Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sausage and Roasted Peppers, Crock Pot v. Crackpot, and the Out of the Box Challenge

Last night I attended a wine pairing dinner where each of us were assigned to create a dish to pair with a specific wine.  Wellllll, as per usual, some people dropped out at the last minute and a couple of us were recruited to make another dish.   I decided to make sausage with roasted peppers, mainly because I had a pepper excess and hadn't figured out what to do with them.  

This is really so exceptionally easy that it is kind of embarrassing.  Luckily, I have no shame.  I originally found this recipe/idea in one of those little magazines that they have in the supermarket check-out lanes in like 1996.  ((God, I am old.))  I happen to be certain of this date because there is a picture of it from a really bizarre Fourth of July party that year which involved a "March of the Sacred Pencil."  And there was no alcohol involved.  Seriously.  There might have been a Zima now that I think about it.  I still like Zima.  Shutit.    

The original recipe has long since disappeared and I have modified it over the years.  Last night's version is undoubtedly the healthiest incarnation yet, which was totally necessary to offset the TEN THOUSAND FRICKIN CALORIE ((Yes, I'm still yelling about that)) risotto.

What you need:

4 bell peppers ((various colors, sliced))
1 onion, chopped
2 cups of fresh green beans
2 packages of turkey sausage/kielbasa ((pre-cooked))
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper

((I know, right?  Why are we even doing this?  Because people went ape-shit for it.  That's why.))

What you do:

Slice up everything:  the peppers, the onion, and the sausage.  Admire how pretty the peppers are.  See?

Just lovely.

Throw in pan.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and add salt and pepper.  Figure out how you want to "cook" it.

You can make a foil packet for it ((spray the foil with some olive oil cooking spray)) and put it on the grill.  You can throw it in a baking pan ((uncovered)) in your oven set at 350 for about 30-40 minutes.  You can put it under the broiler and let everything get good and broil-y.  ((Just watch it carefully so you don't get charred beyond all recognition peppers...  No, I have never done that!))  You can put it in a crock pot and let it slow cook for several hours.  Because the sausage is pre-cooked, you don't have to worry about it, you are just getting the peppers to soften.  But don't turn them to mush!  You want them tender-crisp, which is a ridiculous phrase, but means they are soft, but still have a little bite to them.  That wasn't very clear, was it?  Um, you want them softened up but not to lose their basic form.  ((That's a little better.  Gah.))

This time, I put it in the oven for about 40 minutes and then put it in a crock pot set to warm to transport it.  I actually think the slow cooker helped the flavors meld together more.  Do a combo.  Be a rebel.

((Side note:  I just learned that "crock pot" is two words while "crackpot" is one.  Learning is fun.))

WARNING:  This smells utterly divine.  There will be drooling...  by the humans and any resident canines.  People will love it and ask you for the recipe and you will also be embarrassed at how easy it is. Be secretive and make them think it is really hard.  

Nutritional Info:  Sainthood!  I entered the recipe into my fancy nutritional calculator and set it for 12 servings...  Calories:  120, Fat: 4 grams.  When set for 8 servings it is still only 175 calories and 6 grams of fat.    


Tomorrow I am beginning my "No Food from a Box or a Can Challenge."  Two reasons:  the kitchen has been taken over by produce and to see how a solid week of clean eating affects me.  I already eat overwhelmingly clean, but this should up the ante considerably.  This could be a total disaster, but should be good blog fodder.  We shall see.  Bye Nature Valley Dark Chocolate Granola Bars.  I will miss you.  Good thing I had like four yesterday. 

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