Quick Fix Homemade Breakfast Sausage

I’ve made homemade breakfast sausage from scratch before. I picked up a few pork shoulders, trimmed them, ground them (twice) and added seasonings. But I don’t always have the time (or energy, really) to do all that work. That’s when my quick fix homemade breakfast sausage comes in handy.

I use a great seasoning mix from A.C. Legg’s that I picked up on Amazon. It has just the right blend of spices without having too much sage or black pepper.
quick-fix-homemade-breakfast-sausageI cook the sausage as soon as I make it. I crumble it and freeze it in batches so I can make breakfast cups for Anita’s breakfasts during the week. You can also form it into patties. I also love smoking breakfast sausage for a fantastically different flavor.

Quick Fix Homemade Breakfast Sausage
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Serves: 1 pound
 
I use a mixer to combine the meat and seasonings. You can use your hands if you wish, just make sure the meat and the bowl you are using for mixing are very cold before mixing.
Ingredients
  • Note: You can scale this recipe up to use as much pork as you need.
  • 1 pound quality ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon (or slightly more) breakfast sausage mix (I use A.C Legg's seasoning)
Instructions
  1. Place the pork into your mixer bowl and place into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix.
  3. Place onto mixer using the bread hook and mix for 5-10 minutes.
  4. If this is your first time making the sausage I recommend that you take a small handful of the mixed sausage and cook it in a skillet. Taste it after it cools (while cooling place the uncooked meat mixture into the freezer in case you need to mix more). If you need to, add more seasoning and mix well.
  5. Freeze or cook the sausage. You can also form it into patties if you wish.

Quick Fix BBQ Ranch Dressing

A lot of restaurant signature sauces start with simple, off-the-shelf ingredients. A restaurant near us starts with BBQ sauce and Ranch, just like with this quick fix BBQ Ranch dressing, and then adds a few other ingredients (such as crumbled cooked bacon) to make it different for different dishes, such as for dipping onion rings or chicken wings.
This quick fix BBQ dressing isn’t just for salads, that’s for sure. I squirted it on a big plate of French fries. I dipped grilled chicken wings in it. Just make sure you start with good, quality BBQ sauce and Ranch dressing. And don’t hesitate to use a spicy BBQ sauce, or one with a bit of smoky flavor to it.

Also try my dill Ranch dressing.

Easy BBQ Ranch Dressing
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Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Embellishments, optional (crumbled cooked bacon, chili powder, cayenne, Sriracha, hot sauce, chopped fresh parsley, etc)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the two ingredients.
  2. Add any embellishments and stir to combine.

Easy Creole Meatloaf

There’s one rule I have about meatloaf: the veggies have to be chunky. I want some crunch to offset what is essentially a large brick-of-meat. Nothing wrong with a brick of meat, but put some nice chunky vegetables in it. This easy Creole meatloaf hit the spot and it definitely did not break my meatloaf rule. Great flavor. Moist. And just a hint of spiciness.
Easy Creole MeatloafNow, I will say that leftover super chunky easy Creole meatloaf does make for a pretty messy sandwich. But then, who really sits around dreaming of a nice, neat leftover meatloaf sandwich? Not me. It is not something to be ashamed of if you have to go open-faced with your meatloaf sandwich.

Also try my Cajun meatloaf.

Easy Creole Meatloaf
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Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
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Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 slices white bread
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup, plus more for topping
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Place the bread in a large bowl and add the milk. Let soak for a few minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the bread except for half of the ketchup and combine well.
  5. Form into a loaf in the baking dish.
  6. Spread the remaining ketchup over the top of the meatloaf.
  7. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  9. Let stand 5 -10 minutes before slicing.

Easy Crispy Fried Chicken using the Vortex

There’s definitely no wrong way to make ‘fried’ chicken on your charcoal grill using the Vortex. I absolutely love it. For a long time I’ve been making my chicken using batter made from scratch. This time I decided to try an off-the-shelf batter mix usually meant for actual deep frying in oil. The result? Absolutely delicious, crunchy, moist fried chicken with about as little fuss and mess as possible. And no oil.
Any good fried chicken batter mix will work. It’s called easy crispy fried chicken for a reason. Just dip and put onto the grill. I prefer to use split bone-in chicken breasts or thighs. I recommend bone-in chicken because it will have more flavor and won’t dry out as easily as boneless. You can use boneless chicken but you might have to adjust the cook time. When I do need boneless ‘fried’ chicken I still cook it bone-on then remove the meat from the bone when done. If you prefer to make your own batter from scratch, try my super easy Vortex fried chicken recipe. For something a bit more fru-fru, make my spicy BBQ fried chicken. You’ll quickly see why fried chicken on the Vortex is fantastic!

Easy Crispy Fried Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 pounds
 
Note: I've found that rotating the lid isn't very necessary, specially on smaller grills. You can experiment by not rotating and checking the chicken after 30 minutes. If the pieces are cooking evenly you can skip rotating the lid.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fire up your charcoal grill with the Vortex insert. Get the coals good and hot.
  2. In a large bowl combine 5 tablespoons of the batter mix with 1/4 cup of cold water.
  3. Place the remaining batter mix in a shallow pie pan.
  4. Working piece-by-piece, dredge the chicken in the wet batter mix. Shake off any excess then roll the chicken in the dry batter mix.
  5. Transfer chicken to the grill, placing along the edges.
  6. Cover and cook for 1 hour, rotating the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
  7. Check for doneness (165 F as measured in the thickest pieces of chicken), remove and serve.

Easy Smoked Turkey Breast

I set out to prove to myself just how easy it can be to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving (or any time of the year). That meant no brining, no basting, no rubs, no oils, no injecting. Nothing. Just a turkey breast. To achieve what ended up being a fantastic result, I used a turkey breast that was already in a basting solution. Turkeys that are already pre-brined (or ‘pumped’) are common and they do save you a lot of time and hassle.
I was very, very happy with this easy smoked turkey breast. It was completely fuss-free. The skin was nice and crunchy. The meat was tender and moist. All that greatness and all I did was put it on the smoker and make sure the cook temperature stayed around 325 F. I used plenty of wood to get plenty of smoky flavor, which I think made up for the spices or basting sauce I would normally add. This is a great way to make a turkey breast for a crowd while still leaving yourself free for other things.

I served the turkey with my smoked turkey gravy, made using broth from turkey wings that I smoked on a few days before smoking this easy turkey breast.

Easy Smoked Turkey Breast
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Cook time: 
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Serves: 1 turkey breast
 
This recipe uses a 'pumped' turkey breast, or one that has already been brined. The package will state 'contains up to 8% of a solution of water, salt, spices to enhance tenderness and juiciness'. Normally I would use a natural turkey that does not contain such a solution, but the goal was to make as easy a turkey breast as possible.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for cooking at 325 F. If you're using a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker (or any smoker that uses a water pan), line the water pan with foil and do not add water.
  2. Use a fruit wood or lighter wood such as hickory.
  3. Place the turkey breast meat side up in the center of the smoker.
  4. Smoke until the meat reaches 165 F as measured in several locations.
  5. Remove and let rest 30 minutes before slicing. Do not cover with foil as this will cause the skin to get soggy.

Shortcut Spaghetti

Yes, sometimes I just grab a big ole jar or two of spaghetti sauce at the grocery store instead of making a big batch of homemade sauce. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t just heat up the sauce and toss it over cooked pasta. Nope, I gotta make my shortcut spaghetti. It’s a dish I started making in my bachelor years, and have perfected over time.
Shortcut Spaghetti
You can use ground beef instead of Italian sausage, but I wouldn’t. The first years I made shortcut spaghetti I used beef. Sausage is better. Much better. And my homemade Italian sausage is fantastic. I make a batch and freeze it in one pound packages. Perfect for a shortcut dish.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Instead of pasta, serve the meat sauce mixture on a hoagie or sub roll as a sandwich and top with tons of shredded mozzarella. It’s the perfect messy Sloppy Italian Joe sandwich. Or substitute meatballs for the sausage.

Shortcut Spaghetti
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Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Serves: 10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 (14 ounce) packages Jacksonville Italian sausage links, casings removed or ground sausage OR my homemade Italian sausage
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 (24 ounce) jars your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Fresh Mushroom)
  • Pasta, cooked per package instructions
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Crumble the sausage into a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. When the sausage is almost browned add the mushrooms and onion and continue sauteeing until the onion starts to soften. Remove from heat and drain.
  3. Add sauce to a large pot over low heat.
  4. Add in the meat mixture.
  5. Cover and let simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve over cooked pasta (or mix the pasta in with the sauce first) garnished with parsley and Parmesan.

Cheater Chicken Parmesan Sliders

I admit, I don’t always cook up a big ole fru-fru dinner. In fact, sometimes I crave junk food. Or a take on junk food.

I was rummaging through the freezer and found a batch of homemade pizza sauce. I decided to make some cheater chicken Parmesan sliders. They’re just what you might imagine: pre-made chicken nuggets, pizza (or marinara) sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, all served on slider buns for a quick and easy tasty bites. They’re actually very tasty and kinda fun to eat. They are also perfect game-time snacks.
Cheater Chicken Parmesan SlidersMake sure you use nuggets that are slider-friendly. Chunky nuggets won’t do well here. You want flat ones, which is why I used the nuggets from Tyson’s. Chunky nuggets to make for great crispy chicken po boys, though.

Cheater Chicken Parmesan Sliders
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Serves: 6 sliders
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Toast the buns if desired
  2. Warm the nuggets per the package instructions.
  3. Warm the sauce.
  4. To assemble, top each bun bottom with 1/2 slice Mozzarella cheese.
  5. Add 2 nuggets and a tablespoon or so of sauce.
  6. Add Parmesan cheese and top bun. Serve.

Easy Turkey Roast on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Turkey roasts from Butterball are a really great way to cook up turkey in no time at all. They’re pretty much no-fuss. Defrost, season, cook, eat. The roasts are already brined, so you don’t have to mess with that either.

In keeping with the easy theme, I decided to cook a roast on my Char-Broil Big Easy. It was my first time (I usually cook full turkeys or bone-in turkey breasts), and I have to say, wow, that was easy! I literally just put a seasoned defrosted roast in the cooker and went away for 45 minutes. I came back to dinner. Well, ok, almost dinner. I made a batch of my delicious (and also easy) Cajun gravy, some stuffing, and green beans. Then I had dinner.

Easy Turkey Roast on the Char-Broil Big EasyYou don’t have to worry about this turkey roast drying out on the Char-Broil Big Easy. Just like with all other things poultry, the Big Easy cooks the roast up evenly and without losing all those great juices.

I seasoned the roast with my Fire-Eater rub, which might not be for everyone, and is definitely not ‘Thanksgivingy’. Substitute your favorite seasoning. Salt and pepper are great by themselves, so no need to use anything fancy. I also made another turkey roast a few days later that I first injected with Texas butter (any injectable butter-based sauce will do). It was really fantastic too! Whole chicken is just as easy, too.

Looking for the perfect dessert to cook in the Big Easy? Try my mini pumpkin cheesecakes. They also take only minutes to cook (they do need to chill before serving), but boy, are they ever fantastic!

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Easy Turkey Roast on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Serves: 3 pounds
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Char-Broil Big Easy.
  2. Remove the roast from the bag. Do not remove it from the twine netting.
  3. Sprinkle your rub on all sides of the roast, rubbing it in as you go.
  4. Place roast in the Big Easy basket and lower into the cooker.
  5. After 45 minutes, begin checking the meat temperature every 5 minutes or so. Once it reaches 165 F remove the roast.
  6. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.