it to as a different dinner, but it probably won’t be part of my regular rotation.
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Chorizo and Polenta Lasagna
by Guy Fieri

Ingredients:

1 cup quick-cooking polenta
2 cups water (or chicken stock)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tbs butter

Chorizo:
Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 pound ground pork
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbs paprika
1 tbs granulated garlic
1 tbs onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tbs red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 clove garlic, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella

Directions:

For the polenta: Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the polenta and whisk until fully incorporated, 3 to 4 minutes.
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Sprinkle with the salt and cook, covered, over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Finish by folding in the butter. Keep warm while you prepare the chorizo.

For the chorizo: Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until almost translucent, and then add the ground pork. Brown 4 to 5 minutes while breaking the pork pieces up with the back of a wooden spoon.
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Add the paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, chili powder and cumin, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute longer to toast the spices, and then add the vinegar, garlic and tomatoes. Simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced, 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and season once more with salt and pepper. Keep warm while cooking the chard.
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Wash, drain and finely slice the chard. (Cutting off the center stalk is optional). Heat the garlic and some olive oil in a large pan and saute, 3 to 4 minutes over low heat.
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Season with salt and pepper. Drain in a colander and squeeze out any excess moisture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-by-8-by-2-inch dish or a 9-inch pan. Pour half of the polenta in and spread out evenly. Top with half of the chorizo and half of the Swiss chard. Sprinkle with half of the cheese.
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Repeat with a layer of the remaining polenta, then the remaining chorizo, swiss chard, and finally the remaining cheese. Cover with foil, place the dish on a sheet tray and bake 30 minutes.
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Remove the foil and bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly, 15 minutes longer. Let sit 10 minutes to set up, then cut into portions and serve.
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I liked this, but didn’t looooove Fieri’s Chorizo and Polenta. I think it had some good flavors between the corny polenta and woody Swiss chard. The pork isn’t exactly what I think of as chorizo, but the spices were good.
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I cooked the polenta as the package directed, but now I know it would have had more flavor if I had used chicken stock. I don’t make much polenta but I suppose it is like rice or risotto which is considerably better when made with stock or wine. I also followed the package which thinks that 2 cups of dried polenta will be 5 servings. Let me tell you friends, that’s a good 8 hefty servings. Seriously. I used some leftovers in a different way, so stay tuned for that!

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

For our February Monthly Family Dinner with the R family, I chose red as the theme, for Valentine’s Day. Originally I thought maybe eggplant/chicken parm. Then I thought meatballs would be fun and even more fun when stuffed with mozzarella. I haven’t made meatballs in a while. This is my basic meatball recipe‎ and I loved my Greek meatball recipe.
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I started with a pretty basic meatball base then stuffed them with mozzarella before baking them. Yup, I don’t like to fry things.

Ingredients:

¾ pound ground pork
¾ pound ground chicken
2 eggs
⅓ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup panko
¼ cup milk
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ cup red wine
salt & pepper
1 head of garlic (or 2 tbs chopped garlic)
mozzarella cheese sticks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut off ¼ inch off the top of the garlic bulb and remove a few outer papery layers leaving only 1.
Drizzle olive oil and a pinch of salt onto the exposed garlic before roasting for 30 minutes (45 to make pure paste without any texture).
Mix breadcrumbs, panko, and milk together.
Mix ground pork, chicken, eggs, Parmesan, spices, and wine together by hand.
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Pop garlic cloves out of the head. Chop or smooth into a paste.
Add garlic and breadcrumb mix to the meat mix. Combine by hand until combined.
Cut cheese sticks into about 5 cheese chunks per stick.
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Form meatball mixture into disks, add a cheese chunk and mold meat around it.
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Bake meatballs on a sprayed cooling rack on top of a sprayed baking sheet.
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Bake 20 minutes, rotating once.
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These were fun! I left them in too long (shoot for 20, not 30 minutes like I did. The meatballs were super moist and flavorful, but the cheese started to escape! I’ve used cheese sticks to stuff arranchini because it is much easier to work with then shredded cheese.
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I served the meatballs with penne in a creamy marinara, salad. Sis brought garlic bread and Mum brought cherry pie and vanilla ice cream.
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It was a fun dinner and we caught up after a busy month. I’m glad I paired the meatballs with other easy elements. I made sure not to overcook the pasta. All I did for the sauce was add some cream cheese into the sauce. It added a great creaminess and extra extravagance to the meatball dinner. I make my own croutons but was glad not to also tackle dessert.

Chinese Pork in a Crockpot

This was just what a snowy day needed. We shoveled a lot last weekend and it was great to have this welcoming us back with a lovely porky scent. It may have driven the pups crazy though. I know I was salivating whenever I stirred it!

This was suuuuper easy, only a few ingredients, and was definitely the best Chinese dish I’ve ever made.
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Cantonese Pork in a Crockpot
adapted from Happy Tummies

Ingredients:

1-2 pounds pork shoulder, sliced into thin strips
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat flour)
salt & pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 tbs brown sugar
1 can tomato sauce, 8oz
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
3 tbs rice wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs sesame oil (optional)
2 cups bean sprouts
4 scallions, chopped

Directions:

Trim the fat from the pork shoulder and slice thin.
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Heat a heavy skillet to medium heat and add vegetable oil.
Add tomato sauce, onion, brown sugar, green pepper, water chestnuts, vinegar, salt, Worcestershire, and sesame oil into a large crockpot.
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Toss pork slices in flour, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. A few at a time.
Pan fry pork, turning for just a minute on each side, in batches. (They don’t need to fully cook, just get a crispy sear on each side).
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Remove and drain on paper towels.
Add pork into crockpot, stir, and turn to low heat for about 4-5 hours.
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Enjoy over rice!

This was so good. I’ve attemped only a few Chinese dishes but they’ve never been great. This was great. I like that this is a bit different and would easily vary the dinner menu.
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The pork was falling apart. It was really good, but I think 4 hours was plenty. I cooked mine for 5 ½ and think it was borderline too long. I think it could use a bit more salt. Unlike take-out Chinese, it wasn’t overly salty. Soy sauce, more Worcestershire, or table salt would do the trick.

There were only a few ingredients and I think this would turn anyone into a pork believer. I forgot bean sprouts and was so early to the grocery store they didn’t have all the produce out! I debated getting a huge bone-in pork shoulder and making half into pulled pork, but those suckers are pricey and I hadn’t ever seen the little ones.