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October 2013

sausage stuffed tomatoes {paleo lunch idea}

so i’ve said before, i don’t embrace all the flawed philosophy behind the paleo lifestyle.  i do, however, love so much of the principle behind eating clean, and so many of the recipes just make us feel the way we’re supposed to.  this recipe is no different.  i love the protein-rich meat combined with the depth of flavor that comes out when you cook it in tomatoes.

 sausage stuffed tomatoes_1  sausage stuffed tomatoes_4

this actually comes together pretty quickly, too!  if you have the presence of mind, you can pre-cook your sausage (ONE of these days, i AM going to get it together enough to cook-ahead for the week!)

sausage stuffed tomatoes

want to print the recipe?  save it to your online recipe box?  head on over to   just click here.

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prefer to read it in-line?  here you go!

6 large tomatoes

1 package Johnsonville Italian Ground Sausage

(click for ingredient list  – we prefer to the original because it has fewer additives)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped fresh spinach (my husband doubled this)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons red wine (original recipe called for cooking sherry)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

Using a sharp knife, slice 1/2 inch from the top of the tomatoes; discard tops.  Remove pulp from tomatoes.  Reserve 1 cup tomato pulp; chop coarsely and save for filling.  Invert tomato onto paper towels to drain.

Cook and crumble sausage in a skillet till browned; drain and set aside.  In the same skillet, cook onions in olive oil over medium-low heat until golden, stirring occasionally.  Add spinach, garlic, and reserved tomato.  Cook and stir over medium heat until spinach is wilted and stir in sausage, wine, and pepper.  Cool slightly and stir in egg.

Place tomato shells in 2-quart baking dish and fill with mixture.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until hot.

sausage stuffed tomatoes_3

enjoy this recipe, sponsored by Johnsonville.  🙂

dancing divider webb

brothers, and what matters. {tampa family photographer}

“e. gave me this baseball,” he said.  “see those crosses?  those are for Jesus and the two other guys that died beside Him.”

      little boys baseball gospel dancing with my father

“it’s really awesome.  i cried at one point, because i felt like i had to.  i was really happy because he gave me the baseball, and i was really sad remembering about the guy who didn’t believe Jesus.  i didn’t cry because of that, but i should’ve.”

little boys baseball gospel dancing with my father d

“it was tears of joy.  he cried tears of joy because of the ball and because of Jesus.”

little boys baseball gospel dancing with my father e

“we were playing softball and i knew i was gonna give him the baseball.  it came to my mind, ‘maybe i should share this with him.'”

little boys baseball gospel dancing with my father c

“i took a pink marker first and wrote it but it faded, so i wrote over it.  then i went out and told him the story and he cried.  and we hugged, and then i cried.  then we both cried.”

little boys baseball gospel dancing with my father b

over the years we’ve heard people ask us as a family, “are you done yet?”  i’ve heard the comment “i could never have that many kids,” more times than i can count.  and i always respond that i can’t imagine any of them being deprived the blessing of the others.  this is why.

little boys baseball gospel dancing with my father a

dancing divider webb

roasted autumn vegetables with apple cider glaze

the windows are open!  the breeze is actually wafting from front to back of our house today, and everybody waffles between feeling re-energized for life in general, and having a deep desire to curl up with hot spiced chai and a good book… then a nap.  then this arrived on the doorstep – a tantalizing invitation from mccormick gourmet to experiment with a mystery flavor combination.  a dare to create something new with the somewhat-familiar.

mccormick spice dancing with my father

so instead of napping, we decided to make venison steak and roasted autumn vegetables with apple cider glaze.  because roasting vegetables and consuming apple-cider-anything are iconic fall family activities, right?  and any excuse i have to eat brussel sprouts, which as a child made me shudder, and today make me all gooey inside, i will take.  especially if i can attain the victory of getting my children to not just partake, but enjoy these little babies!

roasted autumn cider veggies a

acorn squash.  brussel sprouts.  macintosh apples. warming spices like smoked paprika and five spice.  walnut oil. maple syrup.  apple cider.  are you with me?

roasted autumn cider veggies

first, start your glaze by finely chopping and cooking the chorizo.  after you get the rest of your glaze ingredients simmering, head to your veggies!  (special note: this recipe calls for smoked paprika.  it makes all the difference!  open a bottle of paprika and a bottle of smoked paprika and lemme know what you think!)

roasted autumn cider veggies b

chop the veggies and apples all into similarly-sized pieces.  drizzle with walnut oil, maple syrup, and sprinkle with salt and pepper and Chinese 5 Spice.

roasted autumn vegetables with cider maple glazegf

roasted autumn vegetables with cider maple glaze d

have i mentioned my love affair with walnut oil?  open the can.  breathe deeply through your nose.  and if you need nutritional inspiration, click here, and read how rich it is in B vitamins, calcium, niacin, vitamin C, and others as well as omega 3 fatty acids, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

roasted autumn vegetables with cider maple glaze e roasted autumn vegetables with cider maple glaze f

add the cooked chorizo and toss to combine before roasting.

(thank you, dear friend tina, for modeling your pretty hands for me!)

roasted autumn vegetables with cider maple glaze a

before serving, toss with the cider maple glaze.

roasted autumn vegetables with cider maple glaze b

see if, like me, you don’t create yummy new autumn memories with your family!

roasted autumn vegetables with cider maple glaze c

want to make it?  here’s the recipe:

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

with Cider Maple Glaze

by Angela Sackett, October, 2013



Apple Cider Glaze

4 oz chorizo

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 shallot, finely minced

1teaspoon McCormick smoked paprika

1 cup apple cider

1/2 cup chicken stock

Finely chop chorizo and drop into sizzling-hot skillet.  Cook 2-3 minutes and set aside, leaving oils in pan.  Add 1 tablespoon butter and shallot and cook 2-3 minutes, until translucent and starting to brown.  Whisk in cider and broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until slightly reduced (about 10-12 minutes).  Keep warm and before serving, whisk in remaining tablespoon butter.  (I  recommend seasoning to taste just before serving as flavors intensify when glaze reduces.)

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees and combine ingredients for roasting:

 2 pounds fresh brussel sprouts, halved

1 1/2 cup acorn squash, chopped into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2 large squash)

2 macintosh apples, chopped with skin on

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1 heaping teaspoon McCormick Chinese 5 Spice powder

1/4 cup walnut oil (may substitute olive oil, but the walnut oil is delicious!)

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

 Toss ingredients together in a pan, omitting walnuts and adding chorizo from above.  Roast at 425 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

 Add walnuts and toss again, then roast for an additional 15 minutes or until softened and caramelized to a golden brown.  (We like ours crispy at the edges!)

Before serving, lightly toss with the warm apple cider glaze.  Enjoy.

dancing divider webb