Thursday, February 26, 2015

Stuffed Belgian Endive

Here is a simple recipe that is a crowd-pleaser. You can serve them up on a cocktail buffet, or as first course. If you manage to have any leftovers, put the filling in a pita and stuff with some spinach for a tasty healthy sandwich.

Stuffed Belgian Endive
by Tracy

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 links Bilinski's Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage, diced
1/2 cup Granny Smith apple, diced
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
1/4 cup parsley chopped
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4-6 Belgian Endives, washed, ends trimmed and leaves separated

4 Tablespoons pomegranate seeds
2 Tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine the feta, sausage, apple, pecans and parsley, set aside. In small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mayonnaise, thyme and salt. Pour the whisked ingredients over the sausage mixture and toss to coat.

Using a Tablespoon, scoop the mixture into the endive leaves. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, crumbled feta and parsley. Serve.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pancit "Bi"hon

As you might know, I was in the military and one of the best benefits ever to serving our country was traveling to others. My travels included some fantastic places where I learned to love other cultures and FOOD! I have a lot of recipes that I make and try to re-make almost weekly. One of my loves is for Filipino food. I am enamored by rice noodles and fresh vegetables. That is why this dish came to mind instantly. Pancit Bihon is made with rice noodles, any vegetables you want and basically any protein or seafood you can imagine. I, of course, would love for you to try it with Bilinski's Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage, but to be honest, they have a multitude of wonderful all-natural, casing-free and gluten-free sausage that would be absolutely perfect with this dish.

Pancit Bihon
by Traci
Adapted from my travels

6.75 ounces rice stick noodles
Warm water
2 Tablespoons oil, divided
1 12-ounce package Bilinski's Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup carrot sticks
1 cup medium sliced celery
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
4 green onions, medium-sliced
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 1/2 Tablespoons sesame oil (personal taste)
1 cup julienned cabbage

In a large container, place the noodles in warm water to soak while you start the rest of the dish. They will loosen up and you will need to move them around a bit.

In a small frying pan with 1 Tablespoon of oil, add your sausage and cook until just heated through. Set aside.

In a large frying pan on medium heat, add remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add carrots and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add in your garlic and half the green onion. Let it just cook through. Add stock, soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer.

Drain your rice noodles.

Add cabbage, rice noodles and Bilinski's sausage. Toss to combine all ingredients. When the cabbage has wilted down a bit you are complete.

Plate with extra green onions on top. I also roasted some kale chips as a should ask the other 36 about their ideas for kale chips. They are amazing.

You are going to be so excited about this dish. Try it with the other varieties of Bilinski's sausages. I know I am!!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chicken Sausage Purple Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Breakfast, brunch, snack, or dinner, it's the perfect time for these quesadillas. When choosing a recipe for this challenge, I wanted something fresh, healthy and vibrant.

A good friend of mine awhile back told me about these magical purple sweet potatoes he had had while in Hawaii 2 years ago. I've been on the lookout for them ever since and FINALLY came upon them at the store last week. Unlike many vegetables that have a tendency to fade when cooking, these keep their deep purple color. They do take a little longer to cook, so keep that in mind. But, if you can't find these beauties, a good ol' classic sweet potato will work just fine.

I decided to pair this quesadilla with a fresh fruit salsa. I wanted one that could hold up a few days and not get mushy. If you've never tasted an Asian pear, they're more like an apple in consistency than a pear. So you can sub your favorite apple variety if you can't find these, as well.

I also used the golden pineapple variety because of it's natural sweetness and smoother texture. If you use a regular one, just make sure it's more on the extra ripe side. Finally the yogurt dip. Either you love or hate Greek yogurt. If you don't like it, use a lighter sour cream. But, I think the addition of the citrus to the yogurt makes it taste very close.

Chicken Sausage Purple Sweet Potato Quesadillas
by Holly

1/2 quart fresh strawberries, finely chopped
1 Asian pear, diced
1 small golden pineapple, finely chopped
1 small lime, juiced
1/2 Tablespoon honey
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (or fresh flat leaf parsley), chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of half of small orange (use other half for garnish if desired)
1 medium purple sweet potato (or red), peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1 12-ounce package Bilinski's Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage, diced
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
6 eggs
6 Mission® Garden Spinach Herb tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

For the salsa:
In a small bowl, gently mix the strawberries, pear, pineapple, lime juice, honey, cilantro and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap to avoid browning of the fruit.

For the yogurt dip:
In another small bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and orange juice. Blend well. Keep in refrigerator until ready to plate.

Heat oven to 350°F. Cover a standard sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine the diced sweet potato with olive oil, lightly salt and pepper. Roast for 40-45 minutes until tender, careful to not overcook. Remove from oven.

Lightly coat a medium sauté pan with cooking spray. On medium-high heat, brown the sausage, stirring frequently as not to burn. Cook about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

In another sauté pan, add butter and eggs. Cook low and slow until just scrambled. Add the eggs to the sausage mixture.

Quesadilla time! In a large sauté pan, lightly coat with cooking spray. On medium heat, add a tortilla, top with 1/4 cup cheese, 1/3 of sausage/egg mixture, 1/4 of potatoes, 1/4 cup of cheese and another tortilla. Cook approximately 2-3 minutes until lightly browned on underside and cheese has started to melt on the bottom layer. Carefully flip quesadilla over and cook another 2 minutes until golden brown and cheese is completely melted. Slide quesadilla to a cutting board and let cool slightly before cutting into thirds and plating. Repeat the previous steps to make 2 more quesadillas. (NOTE: you will have some potatoes leftover for garnishing the plates).

Place quesadillas on plates or serve 'family style' on a platter. Sprinkle with the fruit salsa and yogurt dip.

Other links to follow:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Small Bites, Big Flavor... Kale Balsamic Chicken Rangoons

When the nice folks over at the Bilinski's offered us a chance to sample a new product of theirs, I was thrilled. This brand is difficult to find in my area, so it was a real treat to work with something that I otherwise might not have been able to locate. Their Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage is very healthy and also very tasty. To me, that's a win-win kitchen situation! I decided to try my hand at an Asian-inspired appetizer, my take on those yummy little cream cheese filled nibbles, "rangoons". My version is much richer (my husband said that the filling reminded him of pate), and quite a bit healthier to boot. Yes, there is a bit of cheese involved, but they also include spinach, tomatoes, and other good things. These can be baked (if you're trying to stay healthy) or fried (if you're feeling naughty.) Either way, they are mighty fine little bites of flavor. They are very rich, so a few go a long way. They can be made ahead and frozen until needed, as well. Perfect for a large group or a quick snack!

Small Bites, Big Flavor...Kale Balsamic Chicken Rangoons
by Chris
Adapted from "Sausage Rangoons" from the Eating Well for One Blog

2 ounces olive oil (for sauteing)
1 Tablespoon onion, diced
1 Tablespoon plus one teaspoon sun dried tomatoes, diced (dry packed, not in oil)
2 Tablespoons frozen, chopped spinach (defrosted and with as much moisture as possible squeezed/patted out)
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
3 ounces Neufchatel cheese (or low-fat cream cheese), at room temperature
1 teaspoon mayonnaise (low-fat is okay)
2 links of Bilinski's Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage, diced
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used Grana Padano)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt, to taste (I used about 3-4 pinches)
1 large package of egg roll wrappers, each cut into 4 even squares/quarters
Parchment paper
Cooking spray or olive oil in a spray bottle

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet and add the onion and sun dried tomatoes, cooking until both have softened, about 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and garlic and continue to heat for another minute. Set aside.

Combine the cream cheese (Neufchatel) and the mayonnaise in a microwaveable bowl. Heat for about 20 seconds and stir, mixing well. Add the diced sausage, balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice and carefully blend the mixture together. Then add the spinach mixture and gently mix, microwaving for another 20 seconds if necessary. Make sure that everything is well blended, but do not over- work the filling. Also make sure that the filling is not too hot. Warm is okay to work with, but "hot" will create holes in the wrappers when filling them!

Working in small batches (no more than 12 small squares at a time), gently place about 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon of the sausage and cheese mixture in the center of each small square of dough (if you have other squares of wrappers sitting out, cover with a damp paper towel until ready to use them. Leaving them stacked also helps to keep them moist.) Using a pastry brush (or your fingers), moisten the edges of the filled squares. Pull two diagonal corners upward until they meet, and twist them together, closing the top of the rangoon. Gently squeeze the other sides together, closing any gaps where the filling could escape. Use your fingers to create "wings" with the sides, or continue by pinching them upward with the first two corners, creating an enclosed packet of sorts. Again, pinch closed any holes or openings in the wrapper, as to keep the filling inside of the rangoon. Shape as desired.

Line a wire baking rack with a sheet of parchment paper (cut to fit the rack.) Preheat the oven to 350°F, and spray the parchment lightly with your cooking spray/olive oil. Place the rangoons carefully on the oiled paper (do not crowd them), and lightly spray the tops as well. Bake at 350°F WITH the convection feature turned on for about 9 minutes. If your oven does not have a convection setting, it will take another 1-3 minutes to completely cook the rangoons. Watch them carefully so that they do not burn.

If you would like to make the rangoons ahead of time and freeze them, be sure to remove them from the freezer at least 2-3 hours before cooking. I do not recommend keeping these in the refrigerator for more than a day or two, as the chicken sausage is pre-cooked and is perishable. Also, the wrappers do not do well in the refrigerator once they have been filled, but not cooked. They are best eaten fresh out of the oven, either alone or with a sweet and sour dipping sauce or a fruit chutney/other sweet sauce on the side (to cut the richness of the filling.) Any that are baked, but not eaten may be refrigerated and reheated the following day in a conventional oven. They do not reheat well in the microwave.

Friday, February 20, 2015

“Portuguese” Kale Soup

Did you make a New Year resolution to find a few healthy recipes this year? I sure did! Here in the Northeast, we are in the midst of another cold winter. It isn’t looking like we will get the same snowfall we experienced last year, but we are still dealing with below average temps and looking for comfort food to keep us warm. Keeping my New Year resolution in mind along with winter comfort food, I always turn to soup. Soup is warm, filling and satisfying. When I received the soon to be introduced Bilinski’s Organic Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage, my first thought was to create a “Portuguese” Kale Soup. While the soup is traditionally prepared with linguica sausage and potatoes, my version is light, healthy and full of flavor!

“Portuguese” Kale Soup
by Susan R-H
Serves 6-8

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon course sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper flakes)
1 12-ounce package of Bilinski’s Organic Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage, sliced into 1/4” coins
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 cups unsalted organic chicken stock
2 15.5-ounce cans of organic cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained but not rinsed
8 ounces organic baby kale

Heat the olive oil until shimmering in a heavy bottomed 6-quart pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to release the fragrance, but do not let the garlic start to brown as it will become bitter. Add the salt, black pepper and Aleppo pepper. Now add the sausage and white wine, stirring frequently, allowing the sausage to absorb the flavors of the onion and garlic. Continue stirring until the wine has cooked off. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the beans and lower the heat to medium low. Let the soup simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the baby kale and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Let the soup stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread or soup crackers.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chicken Vitellus

This challenge could not come at a better time. We all try to eat better as a new year rolls around. I’ve made it my mission to eat healthy all year, but then there are donuts. I mean Krispy Kreme is just heaven to taste buds. Right? Not so much to your hips and arteries. Right?

I love this challenge because it gave me the opportunity to come up with a dish that I could make again and again while continuing to eat healthy and starting the year off with a new, fresh recipe. This recipe is found in Huckleberry. It doesn’t originally have meat in it, but I knew Bilinski’s Organic Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage would be the perfect, healthy addition.

I had never had quinoa. I love it! I can’t believe I went this long with never having it before. The texture of this meal was great with the Bilinski’s Organic Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage. The flavors in the sausage combined with the quinoa and sweet carrots worked very well together. The creamy-ness of the fried egg yolk on top is just the perfect touch.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Chicken Vitellus
by Rebbekkah
Adapted from Huckleberry (Original recipe named Quinoa, Baby Carrots, Sprouting Broccoli and Eggs)

1 small bag of whole baby carrots
2 1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Dash of garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons water, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
2 cups frozen broccoli
1 12-ounce package of Bilinski’s Organic Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage
2 to 4 eggs
Fleur de sel for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Toss carrots in 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil, a dash of garlic salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and roast until brown and soft, about 35 minutes.

In a medium saucepan heat 1 Tablespoon of butter over medium heat until fully melted and sizzling. Add your onions and sauté until lucid, about three to four minutes. Add the quinoa and salt. Sauté for a minute. Add 2 cups of water and simmer over medium heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest, set aside.

In a separate saucepan heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic until fragrant. Add broccoli, 2 Tablespoons of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover and sauté until soft. Meanwhile, slice your Bilinski’s Organic Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage. Once your broccoli is soft, add the sausage and allow it to heat through. This will only take about five minutes. Stir occasionally. Lower your heat and add in the carrots and quinoa. Mix until well incorporated and cook for an additional two minutes. Take mixture off of the heat and set it to the side with the lid on.

Heat a Tablespoon of butter on medium heat until melted. Crack two eggs (or one at a time. If you do one at a time, you only need 1/2 Tablespoon of butter per egg). Allow the egg to cook until the whites are solid and set but allowing the yolks to be runny. I suggest cooking all your eggs before moving on so it will be easier to plate your food.

Plate with the quinoa mixture and gently lay fried egg(s) on top. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Serve immediately.