My mind has definitely been focused on the beginning of a new school year, and in particular, after-school snacking options. Without planning ahead, it will be easy to slip into a routine of grabbing chips or other processed foods that offer little in the way of nutrition, just because they’re convenient. Having some fresh, healthy alternatives already prepared will save time and money, plus provide better choices for students after a full day of schoolwork. I’ve already made a batch of delicious refrigerator dill pickles that will be one good item on the list, but today, I decided to make one of my family’s favorite homemade snacking option recipes — summer sausage. It’s perfect as a snack, and I’ve been known to make it the center of a lunch menu, or even Sunday night supper by adding cheese, fruit and crusty bread or crackers. Am I the only busy mom that doesn’t cook on Sundays, after preparing a big meal after church? 🙂
You can choose any protein, that your family loves, to make this flavor-packed and much healthier version of a classic snacking favorite. Typically, I prefer lean ground beef and I have occasionally used ground turkey. What I have on hand, right now, is Tyson Ground Chicken. So, I decided to put it to the test in our family recipe. The texture is finer than ground beef, so I wasn’t sure how it would work. I think your hungry crew, with the afternoon munchies, will love Chicken Summer Sausage, almost as well as the beef. While beef is still our favorite, the chicken turned out beautifully!
- 2 lb. ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken (We prefer it with ground beef, but have successfully used both turkey and chicken.)_
- 2 Tablespoons Morton Tender Quick Salt (I buy this at Walmart in the baking aisle. It’s for curing meat & regular table salt will not work.)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon mustard seed
- 1 Tablespoon coarsely ground peppercorns
- 1 Tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Roll into 2 long rolls (like logs) and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. (As you can see from my photo, I doubled this recipe, so I would have two rolls for the freezer.) Be sure your rolls are pretty much the same thickness, so they cook at the same rate. (Chicken and turkey will be much softer mixtures than ground beef, so the ground beef is easier to mold and have it hold its shape. I find that my rolls tend to flatten on the bottom when using chicken or turkey, which doesn't affect flavor in the slightest. They're just not perfectly round rolls. The chicken and turkey will produce a lighter-colored end product, as well.)
- Bake on the baking sheet for 2 hours at 275°.
- Cool, wrap in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate. (Or in our case, slice it as soon as the heat subsides enough to keep from burning your fingers.)
- This makes fabulous gifts and is always welcome on an hors d’oeuvre buffet. Someone always asks for the recipe. It is a traditional part of our holiday celebrations and our kids, big and small, look forward to seeing it on the snack table. And as mentioned above, it's a fabulous after school snack or lunch option when paired with fruit, cheese and crusty bread! It freezes well and so can be made ahead and thawed in time for parties or snacking.
What’s your plan for having healthy snacks that your kids enjoy, on hand, after school? Have you ever substituted Tyson Ground Chicken in one of your family’s favorite recipes? Follow Tyson on Twitter and Pinterest, to keep up with what’s new and for more great recipe ideas!