Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Diane's Sausage-Vegetable Plate (March 12, 2013)

In my beginning home economics classes, our teachers were quick to point out the positive effect colors and textures have on a person's desire to eat. We students were instructed to not only create delicious and well-measured recipes, we were to take special care with the presentation  and compatibility of our creations.

A side dish of deep green, orange or red vegetables was an easy fix for a bland-looking or textured plate of food. If those were not available, we could press into service a spring or two of parsley, carrot sticks or at least a dash of paprika!

Today, most of us have come to realize the health benefits of the more deeply hued foods; they are not just there to enhance the look of the plate! However, colorful food makes me smile and if someone uses color to enhance a plate or dish of food, it is a signal to me that the person cares about the people being served.

The Sausage-Vegetable Plate I created is a beautiful example of color and texture. I wanted to eliminate the traditional and so-boring bed-of-pasta and substituted, instead, crunchy and eye-appealing vegetables. The success of this dish was enhanced with a savory red sauce and a decorative sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Note: the bright color and texture of the broccoli and carrots was maintained by using a Glad Simply Cooking (microwavable) bag.

(There are no exact measurements given for this recipe. It can be made for one person or a crowd - you decide how much to make!)

Diane's Sausage-Vegetable Plate

Sausage links (not breakfast sausage!), I used a veg./cheese/chicken sausage
Sweet onion, sliced
Red bell pepper, chopped
Mushrooms, sliced
Tomato sauce, 15 oz.
Pepper blend
Italian seasoning
Carrots, cleaned and sliced on the diagonal
Broccoli, rinsed and chopped
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Put sausage in a pan, (Italian sausage, turkey sausage, chicken sausage may be used). Add enough water to come half-way up the sides of the link(s). Place on med-high heat and bring to simmer. Turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn link(s) over and continue to simmer for 10 minutes more.

Remove links to a cutting board and drain water from pan. Turn heat back to med-high and add 1 T olive oil. When hot stir in sliced onions and red bell pepper. Saute until softened slightly. Add mushrooms and continue to stir and cook until mushrooms are golden.

Meanwhile, slice sausage into 1/2 inch pieces cut on the diagonal, (looks prettier), and add the meat back to the onion mixture. Stir and cook until meat is lightly browned on all sides. Add can of tomato sauce and turn heat to med-low. Stir until evenly mixed. Season lightly with a pepper blend, Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt. Add 1-2  T butter and stir until melted. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Put carrots in a Glad bag and steam per directions (3 min). Remove to a bowl. Add broccoli to bag and steam per directions (3 min.). Add to carrots and toss gently. Add 1 T butter and mix until evenly blended.

To serve: Place carrot and broccoli mixture on serving plate. Top with sausage mixture, leaving a slight border around edges to show off vegetables. Sprinkle grated Parmesan attractively in the center of the dish. Serve.

(This dish may be made ahead and reheated. Assemble after meat and vegetable mixtures have been reheated seperately).

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