Chicken Sausage 3-Ways

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Isernio's recently launched their new fully cooked chicken sausages, and while I'm not a regular sausage eater, I was excited when we were sent a few packs of each of their flavors to try. A few things you should know, the sausages come in 3 flavors: Sweet Italian Chicken with Parmesan Cheese, Apple Chicken, and Caprese Chicken with Mozzarella, Basil & Sun Dried Tomatoes. Additionally, the insides are made with 100% chicken thighs, no pork, beef or whatchamacallit for flavor enhancement. However, they are encased in pork :(.

Once I found out there were 3 flavors, I thought it would be great to give each flavor a chance to shine in its own recipe. Hence this post. However, before I added them to recipes, I wanted to see how they tasted on their own. My favorite by far was the Caprese chicken. It was very well flavored. The Sweet Italian came in second and the Apple was my least favorite. The little bits of apple in the sausage had an after taste that did not appeal to me. Friends seemed to like it though. One thing I really like about these sausages is that they pack about 20-25g of protein in each sausage. That's about the same amount of protein you get in some protein shakes. If you're like me and you are trying to hit over 100g of protein every day, these sausages will help you achieve that.

Now for the good part, recipes.

Sausage and Crackers Tray

The name is self-explanatory. Of the three sausages, I felt like the Apple Chicken sausage was destined for a cheese tray. Serve it up with some crackers, and fruit and you've got yourself an hors d'oeuvre. I chose to pair my sausage with thin garlic, olive crackers and slices of Asian pear. Be wild with it!

Ingredients

A pack of Isernio's Apple fully cooked chicken sausage (sliced)

1-2 Asian pears (sliced)

Salt or flavored crackers

Assorted Cheese (optional)

Steps

Arrange ingredients on a tray. Serve!

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Sweet Italian Wonton Cups

How did I just discover wonton wrappers and their ability to take an appetizer from standard to bougie?! This recipe is easy peasy and you can easily prepare it when having company over or take it for a potluck. I used the Sweet Italian sausages for this but I think the Caprese sausage would have worked just as well.  It's best served fresh but also re-heats quite well.

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Sweet Italian Wonton Cups

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Serves: 18

Ingredients

1 yellow bell pepper(diced, small)

3 Isernio's Sweet Italian fully cooked chicken sausage (diced)

3 stalks spring onion (chopped)

1 teaspoon ginger (chopped)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Pinch of salt

18 wonton wrappers

3/4 cup gruyere (shredded, for topping)

Cooking spray

Equipment

Mini/regular muffin pan

Steps

Preheat oven to 350F

Dice bell pepper and sausage. Chop spring onions and ginger.  Set aside in separate bowls.

Put a pan with olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add spring onions, ginger and bell pepper. Sauté till onions start to become translucent.

Add sausages to pan and mix. Add paprika, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. Mix. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Lightly spray each cup of your muffin pan with cooking spray. Place a wonton wrapper in each cup. Lightly spray the inside of each wonton wrapper in the tray.

Scoop about a tablespoon of the sausage mix into each cup. Making sure not to over fill. Place the muffin pan in oven and bake for 6-7 minutes.

Bring out the pan and top each cup with the shredded gruyere. Put the pan back  and bake for another 2-3 minutes till cheese is melted and wonton wrapper is lightly brown and crispy.

Let cool for a few minutes then transfer cups to serving tray/dish.

Note: If your muffin pan doesn’t have 18 cups, repeat the above 4 steps for the remaining batches.

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Creamy Caprese Sausage Gnocchi

I wanted to try something fancy for the third recipe. This gnocchi could easily be a one pan dish but I chose to boil the gnocchi separately. The flavors of the Caprese chicken sausage really pop with the cream. I didn’t feel a need to add additional cheese to the dish as I originally planned. Try it out for a date night with your favorite glass of white wine. 

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Creamy Caprese Sausage Gnocchi

Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves: 4-5

Ingredients

1 16 oz (1 lb) pack of potato gnocchi

1 1/2 tablespoon butter

1 shallot (chopped)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1/2 white wine(dry)

2/3 cream heavy cream

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tomato (diced)

4 Isernio's Caprese fully cooked chicken sausage (sliced into 1cm thick circles)

1/4 cups water/broth

3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)

Black pepper (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

Steps

Dice the tomato and chop the shallots and garlic. Set aside.

Fill a small pot with water and bring to boil. Pour gnocchi into boiling water and let boil for 2 - 3 minutes or until gnocchi starts to float. Strain gnocchi and set aside. Keep about 1/4 cup of gnocchi water for sauce.

Separately, add the butter to a sauté pan and melt over medium-high heat. When melted, add the shallots and garlic and sauté till shallots turn translucent. Add the white wine to the mix and let simmer till white wine is reduced by about half.

Reduce heat to low and add the cream, tomato paste and tomato to the pan. Mix and let simmer on low heat for 5 or so minutes, till mixture begins to thicken.

Add sausage and gnocchi to the sauce. Add some to all of 1/4 cup of water to pan if sauce is too thick. Mix. Add salt an pepper to taste and let simmer. Mix in the chopped parsley.

Serve.

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