Monday, April 30, 2012

BBQ Sausage

Happy Monday everyone! To start the day off, I thought I'd share an easy little recipe with you. My cousin got this recipe from my grandma and then passed it on to me, so I thought I'd pass it on to you! I did edit the recipe slightly to decrease the time, but other than that, it is exactly the same.

-1 pound Eckrich Skinless Smoked Sausage
***You can use any variety of this, this is just the one I have found to work the best

-1 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
***I usually use original but again, you can use any variety
-1 cup water

NOTE: You'll want to use a pan that is small enough to cover your sausage completely in liquid. If not, the sausage will be over-cooked! For an example of what I'm talking about, see the picture at the end of the post.

To start, preheat your oven to 325°. Take a oven safe pan that has an oven-safe lid* and pour in the BBQ sauce & water. Mix the BBQ sauce and water together and set aside. Cut up your sausage into bite sized pieces and place in your BBQ mixture. Next, Stir everything together until well coated and bake 35 minutes with the lid on. After this, remove the lid, and bake the sausage at 350° for an additional 15 minutes.
*If you are using a pan that doesn't have a lid, you can cover the top of the pan with foil and it should work exactly the same

That's it! This is pretty much the easiest entree you could ever make and it tastes good! Daniel and I have made this as our main dish, topping for baked potatoes, and as an appetizer at a party. The list of things you can do with this simple little meal is endless! See the finished product below and enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Queso/Cheese Dip

Hey Everyone! Sorry it's been awhile since I posted, the life of a graduate student is pretty hectic at times. Trust me, I'd rather be posting here than studying but hey, what can you do?

First of all, I LOVE CHEESE. I love cheese so much, it is a major problem (and argument!) in our house if Daniel eats my last piece of cheese. :) It's a serious addiction. Anyways, we are having a pot-luck dinner at work and anytime I go to something like this my go-to dish is always my queso. It's a (very!) slight twist on the traditional Velveeta/rotel combination that keeps people coming back for more and more. I'm telling you, this stuff is addicting (and not just because I love cheese!).

I always make this in a crock pot because I can throw the ingredients in there and basically forget about it, but it can be made on the stove, microwave, etc. Basically, make it in whatever way is convenient/easiest for you.
**PLUS of using a crock pot: Make it ahead of time at home and then bring the whole crock pot to party, this keeps the queso constantly warm.

-1 package Velveeta cheese ( I usually use the original but you can chose any kind you like: 2%, etc.)
-2 cans Rotel ( I use the original but you can use mild or hot to make it spicier)
-1 pound breakfast sausage
-1 can kidney beans (light or dark will both work)

**This recipe serves 10-15 people. It can be doubled to serve more. It also keeps really well in the fridge (for about a week).

To start out, plug in the crock pot and turn it on low (this will keep the cheese from burning). Then cut up the Velveeta cheese in 1 inch cubes. This doesn't have to be exact in any way, shape, or form! Just try to make sure your cubes are about the same size so the cheese melts evenly. Throw the cheese in the crock pot and let it melt for about 15-20 minutes. If you ended up with a bunch of different sized cubes, just try and stir your cheese more frequently. At the end of the 15-20 minutes, the cheese will still be pretty thick and may still have some cubes left but that's OK. It just needs to be mostly melted.
**If you are using the stove, melt your cheese on a lower setting and stir it frequently or it will burn!
**If using the microwave, heat cheese in microwave safe bowl for 1 minute intervals until the cheese is melted. As it gets closer to being melted, I would decrease this to 30 second intervals

Next, open your first can of Rotel and dump the entire can (juice & all) in the crock pot. With the 2nd can, drain the juice before putting in the Rotel. This will give your queso the right thickness (not to thick, but not so thin that it falls off the chip!). Stir the rotel into the cheese until incorporated and then leave it in the crock pot to continue to heat while you do the next step.
**If using a stove or microwave, continue to heat until the cheese is fully melted.

While you are letting your queso heat, grab a skillet or pan and cook your sausage on medium heat (my stove goes from 1-9 and I usually use 5 or 6). I always use a fork and knife while I' cooking my sausage and cute it up as it's cooking. This ensures that the sausage is in small pieces (remember, the goal here is to have some sausage in almost every bite!). Once the sausage is fully cooked, throw it in the crock pot with the cheese & Rotel. By this time, your cheese should be pretty much fully melted (or getting close!)

Once the cheese mixture is fully melted (basically, at the consistency you would want to eat it), open your can of kidney beans, drain off the liquid, and pour contents into the crock pot. If the queso is to thick for your preferences, you can add in some of the kidney bean juice to thin it a little. Stir everything together and let the mixture heat for another 5-10 minutes.

Finally, enjoy!!!! Below is what your finished product should look like. If the queso isn't going to be eaten in the next hour or so, I would turn the setting on the crock pot to warm (if your crock pot has it). This will ensure the cheese doesn't burn on the bottom. If not, just stir your queso more frequently (every 30-45 minutes or so).