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Ten Instagram Accounts You Need to Follow for Mouth-Watering Foodspiration

Whether you’re trying to eat healthy, need quick-and-easy dinner ideas, or want authentic recipes straight from the old country, Instagram has you covered. Here are some of our favorite feeds for whatever type of foodspiration you’re looking for.

trackitlikeitshot – Jenni shares her personal health & wellness journey using the WW system and has TONS of recipe ideas that help her followers stay on plan without feeling deprived. 

no_excuses_chick – Sarah Wilkins is a mother of three, business owner, and nutrition enthusiast. She shares AMAZING meals (and treats) that you can feel good about!

italianfoodforever – WAY more than just pasta here. Deborah shares amazing photos of her Italian recipe creations!

queenofmykitchen – Mona is a master at creating whole-food-based recipes fit for royalty. Her photos are gorgeous and will inspire you to try something new in your own kitchen!

laughingspatula – In a dinnertime rut? This mother-daughter duo cooks up fresh, flavorful, and easy-to-prepare meals. You’re sure to find something enticing while scrolling through their feed!

katieswholeadventure – Whole foods. Colorful cuisine. WW sp totals. If you’re looking for inspiration to keep you on track with your food goals, this is it.

foxeslovelemons – Lori writes recipes and takes the most gorgeous food photos you’ve ever seen. We want to taste everything that’s on her feed!

mrfrankstagram – This Seattle local features hearty, delicious plates. Some come from his kitchen, others come from his favorite local haunts, but all of them look absolutely amazing.

sheeatstolive – Lindsay is an ARNP and RD who shares beautiful and uncomplicated real-food recipes. 

rossellarago – What’s more authentic than cooking with an Italian grandmother? These recipes, tips, and little tidbits of culture come straight from nonna’s kitchen.

Inspired to start cooking? Our Isernio’s Italian Sausages give you that authentic old-world flavor for classic recipes, and our Chicken Italian Sausages help you enjoy all the flavor while lightening up your favorite dishes.

What will you be cooking? Follow us @iserniosausage, and tag us in your kitchen creations!

Hatch Chile 101


We recently announced our newest addition to the Isernio’s family, our Hatch Chile Chicken Bratwurst. So we thought it was timely to give you an overview of why Hatch Chiles are so sought-after this time of year, and why people love them so much.

A “Hatch Chile 101,” if you will.

What Are Hatch Chiles?

Hatch Chiles are a specific type of chile pepper that hail from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico. The season for these chiles is quite short, basically extending from the beginning of August through the end of September. Due to this brief season, its arrival at grocery stores is typically celebrated at the end of summer; it’s not uncommon to see stores hosting roasting events or displaying the peppers prominently at the entrance for the few short weeks they’re available.

What Makes Hatch Chiles So Special?

The Hatch Chile actually has the same origin as the Anaheim Pepper, but it’s the growing conditions that set Hatch Chiles apart. The high elevation of the Hatch Valley allows for lower overnight temperatures which has a distinct effect on its flavor, as does the soil from the region in which they’re grown.

Hatch Chiles have a more “earthy” flavor than traditional chiles, and when roasted properly their flesh turns into a buttery texture, rendering a smoky and slightly more mellow taste.

Are Hatch Chiles Spicy?

There are several varieties of Hatch Chiles, and their heat levels vary widely. While many have a mild kick, some can be as hot as a jalapeno. But like the jalapeno, you can reduce the heat by removing the seeds.

Hatch Green Chiles tend to have a spicier kick, while the Hatch Chiles that are left on the plant until they turn red tend to mellow a bit.

Our new Hatch Chile Chicken Bratwurst delivers a flavorful, satisfying sausage with the smoky and spicy Southwest flavor of the Hatch Green Chile. If you’re ready to try it, use our product locator to find it in a store near you! 

Tips for a Better Pasta Salad

At Isernio’s, we love gathering with good friends and good food. This time of year, that usually means coming together for a backyard barbecue, a potluck picnic, or another get-together where you’re expected to bring a dish to share. 

Pasta salad is a pretty popular party food, but that doesn’t mean that yours has to look anything like the other guy’s. We’ve come up with a comprehensive list of all the possible pasta salad components so you can put together a combo that’s uniquely and deliciously yours. 

Pastas: Don’t make the mistake of believing the pasta is simply a vehicle for the rest of the ingredients so its shape doesn’t really matter. Instead, choose your pasta specifically to match the rest of your dish. Avoid long noodles (like spaghetti or linguine), and opt for sturdier options that will hold up to the other components.

Penne, Rotini, Farfalle, or Shells
Mini versions of the above shapes
Orecchiette
Gnocchi
Tortellini
Orzo
Tri-color pasta for visual interest

Veggies: Most often, veggies add great color to your pasta salad. But you can also use them to flip the tables on the traditional pasta salad by making it vegetable-heavy and using pasta as a complement; envision a spinach salad with gnocchi sprinkled throughout. 

Peppers
Cucumbers
Cherry tomatoes
Spinach
Peas
Green beans
Corn

Dressing: Pasta salad is usually tossed in a vinaigrette or mayonnaise-based sauce. Especially during the hotter months, skip the mayo-based dressings and opt for something that won’t spoil so quickly.

Italian salad dressing
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Lemon juice and dill
Pesto sauce

Cheese: Think outside the box here! There are so many great options at your local grocer, from sweet-and-smooth fruited varieties to sharp and spicy cheeses. You might even pick your favorite one and build your whole recipe around it! 

Cubed cheddar
Fresh mozzarella
Shaved parmesan

Feta cheese
Blue cheese
Goat cheese

Meats: Meat is optional, but we love the addition of a good, savory protein to round out the dish. Most recipes call for your meat to be cooked and cubed, but in the right dish you could also get away with a ground meat if it’s seasoned well and fits with the rest of the ingredients.

Cooked, diced sausage
Cubed chicken
Bacon
Diced ham
Pepperoni, salami, or other cured meat

What’s in your signature pasta salad? We’d love for you to make one this summer using our fresh, premium Isernio’s ingredients. Try our Italian Seasoned Ground Chicken, our Italian Chicken or Pork Sausages, or our Chicken Spinach and Feta for a perfectly paired flavor.

Why People Love Isernio’s

We’re proud of what’s in our products. Or rather, we’re proud of what’s not in them. But no matter how many times you hear that our sausages are all-natural and filler-free, we know that reviews from our real-life customers speak far louder than anything we could ever tell you.

And so, we’ve collected some of our favorite reviews from actual Isernio’s loyalists. Here’s why people – people just like you – love Isernio’s.

Your sausages, and especially your Italian sausages, have been my sausage of choice for many, many years. The quality is excellent, and they just plain taste great. A big thank you for making your products gluten free and for making that information available on your website. But the biggest thanks is for making a quality product that tastes so good.
– Denise, Bellingham, WA

I have to say that Isernio’s makes the best chicken sausages in the world! I have tried all of yours, and try to buy them all the time…Thank you for making it possible for me to enjoy one of my favorite foods, a sausage that is flavorful, moist and delicious, and is made the healthy way.
– Maggie, Port Orchard, WA

I just want to say that your chicken breakfast sausage is the BEST I have ever eaten, bar none. I am very impressed that there are no unnecessary chemicals added yet it has a better taste than other brands I have tried.
– Deidre, Shadow Hills CA

As a mother of four children who is trying very hard to make more healthy food choices for my family and I these sausage rolls go a long way toward providing the flavors that we love in our traditional recipes while being healthy.
– Laura, Tacoma WA

I just want to say thank you! My mom found out that she had terrible food allergies about 8 years ago. She is allergic to corn, wheat, and soy…my mom had to cut out almost everything familiar including the sausage we used to make spaghetti sauce, stuffing, casseroles, pasta dishes, etc.

Mom came up to Seattle over the holidays and I made a turkey with sausage stuffing, as I sat there crumbling the sausage into a pan, she “reminded” me of her allergies. I tossed her a package of sausage and she almost cried.
I just shipped a care package to her home in Arizona and included five pounds of sausage among other foods that she can’t get there.

Thank you for bringing flavor back into her life.
– Karla, Kirkland WA

A couple of years ago, I lost 60 lbs eating your Italian chicken sausage as my primary source of protein. It’s just as lean as chicken breast but much better flavor that I never tired of.
– Martin, WA

Truth be told, these testimonials inspire us as much as they inspire you. Because we don’t just do this work to make ground chicken and sausage, but we do it because we want you to have a choice at the grocery store that fits your dietary needs, your expectations of quality, and your personal budget.

If you love Isernio’s, we’d love to hear it. Tell us your story and help inspire us! Leave us a review on our website, on Facebook, or Yelp. We can’t wait to hear how Isernio’s has enhanced your life!

How to Make the BEST Chicken Burgers

Grilling season is here, and there’s nothing like a great backyard burger. Using ground chicken is a fantastic way to lighten up the classic patty, but chicken burgers have developed an unfortunate reputation for being dry and flavorless.

Now we’re pretty familiar with ground chicken, and we’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. Selecting the right product and preparing it properly is key to making juicy, flavorful burgers that are completely satisfying. Here are our top tips.

Choose the right ground meat. A good burger starts with the meat. Isernio’s ground chicken is fresh and 96% lean so it’s healthy and full of flavor, and since it’s made with whole muscle breasts and thighs it retains moisture beautifully.

Use a panade. A panade is a paste made of milk and bread and is used to boost the moisture content of ground-meat dishes like burgers, meatballs, and meatloaf. Add some seasonings to your panade to help incorporate extra flavor throughout your burgers.

Add mayonnaise. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference – just a tablespoon or two mixed into your raw burger mix. The added fat will help increase the juiciness of your burgers.

Mix in shredded veggies. This trick will help you increase moisture, flavor, and nutrition! Shredded zucchini, white or red onion, and bell peppers are all great additions to your burger blend.

Add cheese. Who doesn’t love a cheeseburger? Mix shredded cheese right into the raw meat! This is a great way to customize your flavor – stick with standard cheddar, use mozzarella for an Italian flair, or opt for Feta for a salty Mediterranean-style burger.

Isernio’s has several varieties of ground chicken to help you make the perfect lean chicken burger.

  • Ground Chicken
  • Ground Chicken Breast
  • Italian Seasoned Ground Chicken

What’s your secret to the perfect chicken burger?

chicken burger tips

The Best Chicken Burgers - tips to keep chicken burgers juicy and moist

A Traditional Italian Easter Dinner

Steeped in a rich tradition of Catholicism, Easter is a major celebration in Italy. The season begins with Carnevale in January, continues through the beginning of Lent, and concludes with Holy Week – the week immediately prior to Easter. The celebration really ramps up toward the end of the week.

On Holy Thursday, the Last Supper is reenacted.

On Good Friday, the death of Christ is observed.

On Holy Saturday, a somber Easter Vigil is held.

On Easter Sunday, the celebration feast begins!

Wondering what types of traditional Italian fare is served during the Easter holiday? Here you go.

Lamb: Lamb is the traditional dish on Easter. While there is regional variation of many of the other dishes, lamb is pretty much a given on any holiday table. We love this recipe for Roast Lamb Shoulder Stuffed with Sausage and Spinach.

Pasta: As usual, pasta is served as one of the courses. On Easter it is typically tortellini, ravioli, or lasagna flavored with lamb.

Torta Pasqualina: A savory green pie filled with eggs, ricotta, and artichokes that was traditionally made with 33 layers of dough to symbolize the 33 years of Christ’s life.

Casatiello: A savory stuffed Easter bread. It’s traditionally made with ham or salami, but you could also substitute Italian sausage if you prefer.

Colomba: A dove-shaped Easter cake topped with a sweet crust and sprinkled with nuts.

Eggs: While boiled eggs are part of the traditional Easter celebration, in Italy they aren’t brought by bunnies. Intricately-decorated chocolate eggs are also given as gifts between family and friends.

It’s always fun to learn about how Easter is celebrated in other cultures, and the rich Italian traditions do not disappoint. What dishes does your family serve for the holiday?

Make sure your recipes are perfect by choosing Isernio’s Premium products – find them at a grocer near you. And if your family is interested in serving something this year that’s a little unexpected but still honors the holiday, we’ve got a few more suggestions here.

One Meatball, Nine Different Recipes

 

We love the classic meatball and its incredible versatility. It can take center stage at dinner, be enjoyed as a cocktail party appetizer, or devoured on a hoagie at the local sandwich shop. Dressed up or dressed down, meatballs are always a hit no matter how they’re served. Today we’re sharing our classic meatball recipe which can then be transformed into NINE unique and delicious dishes for any occasion.

The Perfect Meatball Recipe

One of our top tips for a fantastic meatball is to swap the traditional ground beef or pork for Isernio’s ground sausage, guaranteeing a moist, flavorful meatball with minimal effort. You should also use a panade – a mix of bread and milk – to help retain moisture and keep your meatballs from drying out.

Our favorite recipe which incorporates both of these tips is Margherita Isernio’s Sausage Meatballs. And once you make a batch of her basic meatballs, you can dress them up in any number of creative ways.

Nine Sauces for Basic Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Sauce – This sweet-and-sour sauce will give your meatballs a salty and tangy flavor, and works well as an appetizer or served as a main dish over rice.

Tomato Sauce – We’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest enjoying your meatballs in a classic tomato sauce atop a bed of pasta. And if you don’t have time for an all-day simmer, this sauce comes together in 30 minutes – tops.

Sweet Chili Sauce – Three ingredients make this glaze as easy as it gets.

Swedish Meatballs – If you want to make these more authentic, just toss in a pinch of allspice, nutmeg, and dried mustard to your basic meatball recipe. But the flavor’s really in the sauce, so if you just top your classic meatballs with this creamy white sauce and serve them over noodles, your guests will be none the wiser.

Barbecue Sauce – Basic meatballs + barbecue sauce = a huge dinnertime hit. You don’t even need a recipe for this one.

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce – Want a festive holiday twist to upscale your barbecue meatballs? The sauce in this recipe is just the ticket.

Salisbury Steak Meatballs – Top your classic meatballs with homemade or store-bought gravy and serve alongside mashed potatoes for a no-fuss take on comfort food.

Buffalo Ranch Meatballs – Ready for a game-day gathering? Then toss your meatballs in this easy two-ingredient sauce for an appetizer that will be gone before halftime.

Philly Cheese Steak Meatballs – Whip up a basic beschamel, add some grated gruyere and cheddar, and stir in diced, sauteed peppers and onions. Use it as a dipping sauce for your classic meatballs.

 

Ready to get cooking? Then pick up Isernio’s pork or chicken sausage at your local grocer. Or for a more traditional but lightened-up meatball, opt for our ground chicken or Italian seasoned ground chicken. Whatever you choose, when you make your meatballs with Isernio’s you know you’re making it with the best.

Ways to serve meatballs – nine different recipes

Italian Dishes 101

You’re well-acquainted with spaghetti and meatballs, and you know exactly what’s in lasagna. But have you ever heard of an exotic-sounding Italian dish and weren’t entirely sure what was in it? We’re here to help. Here are descriptions of some classic Italian dishes – try them using Isernio’s premium sausage to make sure they’re amazing!

Arancini are stuffed rice balls that are coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Exact fillings vary widely – try stuffing yours with sausage!

Bolognese is a thick, meat-based tomato sauce that is typically finished with milk or cream. It is most commonly used in dishes with thicker noodles.

Braciola is thinly-sliced cuts of meat stuffed with cheese, breadcrumbs, and tightly rolled. It is fried and then braised until tender. Try this recipe which takes it up a notch using Isernio’s sausage!

Bruschetta is large, rustic, toasted bread sliced and topped with a variety of flavors. It is most frequently topped with olive oil and garlic, but here are some other ideas!

Caprese refers to the classic combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Most frequently it’s served as a salad.

Cacciatore refers to a “hunter-style” sauce and cooking method, including onions, peppers, and herbs in a tomato base. It is usually made with chicken, but occasionally with other types of meats.

Chicken Marsala is made from lightly coated chicken cutlets braised with mushrooms in wine. “Marsala” refers to the type of wine used in this dish, which is an Italian dessert wine that is similar to sherry.

Chicken Scarpariello features chicken thighs and Italian sausage in a zesty, vinegary sauce. This is Frank’s favorite version of the dish!

Osso Buco is a veal shank braised in stock and wine until fork-tender. It literally translates to “bone with a hole,” which is a nod to the marrow visible in the center of the cut bone.

Picatta is usually made with chicken or veal cutlets. They are sliced thin and cooked stove-top in a lemon-based sauce with capers and garlic.

Ragu is a sauce made with minced or ground meat. While it may have a small amount of tomato sauce, the meat is the star – not the tomato. Try this Ragu Napolitano with Italian Sausage and Pasta!

Saltimbocca is a piece of meat rolled & wrapped or lined with prosciutto and sage, marinated in wine, and cooked in a skillet. It is most frequently made with veal, but can also be made with chicken.

Spaghetti Carbonara is the classic long, skinny pasta tossed in a rich and creamy sauce made from eggs, cheese, and pepper. The dish usually also includes bacon or pancetta.

Isernio’s is proud to be your go-to ingredient for authentic Italian flavor. Try our classic Italian Sausage, lighten up your dishes with our Italian Chicken Sausage, or make it spicy with Hot Italian Sausage! See our full product line-up here.

Ten Healthy Food Swaps You Won’t Even Notice


Ready to make some healthy changes to your diet? You don’t have to get radical; even small changes can make a big difference. Here are ten healthy food swaps to cut fat and calories while boosting nutrition – without sacrificing any of the flavor you love.

1. Use ground chicken in place of ground beef.

For some reason, most people opt for ground turkey when swapping for ground beef. But it tends to dry out quickly and lack flavor. Instead, try ground chicken. A standard 4-ounce serving has just as much protein as ground beef, and less fat and fewer calories than ground turkey. It’s a winner all around and perfect in burgers, tacos, casseroles, or any other place you’d typically use ground beef!

2. Cut calories with cauliflower.

Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to jump on the cauliflower pizza train if you don’t want to. But you can easily cut calories and boost nutrition by adding some cauliflower puree in place of cream or milk to your favorite potato chowder or cream soups. You can also grate cauliflower and add it to fried rice or rice-based casseroles. If you’re just starting to make changes, don’t completely eliminate the foods you love. Instead, just try to replace 25% of the original ingredient with cauliflower. You probably won’t even notice!

3. Try zucchini noodles.

Just like the cauliflower, start with partial swaps instead of complete substitutions. Use a vegetable spiralizer to make zucchini noodles and eat them along with your regular pasta. Saute your zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes so they retain a good bite, and then toss them with your spaghetti. In a regular portion you’ll eat fewer calories and carbs and increase your vegetable intake – with practically no effort.

4. Opt for goat cheese.

Yes, you can still have cheese! Just choose goat cheese instead. It is lower in fat and calories than regular cheese, and contains no trans fats. Plus, it tends to be easier to digest than other dairy products.

5. Snack on fruits.

If you’re not ready to make big changes to your regular meals, just pay more attention to what you eat between them. Resolve to only eat fruits for snacks instead of other calorie-dense choices.

6. Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Greek yogurt is thick, tangy, and creamy and can be used to top your chili or burrito, or even to make a creamy salad dressing or dip. (Note: You may have to add more salt to your dish if you use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.)

7. Have an open-faced sandwich.

Most breads are around 100 calories per slice. By having your sandwich open-faced you easily shave off calories while still enjoying bread. You can even have your favorite grilled cheese – just broil it in the oven instead of cooking it stove-top!

8. Opt for chicken sausage.

Using a high-quality chicken sausage gives you all of the delicious savory flavor with significant calorie savings. Plus, using chicken sausage instead of traditional pork cuts the amount of fat you’re consuming by up to 80%.

9. Add heat instead of cheese.

Cheese is delicious, but it’s also calorie-dense. If you bump up the flavor in your favorite dishes, you can reduce the cheese (or even eliminate it). Add spicy salsa or hot sauce to your burritos, omelets, and casseroles to make them delicious and less calorie laden.

10. Choose a vinaigrette salad dressing.

It’s so confusing to know whether an oil-based or cream-based dressing is best, but we’re here to tell you – olive oil wins. With heart-healthy fats and loads of flavor, vinaigrettes are the way to go if you’re looking to make healthy food swaps.

 

If you’re ready to make healthy swaps in your diet, Isernio’s is ready to help. With ground chicken made from lean, whole-muscle meats and chicken sausage with no fillers, no gluten, and no added sugars, you can cut fat and calories without sacrificing flavor. Most of our products are compatible with a variety of eating plans including low fat, low carb, the ketogenic diet, a Paleo lifestyle, and Whole 30.

Plus, you can usually whip up a meal with Isernio’s in a fraction of the time it would take to order take-out – which will also save you loads of fat and calories.

Try our chicken sausage today! Available in a variety of flavors, including:

  • Italian
  • Hot Italian
  • Chicken Spinach & Feta
  • Chicken Breakfast
  • Chicken Apple
Healthy Eating Tips - Food swaps and substitutions you won't even notice.

Italian Christmas Traditions

Italian Christmas Traditions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and most of us are busy carrying out our families’ traditional holiday celebrations. In homage to our Italian heritage, we thought we’d share some of Italy’s biggest holiday traditions. Do you do any of these in your home?

Nativity Set – “Crib sets” are found in most homes that celebrate Christmas, but they actually originated in Italy! Traditionally they are displayed beginning on December 8th, but the crib remains empty until late on December 24th, at which time the baby Jesus is finally placed in the manger.

Christmas Eve Meal – On Christmas Eve, Italian families have a large meal called “The Feast of the Seven Fishes.” No meat or dairy is eaten. Children write letters to their parents telling them how much they love them and place it under their father’s plate to be read at the end of the meal.

Midnight Mass – Midnight mass is a Christmas Eve tradition in Italy. The services are usually very well attended.

Bagpipes – Shepherds from the mountain come to the town square and wander around paying their respects to the nativity scenes while playing the bagpipes. They also perform at the Christmas markets.

Gift Giving – Children do write to Father Christmas (Babbo Natale) and may get gifts from Santa, a woman on a broom named La Befana, or Jesus on Christmas Day. However, the main gift-giving day for most Italians is Ephiphany, which is January 6th. (Fun fact: If you look at a calendar you’ll realize that January 6th is actually “the 12th day of Christmas” which you probably recognize from the popular Christmas carol.)

Food – On Christmas Day, lunch is the main meal. The exact menu varies by region, but most include several courses of meat, pasta, and sweetbreads for dessert. Some even leave the table set after the meal waiting for Mary and baby Jesus to arrive and sample the food.

Christmas in Italy doesn’t look anything like the glittery commercial holiday we celebrate here in the US, but the meaningful traditions run deep. This season, we hope you find the same depth and meaning in your own family’s traditions – whatever they may be.

Happy Holidays from Isernio’s!