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Archive | 2011

Holiday Traditions – Food, Friends and Family. A very special Christmas dinner with the Isernios.

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If you love food and spending quality time with good friends and family, this really is the most wonderful time of the year.  What are your favorite traditions for the holidays?  Do they include any kind of special meal or food?

Frank Isernio and his wife Margaret have an annual tradition of hosting a Christmas dinner party for a group of great friends.  Margaret goes all out, putting exquisite detail into each course.  Here’s the menu from this year’s dinner:

 

 

Appetizers in the Living Room as guests arrive

    • Crostini with Lox, Goat Cheese & Chives, with a dab of Crème Fraiche & Caviar
    • Crostini with Rapini cooked with Shaved Garlic & Hot Chili Flakes, topped with shaved Pecorino Romano
    • Homemade Spicy Roasted Nuts (Cashews, Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts & Pistachios)
    • Champagne

Antipasti

    • Roasted Marinated Red & Yellow Peppers with Olive Oil, Garlic, Oregano & Balsamic Vinegar
    • Marinated Deboned Smelts, cured with fresh Lemon Juice, then marinated in Olive Oil, Garlic, Thyme & Chili Flakes
    • Marinated Fresh Anchovies that were cured in White Wine Vinegar & Lemon, then marinated with Olive Oil, Garlic, Parsley & Hot Chili Flakes, on a bed of greens (Watercress, Parsley, Celery leaves & Chives) dressed with Olive Oil, Lemon & White Wine Vinegar
    • Steamed Cauliflower Florets with an Olive Oil, Anchovy dressing, served warm
    • Alaska King Crab leg chunks, dressed with Olive Oil & Lemon
    • Good crusty Italian Bread
    • 2006 Campogiovanni Brunello Di Montelcino

Primo and Secondi Courses served together

    • Margherita’s homemade Sausage, Spinach & Cheese Ravioli’s with a tomato sauce of braised Pork Spareribs and Isernio’s Pork & Chicken Sausages.  The meat was served on a platter separately.
    • 2006 Sloan Asterisk Rutherford Cabernet

 

 

 

Insalata Course

    • Baby Arugula Salad with lots of shaved Fennel in an Orange Fennel Olive Oil dressing, served on a platter with peeled sliced Navel Oranges.

Took a break to smoke Cigars and drink liquor (Sambuca & Solerno, a Blood Orange Liqueur) and sparkling water.

Dessert

    • Margherita’s Struffoli (honey-dipped deep fried dough balls)
    • Margherita’s Italian Fruit Cake, with rum soaked Figs & Raisins, crystalized Ginger, roasted Walnuts & lots of spices.
    • Margherita’s Almond Biscotti
    • Lucia’s homemade Lemon Tart (one of our guests)
    • Angela’s Hazelnut cookies (one of our guests)
    • Margherita’s Dried Figs cooked in Honey, White Wine & Thyme, then stuffed with a roasted Almond & drizzled with good aged Balsamic Vinegar
    • Platter of Red Grapes & Bartlett Pear slices with a Cheese Assortment
    • Espresso & Moscato D’Asti

Now how’s that for some dinner inspiration?  We would love to hear about any special meal or recipes you and your family enjoy around the holidays too.  Feel free to share them here! 

Hoping you all have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Show us your Stuff(ing) – Italian Sausage, Spinach & Pasta Stuffing

Here’s a recipe from Pamela C. for a sausage stuffing with spinach and small pasta shells in addition to the traditional bread.  Looks like a delicious compliment to Thanksgiving turkey!  Pamela is getting a coupon for a FREE chicken sausage roll, just for sending us this recipe.  You could too!  Just send us your favorite sausage stuffing recipe by the end of the day tomorrow (Friday Nov. 18).  Email it to:  info@isernio.com

Stuffing with Italian Sausage, Spinach & Pasta Shells

  • 1 lb chicken Italian Sausage
  • 1 box chopped frozen spinach, thawed with excess water squeezed out 
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 (16 oz) box small shells pasta
  • 1/3 bag herbed stuffing mix, or one box stuffing mix
  • 1 (14 oz) can low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • cook pasta according to package directions then drain and rinse with water to cool off
  • brown sausage and mix with pasta
  • add spinach and stuffing mix
  • add beaten eggs and any salt and pepper and mix throughly
  • place into a sprayed casserole dish and pour chicken broth over the mixture
  • cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 5-10 minutes to brown the top

Show us your stuff(ing): Tasty Italian Style Stuffing

Here’s another entry we received for our “Show us your Stuff(ing)” sausage giveaway – Nancy Y’s recipe for a tasty Italian-style stuffing with Isernio’s sausage.  You too could get a coupon for FREE sausage just like Nancy!  All you need to do is email us your favorite sausage stuffing recipe, and we’ll mail you a coupon for a FREE chicken sausage roll.  What could be easier?  Email it to us at info@isernio.com

And now, on with the stuffing:

Tasty Italian Style Stuffing

  • 6 cups stale bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3 tsp dried parsley
  • 4 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 1 lb Isernio’s Italian Chicken Sausage roll
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth

Combine bread crumbs, salt, pepper and herbs in a large bowl.  Drizzle melted butter over and toss to coat.  Spread half the mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, tossing occassionally to brown evenly.  Repeat with the second half of the mixture.  Return to large bowl and cool completely.  Add grated parmesan and toss to combine. 

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbs butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent and browning around the edges, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add garlic and saute about 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Add the sausage, breaking up and cooking until nice and golden brown. 

Add to cooled bread crumb mixture, combine thoroughly. 

Add wine to the now empty skillet, scraping to loosen the browned bits from the bottom.  Add this and the broth to the stuffing mix and combine thoroughly.  (It should be very wet.  If not, add more broth until it reaches the consistency of breakfast oatmeal.)  Pour into a buttered 8X11 baking dish and return to oven.  Bake at 350′ for about 30 minutes or until the top and edges are golden brown and crunchy.  Serve hot.  Serves 6-8.

Show us your stuff(ing): Sausage and Herb Low Carb Stuffing

Here is Agnes G’s recipe for a low-carb sausage stuffing.  She says her guests don’t even touch the bread stuffing anymore.  They beg for this dish so she has to quadruple the recipe!

Agnes will be receiving a coupon for a FREE Isernio’s Chicken Sausage roll for sharing this recipe with us.  You can get free sausage too – just send us your favorite recipe for sausage stuffing (email to: info@isernio.com) before Friday November 18!

Sausage and Herb Low Carb Stuffing

  • 3/4 pound Isernio’s Chicken sausage (you may use pork breakfast sausage) 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery 
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower 
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow squash 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Equipment: 8 by 8-inch square baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove sausage from casing and crumble it into a pan over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook, stirring, until browned. Drain fat if necessary.

Beat the eggs in a bowl.  Using a spoon, mix in the sausage mixture and all the remaining ingredients. Pour the stuffing into the baking dish and bake until hot and browned, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Show us your stuff(ing), and get FREE sausage!

describe the imageHard to believe Turkey Day is only a week and a half away.  Do you have your menu planned out?  One of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes is, of course, sausage stuffing.   A holiday meal just isn’t complete without this savory side dish.

We want to hear from you – what’s your favorite sausage stuffing recipe?  Is it a traditional sage dressing, or a Southern style with cornbread, or do you like it a little fancier with dried cranberries or wild rice? 

Whatever it is, send us your favorite sausage stuffing recipe, and we’ll send you a coupon for a FREE Isernio’s Chicken Sausage Roll!  Between now and Friday November 18, email your recipe to us at info@isernio.com, and include your address so we can send you your coupon.   We’ll post some of the recipes on our Facebook page, to share the stuffing inspiration with everyone!

By the way, here is Frank’s favorite stuffing recipe (it’s great using our chicken sausage rolls too!).  Or check out a video of Frank making this recipe here

Cannelloni with Isernio’s Sausage and Spinach

describe the imageWho doesn’t love a nice warm pasta dish on these chilly fall nights?  Here’s a recipe from our friend Brian Baldwin for a hearty cannelloni with ‘Rosa’ sauce.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Cannelloni  – Isernio’s Sausage & Spinach

Filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (or more to taste)
12 oz frozen chopped spinach (thawed & drained)
8 oz. Isernio’s Hot Italian Chicken Sausage (links or roll)
8 oz. ground turkey, or Isernio’s Ground Chicken
2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Béchamel Sauce: 
4 TBS butter
4 TBS flour
4 cups milk
1 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste.       

Cheese Topping:  
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or shredded Italian mix – 4 Italian cheeses)

One 8-oz. package of manicotti shells

Directions:

Make the Béchamel Sauce:  In saucepan, heat butter until melted. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9 by 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

To make the filling:  In a large sauce pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, turkey, onion and garlic, cook until tender and brown, about five minutes. Stir in spinach, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Cook about five minutes.  Stir in approx 1 cup of the béchamel sauce.

Rosa sauce: Add approx 1 1/2 cups of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce Four Cheese (or any marinara sauce and 2 cups cheese) to the balance of the béchamel sauce until it’s a nice ‘Rosa’ color.

For the pasta, add package of manicotti shells to a large pot of boiling salted water.  Parboil for four minutes. Do not overcook, they will finish cooking in the oven. Carefully remove noodles from water to cool.  Place in the original package “rack” and let cool.

Use a zip lock bag to fill the shells with the filling.  Cut a small corner of the bag and squeeze the filling into the shells like a pastry bag.

To assemble the cannelloni:  Spread about 1/2 cup of the Rosa sauce in the baking dish.  Carefully transfer filled cannelloni to pan. Top cannelloni with remaining Rosa sauce.  Cover pan with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with 2 cups mozzarella (or Italian mix) cheese and bake for 5 additional minutes, until cheese is melted.

Makes 14 cannelloni.  Serves 4 – 6.

Ready to get your tailgate party on? Football and food – The perfect pairing

describe the imageFootball season is here, and as we all know, the food is just about as important as the game itself!  Who doesn’t love the time-honored tradition of tailgating?  Gathering before the game to enjoy food and drinks with your fellow fans is a pretty great way to spend the weekend!  Whether it’s college or pro (or heck, even managing your fantasy league in your pj’s at home) – a football game means it’s time to enjoy some good eats.

We loved the mobile feasts described in this tailgating article and tailgating recipe collection from Saveur Magazine.  (Grilled cinnamon rolls??  Yes please!).   And of course there’s always room for sausage at a tailgate party.  There are some pretty creative ways to serve it too.  How about Grilled Bratwurst with Shoestring Gremolata Fries or Italian Sausage Chili.  Or, kick off the morning by baking some of these Spicy Breakfast Sausage Biscuits and taking with you for a warm and savory start to the party.

What are your favorite tailgate foods?  Or if you don’t tailgate, what kinds of foods do you enjoy while watching the game at home?   We’d love to see your favorite recipes!

Isernio’s Sausage: Now Certified Gluten Free!

describe the imageWe are so pleased to announce that our products are now certified gluten free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO), the most recognizable and leading gluten-free certification program in the world. 

The GFCO “provides an independent service to supervise gluten-free food production according to a consistent, defined, science-based standard that is confirmed by field inspections, in order to achieve heightened consumer confidence and safety.”  Their standards go beyond the requirements of government laws and regulations, to ensure shopper confidence in the products they certify, which now includes our all-natural sausage.

Isernio’s products and production methods were audited and tested by the GFCO and have been confirmed to meet their strict gluten-free standards.  We are also subject to ongoing testing to ensure we continue to meet these standards.  This means if you or a member of your family follows a gluten-free diet, you can safely and confidently enjoy Isernio’s products!

All of our products (except our British Bangers) are now certified by the GFCO – this includes all pork and chicken sausage links, rolls and ground chicken and pork.  (Our British Bangers are not certified because they contain wheat, which is stated clearly on the ingredient label).

Look for the GFCO logo on our labels soon, to make it even easier to identify our gluten-free products. Visit the FAQ section on the GFCO website for more information on their mission and audit procedures.  And of course, feel free to email us if you ever have any questions about our products.

Reminder: Italian Chicken Sausage now available at select Costco warehouses

describe the imageIt’s back to school time, and (dare we say it) the holidays are just around the corner, so it’s a great time to stock your freezer with quick, easy meal ideas for the busy days ahead! Don’t forget, select Costco stores are now carrying an exclusive 3-pack of our all-natural, low fat Italian Chicken Sausage Rolls at a great price ($8.99 for 3 – that’s just $3 a roll!). Thaw one out in the refrigerator overnight for a healthy, delicious dinner or breakfast the next day. This bulk sausage is perfect for use in spaghetti sauce, quiche, omelets, or even as a substitute for ground beef or turkey (it makes a fantastic burger). We have plenty of recipes on our website at www.isernio.com/recipes. Look for the exclusive 3-pack of Italian Chicken sausage at these Costco locations (and if you go on the right day, you might get a free sample too!):

Covington, WA
Issaquah, WA
Kirkland, WA
Marysville, WA
Puyallup, WA
Seattle, WA (4th Ave)
Sequim, WA
Tukwila, WA
Tumwater, WA
Woodinville, WA
Bend, OR
Anchorage, AK (Dimond Blvd.)

Sausage and Food Safety: Some Good Guidelines

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A recent ground turkey recall due to an outbreak of Salmonella has been in the news, which reminded us that it’s always important to keep food safety top of mind when preparing any food in your home, especially fresh meats like our pork and chicken sausage. Whether it’s a grilled sausage sandwich or a savory pasta sauce, the peace of mind from knowing you handled and cooked the sausage properly will make it that much more enjoyable!

The USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service recommends the following guidelines for preventing Salmonella:

    • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry.
    • Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.
    • Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked.
    • Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
    • Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for ground meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.
    • Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

A lot of this is common sense, but it’s always a good idea to remind ourselves of these guidelines once in a while. We also think one of the best tools you can have in the kitchen is a good digital thermometer – get one that will give you an instant temperature reading (we like this one). Making sure your fresh sausage is cooked to the proper temperature will help you and your family enjoy the meal worry-free!