34. J’s Sausage Gravy

I don’t remember when I met Husband’s aunt J – it feels like I’ve always known her. She’s the family member who lives closest to us (though she is moving away soon!) and one of the sassiest, strongest women I’ve ever met. She works a management job, which I have very few female role models who do this; she’s also a blast to hang out with and provided us with a good bit of the furniture in our house. Clearly, a wonderful person to know.

For breakfast last weekend, I whipped up this sausage gravy – I was worried that using coconut milk would make it weird and it sort of did; the mixture was a lot thicker than I expected from my Mom’s gravy as a kid, and the tiny back-of-throat sweetness of the gravy was not normal, but the flavor over all was so good that I devoured those biscuits like they were going out of style. I was never a big gravy girl, always a little picky and dubious about sauces, but I’m coming around to this one, especially when it has so much actual sausage in it and isn’t just a roux made of drippings. I would see this as part of a main course over biscuits or toast, not just a sauce on the side. Kept me full and happy for a whole morning of gardening and cleaning.

J’s Sausage Gravy

 

 

  • 1 lb. spicy pork sausage
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ to 1 cup of milk
  • salt and pepper, cayenne pepper.

 

Brown sausage; when fully cooked add butter and let it melt. Add flour 1 tbsp. at a time until all sausage covered lightly. Slowly add salt, pepper, cayenne, to your liking. Cook over medium-low heat; serve over biscuits/toast; top with your favorite hot sauce.

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Hash Browns

On Sunday, Husband and I were coming home and ravenous for lunch; I knew I wanted something pretty wholesome but I also had two leftover cheddar bratwurst that I wanted to use. I decided it was time for some home-made hash browns.

I prefer the Waffle House variety of hash browns when making them at home – sure, the little nuggets of deep-fried goodness you can get at most fast-food breakfasts are wonderful, but those are quite hard to replicate without special equipment. As it is, I just grated two big potatoes and an onion and set the shavings on paper towels to wick away some moisture. Ideal world, you’d do this a couple hours early, I think, but I wasn’t patient (hence the clumpiness of the pictured hash browns).

In a big frying pan, I placed a tablespoon of butter and the onion and potato shavings. While it heated up and the potatoes started to brown, I alternated between stirring and chopping: I chopped up the bratwurst and then also diced a big green pepper, which I cooked separately to avoid adding even more moisture to the delicate frying hash browns. IMG_4900.JPG

When the onions and potatoes were starting to get some color on them, I moved them to half the pan and added the cheddarwurst. I knew the cheese would eke out of them, but I didn’t mind because crispy fried cheese bits would be flavorful. I seasoned the whole mess while they got browned separately, and then mixed it all together. I cracked pepper and added a twinge of parmesan to the green peppers, which gave them a bit of a crust.

In the end, I just threw everything together and Husband and I wolfed it down on the back porch. I realized, as I ate, that it would make a very nice, very simple freezer meal: if there was time to let all the chopped ingredients evaporate for a few hours, then just bag them up, you would have instant, waffle-house-style hashbrowns, which weren’t even exceptionally oily! Obviously, since this is basically just a stirfry with potatoes in it, you have infinite options for subbing out things you don’t like, which I always enjoy.

34. J’s Sausage Gravy

I don’t remember when I met Husband’s aunt J – it feels like I’ve always known her. She’s the family member who lives closest to us (though she is moving away soon!) and one of the sassiest, strongest women I’ve ever met. She works a management job, which I have very few female role models who do this; she’s also a blast to hang out with and provided us with a good bit of the furniture in our house. Clearly, a wonderful person to know.

For breakfast last weekend, I whipped up this sausage gravy – I was worried that using coconut milk would make it weird and it sort of did; the mixture was a lot thicker than I expected from my Mom’s gravy as a kid, and the tiny back-of-throat sweetness of the gravy was not normal, but the flavor over all was so good that I devoured those biscuits like they were going out of style. I was never a big gravy girl, always a little picky and dubious about sauces, but I’m coming around to this one, especially when it has so much actual sausage in it and isn’t just a roux made of drippings. I would see this as part of a main course over biscuits or toast, not just a sauce on the side. Kept me full and happy for a whole morning of gardening and cleaning.

J’s Sausage Gravy

 

 

  • 1 lb. spicy pork sausage
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ to 1 cup of milk
  • salt and pepper, cayenne pepper.

 

Brown sausage; when fully cooked add butter and let it melt. Add flour 1 tbsp. at a time until all sausage covered lightly. Slowly add salt, pepper, cayenne, to your liking. Cook over medium-low heat; serve over biscuits/toast; top with your favorite hot sauce.

5. B’s Spaghetti Squash and Sausage Surprise

sausage surprise

B and I are a special kind of friends. We knew each other throughout college, and had a lot of close mutual friends through various extracurricular interests. Every time I spent time with B, we got into important, interesting conversations, often exceedingly emotional and raw but never awkward. All the friends we had in common stopped keeping in touch with me after college, but B and I, and her boyfriend-turned-husband E, get along famously and whenever we’re in the same city, no matter how busy, we find some way to see each other. I knew they were going to be one of the couples who didn’t know a whole lot of folks at my wedding, but I wanted them there, and they were able to make it.

My wedding was a whirlwind (first and only time a party that big has been for me/about me), but one of the clear memories I have was that in the dance playlist there was a little interlude of bluegrass music – B and I used to contra dance, which is done to old-time tunes and sometimes to bluegrass as well. B found me, in giant white dress, and pulled me to the dance floor for a rollicking jumping-around dance that practically had my fluffy dress taking the place over. I remember it as exhilaration, and I remember it as being connected to someone I rarely get to speak to or spend time with anymore.

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I haven’t asked B yet why she chose this recipe, and I have to admit that I exercised a lot of artistic license with my execution of it. Instead of chicken sausage, I had pork, and it was hot and spicy (which worked to my advantage later). Instead of spaghetti squash, I baked up a big round acorn squash and some zucchini – at the grocery store, I’d looked high and low for spaghetti squash but it must have been out of stock. I figured squashes usually took on the flavors of their surroundings, so the hot and spicy sausage and the later liberal sprinklings of cajun seasoning would make it possible to disguise the incorrect squash.

Our substitute for regular cajun seasoning: paprika, coriander, black pepper, oregano, and garlic.

Our substitute for regular cajun seasoning: paprika, coriander, black pepper, oregano, and garlic.

I would love to make it again, especially given that it is essentially the favorite dish of my husband: he loves covering a large pile of vegetables with seasonings, adding either chicken or beef or sausage, and cooking it together until it is all one big delicious stir fry. This was a nice twist but also familiar for him.

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The food went especially well with the side dish we ended up making (Sage Polenta with Brussel Sprouts and Mushrooms – coming soon!), and mixing a little bit of this spicy dish with some of the creamy, smooth polenta was perfect. I am a recovering spice wimp, so I still appreciate something that can help me temper heat. Still, winter recipe thumbs up for the hot sausage in this recipe – it makes for a delicious mix.

I had a little daydream while Husband was wolfing down his second portion that B and E could come up and visit us; I imagined that we would play a lot of board games, discuss good wine and their interesting jobs, take them for walks in our town and B and I would talk and talk and talk. We’d, in all likelihood, cry at some point. She’d give me advice on marriage. As I ate another big forkful of sausage surprise, I felt warmed by it, and warmed by my daydream.

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Spaghetti Squash and Sausage Surprise

What you need:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • Green, red, and yellow peppers (I used orange… haha)
  • pack of chicken sausage
  • cajun seasoning (we sub pesto too!)
  • mozzerella cheese… amount, who knows? as much as you’d like.
  1. Preheat 350`F – cook squash whole for 30 minutes and 30 minutes after flipping the sqush.
  2. Slice hot-dog length and fork out seeds and goop.
  3. Then fork into “spaghetti noodles” (I missed out on this and just threw in chunks of acorn squash).
  4. Slice peppers and sausage.
  5. Skillet on medium; until brown. Add cajun seasoning, we use lots!
  6. Throw peppers, sausage to bowl of “spaghetti” and add cheese to your liking!