It seems as if the boys are slipping into a breakfast rut. They usually want toast or cereal. While I like that this is easy, it really doesn’t fill them up and fuel them up for the day.
Jack has been known to come home from school saying I didn’t pack enough lunch. What, how much more can I pack?? He barely finishes in his allotted time. Maybe if he had a better breakfast he would stay fuller. As it is now he wants several snacks when he gets home from school. Growth spurt maybe?! All I know is I can’t even fathom the teenage years!
So in an effort to fill the boys up in the morning I decided to make a batch of chicken sausage. I’ve made it in the past and enjoyed it, time to bring it back to the table. With all the news lately about processed and cured meats this is a great alternative to regular sausage, besides obviously being lower in fat.
This whole sausage project turned out to be more than I bargained for though. The day was fated to be miserable. I ran a couple errands in the morning which were successful, Trader Joe’s and the liquor store. Then I was hoping to make the sausage to get it all done and photographed in the daylight, now that the sun was finally showing itself again (way too many gray and rainy days here lately).
I was hunting down my meat grinder attachment for the mixer and couldn’t find it. I vaguely remembered putting it on a shelf in the garage to make room for something else in the kitchen. I looked all over but couldn’t find it where I thought I left it. Things have been moved around and I finally gave up.
So then I cut the chicken in chunks and froze it so I could “grind” it in the food processor. This took longer of course, factoring in the freezer time. That and the time I wasted looking for the grinder attachment put me behind schedule. I managed to get it put together but then rushed out for my haircut.
After my haircut I got stuck in miserable traffic. Why were so many people out at 1:15 on a weekday?! My guess is people off work for Veteran’s Day enjoying a late lunch and some shopping time. I swung by the store to discover they didn’t have the half and half I wanted and put the petal to the metal and was two minutes late picking up Sean from lunch bunch at preschool. It was just one of those days!
At least when we got home I was able to make the sausage patties, cook them and even photograph them in the daylight. I even got it done before the older boys got home from school. I guess I’ll take that as a success. I planned on getting much more done though. Story of my life!
As for the sausage, it tastes wonderful. An advantage to making your own sausage is controlling the seasoning. I myself like it a little spicy so we have a little more crushed red pepper. The fennel is also a great classic seasoning. You can switch things up, whatever seasoning you like go for it. I suppose I might need to tone down the red pepper since Sean and Jack complained about it being spicy this morning. Ewan and I liked it though.
You could certainly use store bought ground chicken, but grinding it yourself really does taste better. You control the coarseness and can use your favorite pieces. I used a combination of boneless skinless breasts and thighs. It was definitely more moist than store bought.
The sausage doesn’t have to be made into patties. I simply did that for easy breakfasts. I cooked all the patties and then froze them so I can pull it out for quick morning meals. It will go well with eggs or on a biscuit with a slice of cheese. The ground sausage could also be used in your favorite breakfast casserole recipe which seem to be even more popular as the holidays get closer. Enjoy your sausage and feel better knowing it is chemical free and lower in fat. That just means you can have an extra dessert at Thanksgiving right?! Another Christmas cookie?!
1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. fennel seeds (crush in your hands to release the flavors)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Combine all the ingredients and use your hands to thoroughly incorporate the spices into the meat. You can use it immediately or let the flavors increase while resting in the fridge for a few hours. Whichever way you cook it make sure to cook the chicken thoroughly (internal temp of 165 degrees).
Yields: 1 1/2 pounds (approx. 6 servings)