Sweet Potatoes with Sausage and PeppersWhen I saw the recipe for “Sweet Potatoes with Sausage and Peppers,” from Allrecipes.com, I thought it would be a fine main dish, made up of hefty potatoes, sausage, and a kick of salsa. What it was, in fact, was little more than a glorified potato dish. It would be more suitable as a side dish on your menu, tasty combined with the salsa and ground cumin. I tried Green Mountain Gringo mild salsa. Instead of using bulk Italian sausage, as the recipe suggested, I used pre-cooked D’Artagnan Mediterranean-Style Chicken Sausage. Because it was already cooked, I could add the crumbled sausage to the skillet with the final sauté.

I boiled my diced sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Since I did not need to brown my sausage, I instead added 1 Tbsp. olive oil to the skillet to cook the bell peppers, onion, and garlic. I added 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to this potato dish, but it could have used even more salt.

Orzo with Creamed Corn SauceI also made “Orzo with Creamed Corn Sauce,” from the August 2008 issue of Bön Appetit (recipe below), and was wowed by the addictive pleasure of the creamy deliciousness. Creamy orzo, I believe, is beautiful in its own merits, without pretending to be “risotto.”

Bön Appetit, August 2008
4 servings

2/3 cup orzo (about 5 oz.)
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
2 ears of corn, kernels cut from cobs, divided (1 cob reserved)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. finely chopped leek (white part only)
3 Tbsp. dry white wine
Chopped fresh chives

Cook orzo in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Meanwhile, place cream, half of corn kernels, and reserved cob in heavy medium saucepan. Boil over medium heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Discard cob; purée sauce in blender until smooth.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add leek and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add remaining corn kernels and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add creamed corn sauce and cooked orzo. Bring to simmer. Season to tast with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

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Because I waited until the middle of winter to make this recipe, I did not have the option of using fresh ears of corn. Instead, I used 2 cups of wonderful, organic, frozen corn. I used my immersion blender to smooth out the very thick mass of corn and cream, rather than transferring it to a blender. Instead of adding dry white wine to my sauteed leeks, I used dry vermouth, which was fine. I did add 2 tsp. salt to this final dish, which smiled brilliantly beneath a sprinkling of chives.

RECIPES: do something new with sweet potatoes and indulge in creamy corn and orzo
PREP TIMES: you should be able to eat within 45 minutes
TASTES: your chosen sausage and salsa will define the potatoes (don’t forget the salt); every element of the orzo dish works to please your mouth

Are you ready to witness a fun menu for next time? I want to cook “Teriyaki Turkey Burgers,” from The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan, by Christopher Saudek and Sandra Woodruff (recipe below), along with “Pecan Roasted Potatoes,” from Allrecipes.com. This should be neat! Return to my site on Tuesday, March 3, to see what happens.

The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan
6 servings

Burger Mixture:
1 1/4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 1/4 lbs. 95% lean ground turkey
3 Tbsp. light, reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Rest of Recipe:
6 canned pineapple rings (optional)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. nonfat or light mayonnaise
6 light wheat or multi-grain burger buns
6 slices red onion
6 lettuce leaves

Place the mushrooms, scallions, and red bell pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until the vegetables are finely chopped. Place the vegetables, ground turkey, teriyaki sauce, and black pepper in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Shape the mixture into six 4-inch patties.

Grill the burgers over medium coals or cook under a broiler for about 6 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature of the patties reaches 165 degrees and the meat is no longer pink inside. (To retain moisture, avoid pressing down on the patties as they cook.) Alternatively, coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with nonstick cooking spray and cook the burgers over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side.

If desired, brush the pineapple slices with a little teriyaki sauce and grill or broil for a minute or two on each side, until lightly browned.

To assemble the burgers, place the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl and stir to mix well. Spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on each bun. Place each burger in a bun and top with some of the onion, lettuce, and if desired, a pineapple slice. Serve hot.