Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers

Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients

3 bell peppers, cut in strips. I used red, yellow, and orange.
1 medium onion, julienned
8 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat of your knife
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely minced (if you don’t have fresh rosemary, omit this ingredient. I don’t like the texture of dried rosemary and don’t feel that it imparts any real flavor. I’d rather you skip it.)
1 tsp fresh thyme, stripped off stems and chopped (if you can’t find fresh, use 1/2 tsp dried)
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
8 – 10 whole Italian sausages. I used a mix of sweet and hot
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a large sheet pan in the oven to preheat along with it.

Place all your peppers, onions, and smashed garlic in a large bowl. Add the herbs, salt, and olive oil and toss to evenly coat everything.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and toss all the vegetables on the hot pan. Nestle the sausages in with the vegetables, trying to get each sausage to make contact with the hot metal. Bake at 425ºF for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and use tongs to toss all the vegetables and turn the sausages over. It may look like the vegetables are in a lot of liquid at this point, but don’t despair! They are going back into the oven and that liquid is going to evaporate and delightful things will happen. Back in the oven for 20 more minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Set the oven to broil and move the rack up one slot in the oven. Toss the vegetables and turn the sausages one last time. Place the pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the sausages get a nice brown color and the edges of the vegetables start to blacken just a touch.

Remove from the oven and turn the oven off. Toss some hoagie or ciabatta rolls in for a few minutes to toast in the residual heat. At this point, I like to slice the sausages, some in half, some in quarters. This makes it easier to nestle them onto the bread and not have to open my mouth like an anaconda to eat my sandwich. I like to schmear some of the juices (fat) from the bottom of the sheet pan onto my bread, lay on a nice layer of sausages, and cover them with vegetables, maybe sprinkle a little Romano cheese on top… you do what makes your mouth happy. You can even slice the sausages smaller and toss everything with pasta or just eat them straight. It’s all good!

Sweet and Smoky Dry Rub Wings

Sweet and Smoky Dry Rub Wings

Ingredients

Dry Rub Ingredients
1 tbsp chipotle powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp packed brown sugar (light or dark)
½ tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried mustard
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground thyme
Other Pretty Important Ingredients
4 lbs chicken wings (flats and drums. You can freeze the wing tips and use them in making chicken stock another day!)
Canola or Vegetable oil, for giving the dry rub something to cling to

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°

Cover 2 large sheet pans completely with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack in the sheet pans, spray the racks, and lay your chicken wing pieces in nice rows, leaving a little space between each piece.

Sprinkle the wings with salt and pepper (even though we will be putting our dry rub on them, we season all layers of our food!) and brush both sides of each wing with the oil.

Combine all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl and whisk until completely mixed. Sprinkle a generous amount of the dry rub on both sides of the wings. You can use your fingers to do this, or I had this old Parmesan cheese shaker that I poured the rub into and used that. I’ve even saved old spice jars with shaker lids and used them to sprinkle on the rub. Do whatever makes it easier for you, just don’t be skimpy with the rub. Get it on there!

Sprinkling dry rub on wings

Bake at 425° for 20 minutes, then turn the wings over. If you want to sprinkle on some more rub at this time, go for it! I sure did! Bake for another 20 minutes or until the wings are crispy and nicely caramelized.

Serve with my delicious Ranch Dressing and (maybe) some carrots and celery. Share with a friend or two, if they are wing worthy. Your decision.

Dry rub wings with ranch dressing

Shake and Bake Style Pork Chops

Shake and Bake Style Pork Chops

Ingredients

4 – 1/2 inch thick pork chops (you can use thinner or thicker cuts, but the bake time will need to be adjusted accordingly. As long as the internal temperature of the pork is 145° after cooking, you’re good)
1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
¼ Cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp Celery salt
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 ½ tsp Smoked paprika (if you don’t have smoked paprika, don’t make a special trip to the store. Sweet paprika is fine. I just felt that the smoked gave the mix a closer taste to the original Shake ‘n Bake)
1 ½ tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Sugar
½ tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Dried oregano
½ tsp Dried parsley
½ tsp Dried basil

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°. Place a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on a large sheet pan and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Here I am with the mise en place again. Everything all together! Combine the bread crumbs with the seasonings in a bowl. Look at you 👀. You’re making things!

Drizzle the oil over everything. Using a fork (or just put some gloves on and mix with your hands like me), mix thoroughly. You want to make sure that all the bread crumbs are evenly coated with the oil.

Give your chops a light brushing of oil. Any oil will do, vegetable or olive. This gives the crumbs something to hold onto as well as ensure a little more crunch. And that’s what we’re here for, right? The packaged seasoning mix comes with a bag to “shake” your pork chops with the coating mix. I never used them, because I like a little more consistent coverage (more crispies please). In the name of authenticity, you can absolutely shake, and then bake. I like to pour my coating mix in a shallow sheet pan and press the pork chops in, roll them around on the sides, and generally make sure that coating is ON THERE.

Place Pork chops on the lined and sprayed sheet pan and bake at 425° or until a thermometer inserted into the side of a chop registers 145°. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, to allow the juices to redistribute and to not burn your face off while eating. Serve with maybe some potatoes and a vegetable, or just eat them like I did: the next day, when no one was home, with my fingers. It was good 😋 Real good!

Maple Mustard Glazed Bratwurst

Maple Mustard Glazed Bratwurst

Ingredients

1 lb fresh bratwurst (I use Johnsonville Brats and sing the jingle. You do you.)
Parboiling Ingredients
About 2 cups of apple juice
2 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 smashed garlic cloves. Just lay the garlic clove on your cutting board, place the side of your knife over it, and give it a smash.
1 sprig rosemary
Maple Mustard Glaze
3 tbsp REAL maple syrup. Please, oh please, don’t use “pancake syrup.” That’s just colored and flavored corn syrup.
3 tbsp whole grain mustard. The kind with the whole mustard seeds.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 finely minced garlic cloves
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp dijon mustard
Those Fall Vegetables
1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
1 lb sweet potatoes, cut in 1 inch cube-ish pieces (potatoes are roundish, it’s hard to get all cubes. Relax. It’s fine-ish)
2 cups brussels sprouts, halved

Directions

Pour your apple juice into a medium saucepan. Add in the rest of your parboiling ingredients. Bring to a boil. Add in your sausages. If the liquid doesn’t cover the sausages you can add a little more apple juice and bring it back to a boil. Lower the temperature to medium, or a good simmer, and let the sausages cook for 10 minutes. Remove them from the liquid and let them cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Now we will start our mise en place. As you might remember from my other recipes, mise en place is just a fancy French Chef term for getting all your ingredients together and prepared for the actual cooking process.

Put all your maple mustard ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Pretty easy so far, right?

maple mustard glaze

Cut all your vegetables. Wow. It sounds so French and fancy, but this mise en place thing is sure easy. I find the best way to figure out if you have enough, and not too many, vegetables is to cut them and actually place them on the (non-stick spray coated) sheet pan right away. This way you can see if you have enough, without overcrowding them. If they are too clumped together they will essentially just steam, instead of getting that roasted caramelization you know you want. You also want to leave room for your sausages to nestle in between them.

roasting fall vegetables

Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and pour all but about one tablespoon of the maple mustard glaze over everything. Give the vegetables a good toss, making sure all of them are evenly coated. Pour them out onto the sheet tray. I recommend turning the brussels sprouts and the red potatoes over so that their cut edges are against the pan. Yummy brown bits will result and that’s always good!

Put the sausages in the bowl with the last bit of the glaze and roll them around like dogs in a pile of leaves. Nestle the sausages in with the vegetables. Sprinkle everything with a pinch of salt and a small pinch of black pepper. Now you’re ready to bake or cover and refrigerate for later.

Bake at 425° for about 30 minutes, or until the sausages are nicely browned and the potatoes are cooked through. So easy and delicious! Best eaten on a plate and not over the sink. I’m talking to The Boy.

If you are preparing this ahead, take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. As with any meat, you don’t want to cook it cold right from the fridge. This will cause uneven cooking as the outside will cook faster than the inside, which stays cold longer. Trust me, room temperature meat is the way to go. It’s food safe. Really! Look it up! See? All food safe and delicious.

maple mustard bratwurst