Tag Archives: Giveaway

Chicken Sausage, Pesto and Gruyere Croissant Rolls…and a Giveaway!

Giveaway is now over!  Sadly, I didn’t get a response from Emily R. before the Jan. 2 deadline, so I have to pick a new winner.  Emily, if you read this…send me a message!  I can’t send you the sausages, but I’d love to send you a little something else! 

New winner:  Congratulations to commenter #3 (picked via random.org), tcarolinep!!!  I’ll be sending you an email! 

It’s no secret that my family loves cinnamon rolls.  Especially my Grandmother’s homemade cinnamon rolls.  Oh man!  They’re soft and doughy, sweet–but not too sweet–they’re everything you could ever want in a cinnamon roll…and more!

Because I work on Christmas this year, I won’t have time to go to Grandma’s and have a taste of her fluffy cinnamon rolls, nor will I have time to whip up a pan of my own.  Instead, I plan on making Piyush a quick and easy recipe using Gold’n Plump Chicken Sausages, pesto, gruyere and pre-packaged croissant roll dough.

Freshly baked Chicken Sausage Rolls

Freshly baked Chicken Sausage Rolls

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Spicy Chicken Sausage Pizza

Spicy Chicken Sausage Pizza with Chipotle Pepper and Pepita Seed Pesto & Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed.  Random.org chose #2

So, Mona…you are the winner!  I hope you enjoy your chicken sausages!!! You should be receiving an email soon!



A couple weeks ago I received an email from Gold’n Plump asking me if I’d be interested in trying their new line of chicken sausages.  I don’t typically buy Gold’n Plump products, so I didn’t really know anything about the company.  I was surprised to learn that they are based out of St. Cloud, Minnesota–just a few hours drive from where we live.

In fact, these chickens are probably more “local” than what I can get at my neighborhood butcher shop (sad, huh?)–and a whole lot cheaper than buying them straight from the farmer’s market/farmer.  Now, if you read my blog regularly, you’re probably already aware that I’m pretty picky when purchasing my meat.

I try to buy organic as much as possible, but sometimes that’s not always the practical thing to do.  Do you know how much money 12lbs of organic, cage-free, vegetarian fed chicken breast for a potluck would cost me?  A small fortune, I’m sure.  It’s the sad reality.

I replied to the email and asked a few questions about the chicken–what they’re fed, how they’re raised, and if they were given any hormones/antibiotics.   I was satisfied with the responses I was given, so I agreed to give the chicken sausages a try.

I was sent 4 different varieties to try:  Lean Chicken Bratwurst, Lean Hot Italian Chicken Sausage, Lean Parmesan Italian Chicken Sausage and Lean Apple Maple Chicken Breakfast Sausage.

I decided to try the Hot Italian Chicken Sausages first.

…And I had the perfect recipe in mind:  Spicy Chicken Sausage Pizza with a Chipotle Pepper-Pepita Seed Pesto.

Piyush always tells me how much he loves the chicken sausage pizza at Zpizza–a place he eats lunch at occasionally.  He’s actually bought chicken sausages from Trader Joe’s, Hyvee, Walmart and Sam’s Club–trying to find one with the same taste as the one on that pizza.  They all ended up in the garbage, and we continued to buy pork when we got the craving for sausages or brats.

Sure, pork sausage is delicious; but it’s also incredibly fatty–definitely not good for my already over-expanded waistline.  The spicy chicken sausage from Gold’n Plump contained 8 g. of fat and less than 180 calories per link.  That is a whole lot healthier than pork!  …and the apple maple breakfast sausages were 100 calories for 3 links–I say that’s awesome!  I can’t wait to give those a try this weekend.

Now, before I go on telling you what I think about the sausages, let me just state that yes, Gold’n Plump provided the sausages to me at no cost…but I will be honest, and all opinions/statements are completely my own.  

So, the nutrition stats look pretty good–aside from the sodium levels, but even that was less than most pork sausages I’ve bought in the past; and sausage is usually high in salt in the first place.  But how was the taste?

I removed the sausage from the casings so that I could top the pizza with ground meat instead of sliced.

In my personal opinion–and Piyush’s too–the hot Italian sausage was definitely as good as any pork sausage we’ve tried.  It was very well spiced (it actually is hot) and wasn’t dry at all.  After I removed the sausage from the casings (I wanted ground meat instead of sliced rings–although Piyush would have preferred I kept the sausages in the casings), I cooked it in a little olive oil until it browned up nicely.

Because Piyush loved the chicken sausage pizza from Zpizza, I thought it would be fun to make my own version.  I’ve never tried a slice before…so I went to their website and checked out the toppings.  It had chipotle pesto, red onions, corn, chicken sausage, mozzerella, tomatoes, cilantro and serrano chilies–it sounded fantastic!

I wish I would have thought of it first and could take all the credit, but no…instead I’m offering my version of Zpizza’s Santa Fe (which Piyush told me is nothing like their version—it’s different, but good on the exact same level.  He really loves their pizza).

Spicy Chicken Sausage Pizza

Not only am I excited to share this crazy-good pizza recipe with you all, but I’m also excited because the nice people at Gold’n Plump have offered to send one of my readers the exact same chicken sausage sampler pack I received!

Gold’n Plump’s New Chicken Sausage Line: Parmesan Italian, Hot Italian, and Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages. There was also a package of Chicken Bratwurst.

So lets talk about this Giveaway!

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me:

 What excites you about this new line of chicken sausages,  and what you would make with them if you won?

The giveaway ends Monday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.  The giveaway is only open to U.S. residents– (sorry!).  Be sure to include a valid email address with your comment…if you win, I’ve got to be able to contact you!

I’ll choose the winner randomly using Random.org’s random number generator.  If I don’t hear back from the winner by Wednesday, June 6 at 5:00 pm Central Time, a new winner will be chosen!

For an additional chances to win the Gold’n Plump Chicken Sausage Sampler Pack:

  • Like Gold’n Plump on Facebook (HERE)
  • Like My Fancy Pantry on Facebook (HERE)
  • Follow My Fancy Pantry on Twitter (HERE)
If you click LIKE on Facebook or FOLLOW on Twitter, be sure to leave a separate comment letting me know, and if you already LIKE or FOLLOW, leave a comment about that too!    

In the mean time, if you’d like to try these sausages, you can head over to Gold’n Plump’s website and grab a $1.00 off coupon!  They’re available at Super-Target (and some other stores too, I’m sure!).

Now, let’s get back to the pizza!

I used my basic whole wheat pizza crust recipe (using Indian Atta flour instead of regular whole wheat flour).

Printer Friendly Recipe: Pizza Crust

I topped the pizza with some Chipotle Pepper and Pepita Seed Pesto (recipe here) and finely chopped jalapeno peppers before topping with three kinds of cheeses: shredded mozzerella, shredded fontina and a locally made cheese similar to queso fresco.  I then added the chicken sausage (2 links), some thinly sliced green and yellow bell pepper, whole kernels of corn (I used canned–but rinsed it all well before using), roasted tomato slices and additional sliced jalapenos for my spice-loving husband.

I baked the pizza at a little higher temp than usual: 475 degrees F…and didn’t pay close attention, so you’ll notice I burned it a little.  I kind of liked it though, it reminded me a lot of a nice, wood-fired pizza–it even had that smokiness from the chipotles!

Once the pizza was finished baking, I topped it with some chopped cilantro, crumbled queso fresco style-cheese (the local stuff I used earlier) and an adobo-ranch sauce I made.  I don’t like ranch dressing, but I knew this pizza would be spicy so I thought some sort of sauce would help cool it a little and also add some additional flavor.

I mixed a few squirts of ranch dressing with a little bit of adobo sauce (which the chipotle peppers were packed in) until I thought it was well balanced.  I then tossed it in the fridge for a good 20 minutes, and drizzled it lightly over the pizza before I served it.

Piyush and I watched a netflix movie (some Hindi movie that I don’t remember the name of right now…) and enjoyed our pizza on the couch.

I’ve got to say, this might be the very best pizza flavor combination yet…

chicken sausage-05108

Chipotle Pepper and Pepita Seed Pesto

In order to make this:

spicy chicken sausage pizza with chipotle pepper and pepita seed pesto

I had to make this:

It’s no secret that I love pesto.  You could blend pretty much anything together and call it a pesto…and I’ll be in line to try it!

I wanted to make a spicy chicken sausage pizza with the new Gold’n Plump Hot Italian Chicken Sausages (which were delicious, by the way) that I received in the mail.

I was excited about the sausages because they are lower in calories and contain substantially less fat than regular pork sausage.  They’re nitrate free, dairy free and also gluten free!  Awesome!  Gold’n Plump is also a Minnesota company, and the chickens are raised on family farms just a few hours from where I live.   (More about these sausages later…along with a giveaway!)

I was aiming to recreate Zpizza’s Santa Fe pizza–it’s a spicy chicken sausage pizza that my husband absolutely loves.  I’ve never actually tried it, but he raves and raves about it every Monday, so I thought I’d check out the toppings online and figure out what makes this pizza so special.

Reading the ingredients, 2 words jumped out at me.  Chipotle Pesto.

I’ve never heard of such a thing, and I was curious.  I needed to make it, and I needed to make it now!    (Patience is not my strong point…).

I love a good challenge, so I started going through combinations in my head until I came up with what I thought would be the perfect recipe.

Not to toot my own horn or anything–but this pesto rocked!!!  :)

I knew chipotle peppers and adobo sauce would be two key ingredients, and I figured I’d stick with the Parmesan cheese that you’d expect to find in a typical basil pesto.  I didn’t want to use pine nuts for two reasons.  One, they’re really expensive, and I didn’t want to use them in an experiment.  And Two, I didn’t know if the flavor would be what I was looking for.

I dug through my pantry…and there was my answer.  A big, unopened bag of Pepita Seeds (pumpkin seeds).

Pepita Seeds

Pepitas are the edible seeds inside the white hull of a pumpkin seed.  They’re a light green color, and have a mild pumpkin flavor.  They are commonly used in Mexican cuisine, so I figured they’d pair really well with the chipotle peppers.

If you’re unfamiliar with chipotles and have no idea where to find them, fear not!

Chipotle Peppers: what they lack in attractiveness, they make up for in flavor!

They’re simply smoked jalapeno peppers which are easily found in the Mexican isle of the super-market–usually packed in cans of adobo sauce.  They add a really wonderful smokey flavor to a dish–along with a little spice! (Be mindful when adding adobo to recipes, the sauce can be pretty spicy).

I grabbed a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce out of the pantry and separated the chilies from the sauce.  I rinsed 5 chilies under cold water–just to get the sauce off–and then split them to remove the seeds.  If you really love spice, you could definitely leave the seeds in, but I thought it might just be a little too much for me.

Removing the seeds from a chipotle pepper.

When I finished prepping the chipotle peppers, I added them–along with garlic, parmesan, pepitas, adobo sauce and my homemade chili-garlic olive oil (recipe) into a food processor.

I pulsed everything together until it was well blended and at the consistency I wanted (although a little more oil would have maybe been nice).

It was so different.  The taste was an exciting explosion of flavor on my tongue!  It was sweet, smokey, salty, spicy all at once!

My recipe made about a cup of pesto, so I put it in a few jars and tossed it in the fridge until I was ready to use it.  I’m not real sure how long it would last, as I’ve never made it before, but I’d say at least a week in the fridge–longer if you toss it in the freezer instead (freeze it in ice-cube trays, then it’s perfectly portioned too!).

I’m really excited to share my Spicy Sausage Pizza with Chipotle Pepper and Pepita Seed Pesto recipe with you, but if that doesn’t sound like something you’d enjoy, you could definitely slather some pesto on slices of toasted french bread and top with roasted tomatoes and crumbled queso fresco!  YUM!

Or you could make some pasta and toss it with the pesto and a variety of vegetables.  That sounds good too!

Or maybe even use it to make a really unique quesidilla!  I’m imagining toasted tortillas filled with a mixture of shredded mozzarella, queso fresco, sliced green chilies (or bell peppers if you don’t want more spice), and chicken!

The options are endless!

Stay tuned for my pizza recipe—it’ll be showing up on my blog shortly.  You’ll also want to check back because the nice folks at Gold’n Plump have also agreed to give a chicken sausage sampler pack to one lucky reader!  Their new line includes:

  • Chicken Bratwursts
  • Hot Italian Chicken Sausage
  • Parmesan Italian Chicken Sausage
  • Apple Maple Breakfast Chicken Sausage Links

Gold’n Plump’s new chicken sausage line

Chipotle Pepper and Pepita Seed Pesto

(makes approximately 1 cup finished pesto)

Ingredients:

  • 5 chipotle peppers- rinsed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves- chopped
  • 3/4 c. Parmesan cheese- shredded
  • 1/2 c. pepitas- dry roasted
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce- or to taste (this can be spicy!)
  • 1/3c. to 1/2 c. chili-garlic olive oil (can substitute a different oil)
  • pepper/salt-to taste

Directions:

  • Place the parmesan cheese in the food processor.  Process until the cheese becomes a fine powder.  Then add the pepita seeds to the cheese and process again.  Pulse until the seeds are finely chopped–don’t process too long though–you don’t want the seeds to begin to turn into nut-butter.
  • Add the chopped garlic, chipotle chiles, and adobo sauce.  Process until everything is well combined and it begins to take the form of a traditional pesto.
  • Turn the food processor onto the lowest speed and drizzle the oil into the mixture (while everything is being processed).  Stop adding oil once the mixture reaches your desired consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Transfer pesto into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

printer friendly version

I love chipotles! :)

Indian masala chai recipe

Indian-Style Tea –and a Nathmulls Darjeeling Tea Giveaway!

I remember the first time I had a sip of tea. I was about 7 years old and in second grade. My best friend at the time, Anita, was spending the night and we decided to have a tea party. We raided my mom’s cupboards and found some old (antique) cups and saucers. We also managed to find a few tea bags. I didn’t know how to make tea– my parents never drank it– but we figured it couldn’t be that hard.

Anita turned on the faucet and filled the cups with hot water while I cut open the tea bags. We dumped the tea-dust into the cups of water and put them in the microwave for 5 minutes. While the tea was heating, Anita and I made a couple sandwiches–peanut butter and jelly; I believe. I remember being so excited to sit down, clink our cups together (cheers!) and drink tea. I felt like a grown up.

When our tea was finished in the microwave, we carefully took the very hot cups and placed them onto the saucers. We sat down at the table, giggling, and waited patiently for the tea to cool off enough to drink it. Once it was ready, we clinked the cups together (bad idea!…tea spilled everywhere) and took a sip.

As soon as the tea met my taste-buds, I knew tea was not for me. It was gritty and gross; and the look on Anita’s face showed me that she felt the same. We promptly dumped the tea down the sink, rinsed out our cups, and cracked open an orange Crush soda.

20 years have passed since my first experience with tea, and I’m glad to say it wasn’t my last. Now I enjoy many types of tea; sweetened and unsweetened, loose-leaf and bagged, Darjeeling and green.  Although I’ll drink nearly any kind now-days, I undoubtedly prefer the sweet– and sometimes spicy– Indian style tea.

This delicious beverage, commonly known as chai (in Hindi) or cha (in Bengali), is not the same “chai” you get if you order it at an American coffee shop (I’m lookin’ at you Starbucks!).  In America, Indian masala chai (mixed-spice tea) has become synonymous with the word chai; but chai is just a word for tea.  It’s not a type of tea…and it definitely does not come from artificial syrup (did you know that tea leaves are not even a listed ingredient on some of the syrups your favorite coffee shop uses to make your chai?).

In India, chai is most often made with black tea leaves, way too much sugar, thick, whole milk…and green cracked cardamom pods—if you’re lucky!

sweet, green cardamom pods

It can be found everywhere…and I do mean everywhere!  You can buy it for a couple rupees at the train station, served in tiny paper cups;  or along the roadsides, where scant amounts are poured into tiny earthenware vessels; and if you’re lucky enough to be invited into an Indian home, you’re sure to be offered a steaming glass of creamy chai…with biscuits to dunk!

My mother and father-in-law (Maa and Baba), taught me how to make proper Indian-style tea…and for that, I am thankful!  When preparing tea, they never really used exact measurements.  Instead, they relied on color and taste.  It took me awhile, but I think I’ve finally got it figured out (Baba, if you’re reading this…you’d be proud)!

Not only do I intend to share with you, dear reader, how to make Indian-style chai (and masala chai!), but I would also like to give you a chance to try some Darjeeling loose-leaf tea that I bought in Darjeeling, myself!  This is not the Darjeeling tea you find lining your supermarket or co-op shelves…nooo…this is the real deal!

Darjeeling Loose Leaf Tea...and a strainer! The tea was purchased at Nathmulls in Darjeeling. If you want to learn more about it click here.

If you’d like a chance at trying some Darjeeling tea for yourself, here’s your chance!  I’m having a  giveaway, and one lucky reader will receive the package of tea and tea strainer shown above!

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me how you like to drink your tea!  It’s that easy!

The giveaway ends Friday, April 6 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.  The giveaway is only open to U.S. residents aged 18+ (sorry!).  Be sure to include a valid email address with your comment…if you win, I want you to know!  I’ll choose the winner randomly using Random.org’s random number generator.  If I don’t hear back from the winner by Monday, April 9 at 5:00 pm Central Time, a new winner will be chosen!

For an additional chance to win: Follow my blog or sign up for email updates.  Be sure to leave a comment letting me know if you did this!

If you already follow or subscribe, I appreciate it and you deserve an extra chance too!  Leave a comment letting me know!

My blog is pretty young yet…so the chances are good!

**The giveaway is now over!  Congrats, Mary Ella!  I hope you enjoy the tea!**

Now, on to the recipes!

Indian-Style Tea (with milk and sugar)

This can also be made using stevia, if you’re concerned about your sugar-intake.  I also make it with soymilk.  If you choose to do this be sure to add the soymilk at the end.  Don’t boil it, it will curdle!

This recipe yeilds 3- 80z. servings.

  • 2 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. loose leaf tea
  • 3 green cardamom pods, cracked (optional)
  • sugar, to taste (if you want the whole “Indian experience” toss in about 3 tbsp–seriously.)
  • 3/4 c. milk (whole milk, if you want to keep it real)

Directions: 

  • Heat 2 c. water in a small pot over med-high heat until it’s rapidly boiling.  Once it’s boiling, toss in the tea leaves (and a couple cardamom pods, if you want), cover the pot, and turn off the heat.  Let the tea steep for about 5 minutes.
  • Add sugar–to taste –and milk.  Stir to combine everything.  Turn heat back on and bring the tea back to a boil.  Once it boils…it’s done!  Don’t cook it for too long or it’ll turn a little bitter and taste funny.  Turn off the heat, strain, and enjoy!

Masala Chai

To make masala chai–  follow the same recipe and method as above, but also add:

  • small chunk of ginger, smashed (use as much as you would like, but remember…it’s strong!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • small sliver of cinnamon
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 3 cloves

Add these spices, whole, to the water when you add the tea leaves.  Experiment with the quantities of spices and find the mix that is just right for you!  …Everyone’s tastes are different!

If you want to make the chai really special for someone, add a whole cardamom seed to the bottom before straining the tea into the glass!  If you could say, “I love you” using spices…this is how you’d do it!

A spice-y surprise!

Enjoy!