The Unfathomable Combo

Some things just aren’t meant to go together. iPhones and water, 21st birthdays and weekday nights, and my father and Facebook – just to name a few. Another partnership that the universe had seemingly forbade was that between mouthwateringly delicious food and a healthy weight. Eating bacon, chocolate cake, and doughnuts will inevitably ruin any diet and exercise regimen. Over the past couple decades, the health community has even begun attacking carb-dense foods like bread, potatoes, and pasta as being sources of food that can help you pack on the pounds. After all, carbs are essentially energy, so when you consume less “energy,” it forces your body to use your fat as energy. Quite simple, isn’t it?

To varying degrees of success, I am always trying to be conscientious of my carb intake, as well as the overall quality of the food I consume. Making lunch and dinner is no problem. There exists endless combinations of veggies to be eaten. The real problem for me comes during breakfast. My dream breakfast is a bowl of homemade granola by my mother (we call it McMurtry Mix after the recipe a family friend gave us), accompanied by a couple eggs over-easy, a serving of goetta or sausage, and toast lathered in either blackberry jelly or peanut butter and honey. While this might be okay on a few special occasions, it is quite carb heavy and my body hates digesting so many dense foods at once. I decided I had to cut the carbs (and meat fat!) out of my breakfast while still eating enough to jumpstart my metabolism to keep me running throughout the day.

Cutting granola, toast, AND breakfast meats leaves little left. I have been trying to make breakfast my biggest meal of the day, but only eating yogurt, fruit, and egg whites doesn’t quite cut it. I needed something more substantial but still low-carb. Luckily, I found quite possibly the best recipe I’ve ever stumbled upon.

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Don’t those look just like real sausage patties?! I love this recipe because it doesn’t taste like I am sacrificing flavor for health. They are chicken, apple, and onion sausages and only take about 30 minutes to make. I challenge you to make these for your family and see if you get a single complaint. Most likely, they’ll be begging for seconds!

I’ll admit, these are more difficult to make than pulling “real” sausage out of the fridge and slapping it on the frying pan, but isn’t the most labor-intensive food often the best? These guys are as simple as chopping up an apple and onion, mixing it with raw, ground chicken, adding spices, and then forming the patties and baking for 10 minutes.

• 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional oil for cooking sausages
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 1 pound ground chicken 
• 1/3 cup fresh sage, finely shredded
• 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• pinch of cinnamon
1.  Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the onion and sauté several minutes, until soft.  Add the apples and continue to cook until they just begin to soften.  In a large bowl, combine the onion-apple mixture with the remaining ingredients.  
2.  Using your hands, form the mixture into 16 small patties.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
3.  Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Place a skillet over medium-low heat and add some olive oil.  Brown the sausages in two batches for about 2 minutes per side.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes, or until fully cooked.

I made these this past weekend when I had quite a bit of time in the morning. The chopping was the most tedious part because the finer you chop, the more “real” they taste. Definitely don’t skip the sage! That is what gave them the earthy sausage taste.

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As you can see, I really like my food a bit burnt.

The chicken sausages are the four discs in the bottom left of the plate. My egg white mini-omelette is on the right. The scary, atrocious looking blob at the top was supposed to be a healthy alternative to pancakes (mix 2 mashed bananas with 2 tbsp egg whites and cinnamon! Cook like normal pancakes!) but I suppose my pan was too hot. They still tasted delicious, though!

Despite the unappetizing looking photo above, I fully encourage you to try these sausages. I cannot get enough of them! Such a brilliant recipe AND you won’t feel guilty about eating them several days in a row. If you really want to make them healthier, I’m sure the chicken could be substituted for lean ground turkey.

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