Sausage Braid

Sausage Braid_9 on Whisk Together

Book Update:  I checked out the “Cooking Light: Way to Bake” from the library.  The photos are very pretty.  I hope the recipes are just as delicious!  I will try a few and have to report back.  The pumpkin honey beer bread looks sooooo good.

Sausage Braid_14 on Whisk Together

Recipe Update:   This is another one I pulled from my vault of recipes I have made over and over and forgot to post.    It is one of those recipes you can change and add what you like.  You could add pepperoni or substitute pepperoni for sausage.  Or you could change the cheeses.   Or you could use ricotta and make it more like a calzone.    Definitely something more fun than our average pizza and in addition – it wins the “two kid approval” award.     Additionally, the leftovers are also nice if you have any.  Next time I will make several of these at once.  It wouldn’t be hard and the leftovers are great for reheating and eating on the go.

Sausage Braid_16 on Whisk Together

Sausage Braid

1 lb. premade pizza dough, whole wheat pizza dough, Dewey’s Pizza Dough, or my quick recipe below
1 lb. sausage (or any mix of ingredients.  Green bell peppers, onions, etc.)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Italian seasoning (or blend of parsley, basil and oregano)
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 Tb. olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cook your sausage until done in a skillet.  Put that on some paper towels to drain away the fat.

2.  Mix cooked sausage with the cheeses, seasonings and egg.  You could even do this part ahead of time.  Add your salt and pepper to taste depending on what kind of sausage you purchased.

3.  Let the pizza dough rest and sit out for about 20 minutes.  Now on a floured surface, parchment or silicone mat, roll out your pizza dough into a rectangle.  I tried to fill my silicone mat.  Parchment or silicone is highly recommended because this item would be difficult to transport onto a cookie sheet.  Possible… but easier if you just make it directly on the sheet itself.

Sausage Braid_1 on Whisk Together

4.  Cut 3″ slits on both sides of the dough about 1 ” apart.

Sausage Braid_2 on Whisk Together

5.   Put the sausage filling in the center of the braid.  Now, pull each braid over the center, alternating sides .  I pull the top and bottom over.  Brush oil on top.  (or you could use an egg wash which is 1 egg and 1T of water)

Sausage Braid_4 on Whisk Together       Sausage Braid_6 on Whisk Together      Sausage Braid_7 on Whisk Together

6.  Put the braid on  a cookie sheet   – or keep it on the silicone mat and just slide it all onto the cookie sheet.  Bake 35 minutes.

**To Freeze:  I would flash freeze this in plastic wrap several times.    Thaw in the fridge later and bake!  Great gift or meal to bring someone.

Quick Pizza Dough
1 large pizza

1 and 1/2 cups warm water (105-110 degrees)
1 T yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 and 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tb. olive oil

1.  Mix your water, yeast and sugar in a measuring cup.  Wait 5 minutes .  There should be foam on top from the yeast .  If there is no activity, the yeast is dead and try again with a different batch.  This step takes more time – but worth testing your yeast!

2.  In a great big bowl, mix your bread flour, salt and olive oil.  Add the yeast/water mixture to the middle and stir until a dough is formed.  I knead the dough in the same bowl for 5 minutes.  You can:  a) use it immediately, b)  let it rise 1 hour and use it, c) let it rise and an hour and then stick it in the fridge until you want it back, d) seal it up in plastic and freeze it.

Remember:  more kneading is more gluten.   But it is possible to over-knead.  Also, the longer it sits in the fridge, the more yeasty flavor you get.  I like a 2 day cold rise.  If you do that, decrease your amount of yeast though.  There is a lot of yeast in this quick dough recipe because the yeast doesn’t have a lot of time to do their thing.

Maple Breakfast Sausage

Maple Breakfast Sausage on Whisk Together

I wish I could pour syrup onto everything.  Putting into meat is about just as good 🙂  Here is a copycat recipe for Jimmy Dean’s Maple Breakfast Sausage.  Of course, I lightened it up by testing it out on the ground turkey I buy a lot of at Costco.  The kids and I ate it all up!  The kids wanted to put salt on it… weird.  If you want to go traditional and the meat actually TASTE like breakfast sausage, then you need to use ground pork.

Tidbit I learned about cooking:  Per America’s Test Kitchen, you should freeze your butter until you are going to use it.  Now, I don’t mean that very second, but if you know you need to make some cookies the next day, pull the butter from the freezer the night before.  I freeze mine all the time because I buy it in bulk at Costco, but ATK says that butter picks up off-flavors in the fridge very easily and the best way to avoid this is to store butter in the freezer.

Maple Breakfast Sausage
yield 1 lb.

1 lb. ground pork (ground turkey works, just won’t be as good of a copycat to breakfast sausage)
3 Tb. maple syrup (works with the real stuff and the fake stuff)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coriander

1.  You can mix this the night before and it actually may help the flavor.
2.  Mix everything in a great big bowl.  I use my hands to mix it all up.
3.  Form into patties (my preference), or links or crumble for a casserole.  Cook in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through.


Recipe adapted from “Top Secret Recipes: Unlocked” by Todd Wilbur

Crockpot Jambalaya


Book update:  This week in positive psychology we are discussing meditation and part of our homework is to meditate three times this week.  Husband will be in Los Angeles … we’ll see if we can find time for our homework.  Meditation does look like they are doing nothing, but it isn’t and it is more interesting than I had thought.  I better go… these legos won’t put themselves up.

I wanted to make some jambalaya for Mardi Gras and here is what we did.  The dish was very flavorful and easy to put together.  I have no doubt this could have been a freezer meal since all the ingredients were freezer friendly.  It does make a LOT.  Next time, I may cut the recipe in half for our 2 adult and 2 small children household.

Crockpot Jambalaya
yield 12 servings

1 lb. (about 2) skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced (I used turkey smoked sausage)
28 oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. cajun seasoning (homemade recipe here)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. frozen cooked shrimp (no tails)

1.  Put everything into the crockpot EXCEPT your shrimp.
2.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  A half hour before time is up, stir in the shrimp.
3.  Serve over some rice for a great all in one meal.

Recipe from

Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage – Take 2

I made America’s Test Kitchen’s turkey breakfast sausage before, but it took a lot of work cooking and re-cooking the meat.  Well, more work than I would care for just for some sausage.  So, here is a recipe I came up with throwing things in and it tasted really good and pretty close to regular breakfast sausage, minus the pork grease.  The kids loved them and gobbled them up without knowing the difference.  I put them on a 100% whole wheat biscuit which will be the next recipe.

These could be shaped into patties, used in a casserole, added to a frittata, etc.

Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage
yield 1 lb.

1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried sage (don’t leave this one out!!)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust to taste for kids)
1 and 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. coriander

1.  Mix it all up in a big bowl.
2.  Cook on medium to medium-high heat in a skillet.

All done!

Sausage Egg Casserole

This recipe is from the Trader Joe’s website.  It could be made with anything from a typical grocery store though.  Quick and ready to go in half an hour.  All of the ingredients are freezable, so it is possible to freeze these ahead of time.  Most of the time the bread is soaked in the egg overnight, but I liked the soggy egg and crispy bread contrast.    It would be great with some maple syrup on top too I bet.

Sausage Egg Bake
yield 4-6 servings

1 demi-loaf of french bread (this is half the size of a normal loaf)
6 large eggs or 5 XL eggs
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
2-3 sausage links, precooked  (I used sweet apple chicken sausage)

Optional Toppings:  shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese, garlic powder (but don’t use that on sweet apple sausage – put on something more savory)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 8×8 or 9×9 pan with non-stick foil or parchment.  You could grease it well, but you may end up scrubbing some egg off of the pan.
2.  Tear the bread into about 1″ pieces and scatter on the bottom of the pan and cover.
3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour on top of bread.
4.  Cut the sausage into 1/2″ pieces and then scatter on top of the egg/bread mixture.
5.  Bake for 25 minutes.  If using cheese, put it on about 15 minutes before the time is up or when you first put the pan in the oven.

Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage

In January 2012, the medical community released a study linking bacon and sausage to pancreatic cancer (in men, they didn’t see a correlation in women).  I understand correlation does not equal causation, but why take the chance.  Plus, making your own turkey sausage is a lot less expensive.  This sausage is freezer friendly just like regular sausage – just wrap up the uncooked sausage in plastic and then aluminum foil.  Thaw and cook like a normal freezer meal.  Store up to 1 month.  A comparison shows the nutrition is almost the same except for fat content.  The main thing is the ingredients in the prepackaged sausage.

Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage Links Nutrition for 2 links:

160 calories
13 grams fat
420 mg Sodium
11 g protein

Homemade Turkey Sausage Nutrition for 2 links:

110 calories
6 grams fat
370 mg Sodium
12 g protein

Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage Links
yield 16 links

1 Tb. canola oil
1 lb. ground turkey
2 tsp. fresh sage, minced or 1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 and 1/2 slices of whole wheat bread or white bread – tear off the crusts and tear into little pieces
1/4 cup buttermilk (substitute: 1 tsp. lemon juice and fill to 1/4 cup with milk)
1 T. maple syrup
1 garlic clove, mince
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dry thyme
pinch cayenne
pinch ground nutmeg

1.  Place a 12″ nonstick skillet on the stove and pour 1 tsp. of the canola oil (just part of the 1 Tb.) into it.  Heat on medium for a couple minutes.  Place just 1/4 of the ground turkey in the skillet and cook and crumble until brown.  Add sage and cook 30 seconds.  Put all the sausage into a large bowl to use later.
2.  In a small bowl, squish the buttermilk and bread with a fork until it forms a paste.  Add this to the cooked turkey.  Add the rest of the ground turkey, maple syrup, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne, and nutmeg to the big bowl with the cooked turkey in it as well.  Mix thoroughly.
3.  Using wet hands, take about 1 Tb. of the meat mixture and form into a link.  I got 16 links.
4.  Wipe out the same 12″ skillet you used before with paper towels.  Heat 2 tsp. of oil in it on medium.  Cook links until brown – about 10 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen “”Healthy Family Cookbook”

Sausage Broccoli Bake

This breakfast or brunch recipe is wonderful!  So many ways to change it up and use different vegetables or meats.  I love omelets, but making them can be sometimes frustrating.  The eggs fall apart, the meats fall through the egg, the cheese goes everywhere.  But if you make this instead you still have an omelet and a no-fail breakfast meal.  I have not tried freezing it… but I believe if you were to put it into a foil pan after layering you would be able to freeze it and then thaw in the fridge.  After thawed completely, follow baking directions as normal.  Or even bake or freeze them in a muffin pan for individual portions.

Sausage Broccoli Bake
yield 8 servings

1/2 lb. breakfast sausage, crumbled and cooked
1 c. broccoli, chopped and cooked
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3 eggs
1-1/4c. milk
1/2c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2t. salt

1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Grease/spray a 9″ pie pan.  Spread all the sausage on the bottom of the pan, layer broccoli on top, layer the cheddar on top of the broccoli.
2.  In large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, baking powder and salt.  Pour the egg mixture on top of the cheese.
3.   Bake 25-30 minutes.

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