Sausage is eaten in many cultures around the world. The ingredients may vary but the idea is the same: ground meat, often pork or a mix of meats and other ingredients with spices mixed together. Since the American culture has influences from many lands, our sausages are borrowed or adapted from those cultures like the American hot dog or frankfurter. Sausages are known for their shape when placed in a skin while many of us in America grew up eating sausage patties for breakfast.
Sausage and Health
Here on the blog, I have tried to offer information and recipes to support a healthy diet. Personally I watch my fat and sodium content for my health. Breakfast meats tend to be high in both. For those of us who love sausage, this can be a real problem. My doctor discusses my fat intake every time I see her. I recently had a check up and my cholesterol was good. Yeah!
While sausages may be delicious, they are often high in total fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, and calories. When eaten often, this meat product can be unhealthy. In fact, a 2012 study showed that regular consumption of processed red meat increases the incidence of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And a 2013 meta-analysis of processed meat consumption suggested that 50 grams per day (or about 1.7 ounces per day), increased the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 51% and increased risk for coronary heart disease by 42%.
Healthy Sausage Brands
Regular sausages are high in saturated fat, sodium and nitrates. Research has linked a frequent consumption of hot dogs to cancer in children. I ‘ve eaten very few processed meats like sausage and hot dogs in the last twenty years, but I am starting to eat breakfast sausage more now. Why? I’ve discovered chicken sausage from Applegate Farms. It’s a popular and easy-to-find brand which makes a wide variety of healthy dinner and breakfast sausages that are lower in calories than traditional pork sausage. Poultry sausage contains between 110 to 120 calories, 7 to 8 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 310 to 440 milligrams of sodium. Compare that to Jimmy Dean sausage, for example, which contains a lot of saturated fat, sodium, and additives, making it notorious for its high cholesterol levels.
Another healthy sausage brand is Al Fresco All Natural. The Apple Maple Chicken sausage contains just 50 calories 2 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, and 150 milligrams of sodium (17% of the daily value) per link. It is made with skinless chicken, maple syrup, brown sugar, and dried apples. Be sure to read the nutrition labels of processed meat and choose wisely.
Make Chicken Breakfast Sausage
One way to control what’s in your sausage and save money is to make your own. Not only is ground chicken much leaner, it takes on the breakfast sausage flavors really well. If you prefer, you could also use ground turkey. Be careful of grocery store ground turkey and chicken as they often add flavorings. Read the label. Check out your local store as many grocery butchers will grind a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for you. We’ll start with a recipe of ground chicken breakfast sausage with a more traditional flavor with salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, smoked paprika, allspice, marjoram, sage, and brown sugar with no preservatives. Since the chicken breasts will have a low fat content, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the mix. The oil adds flavor and helps the patties get that sausage crust. Homemade sausage is so easy to make and taste so good. (If you use boneless skinless chicken thighs, you don’t need to add olive oil.)
Freeze the patties individually to store and cook when you need them. Place on a cookie sheet and then freeze. Remove from cookie sheet and use freezer containers or bags. They should last up to 6 months. While it’s still grilling season, grill them like hamburgers for a tasty sandwich.
Chicken Breakfast Sausage
Use organic when available. Makes 10
Chicken Breakfast Sausage
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Mix the dry spices and brown sugar in a small bowl
- Place meat in large bowl
- Add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for ground chicken breast)
- Mix well
- Add spices to the ground chicken and mix together well
- Divide the ground chicken into 10 pieces
- Flatten each patty between your hands
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium to high heat
- Add the sausage patties to the skillet
- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until bottom is crispy brown
- Flip to other side and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes
- Patties should reach an internal temp of 165ºF
- Transfer sausages to a plate and let rest for a few minutes before serving.
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