Chicken and apple breakfast sausages

Chicken and apple breakfast sausages | Me & The Moose. These easy chicken and apple sausage patties are an easy batch bake that can deliciously simplify your mornings. #meandthemoose #breakfast #sausages #chickensausage #sage #healthybreakfastrecipes

These chicken and apple breakfast sausage patties are super quick, packed with flavor, and a great way to add some lean protein to your breakfasts.

Take me to the recipe!

Chicken and apple breakfast sausages | Me & The Moose. These easy chicken and apple sausage patties are an easy batch bake that can deliciously simplify your mornings. #meandthemoose #breakfast #sausages #chickensausage #sage #healthybreakfastrecipes

So! It’s been forever since I last posted because, like half of the food bloggers I follow, I’ve been busy cooking something else: A BABY. Normally I have a strong sense of smell, but pregnancy turns me into a bloodhound. Combine that with constant nausea, and you can imagine how I’ve felt about cooking or looking at food photos or being in the kitchen or even opening the refrigerator door.

Luckily, I started working on a homemade version of chicken and apple sausages (a family favorite) WAY before they started making me nauseous, so I know they’re good. Plus, they’re easy to whip up over the weekend and then store or freeze for future breakfasts. OR, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even make them on a weekday morning if you’re one of those people with your shit together on school days.

I fiddled around a lot with the spice mix so that it would be strong enough to compensate for how little fat is in the recipe. I use a combination of fresh and dried sage but you could certainly opt for a single type. If you like less garlic or just milder flavors generally, cut back on the garlic powder and the patties will still taste great.

A note about the fat we add: It’s only a Tbsp, which may feel like too little or too much depending on where you stand and you may be tempted to add more or leave it out. But I’ve found that 1 Tbsp is enough to keep the meat from drying out without making it taste oily or making the texture crumbly.

And the apple adds a little sweetness and a little moisture.

Chicken and apple breakfast sausages | Me & The Moose. These easy chicken and apple sausage patties are an easy batch bake that can deliciously simplify your mornings. #meandthemoose #breakfast #sausages #chickensausage #sage #healthybreakfastrecipes

Chicken and apple breakfast sausages

Time: 15 total (5 prep, 10 cooking)
Yield: 16 patties

1 lb ground chicken, (7-8% fat)  
1 small apple, shredded (about ½ cup of apple)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp pepper

Combine the chicken, shredded apple, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix just until all of the ingredients are combined.

In a large skillet, heat ½-1 Tbsp of oil over a medium flame until hot. (If you’re cooking the sausages in batches, use half of the oil; otherwise, use it all.)

Scoop 2 Tbsp of chicken mixture into balls and place in the hot skillet. Push them down slightly to form round patties. Reduce the flame to medium low and cook until well browned on the bottoms, about 5 minutes.

Flip the patties and cook on the other side until the meat is cooked through, the patties feel firm to the touch, and/or the patties reach 165 on a meat thermometer, about 4 more minutes.

Carrot, ginger, and tahini dressing

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Salad! Do your kids eat it? M will inexplicably stuff his face with raw kale sometimes and then turn around and gag on anything leafy or green. The dressing is a factor. Also, if he gets to mix the salad, he is much more likely to eat it. I recommend putting your salad bowl on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any greens that escape (read: all of the greens) and letting the little ones have a go.

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Since M is currently SO PASSIONATE about sushi, we've eaten at A LOT of Japanese restaurants lately. Sometimes that ubiquitous carrot and ginger dressing is a revelation, but more often, it's watery or too acidic. This version is neither of those things. There's a fair amount of liquid and acid in this recipe, but the load of carrots and the little bit of tahini mellows the vinegar just enough and adds a touch of creaminess.

I won't lie: It's a little chunkier than your average salad dressing, but it coats the lettuce beautifully and instead of just being oil, you're sneaking in some extra goodness in what is essentially a condiment. So if your toddler deigns to eat a mouthful, they're eating EVEN MORE VEGETABLES.

Also, this dressing is sweet and tangy, but happens to be free of gluten, dairy, and sugar. And it lasts FOREVER. Pretty sure I'm still eating a batch that I made three weeks ago. But, you know, use your judgment.

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Creamy carrot and ginger tahini dressing

¼ apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp tahini
2 extra large carrots or 4 medium/small carrots
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ white onion
1 large clove garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup olive or avocado oil
salt
pepper

Place all ingredients (except the oil) in a blender or food processor. Start blending and slowly pour in the olive oil while the machine is running. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency. If the mixture feels too watery, add another tablespoon of tahini. If it feels too thick, add one tablespoon of water and blend.

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Purple kale pesto

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This recipe is really just an excuse to make tomato hearts. Because TOMATO HEARTS! (See the easy peasy tutorial below.)

As always, scroll to the next photo to skip the life update coming at you: I've been with my mom in the hospital for the past few days, hence the long pause in posting. I'll spare you the details, but it was pretty brutal for my mom and will continue to be a rough course of treatment in the coming weeks and months. 

Seeing someone I love be so sick brings out competing urges in me. On the one hand, I want to be optimistic and wait to freak out until we see what happens in the next few weeks. On the other hand, I want to mentally prepare for the worst, or, as I usually do, talk about/worry about "the worst" as though somehow saying it out loud or thinking about it constantly will keep it at bay. Like the Scheherazade of cancer.

Anyway, as always, I can only control what I can control. I'll try my best to carry on and eat well and get veggies into my child and not let him watch all the television though I mostly want to curl into a ball and stare at the wall.

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This pesto is so vibrant and delicious. And purple feels on brand for Valentine's day, no?

Though I'm always in favor of shortcuts in recipes and against dirtying unnecessary dishes, you really must blanch the kale before making this sauce. But I sometimes go straight from the pot to the food processor (shaking off the excess water in the process) and skip the post-blanch ice bath that is supposed to stop things from overcooking. I find that the blending does the trick and a little excess water doesn't hurt the mixture either.

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This guy is Whole 30 compliant but adding in some Parmesan wouldn't hurt one bit. This is also a great way to get vegetables into your child since they're blended into the sauce. I find that the purple color is fascinating to small people and some of it comes out in the blanching water, turning it a gorgeous shade of lavender, which is also compelling to the wee ones. If nuts are a no-go for your kids' lunchboxes, try swapping in tiger nuts (they're not actually nuts) or pumpkin seeds for the cashews.

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Here's a quick tutorial for the tomatoes:

A couple of tips: Look for tomatoes that are longer than they are round and cut them on the diagonal, but toward the middle, leaving a little bulb on each end. When you've cut the tomato in half, flip the right side over so that the two fat parts and the skinny tips meet. Stick a toothpick or skewer through the middle like an arrow. Done.

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Purple kale pesto

6 oz purple kale, stalks removed (1 large bunch)
1/3 cup basil
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup roasted, unsalted cashews or cashew pieces
½ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
salt/pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Rinse the kale and rip the leaves from the stalks into large chunks (this part is cathartic). Put in the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Give it a few stirs to ensure that all of the kale is submerged. Add directly to the blender or food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until you've reached your desired consistency. If too thick, add more water or oil by the tsp to thin out.

Yield: 18 oz or about 3 cups (This recipe makes a good amount of pesto and was more than enough for a lb of pasta.)

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Guacamole skewers

One of the most frustrating things about feeding a toddler is that one day's favorite food is the next day's reject. M used to eat guacamole by the spoonful until it was suddenly dead to him. But he still eats the components with no problem. So, I made a skewer out of it and let him pull off pieces and helped him cut them up. And he ate it.

This deconstructed guac is also a way to showcase your seasonal produce. I like hiding sub-par tomatoes and onions in my favorite green gloop, but this way, the still-warm-from-the-sun tomatoes can go right from the farmer's market to a skewer to your table. Feel free to double the sauce recipe if you want some leftovers: This bright, tangy sauce is a perfect topper for chicken, dip for veggies, or sauce for eggs.

The only (and I do mean ONLY) tricky thing about these skewers is timing the avocado right. But isn't that always the way? Too ripe, and the avocado can fall right off of the stick, but using not-ripe-enough avocados is very obvious here because there's no camouflage of mushing and lime juice.

Guacamole skewers

For the sauce
1 bunch cilantro, well-soaked
4 Tbsp avocado oil or other neutral oil
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 generous pinches of salt and more to taste
1 large clove garlic

Roughly remove the stems from the leaves of cilantro (but a few stems are fine). Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lime juice, as needed.

For the skewers
Red, orange, and yellow cherry tomatoes
1 large avocado (halved, quartered, and then chopped into fours to get 16 pieces)
2 limes (halved and quartered)
1 red onion

Yield: 16 skewers

Chimichurri meatballs

I'm writing this from a Starbucks while M is at his first day of drop-off camp. Drop off. As in, I bring him to camp and then leave and go live my life for two hours while he lives his. WWWWHHHAAAATTTT?????? I mean, this is literally the goal while raising kids: You want them to be able to function without you and eat and breathe and play and learn and share and manage their emotions, but oh my god, how can he be able to function without me already?

But I simultaneously feel like this is totally normal. He's such an independent kid that I know he'll be okay without me. And thinking of him going to his own place to do his own thing reminds me that I, too, am a separate person who exists outside of my role as a mother.

If I was a smart person, I would be posting today about nut-free lunch packing because that's one challenge we're encountering for the first time. Buuuut, I'm not. Instead, I'm posting about a good way to get M to eat protein: Fill it with the strong flavors of garlic, lime, and cilantro. Actually, this is a good way to get anyone to eat protein.

A few notes about this recipe: I tried to make this one into a Whole 30/Paleo recipe by using almond meal in place of flour, but the texture never felt totally right. They were delicious, but a little softer than I wanted. However, if I were to do another Whole 30, I would definitely make these with almond meal and just deal with it because the flavor is great. I used homemade bread crumbs here because we had some stale whole grain bread, but store bought would work just fine. I made these meatballs huge because I wanted them to be sliders and a good, hearty meal, but one could absolutely make them smaller. I served them with more chimichurri on the top and bottom and a whole wheat slider bun. These would also be great over some zucchini noodles or with roasted veggies like fennel and potatoes.

Chimichurri meatballs

1.5 lb ground beef, turkey, or bison
½ cup chimichurri
1½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs (3 oz bread)
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Using your hands or a large spoon, form into palm-sized balls (about the size of a lacrosse ball). Bake in any oven-safe pan, but preferably a casserole or pie dish with higher sides to keep the balls in place, for about 40-45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160.

Yield: 9 large meatballs