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Holiday Brunch Recipes for Every Diet and Lifestyle

These days, holiday entertaining can be complicated. With allergies, dietary preferences, and health-conscious guests, finding delicious recipes that check all the nutritional boxes can be difficult.

Isernio’s is here to help. With filler-free sausages that comply with Whole 30 guidelines and are naturally gluten-free, along with leaner and lower-calorie chicken sausages, you can offer your guests a high-quality, flavorful dish they will feel good about eating no matter their restrictions. Here are some recipes to try.

LOW FAT AND LOW CALORIE

Our chicken sausage is a great option to lower the fat and calories in any traditional brunch recipe. Using lean chicken, it has 80% less fat than the USDA “standard” for typical pork sausage.

Sausage, Cheese, and Veggie Egg Bake – This veggie-packed recipe has only 200 calories per serving!

Skinny Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole – Low-fat dairy and cottage cheese make this recipe creamy while keeping the calories low. Use Isernio’s chicken breakfast sausage instead of turkey sausage.

KETO AND LOW CARB DIETS

Keto and other low-carb diets are not necessarily interchangeable, but these recipes should work for any guests that are counting carbohydrates.

Sausage & Spinach Crustless Quiche – You won’t even miss the crust with all the flavors in this filling quiche.

Keto Frittata with Sausage – What’s the difference between a quiche and a frittata? A frittata has more eggs, more veggies, and less cream.

Low-Carb No Egg Breakfast Bake – This is great if you want to offer a dish besides the traditional low-carb egg bake.

WHOLE 30 AND PALEO LIFESTYLE

Whole 30 and Paleo diets are not identical, but there are a lot of similarities. Stick to recipes with fresh, whole ingredients and avoid grains and dairy.

Italian Sausage Breakfast Pepper Bake – This dish offers a beautiful presentation, each perfect portion served in its own bell pepper!

Loaded Paleo Breakfast Hash – Sweet potatoes, apples, and kale give this flavorful dish a ton of gorgeous color. Use sausage instead of ground pork for easy flavor.

Sweet Potato Quiche – Do you typically use shredded potatoes in your breakfast casserole? Swap them out with sweet potatoes like they do in this dairy-free recipe.

OTHER DELICIOUS OPTIONS

If you don’t have to be mindful of dietary restrictions, these recipes look amazing and are bound to be a crowd-pleaser.

Spicy Sausage and Egg Naan – Serve these gorgeous flatbreads as-is, or set up an assembly bar for your guests to customize their own.

Pasta Frittata with Sausage & Mushrooms – Pasta…for breakfast? Yes. Yes you can.

Sausage, Apple, and Cheddar Monkey Bread – This is even made in the slow cooker so you’ll be free to greet your guests as they arrive!

Apple Sausage Pancake – A little sweet + savory action will delight your guests in this oven-baked pancake. 

Overnight Breakfast Sausage, Egg, and Veggie Strata – Make-ahead dishes are best when entertaining. All you have to do is pop it in the oven!

 

When hosting a holiday brunch, it’s best to keep it simple. Avoid made-to-order omelettes or individual pancakes that will keep you in the kitchen and away from your guests. Instead, serve make-ahead or hands-off dishes that will allow you to enjoy your guests, enjoy your meal, and enjoy the togetherness of the holidays.

Check out all our original breakfast recipes here, and check out our full line of breakfast links here!

Sausage Stuffed Squash

We have a lot of fun in the Isernio’s test kitchen. We especially love trying seasonally-inspired recipes that feature our favorite sausage or fresh ground chicken. So when spent an afternoon playing around with stuffed squash, we thought we’d share some of our top tips for making this seasonal dish in your kitchen!

Stuffed squash is easily customizable and super healthy. Plus, is looks so fancy when it’s served that your guests will never guess how simple it really is. You can stuff almost any type of squash, but these tips work best with winter squash, which includes:

  •         Butternut squash
  •         Sugar pumpkins
  •         Acorn squash
  •         Spaghetti squash
  •         Delicata squash

Grocery stores are brimming with all sorts of fun-shaped squash this time of year. You can even try something new that you’ve never seen before!

Here are general cooking guidelines:

  1.       Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  2.       Place cut-side down in a baking dish with ¼ inch of water.
  3.       Bake at 350 degrees until it’s tender when pierced by a fork (about 45 minutes, but smaller squash may take less time).
  4.       Prepare your filling while your squash is cooking. All filling ingredients (including meats) should be fully cooked.
  5.       When your squash are done turn them over, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & pepper, and add your filling. Sprinkle with cheese (if desired).
  6.       Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  7.       Serve and enjoy!

When we made our sausage stuffed squash, we made our filling out of Isernio’s Italian sausage, onion, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, and mozzarella, then topped it with parsley and Pecorino Romano.

However, you really don’t need a recipe. Stuffed squash is so easy that you really can use any mix of ingredients that sounds good to you! Here are some more suggestions:

  •         Sausage, onion, diced apples, and sage
  •         Ground chicken, tomato sauce, onion, and garlic with ricotta or mozzarella (great with spaghetti squash!)
  •         Sausage, peppers, onions, and tomatoes
  •         Sausage, kale, onions, and thyme

Make your own combo with any ground meat, veggies, and fresh herbs. You’ll be amazed how easy this dinner is! And if you choose our Isernio’s sausage or ground chicken as your main ingredient, any ingredient combination is bound to be amazing.

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.