Roasted Potatoes and Sausage!

Made this last night – easy and very satisfying – perfect cold day meal.

Sheet pan of roasted potatoes and sliced chicken sausage
We like easy around here

Prep is 10-15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

Ingredients & supplies

  • 1 pound baby potatoes, quartered or chopped. (I chopped up mine in my awesome veggie chopper.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Your favorite sausage, sliced – I used 2 links of Gilbert’s Smoked Gouda Chicken Sausage here. You could use keilbasa, smoked sausage, andouille, whatever floats your boat.
  • Your favorite seasoning blend, probably a few tablespoons – I used McCormick’s Roasted Garlic & Herb seasoning
  • Cookie sheet w/edges to keep things from rolling off
  • Parchment paper for the cookie sheet – not required, but makes cleanup MUCH easier

To cook

  • Quarter or chop the baby potatoes, throw in good sized bowl
  • Drizzle just enough olive oil to coat
  • Shake a bunch of your favorite seasoning blend on and mix well (this is an “eyeball it” thing)
  • Slice sausage, set aside
  • Spread potatoes on cookie sheet
  • Put in oven at 400 degrees
  • At the 15 minute mark, move around the potatoes a bit, and add the sausage on top. (I made the mistake of putting it in at the start, it was a tad overdone, but still tasty!)
  • Cook for 15 minutes more.
  • Enjoy!!

Snacks!

So, I found myself on my own tonight and was sorely tempted to get take out, but I’m trying to not spend too much money – and I remembered that there were still some heat & eat goodies in the freezer from Christmas. Took a peek and decided it was time for Trader Joe’s Mini Chicken Tikka Samosas!

Box of Trader Joe's mini Chicken Tikka Samosas "chicken, vegetables, and Indian spices wrapped in crisp, flaky pastry"

They fit the bill for the night – very tasty, very easy, and I didn’t have to leave the house. If you’re worried about Indian food being spicy (a normal concern) – no worries here. They do have a slow building heat to them, but not “oh god my face is on fire” spicy. Personally, I think they’re better with some kind of dipping sauce of some ilk – if you’re feeling fancy, you could go with plain yogurt with dill and garlic or something along those lines. Or you could go with what I did, which was a dollop of sour cream on the side.

I ate half the package myself. And the rest is going to get popped in the toaster oven tomorrow for lunch.

20 minutes from turning the oven on to ready to eat. And I threw parchment paper on the cookie sheet, so easy clean up to boot.

Next time you’re at TJ’s, give them a whirl.

New Year, Let’s Eat!

OK, so there was a time I would have called this a lazy day meal, but no – we’re not lazy.  We’ve all been dealing with a minimum of SIX YEARS of collective trauma, including but certainly not limited to, bad people in charge, a pandemic that won’t go away, an insurrection, and other things I am sure I have simply blocked out.  Oh, and we’re currently missing half of our federal legislature. 

In short, YOU ARE NOT LAZY.  YOU ARE TIRED AND IT’S UNDERSTANDABLE.

So, I want to take a minute to tell you about a nice “Fuck, I’m tired” meal kit I picked up at the grocery store.  It’s Chef Rana’s Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Package of Chef Rana's Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo meal kit

It’s very tasty, AND VERY EASY.  You literally take the fresh(!!) pasta out of the bag and loosen it up and put it in the cooking container (which is included.)  Cut the corner of the sauce pouch, pour over.  Open bag of chicken, place on top.  Put two paper towels over the container and pop it in the microwave for 8-9 minutes, give it a good stir, and it’s done.

Because the prep is so fast, it’s good if you can’t stand for long periods of time, or you could even easily put it together sitting down at your kitchen/dining room table.  I usually make some garlic bread to go with it.  Add a salad or some veggies (frozen peas in butter sauce comes to mind!) and you have a total meal.  If you’re having a “we’re having pasta with a side of pasta” night – it will still work, it is filling and satisfying.  

It runs $15 at my market, but you’re getting 2 pounds of food there.  Still cheaper than MickeyD’s for four.  Or two for that matter. And it has a decent fridge shelf-life, so you don’t have to buy/make it the same day.

I took a snap after it came out of the microwave – but I’d already stirred it and all the chicken sank to the bottom, LOL.  I swear, there is chicken in there!

Square black container with egg noodles and cream sauce

Hashbrown Casserole

Perfect for Christmas brunch, or frankly, anytime. Prep time is maybe 5 minutes. Leftovers hold up very well.

Casserole dish with hashbrown casserole, golden on top and browned a bit on the edges
  • 1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • Half pint sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray one 9×13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. (I use a 10×10 inch and always forget the Pam, no problems.)

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, onions, soup and cheese. Gently mix and pour into prepared pan or dish. (Stand mixer on low works very well for this since there is a fair amount of volume.)

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Enjoy!!

Popcorn!

So, the other day I was at the store and spied Fisher’s Popcorn. Saw that they had Old Bay popcorn and thought, “Ooh, that could be good!” and grabbed a bag and a bag of the White Cheddar to boot.

Devoured the White Cheddar in short order – really good, and finally succumbed to the suggestion on the back of the M&M bags to mix them with popcorn – where has that been all my life?!

Then I looked at the Old Bay bag again. It’s Old Bay CARAMEL popcorn.

Oh.

Well, that could be good, or interesting, or terrible… I mean, chocolate and chili powder go together, I suppose caramel and Old Bay could, too.

Finally got up the nerve to open the bag today – and I like it!

First, the caramel coating is very light – just enough to give the popcorn some extra crunch and sweetness, and not so much that it makes your teeth hurt.

And the Old Bay – works very well with it! It’s not overpowering, but you can definitely taste it and you get that whole awesome salty-sweet thing going on.

As far as beverage pairings go, I don’t think it would be good with soda – I did snack on it with a cold brew coffee which worked well, and I think it would be good with a darker beer – nut brown ales, porters, or stouts.

Honestly, if I’d seen that it was caramel popcorn right off the bat, I probably would have passed on it. Nice to have a happy accident!

Oh, speaking of seasoning

OK, it’s possible this has been on the market for eons, but I only just recently saw it at the store and picked some up – McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning. It has Marjoram, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Savory, and Sage – and all in the right proportions so you don’t have to worry about getting it right.

It’s GREAT and makes life a wee bit easier.

Love me some already figured out spice blends.

Bottle of McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning
I have a BIG canister of it!

Quick review

Hey I cooked last night! Hashbrown casserole and chicken tenders. I would have just gone with the casserole on its own, but I figured we needed a protein. But, like so many of us, I am flattened.

Grabbed some heat & eat chicken tenders at the store – Perdue Simply Smart Organics/Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Tenders.

Ease of Prep: 10/10. Straight from the tray to the cookie sheet, 11-12 minutes in the oven. Couldn’t be easier.

Taste: 6/10. They’re not *bad* – they didn’t dry out in cooking, but the breading has zero seasoning in it, so they’re a bit on the bland side. Easily solved with some BBQ or Honey Mustard sauce, but not much on their own.

But, they got the job done. I didn’t intentionally look for gluten free, it’s what was at the store, and I genuinely don’t know if that accounts for the plainness of the seasoning or not.

They were easy, which was nice, but I think next time, time and energy allowing, I’ll do my own coating & breading. (Coating: Mayo & Country Dijon mustard, Breading: Italian Breadcrumbs w/Parmesan cheese.)

ETA: Just reheated one with a bit of garlic salt on top – very good! Trick may be to put some of your favorite shake-on seasoning before cooking, flip at the halfway point and hit the other side.

ETAA: Just had another one, this time with some Italian Seasoning – also, very good. Definitely recommend putting your fav seasoning on before cooking.

Screenshot of Perdue Organic Gluten Free Chicken Tenders package

Chili!

With nice, soft, edible kidney beans! Yes, we are a chili over rice household.

This is the recipe I use – scaled and tweaked from one I found on Allrecipes.com that makes 6 gallons… (I thought I had posted it before, but maybe not.)

1 pound lean ground beef
~ 1/2 cup chopped onions
2 decent sized cloves garlic, minced – 3 if they’re smaller
1 small can tomato sauce (1 8oz can)
1 small can tomato paste (I like the garlic infused when I can find it.)
1-2 cans kidney beans (don’t start with me)
1 tablespoon and 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Brown beef, garlic, onions, drain off excess fat.  Add the rest, simmer 1 hour.  Eat!

For the kidney beans, it really depends on how much you like them in your chili. I like them a lot and usually go with 2 cans. I drain off most of the liquid.

If it seems too thick, I’ll put a glug of beer or red wine in. You could also use a bit of chicken stock, or more tomato sauce.

If you are using dried beans, please learn from my mistakes and cook them separately ahead of time.

Lessons learned

So, earlier this week, my brother mentioned that it was chili weather and he was right, so last night I tried to make chili.

I’ve made it hundreds of times. The only difference this time was dried kidney beans. But, I soaked them overnight and wasn’t really worried about it.

Well, as it turns out, my chili recipe does not have enough liquid in it to really cook the beans, and somewhere between an hour and a half and two hours, I had burnt chili and crunchy beans. (Hence, the cheesy sour cream & onion mashed potatoes for dinner.)

We’re giving it another whirl today with my beloved Hanover canned kidney beans.

And it’s not that I won’t ever make chili again with the dried beans, I just know now that I need to just cook them up separately ahead of time. (And today I don’t have the patience for it, so, canned it is.)

Long time no post…

You’d think with the pandemic, I’d have a ton of food posts cause of all the cooking. What I discovered is that I have a very narrow repetoire and I’ve been very exhausted.

After a culinary disaster last night (more on that later) I “saved” dinner with cheesy sour cream & onion mashed potatoes.

They’re simple and an excellent comfort food, and we all need that now.

Take your favorite instant mashed potatoes, throw a handful of chopped onions in with the water & butter at the start. Reduce the milk by roughly 1/4 to 1/3, and add in a couple dollops of sour cream. Stir well, move to casserole dish and top with cheese (I’m a fan of cheddar-jack or colby-jack for this) and pop under the broiler for a couple minutes til the cheese is bubbly and melty.

The lighting is utter shit in my kitchen, it does look better than this, LOL.

A red casserole dish with mashed potatoes covered in cheddar-jack cheese
Who doesn’t love cheese & potatoes

Previous Older Entries