I was going to change the name of this dish to just ‘spaghetti casserole’ because (before I made it) I thought that calling it Million Dollar Spaghetti was a bit pretentious. Well, as you can tell, I didn’t change the name. That’s because, yeah, Million Dollar Spaghetti is the perfect name for it.
If you close your eyes and take a bite of this spaghetti you’ll almost think you are eating lasagna. Actually, it’s very close in flavor to my mom’s easy lasagna, a recipe I make and devour regularly. Spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, pasta, a little Italian seasoning and plenty of cheese. What’s not to love?
Million Dollar Spaghetti was a huge hit in our house. We were sad when the last piece disappeared. But not super sad since we knew it won’t be long until we make this again. And again.
You can easily change this recipe up to meet your own tastes. Maybe add some fresh mushrooms in when you cook the sausage. Or a few bell peppers. For me, a pinch or two of red pepper flake is always a good idea too. You don’t have to use an expensive jarred spaghetti sauce, either. Good ole Prego (I used Italian Sausage and Garlic) works just great!
For years and years I have grilled my sausages after they spent some quality time in a ‘bath’ of beer and peppers and onions. And they are great, I admit it. But these kraut-stuffed sausages, well, they’re really beyond great. Tender, moist, and just packed with flavor. Such a wonderful texture in every single bite. I couldn’t stop eating them. Topped with plenty of mustard, these are now my only go-to grilled sausages. You have to use the right kind of sausages to make these kraut-stuffed sausages. Get the fresh sausages, with casings. You need to be able to poke your finger inside to make a cavity for the fantastic (but easy) filling. And unless your fingers are really, really long, don’t get really, really long sausages!
I suggested to Anita that we try adding other things to the stuffing, such as chopped roasted jalapenos, or poblanos or the like and she gave me a dirty look. The “don’t mess with this” look. So I won’t.
Also try my bratwurst bath. Perfect for getting brats ‘happy’ before grilling them.
1 pound fresh sausages (Italian, Kielbasa, whichever you prefer, just make sure you get the sausages in casings). I used Johnsonville Italian sausages which come 5 to a pound
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, cut thin
1 pound kraut plus some of the juice
1 cup shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, mozzarella, any good white melting cheese will work)
5 fresh sausage buns
Your favorite mustard
Using your fingers, make a hole down the center of each sausage, creating a cavity that runs the full length of the sausages.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the onion, kraut, and a bit of the juice from the kraut jar.
Stir and let cook until the onions are softened.
Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Stir in the cheese. It won't melt but it will help bind the kraut mixture together.
Fire up your grill for indirect cooking.
Using your hands, grab some of the kraut mixture and force it into the cavity in the sausages. Just keep packing it in. Don't worry about being all pretty and what-not, just get it in there. But don't shove so hard that you have a blowout!
Place sausages over indirect heat on the grill and cook for 30 minutes until nice and dark and done.
Toast the buns.
Add cooked sausages to the buns and top with plenty of mustard.
These Italian sausage sandwiches have become somewhat of a tradition in our house around New Year’s and the Superbowl. I make a nice big batch of them and let them slow cook either on the stove or in a slow cooker, ready to eat at any time. Perfect eats for watching football games, specially college bowl games. Spicy sausage with a flavorful tomato sauce loaded with peppers, onions, and mushrooms. All topped (of course) with ooey-gooey cheese. I’m not sure I’ve ever made my Italian sausage sandwiches exactly the same way each year. Sometimes I go the spicy route, sometimes I use sweet sausages. Sometimes I add more bell peppers, sometimes I just add more mushrooms. It just kind of depends on how I feel that day. If you don’t mind spicy, add more red pepper flake and a good amount of hot sauce.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon (more or less, to taste) red pepper flake
2 loaves French bread
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Place the pizza and tomato sauces into a large pot over medium heat.
In a large Dutch oven, heat a splash or two of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the sausages, browning on all sides. Transfer browned sausages to the pot of sauce.
Add more oil to the Dutch oven and add all of the vegetables. Saute until just starting to get soft, then transfer to the pot of sauce along with the sausages.
Season with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flake.
Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
Slice the bread in half. I prefer to do this by cutting a 'V' down the top of the bread, making a trench for the sausages and sauce. I find that the bread doesn't split so easily this way. I also remove some of the bread inside just to make more room for the great toppings.
Cut bread into lengths a tad shorter than the sausages.
Add meat and top with sauce and a little bit of the vegetables.
Top with cheese and place on a sheet pan under the oven broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.
I was looking for a different take on ribs, something other than the “usual” BBQ-flavor, when I came across a recipe for ribs with the flavor of Italian sausage (oh my!). I knew right then that I was going to make them on my Big Easy.
The resulting Italian “sausage” baby back ribs is fantastic. They taste just like Italian sausage, with a wonderful twist. Again, tender and juicy. And with the hint (not overpowering) of fennel and the other seasonings found in Italian sausage. The orange glaze is absolutely to die for. The brown sugar gives the ribs a bit of a crust, a crunchy exterior. The glaze is not overly sweet thanks to rice wine vinegar, orange juice and zest, and chile paste (yum! a nice kick!). These are some of the best ribs I’ve ever had or made, and I’ve made a lot of them, from on the grill, on the smoker, and now on the Big Easy.
2 racks baby back ribs, trimmed to fit the Big Easy (alternatively, if you have a particularly large rack, just halve it and the remaining ingredients). Remove the membrane from the backs of the ribs and trim any large chunks of fat.
32 ounces apple cider or juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup sea salt
1/2 cup loose packed brown sugar
For the rub
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, lightly ground
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the glaze
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup orange juice (2 big oranges)
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon hot chili paste
Place the ribs into a resealable container.
In a medium bowl, combine the brine ingredients. Pour over the ribs and seal.
Refrigerate 12 hours, turning the ribs occasionally.
Fire up your big easy
Attach ribs to the rib hooks. Attach ribs to the Big Easy and lower into the cooker. Cook 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the rub by combining all ingredients.
Rub ribs generously with the rub (being careful to not burn yourself on the rib hooks!). Wrap the ribs in foil, making sure that the rib hooks stick out enough to be used.
Return ribs to the Big Easy and cook another 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the glaze by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and simmer until reduced by half.
Remove ribs from the Big Easy and remove the foil. Brush ribs on all sides with the glaze and return to the cooker for 10 minutes. Add more glaze and cook another 5 minutes or until the desired color is achieved.
After visiting the Citizen Hash food truck the other day, and seeing (and tasting) how great the hash was, I decided to make a copycat version of the spring hash, a sausage mushroom kale hash. My version is a little heavier on the sausage, but you can adjust it as you like. I also added a fried egg, but next time I’ll add a poached egg instead.
This is an easy dish to make, and it has great flavor to boot. I used hot Italian sausage for a little extra kick.
Also try my Hobo hash. Just as easy, just as great.
Some folks don’t really care for polenta. I think it is one of the best (and easiest) things to make. What’s not to like about great corn flavor, with cheese and butter? This hot Italian sausage with fresh corn polenta dish has a great combination of creamy corn smoothness and the heat and juiciness of sausages.
So is there a difference between polenta and grits? Apparently, yes, but there are lots of thoughts on the subject. I usually use cornmeal, and for dishes like this one, I prefer a coarser variety when I can find it.
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 cans if you don't have fresh on hand)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for shaving
12 links fresh hot Italian sausage
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Bring 7 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Add salt.
While whisking the water, slowly pour in the cornmeal. Keep whisking until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3-4 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium low and let the cornmeal cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. If the mixture gets too thick, add just a bit of hot water, stir, and add more water in small quantities if needed.
Add in the fresh corn and stir. Continue cooking until the cornmeal is smooth and no longer gritty, 10-15 more minutes.
Add the butter and cheese and stir. Add more salt to taste if desired.
Grill sausages until done.
Let rest 5 minutes then cut into thirds.
Spoon cornmeal onto plates and top with the sausages. Garnish with parsley and a few cheese shavings and serve.
I was a little pessimistic when I set out to make this colorful Christmas pasta dish. I thought, sure, it looks Christmasy (and it’s nowhere near Christmas time), but I wasn’t sure it’d have a lot of flavor. I was pleasantly surprised at the end result, which Anita absolutely raved about.
This beef and Italian sausage chili is a wonderfully tasty chili. The Italian sausage really adds a lot to the flavor. It isn’t hot (but can be if you add a lot of hot sauce or use hot Italian sausage).I found this recipe in Marje Lambert’s great cookbook, The Real Chili Cookbook. I did make a few minor changes for our tastes. Also try my version 2.0 of beef and Italian sausage chili.