Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ways to stretch a package of sausages

This is a meal I made two weeks ago, but I took photos of it so you're going to hear about it now because I have time, finally.

We're all about the creative and fun ways to save money on groceries at Casa Alison and Chris. It's kind of fun, really, trying to find the best deals in the grocery store flyers every week; buying whatever meats are on sale or reasonably priced, and building meals around them; eating great ethnic vegetarian dishes. One of the things we try to do is only eat meat a few times a week; there are so many great alternative sources of protein out there that we figure it won't kill us to go veg half the time.

But once in a while, I want sausage. (Get your minds out of the gutter. Now.) It's awful for me, and I know it - fatty and full of fillers and preservatives and such. So when I buy it, I try to pick up the turkey variety. This particular week there was no turkey sausage at our grocery store, but they had chicken sausage. I figured, what the heck, we cover it in condiments most of the time anyway, and brought it home. Once I got it back here I split it into two freezer bags (three in one, two in the other) and tossed them into the deep freeze. The packet of two we grilled like hot dogs and ate in whole wheat panini buns with slow-cooked sliced Vidalia onions and barbecue sauce. They were delicious, but I had a higher purpose in mind for the other three. A meeting of the minds with sweet bell pepper and pasta.

I threw together a quick, simple tomato sauce from part of a can of crushed tomatoes, a splash of red wine, and a clove of garlic sauteed in a little olive oil:

While that was simmering, I boiled the three sausages for a few minutes until they firmed up enough to be sliced into coins. Then I threw them into my big saute pan with a roughly chopped red pepper and the leftover Vidalia onions, and stirred it all around until the sausages were cooked through and browned, and the peppers softened up nicely. The sausages gave enough oil that I didn't need to use any extra, which was awesome.

While that was cooking down, I boiled two cups of whole wheat rotini until al dente. Then I tossed the pasta and sauce together, topped each portion with a mound of sausage and peppers and onions, and we devoured it:

Look how gorgeous that is. And you can do that. It's easy and quick and not all that unhealthy, either. Filling, too. I had the leftovers for lunch the next day - it made three good sized servings. (Note to self: pasta does not microwave well, but it was still tasty.) This one's going into the general rotation for sure.

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