Thursday, November 26, 2009

It tastes better than it looks

This is kind of a terrible picture, I know. My proper camera ran out of batteries, so I made do. Anyway, this was dinner last night. Dinner kept becoming something different as the day went on, it was kind of frustrating! At first, my plan was to try making a breakfast strata because I had some maple turkey sausage in the freezer that had been there forever and I wanted to use it before it got too frosty.

But as I looked at the recipe, I realized I didn't have any cheese and by that time, it was too late to take anything else out. I think this happens to me too much. Since I've switched my focus from making new dessert recipes (my poor poor waist) to making new dinner recipes, I seem to have given up planning. I think it's because dinner ideas lend themselves so well to creativity. I take most dinner recipes as more of a suggestion, a guideline, and then I end up doing whatever I want in the end. I don't measure ingredients, I very rarely have the right poundage of meat, and lately, I rarely have the important ingredients that make the dish that dish -- I don't know how I ended up with absolutely no cheese on the one night I wanted to use it. We don't even eat that much cheese! This is the sort of thing that's been happening. When I have the stuff, I don't know what to make with it, then, as soon as it's gone, I have the perfect recipe for it.

Anyway, back to the rice. I figured I could make stir fried rice with the sausage. Add some soy sauce, wing the other flavours and that should work. There was a moment when I was cooking the sausage, onions, and mushrooms, that I thought maybe I should make some spaghetti instead. This looks like it'd be really good on spaghetti. But, of course, I had the rice sitting there (which I cooked several hours early and cooled) and there was another inner-debate on just saving it and making rice pudding (something else I've been craving lately) until I remembered I'd used chicken stock to cook it. Oh well. I'll make rice pudding some other day when I'm out of rice.

Despite all my change of plans and false starts, I'm really surprised and pleased by how this turned out. I think it's more like a dirty rice, but honestly I felt like it was more of a leftover concoction. Even though I wasn't technically using that many leftovers. I had some egg yolk and milk left from when I baked the christopsomo (it was for the wash over top), and I had some miracle whip (I don't buy mayo. Not because I don't like it. I don't think I've ever tried it, but I grew up with miracle whip and that's what I like and that's what I use for everything) and cayenne pepper mix leftover from when I made some sweet potato fries the night before (that sounds gross, but sweet potato fries and even regular fries taste fantastic dipped in miracle whip. Add some ketchup, and you've really got something!) So maybe it was just a seasoning leftover party. I was a little nervous about the maple sausage and adding seasonings to it, because it was very maple flavoured. You could really taste that distinct flavour. Surprisingly, all of that worked fantastically together.

So, as best as I can remember (the amounts are guesstimates), here's what I threw into it. Obviously, I think it's pretty easy for anyone to just throw together this kind of dish. Keep adding stuff you like (or that you have left in your fridge) and keep tasting it. Tasting is super important! And always stop when you're ahead ; D

Maple Sausage Rice
2 cups cooked rice (cooked with a boullion cube or stock)
1 package maple turkey/chicken sausage, remove the meat from the casing (just slit it down one side with your knife, and then you can peel the casing off really easily)
1 onion, chopped
3 mushrooms, chopped
3 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup (more or less) water (just use this to thin out your rice. As it cooks, it tends to get a little pastey and thick which isn't very pleasant eating)
salt/pepper to taste
These ingredients are optional:
2 tsp miracle whip mixed with cayenne pepper (as hot as you like; you could also just use cayenne pepper alone because the heat was a nice addition to the sweet of the sausage, though I really liked the tang of the whip, too)
1 egg yolk mixed with milk (I just wanted to get rid of it, honestly, but it did make the rice a little creamier)
1 chopped tomato (I just wanted to add some colour and a veggie, you could use some other veggie, too)

Cook the sausage until it's nice and crumbly (like ground beef), add in onions and garlic, cook  until the onions are clear. Add in mushrooms. Cook those down a bit. Add seasonings. Add rice, mix all together. Add water as needed. Add the optional ingredients if you like. Enjoy!

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