Posts tagged ‘sausage’

Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

It’s November!
That means soup and stew season is on!

Of course, here in Houston it’s still in the 80’s and everyone is wearing shorts and t-shirts/tank tops….

But it’s the spirit of the season that’s important!!
Heck, if all else fails, I can still turn my air conditioner way down and pretend it’s cold outside, so I can make hot soups and stews. That’s just the kind of commitment I have as a food blogger. Electric bill be damned!

So if you’re ready to get on the ball with fall/winter soups and stews, and want to warm your bones on those chilly fall evenings (or at least pretend you need to) here’s a great one to try out.

I found this in my Jamie Olive cookbook, Jamie’s Dinners. It’s a hardy stew full of sausage, tomatoes, spinach, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), a little ham, diced onion, celery, and garlic all in chicken stock. The interesting addition to this stew, however, is crumbled hard-boiled egg. It sounds strange, but it really goes well in the soup.

Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 2 Tbsp.  extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 1/2 oz. chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 5 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. diced ham
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and crumbled
  1. Add oil and sausage to a large pot over medium heat. Cook until sausage starts to brown, 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover the pot, and let it gently cook without coloring for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and add spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 40  minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in ham and crumbled boiled egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


November 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Breakfast Pizza

If you’re like me, then the idea of cold, leftover pizza is a horrifying thing.

But we all know people who’ve done it. Even more terrible, people who ate it, and enjoyed it. *collective gasp*

Do not fear the title of this post, fair readers, as I would never suggest you commit such a vile act against our lovely delicious friend, the pizza, such as eat it when it’s a day old and cold.

Instead, I’m suggesting you make a special pizza, just for breakfast (or brunch, or whenever the heck you want), using common breakfast foods: scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, cheese etc.

Yes, my friends. Enter, The Breakfast Pizza.

I wasn’t a believe either until recently, when I tried this delicious bit of breakfast-y pizza heaven, but oh, it’s good. Like, really good.

The key to breakfast pizza, however, is to have pre-made pizza dough, ready to go. I usually make extra whenever I make a batch of pizza dough, and then freeze the extra in personal pizza size. That way, I can just get out a de-frosted (take it out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge the night before you need it) ball of dough whenever I want a quick pizza, roll it out, throw on some toppings, bake it, and have me some pizza. Good times guys, good times.

For this pizza, I spread a little sun-dried tomato pesto on the dough instead of sauce, but if that’s a bit too much in the morning for you, you can just brush a little olive oil on the dough instead. Do whatever sounds tasty to you.
Also, I used ground turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, mini tomatoes, and spinach as toppings for this pizza, but again, don’t limit yourself to just those. Try additional or different toppings. Crumbled bacon or diced ham would be great too, and even hash browns or sauteed mushrooms would be yummy. Let loose and add whatever floats your boat. That’s the great thing about pizza.

Breakfast Pizza

(makes 1 large pizza)

  • 1/2 batch of pizza dough
  • 3 Tbsp. sun-dried tomato pesto (or 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lb. ground breakfast turkey sausage
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. mini tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 5 oz. fresh spinach (or a couple large handfuls)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425° F (220° C). Spray a large pizza pan/stone or baking sheet.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and crumbly. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add eggs and cook until scrambled. Add tomatoes, season everything with salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.
  3. Roll out dough to desired size, and place on pan. Spread pesto (or olive oil if using) evenly over dough, leaving 1/2″ – 1″ along the edge.
  4. Spread mozzarella cheese over dough, add the toppings, then sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of everything.
  5. Bake pizza 20 minutes, or until the crust edges are golden brown. Cut into slices and serve immediately.


August 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

Roasted Pepper, Italian Sausage, and Spinach Frittata

Did everyone have a good Independence Day?

We had a fun, although quiet day here. In the morning, we visited the San Jacinto Memorial. I didn’t know what the monument would look like, and I was surprised to see just how big it was. It’s a huge column (it lacks the pointy, pyramid-like top of an obelisk), and stands at 567 feet tall. That’s slightly taller than the Washington Monument in D.C. That’s pretty big, right? Inside, there was a small museum with the history of the area, important figures in Texas history, and of course the battle of San Jacinto.

I forgot my camera (naturally), so here are some pics from my phone.
I couldn’t get the entire monument in the picture, but here’s (most) of it.


Hisa standing at the base of the monument.

After leaving there, we visited the nearby Battleship Texas, built in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get on the boat as it was closed for repairs, but it was still really cool to see. It had huge turrets on it. I can only imagine how loud it must of been when those things were firing.

I wonder if they had good earplugs back in the early 1900s?

In the afternoon, we went to the movies to see The Avengers (finally!). I’d been wanting to see this movie since it came out, so I was happy to finally get to see it before it left theaters. I was surprised to see how packed the theater was though! The movie has been out for so long, I thought the theater would be nearly empty, but it was packed! I guess that’s why it’s still in theaters… Anyway, I thought it was a really good movie. I love the smart-A-ness of Iron Man, but then I have a special place in my heart for smart-A’s, hehe. I blame my parents. 🙂

In the evening, we had hot dogs, coleslaw, and chips for dinner, with homemade vanilla ice cream and a peach crisp for dessert. My family has a tradition of making homemade ice cream on the fourth of July. My mom would always make some every fourth of July, usually a different flavor each year. This was my first time to make homemade ice cream (thanks for the ice cream maker, Mom!), so I went with a simple vanilla ice cream, but oh, it was so good. Happily, we have quite a bit left over (yay~).


I love egg dishes. They’re so simple, good anytime of the day, and you can basically put whatever you want in them. They’re also cheap to make! Like strata and quiche, frittatas are a great, easy egg dish to make, and take less time to make than strata and quiche, as you just cook it on the stove for a little bit, then pop it under the broiler for a few minutes to finish cooking.

As it will be going in the oven under the broiler, you’ll be wanting to use an oven-proof skillet to make this. A cast iron skillet is great for this, but any oven-proof skillet will do.

For this frittata, I added roasted red peppers, Italian turkey sausage, and spinach. But I’m sure you didn’t know that, what with the title of this post and all. Oh, and cheese. Don’t forget the cheese! Never forget the cheese!

Goes well with tossed salad and homemade bread. 🙂

Roasted Pepper, Italian Sausage, and Spinach Frittata

(serves 6)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Italian turkey sausage links, sliced (ground sausage is fine, as is pork sausage)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 roasted red peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk, half and half, or cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c. shredded cheese
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Add butter to a cast-iron skillet (or any oven-proof skillet) placed over med-high heat. Once melted, add the sausage, and cook until browned. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add the onion, red pepper, and garlic, and cook until onion turns translucent, 3 -4 minutes. Add the spinach, and cook until it wilts. Spread the meat and vegetables evenly around the skillet.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and a dash of salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the mixture in the skillet. Push the egg mixture around with a spatula or wooden spoon for about 30 seconds, then let it start to set.
  5. Once the sides are set, but the center is still runny, sprinkle the cheese over the top. Place in oven, under the broiler until the egg mixture is set and the top is browned. Remove from oven, cut into slices, and serve.

July 6, 2012 at 8:40 am 2 comments

Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Bread

The announced on the news this morning that the rainy season has officially been declared over in Okinawa, 15 days earlier than normal. I’m guessing that that means it will also end early here in Kanto (Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures) as well, probably around 4th week of June or so.

While the rainy season ending early isn’t bad news in itself (After four years in Japan, I still can’t get used to so much rain…), it makes me nervous about this summer. For those who don’t know, last summer in Japan had record high temperatures, combined with the infamously high humidity in Japan in the summer, people were dropping like flies. Hundreds of people died in the Tokyo area alone. As schools in Japan don’t have air conditioning, a lot of kids (actually people everywhere) suffered from heat stroke.

In our apartment we didn’t have air conditioning, so it was brutal. I would go to the (well air-conditioned) library every morning when it opened at 9:30am, and stay there until about 5 or 6pm. At night, I would sleep with 2 frozen gel packs, one next to my back, the other clutched to my chest, and I still slept badly.

Eventually one Saturday in mid-August, I had a melt-down, and simply burst into tears and cried hysterically (much to the surprise of my husband), going on about how I couldn’t stand the heat anymore. My husband tried to console and told me that, OK, we would buy an air conditioner. Small story short, it was a highly traumatic summer that I hope to never repeat, ever. EVER!

Fortunately, this summer we have our lovely air conditioner, however, Japanese air conditioners only cool one room. Our living room and bedroom connect, so we cool those two rooms. The rest of the apartment, the kitchen, bathroom, etc., are not cooled, and thus, still super hot. STILL! It’s so much better just having those two rooms cooled rather than suffering in hot agony! So I’m not complaining! I am, however, wondering if since the rainy season will most likely end early, if that means we’ll have a longer than normal summer.

They’re saying this summer won’t be as hot as last summer, but it might still be hotter than usual. That’s meteorologist speak for “We don’t know”. I’ll just wait and see what comes, but I’m crossing my fingers for either a shorter than normal summer or a cooler than normal summer. Or both! Wouldn’t that be nice? We’ll see what happens. Right now though, I’m just going to enjoy the pleasantly warm weather we’re having today.

*        *        *

Last night for dinner I made bread stuffed with ground sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheese.

When my two brothers and I were kids, my mom would sometimes make this for breakfast. We all loved it. I haven’t had it in years, and was craving it recently, so I decided to make my own. I had some frozen bread dough in the freezer from the last time I made rolls, so I didn’t even have to make bread dough! (Note: having bread dough/pizza dough in the freezer for whenever you need it will make your life sooo much easier. So next time you make bread, make double and freeze half! You’ll be glad you did! Just don’t forget about it in the freezer.)

You can use pretty much any bread dough you want for this. Use whatever you have on hand. Also, I rolled out my dough into a rectangle, covered it with the fillings, and then rolled it up like a stromboli. The dough I was using was more delicate than say pizza dough. It ripped a bunch, and the fillings were oozing out of various spots by the time I got it on the pan. After I baked it though, it both looked and tasted delicious. My point is, the filling doesn’t have to be perfectly sealed within the dough. If it looks like a mess, just tell yourself that it’s rustic. It’ll look great after baking and taste even better. Don’t stress.

This is super easy to make, delicious, and makes a great meal any time of the day. Enjoy!

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of this both when I took this out of the oven, and when we had dinner, so this is from breakfast this morning, hehe.

Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Bread (serves 3 – 4)

  • 1 batch of bread dough (or pizza dough) that’s finished first rise
  • 3/4 – 1 lb. ground sausage meat (I used my homemade turkey sausage)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 – 2 c. shredded cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  2. Add sausage meat to a skillet over medium heat and cook until sausage is crumbly.
  3. In a bowl, beat four eggs and milk together. Pour into pan with sausage, and cook while stirring, until eggs are done. Turn off heat. If your eggs release a lot of liquid, use some paper towels to dry up the excess liquid.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll our your dough into a large rectangle. Spread shredded cheese evenly on dough, and then cover evenly with the sausage egg mixture.
  5. Roll up dough like a jelly roll, sealing the ends when finished. Place on a foil-lined and greased baking sheet, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

June 10, 2011 at 11:41 am 2 comments


Sometime last year I decided I wanted to cook jambalaya. As you might expect, Cajun food isn’t exactly easy to find in Japan, and since most Japanese people don’t like spicy food, I kinda doubt it would be very popular anyway.

Despite my love of Cajun food, however, I’d never cooked it before. So I searched online and finally found a good looking recipe to try. Sadly though I lacked the necessary spices to cook the food, and some of the spices I needed are not readily available in Japan. So I stashed the recipe until a later time when I had the necessary spices.

Last winter, when Hisa and I were visiting my family in the States, I bought some Creole seasoning to bring back with us. Since then it’s been sitting in my kitchen unused (opps), but I found the jambalaya recipe from last year the other day, so I finally got around to cooking jambalaya last night! And it was good! Hooray!

As I’m sure many of you know, there’s always a bit of trepidation when cooking something completely new for the first time. You never really know if it’s going to come out well or not. That’s part of the risk, but also part of the excitement of experimenting with new dishes and recipes. It’s always much more gratifying when the experiment turns out well though, rather than the failed experiments that still get put on the dinner table  (and believe me there have been several). I was quite happy that this new recipe turned out very well though!

This recipe is based off of a jambalaya recipe by Emeril Lagasse here.

Jambalaya (serves 2 – 3)

  • 1 c. shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 1 large chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 diced onion (or 1 whole small onion)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c. celery, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped (or 1/2 can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Tobasco sauce
  • 3/4 c. uncooked rice
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a small bowl, mix the chicken, shrimp, and creole seasoning so that the meat is well coated with the seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and green pepper. Cook until onion turns translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and Tobasco. Mix well.
  4. Add the rice and chicken broth. On medium heat, cook rice, stirring occasionally, until it becomes tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken and shrimp mixture and the Andouille sausage, and continue cooking until the chicken & shrimp are completely cooked, about 10 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add more creole seasoning or Tobasco to taste.

I served it with a side of fried okra, because fried okra makes everything better. Especially jambalaya!

May 11, 2011 at 9:41 am 3 comments

Homemade Turkey Sausage

If you’ve ever perused the aisles of a Japanese grocery store, you’ve probably noticed several things.

The bananas are prepackaged.

There is no cereal aisle, only an itty bitty cereal section with, maybe, 4 types of cereal (this makes me curl up in a ball and cry every time I go to the grocery store. No really).

A plethora of fresh seafood available at a decent price (being a couple thousand miles away from the ocean, you don’t see a whole lot of fresh ocean fish in Oklahoma).

Whole wheat bread? What whole wheat bread?

You mean you want a bag of whole wheat flour that contains more than two cups of flour for less than $5? But why? *cue involuntary eye twitch*


One other interesting difference you might notice is the lack of ground sausage meat. While there are plenty of mini wieners (called sausages here, but to me, they just taste like mini hot dog wieners), a few different types of real sausages, and even fish sausages, there is no ground sausage meat.

Now, some people love sausages. My husband is one of them. Power to them. I, however, have always preferred ground sausage, more specifically, ground turkey sausage. It’s healthier than your regular pork sausage, and it’s tasty too! Sadly, I’ve simply never found any form of ground sausage meat here in Japan.

One day, however, I discovered a ridiculously simple looking recipe for turkey sausage, and thought, “Yes! That’s it! I’ll make my OWN turkey sausage!”.

Following this epiphany, there was much dancing and rejoicing, until I realized that there is also no ground turkey meat in Japan.


Fortunately! I had another epiphany, and decided I would just use ground chicken (readily available in Japan) instead of turkey, because who can tell the difference, really?

Thus began my first attempt at making my own turkey chicken sausage.

My husband and I both love this sausage. It tastes just like turkey sausage you’d buy in the store. Some added benefits, you can adjust the spiciness and salt content yourself, and you don’t have to worry about dangerous nitrates or other dodgy chemicals being present in your sausage. It’s a win-win situation. And who doesn’t like a win-win situation that involves good food?

The recipe I use is based on the Breakfast Turkey Sausage recipe from the book, Nourishing Traditions.

I recommend doubling (or tripling) this recipe, then just freezing the patties (method mentioned below), so you’ll have them on hand whenever you want.

Turkey Sausage:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or ground chicken)
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin, marjoram, ground pepper, oregano, ground nutmeg, ground ginger
  • 1/8 -1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like your sausage)
    1/2 tsp dried basil, thyme, sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt ( recommend sea salt)
  • 1 egg

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing until spices are well incorporated.

Cover and refrigerate mixture for at least one hour to allow the flavors to combine (trust me, it tastes better if you do this).

Shape into patties and cook on a skillet on medium heat until brown on one side, then flip and continue to cook on the other side until brown. You can either cook the patties in some melted butter, or on a dry non-stick skillet.

If you want to freeze your sausage patties, line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Shape the sausage mixture into patties and place on the lined cookie sheet so they’re not touching (You can create more than one layer of patties on the same cookie sheet if you separate each layer with wax paper). Pop the cookie sheet (uncovered) into the freezer for about an hour. After an hour, pop the frozen patties off the wax paper and store in a large freezer bag.

If you think of it, you can take out however many of the frozen patties you’ll need for breakfast the night before, and put them in the refrigerator. Or if you’re like me, and breakfast is a spur of the moment decision you make while waiting for the coffee to finish, then you can just defrost the patties in the microwave before cooking them as mentioned above. Easy.

March 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm 8 comments

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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