Johnsonville Turkey Sausage with Cheddar Cheese

I like to jazz up my breakfast with some sort of protein – and I admit the usual turkey sausage or bacon can get redundant after a while. So while shopping, I decided to pick up a package of Johnsonville Turkey Sausage with Cheddar Cheese to try out … and I am glad I did!
The sausages are fully cooked and only require being heated through before eating. Taste wise they truly remind me of turkey kielbasa that has cheddar cheese infused in it.  I enjoy them most with some scrambled eggbeaters and toast. The sausage brings fourth enough flavoring that it really revamps my breakfast plate — slightly smoky, cheesy and just delicious.   These would be great on the grill … so I’m looking forward to the spring/summer months when I can take out the grill and put one of these on a bun and call it a day. One great thing about Johnsonville products is they are typically easily accessible. My local Wal-Mart and Target both carry the line.
A serving, 1 link, is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of Johnsonville’s products?

Pepperoni, Sausage & Green Pepper Pita Pizza

Last week my boyfriend and I were in the mood for pizza … but I particularly wanted a lighter pizza.  Since we had some leftover pita bread from a local Lebanese bakery I decided pita bread pizzas were in order. So that’s exactly what I whipped up for us.  Since the bread is thinner than your average grocery store pita bread, the crust becomes a thin and crispy crust.  The pita is pretty large in size, so it makes the illusion of a small/medium sized pizza.
If you don’t have homemade pita bread available in your area, you can substitute using tortillas, thin crust pizza shells (Biboli or Archer Farms brand – but these will make multiple serving pizzas), or Flat Out thins.
I used a whole pita, ¼ cup Ragu Robusto spaghetti sauce, ¼ cup fat free mozzarella, 3 slices of Hormel turkey pepperoni (diced), ¼ cup Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles, and 4 slices of bell peppers diced.
It was perfect, filling and delicious.  The greatest part is the whole pizza was only 7 points plus values!
QUESTION:
Do you like making lighter versions of pizza at home?

Trader Joe’s Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage

I’ve become quite a fan of Trader Joe’s precooked chicken sausages. Recently, my boyfriend and I picked up the Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage on our last trip through Trader Joe’s. I wasn’t sure how spicy or spicy at all these sausages might be. I’ve purchased other brands of “spicy italian” sausages and they were flavored with bell peppers — nothing remotely spicy.

These sausages are very mildly spicy (and I feel that statement is rather generous). They are a far cry from tongue zinging spice but regardless they are one of the best spicy italian sausages I have tried to date. They’re delicious, lean and packed with flavor. I enjoyed them cooked up with some sauteed bell pepper and onion. The only thing missing was the hoagie roll – which we did not purchase at the grocery store.

I cooked these up on the stovetop, but they’d be even better cooked up until nice and crispy on the grill. As with most chicken sausages, you can tell these are chicken so if you’re looking for a sausage that’s got a fatty pork-like consistency, these wouldn’t be for you. But if you enjoy leaner sausage that and is juicy and flavorful minus the unnecessary fat and calories these will be right up your alley. You can dress them up however you choose and it will only build on the flavor category.

Each sausages rings in at 140 calories, which calculates out to be 4 points plus values. Not bad at all for a healthier alternative on a classic.

QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the sausages at Trader Joe’s? If so, which is your favorite?

Breakfast Burritos


Move over McDonald’s there’s a new breakfast burrito in town!  And a healthy breakfast burrito at that!

Last week I wanted something different for breakfast, so different is what I got.  I decided to make myself 2 breakfast burritos because I had one turkey sausage in the fridge and I wanted to use it up.  I found these turkey sausages at a local grocery store, Aldi, and have been hooked. They are quite possibly the best turkey sausages I have ever tried.  The greatest part is one sausage is only 2 points plus values and it tastes just like a pork sausage – it’s crazy (on my tastebuds).
These two burritos were only 6 points plus values!  Not only were they very low in points, but they were tasty, filling and a substantial breakfast that held me over well into lunch time.  I did serve these along side some cut up fresh strawberries.
Serves 1. 6 Points Plus Values.
  • ½ cup liquid egg substitute (Egg Beaters)
  • Turkey sausage link (if you cannot find a similar sausage, use a sausage that’s 2 points plus values)
  • 4 slices Hormel turkey pepperoni
  • 5-6 slices of frozen bell pepper
  • 1g (~1 ½ tablespoons) fat free shredded mozzarella
  • 2 Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran & Wheat Flour Tortillas
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
Slice your cooked sausage into slices and quarter the pepperoni slices.
Add the frozen bell peppers to the pan and stir for 15 or so seconds (just to allow the frost to dissipate).  Add the ½ cup of egg substitute to a nonstick skillet (you can spray with Pam just to ensure it won’t stick). Sprinkle with pepper and salt.
Scramble the eggs frequently to ensure the mixture cooks evenly.  Sprinkle with diced pepperoni and sausage, stir to combine – heating through. When mixture is cooked sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and let sit in the pan for a couple seconds until it melts.
Assemble burritos with the egg and meat mixture at the center of the tortillas.  Once all mixture is inside, fold the bottom portion of the tortilla, then fold in the sides, rolling to close.  Before closing feel free to garnish with any sauce of your choice (ketchup, salsa, hot sauce, etc.).
Bon appetite!

Dinner: Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage & Beer Battered Onion Rings

I think it’s evident from some of my dinner and food finds posts that I love Trader Joe’s.  They offer an array of comfort foods which are point friendly and also delicious.  One day dinner was going to be a staple “comfort food” sausage sandwiches!
I heated up the Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage in the oven along with the Trader Joe’s Melange & Trois mixed red, yellow and green peppers.  The sausages are delicious – a nice smooth garlic flavor, without being overbearing.  Slapped on a hot dog roll with the peppers, a little mustard and ketchup you’d never know you’re eating a chicken sausage (well, you can tell it’s not pork because it doesn’t give you that immediate heavy feeling in your stomach).  It’s also not extremely fatty as pork sausages are.  They are only 3 points plus values for one, plus 2 points plus values for the hot dog bun.
A while back, I picked up a bag of Trader Joe’s Beer Battered Onion Rings and my boyfriend and I have been in love since.  They are quite delicious, sweet and quite possibly THE best frozen onion rings I have ever had.  Onion rings are one of my favorite fried treats (particularly when at the beach) and these are just money.  They’re nicely battered, they’re sweet and they do get nice and crispy in the oven – because soggy onion rings are just a big yuck!  These are straight out delicious. These are so good we typically always have a bag in the freezer as a quick side to a meal.  3 ounces is only 5 points plus values.
Quite a delicious, filling AND simple meal!
QUESTION:
What is one of your favorite simple meals to pick up and make from Trader Joe’s?

Brinner: Waffles w/ Compote, Sausage & Scrambled


My boyfriend and I ended up having breakfast for dinner one night (termed: Brinner).  I personally wanted something simple to cook because I initially thought of pancakes, but then the thought of making them just wasn’t intriguing any longer.  Since we had some frozen low fat waffles in the freezer, my boyfriend was more in-tune with waffles (I think he sensed my immediate need to NOT want to make pancakes – so we settled).
To fancy up the waffles, I decided to make a fruit compote.  When I dumped my frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and black berries) into the pan there wasn’t enough to make one serving – so I decided to jazz it up, slicing up an apple (peeled) into small pieces and cooking it up all in a sauce pan with a bit of Equal (sugar substitute), a pinch of salt and water.  I let the mixture come to a slow simmer, stirring frequently until it thickened just slightly.  (Note: if I had used real sugar and a tiny bit of cornstarch it would have been a thicker compote.)
The waffles went into the toaster (simple!) and I cooked up some Trader Joe’s Sweet Apple Sausage (see review here: http://shannonslifestyle.blogspot.com/2013/03/trader-joes-sweet-apple-chicken-sausage.html).  Since the sausage is sweeter I felt it would be a perfect pairing with a breakfast – and I was right.  Then to just wrap things up I made myself  ½ cup scrambled egg substitute – seasoned with black pepper and a pinch of salt.  (Side note: if you’re cooking for someone who doesn’t like egg substitute, you can fry up regular eggs – which is what I did for my boyfriend since he does not follow the WW program).
Once the meal was done and assembled, I spooned the compote over the waffles and it was munja time! Points Plus wise, the entire meal was 8 points plus (4 – waffles, 3 – sausage, 1 – eggs).
QUESTION:
What is your favorite breakfast food to have for dinner?

My version of an Authentic English dinner


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We have a local English butcher/market in town which has been in business for 60+ years.  The butcher makes and sells some of the freshest meat you can find.  One of the things they sell is homemade sausage.  Originally they started out selling only English pork sausage (Bangers) and they branched into selling a smaller breakfast version and went into flavored sausages – Greek, tomato, hot, cheese, etc.  I enjoy many of the sausage flavors they sell but the traditional pork banger sausages are my all-time favorite.  Then again, I grew up eating these.
In England, bangers are served with peas and mashed potatoes.  Growing up my mother always made macaroni and cheese as a side for this dish.  My father enjoyed it this way and it’s what’s “normal” for me to have with it.  I typically don’t eat pork sausage because it’s so high in fat (and WW Points plus values) but to have something you really want and enjoy once in a while is totally worth it.
The sausages are raw, so to cook them I put in about ¼ cup water into the bottom of a pan, place the sausages in and cover them up.  I let them steam in the water, removing the lid to turn them and let them simmer down.  When the water was almost evaporated I added some more because they certainly would not have been done yet.  I followed the process through again and when done I let the casings brown on each side before removing them from the pan.
I cooked my Kraft macaroni and cheese per the box directions, skipped on the butter and milk, added a tiny bit of spray butter, the cheese packet and some black pepper.  I served this along side some no-salt added peas.
Points Plus value wise this meal was 19 points plus.  Yes, that’s a lot, but I don’t have this all the time.  The sausage was 11 points, the mac and cheese was 7 and the peas were 1.  It was so filling I could only eat half and ended up eating the other half a few hours later.
QUESTION:
Have you ever had English pork bangers before?

Roasted Potatoes, Chicken Sausage and Peppers

Two weeks ago I went ahead and tried out a Skinnytaste recipe I had printed out after a recommendation and decided to try it out.  I’ve had sausage with potatoes and peppers a million times before – but most of those times were pre-Weight Watchers.  Typically when I make roasted sausages with peppers and onions in the oven, I eliminate the potato and just cook everything up in the oven until done.  I have to say, adding the potato made it seem like it was a dish that was “bad for you” which made it so much better!
I weighed out and measured all the ingredients needed for the dish and was quite surprised at how MUCH there was in the pan and how little servings there were.  The entire pan was to be separated out into four servings.  Four GIGANTIC servings might I add.  It was so delicious that I will be making this again.  It cooked up so quickly in the oven.  Next time I’m going to switch out the sausage for a different flavoring to change it up a bit (the original was delicious but I know I have a few other sausage flavorings in the freezer).
I followed the recipe (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/10/roasted-potatoes-chicken-sausage-and.html) as described except I eliminated the rosemary since I didn’t have any so I substituted for minced garlic (along with the powder garlic) and some oregano.  I love changing things up to my liking ;).  The ¼ of the serving was 8 Points Plus.
Overall two thumbs up.  Totally worth making again!  This would even be good to save half a serving to go along with some eggs in the morning!
QUESTION:
Have you ever made a Skinnytaste recipe?

Trader Joe’s Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

I have become a lover of Trader Joe’s and with that I allow myself to be adventurous and try new things.  I primarily stick to the things that are Weight Watcher’s Point friendly for me.  There are some things I’d like to try but I’m just not into the nutritional information enough to splurge.  Every time I shop at Trader Joe’s I find myself bringing home 2-3 (or more…) new things that  haven’t tried before to test out.
During my last shopping trip these Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages were on my list.  I ended up putting them in the freezer because I wasn’t sure when I wanted to make them – that was until this week when I decided I wanted breakfast for dinner.
These chicken sausages have a really low point value (3 ppv) for a sausage and they are a pretty decent size.  I’ve had pork apple sausages before and I really enjoyed them – but would never repurchase now that I follow WW because I would seriously cringe at the points.  I find with my weight loss journey there are some things that are worth the splurge, while others just aren’t worth it for me.  So for the things that aren’t worth it – I find substitutes and I am happy to say this is an excellent substitute!
The sausages are definitely a sweet apple flavor – so I’d suggest pairing them up with breakfast items (eggs, pancakes, waffles, etc.) or if you’re adventurous pair them up with a dinner item.  They are precooked so they only have to brown up until the internal temperature is over 150F.  I did find since these are sweet, the natural sugars in them come out while cooking so they want to “burn” in the pan – but it’s really the sugars crystallizing.  I ended up adding some water into the pan to keep my kitchen from potentially getting smoky.
Overall – 2 thumbs up.  Even my picky eater boyfriend really enjoyed these!
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the sausages at Trader Joe’s?

Archer Farms Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage

While shopping at Target last week I spotted the Archer Farms Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage in the refrigerator section in a display case.  Since joining Weight Watchers I have happily switched out pork sausages for chicken and turkey sausage (depending on the nutritional information – some I completely bypass).  I figured out the points for it and was completely surprised to find they were only2 pointsplus for one sausage, 4 pointsplus for two.
They don’t have a casing on them so they cook up quickly and there is no worrying about the sausages cracking in the pan in a casing.  They are precooked so I believe the package said you could heat them in the microwave or you could pan fry them – which is the method I chose.
Flavor wise they are definitely delicious.  I love garlic sausages and there is a definite garlic flavor to them while spinach is bland in itself, but that’s expected because spinach doesn’t have a strong flavor normally.  Overall 2 thumbs up!
QUESTION:
Have you ever tried the Archer Farms Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage?