Category Archives: Side Dishes

Sausage Rice Dish

As I mentioned yesterday, we had a really busy (and fun) weekend. It was 11:30 before we were ready to go to bed Saturday night. I wonder if other people need the same “wind down” time we do when they get home around the time they usually go to bed — we need to chill for about an hour before going to bed.

Any way, Sunday morning was church and we were up early. Thankfully I had already gathered the stuff I would need for the day. We went to church and then went directly to the church my parents, sister and her family attend, as this is where the Christmas Blessing was being held for H.A.N.D.S. (the ministry of my brother-in-law and sister). We arrived around 12:15 and began preparing the food.

I messed up the rice. I put all ten pounds in a pan with the required water. I think it probably goes without saying that I have never made that much rice at once before. :\ Anyway, I put it on the burner to boil and went about prepping the other ingredients. A while later, my brother-in-law Mike (Yes, my sister and I both married Mikes; it has made our lives interesting. ;) ) smelled something burning a few minutes before I did. Turns out the rice was scorching before ever getting to a simmer. He was very gracious about it and dumped it and we started again. Thankfully their church is very near lots of stores. :) We then proceeded with the method that he was familiar with — put the rice in a large pan and twice as much water, cover with foil and bake on 350º for 45 minutes, check the rice for proper texture; add more water if necessary and bake for a few more minutes until it is the desired texture.

My parents and kids are a HUGE help!!!! At one point, my dad, Tiffany, Lauren, and Brian were all peeling potatoes. Some started dicing and my Mike started peeling. There were fourty pounds, so it took a bit to complete. My mom began dicing onions. As she was cutting the first one, she commented on how strong it was. Tiffany told her that she’d read that if you chew gum while cutting onions you won’t cry. Dad went out to their van and got her a piece from his stash. :) She diced about nine medium-large onions and did not shed one tear. Amazing!

By this time we’d gotten all the potatoes diced and in pots, beginning to heat up, on low. Potato dicers had moved on to mushrooms, which even my eight and six year old nieces helped with (using plastic knives). My dad moved on to slicing carrots on my mandolin, which eventually wore out his arms – yes both of them as he is ambidextrous in many things. I wish he would have said something, because I just didn’t think about it – we would have had someone take over for him, by the time I noticed, he only had a couple carrots left and would not let it conquer him. ;)

I began sauteing the onions, mushrooms, and carrots in olive oil with some salt and pepper. Mom finished dicing the onions and began browning the ten pounds of sausage. Lauren was watching pots of potatoes making sure that they did not go the way of the rice. ;) We had 3 large stock pots on a regular size stove. What I mean by this is that normal household stoves do not accommodate putting large pans on more than one burner. The stoves in this kitchen are the flat surface type but there is a little raised lip on the edge, which kept one of the pots from sitting completely on the heated surface.

By this time the potatoes started getting done. With the help of Mike (my brother-in-law), Mike (my husband), Brian, and Sean, we got the first pot of potatoes drained and in a large container for me to mash them. The idea was to make them a bit ‘runny’ or ‘loose’ so that they could sit in the foil roasting pan, covered with foil, in a warming oven for a couple of hours. The first batch worked great. The second batch had a few lumps and Brian used something and began mashing them by hand and they turned out fine. But that third pot of potatoes were not cooked as done. I did not catch it until I had started to mash them. You can just tell, as the mixer goes over those chunks of potato, if they are done right or not. This batch was not and I had already put the evaporated milk, butter, and salt in with them so there was no putting them back in the pot of water and boiling some more. We have now reached crisis number two. The decision was to add a bit of water, cover with foil, and put it in the oven in hopes that they will get softened up enough to mash.

Meanwhile, my Mike continually washes dishes and keeps things from getting out of control mess wise. You see, I’m a messy cook. Plain and simple. He saves me from myself and keeps things straighter than if I’m left to my own devices. :D

For a Crowd

With two pans of mashed potatoes in the warmer and the other in the oven, I began to work on the sausage rice dish. It is very much like the filling for the Breakfast Burrito without the cheese and two added ingredients: thinly sliced carrots and rice. Add a bit of oil to the skillet; I prefer olive oil. Now add in the onions, mushrooms, and carrots. To feed a crowd, we used roughly six pounds of onions, five pounds of mushrooms, and one and a half pounds of carrots with ten pounds of rice, ten pounds of sausage, and a ?24 ounce? bottle of olive oil.

Side Dish for 2-3 or Entree for 1

Sausage Rice Casserole ~

As a side dish for two or three people you need:

  • about 1/3 cup of finely dice onion
  •  3 mushrooms diced
  • about an inch and a half of a carrot sliced very thin (either on the lowest setting on a mandolin or using a potato peeler)
  • about 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 2-3 ounces of sausage, browned and drained (or cook in veggies later on)
  • about 1 cup of rice, cooked

As with the breakfast burrito filling, heat your pan with the olive oil. Add onions, seasoning lightly with salt to draw out the water quicker. Once those get a head start and are just softening a little bit, add the mushrooms with a little more salt. After about a minute, add the carrots. Turn down the heat so you don’t burn it, if you had it on high, like me. ;)

If I’m using turkey sausage, it is at this point that I add 2-3 ounces raw, to the veggies. Turkey sausage is leaner than pork sausage and what fat is released as it cooks flavors the veggies nicely. If using pork sausage you should probably brown it separately so it doesn’t drown the rest of the dish with grease. ;)

When the sausage is browned, add about 1 cup of cooked rice. I usually do this with leftover rice, so I don’t usually need any extra oil but if your rice is clumping together, add a tiny bit of oil – 1/2 teaspoon or less even – and some salt and pepper. You really need the pepper to make it taste good, but just a few twists of the pepper mill or shakes of the shaker. If the rice begins sticking to the skillet and you don’t want to add any more oil, move the ingredients away from where it is sticking and add in a little water. Now stir, scraping the browned bits off the bottom and mixing it in with the other ingredients.

When I made this Sunday I used freshly made rice. We browned the sausage, drained it and set it to the side. We sauteed the veggies and added them with the sausage. When everything was pre-cooked, we put some oil in our very large skillets, added several scoops of rice, and then several scoops of sausage veggie mix. Stirred it around breaking up the clumps of rice and making sure it was thoroughly combined, seasoning it with salt and pepper. At times the rice was too clumpy and I would add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the top of the rice and mix it through.

I wish I had pictures of this but alas I don’t. I will take some the next time I make this here, which may not be for a while because with each skillet I mixed, I had to taste for proper seasoning. So, I’m really quite done with it now. ;)

Oh, as for that last batch of potatoes, they took forever to soften. We turned the heat up to 350º and added more water. They finally softened up enough that I could mash them without too many lumps. [I guess I should state here that we have always called them mashed but years ago I was introduced to a new term “whipped potatoes” and have realized that what we call mashed potatoes is really whipped potatoes because we use a mixer and want all of the lumps out.]

I hope you are having a fun and yummy holiday season! Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes


Mashed Potatoes cooked in the crock pot ~

This one is amazing!!! I love this recipe because you actually cook the potatoes IN the crock pot. Other recipes I’ve seen for crock pot mashed potatoes have you making them and just keeping them warm or whatever in the crock pot. The whole reason I want a crock pot potato recipe is because I want them to cook in the crock pot. Duh!

One Sunday I put Sticky Chicken in the oven before church. I have a gas oven and we are gone about 5 hours on a Sunday, so anything I put in the oven has to be slow roasted. I wanted a side dish with it and had seen this recipe online. It turned out great with the few modifications I made.

I was just going to share the link to the recipe and my alterations but unfortunately I cannot find it. So I’ll share the recipe here for you to enjoy.

The first time I made this, I left the peelings on, since that is how the recipe directed but I don’t like peelings in my mashed potatoes, no matter how thin the skin. So, the next time I Size of potato chunks ~ LifeOfJoy.memade them I peeled the potatoes and I enjoyed them even more. Since I was going to be gone for 5 hours or so, I cut my potatoes into larger chunks than the original recipe called for. I cut them into approximately 1″-2″ chunks. (The smaller potatoes were cut into quarters and larger ones into about 6-8 pieces depending on the size of the potato.)

It’s really quite simple. Peel and cut five pounds of gold potatoes and put into crock pot. Add one cup of water and one cup of butter (2 sticks) cut into chunks. Add salt and pepper to taste or recipe called for 1 Tablespoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook. The recipe said to cook on high for 4 hours but I cooked mine on low (for the 5+ hours I was gone), in my six quart crock pot, to ensure they didn’t get overcooked or worse, burnt.

The recipe recommended heating 1 1/3 cups of milk so that as you add it to the cooked potatoes, which you do NOT drain, it doesn’t cool it off. Add the milk gradually, as needed, as you mash the potatoes either with a mixer or masher, until desired creaminess. I prefer to use evaporated canned milk instead of regular milk.Truly mashed potatoes ~

The recipe said that the mashed potatoes can be kept warm on low for a couple of hours without changing consistency, just keep the lid on the crock pot.

I hope you find this recipe helpful during this busy season.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Egg Rolls

Egg Rolls ~ LifeOfJoy.meWe have finally had egg rolls again and I was able to get pictures of the finished product so I can now share this recipe. Whoo hoo! As I mentioned in First Week Wrap-up, Lauren went outside her comfort zone and tried these, after a bit of prodding . . . and she liked them! So these receive the Approved By Picky Eaters Award. ;)

The key to make these easy and quick to fry is steaming (or microwaving) the filling before making the rolls. Thus, the rolls can be quickly “fried” in a small amount of oil and only long enough to brown the outside.

Chicken Egg Rolls ~ LifeOfJoy.meCombine the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, a few shakes of salt and a few twists of the pepper mill, to taste. Put about 2-4 tablespoons of water in the bowl or pan and microwave or stem for a few minutes until the veggies are softened. Add scrambled egg and about 3 ounces of cooked meat and mix well.

Ground Turkey Egg Rolls ~ LifeOfJoy.meI have made this with both chicken and ground turkey. The last time I made it, I served it with Korean “Beef,” so I included some of the meat in the egg rolls. The first time I made them we did not add any eggs or meat and we all thought they needed something more. So if you wanted to make these vegetarian you could add more veggies, mushroom and onions would probably be good but we are protein people so egg and meat are our additions of choice. Egg Roll Wrappers ~

These are the egg roll wraps. In my Walmart, they are in the refrigerated produce section. My refrigerator keeps things rather cold, so these stay fresh for a good long time on my bottom shelf (closest to the freezer). Just follow the directions on the back of the package to see how to roll.

Egg Roll Filling ~ LifeOfJoy.meRolling Egg Rolls ~

Frying Egg Rolls ~ LifeOfJoy.meFrying Egg Rolls 2 ~ LifeOfJoy.meFried Egg Rolls ~

Removed to plate with paper towels to soak any excess oil.

Egg Rolls


  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded about 1/2 cup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 2-4 Tablespoons water
  • Egg Roll Wraps
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 3-4 ounces meat, chopped
  • oil for frying, we use peanut or coconut


  1. Shred cabbage and carrot.
  2. Place in either pan or microwave safe bowl.
  3. Add salt and pepper as desired. (I use about 3-4 shakes of my salt shaker and about 2-3 twists of my pepper mill.)
  4. Add the 2-4 Tbsp water and cook about 3-5 minutes in microwave or about 5-10 minutes on stove. You want the veggies to be as done as you like them, which for us means no crunch left in them.
  5. When veggies are cooked to desired consistency, pour off any remaining water and add scrambled eggs and cooked meat. Mix to combine.
  6. Place the Egg Roll Wraps on the table, put about 1/3 cup of filling off center near the bottom point of the wrapper and roll as directed on back of package.
  7. Place in hot oil with the last part of wrapper to be folded, DOWN in oil to seal it shut.
  8. Watch carefully as they will brown quickly on each side, if your oil is hot enough. You don't want to burn the wrapper. Turn egg rolls to brown on all sides. Remove to paper towel lined dish. Serve hot.
  9. This makes about 8 egg rolls.

I do like to make extra sauce of whatever dish I am serving these with to dip them in.

Egg Rolls with Korean "Beef" ~

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº