Butternut Squash and Sausage “Stoup” with Crispy Brussels Sprouts

This Butternut Squash and Sausage “Stoup” with Crispy Brussels Sprouts is one for the books. It’s full of all the fall flavors, easy enough to make on any night of the week (yes, even Halloween), healthy and did I mention tasty?

Butternut Squash and Sausage "Stoup" with Crispy Brussels Sprouts is the perfect healthy, hearty weeknight fall meal.

It’s basically a seasonally appropriate version of my go-to Warming Minestrone Soup using all of the ingredients I crave this time of year (here’s looking at you butternut squash, kale, Brussels sprouts and sausage!) And why do I call it “stoup”? (I hear you asking…) Well, because it’s just a touch on the heartier side…almost a stew but not quite past the point of soup…and I feel like we’re all looking for something a little more hearty and belly-filling this time of year….am I right?

Soups and stews are one of my favorite dishes to make for the fall and winter for the same reasons salads are one of my favorite dishes to make for the spring and summer – it’s easy to pack in tons of nutrients from seasonal produce, and the recipes are also quite forgiving, so you can sub things in and out as you please based on your personal preferences or what’s caught your eye at the Farmers’ Market on any particular week.

A big pot of Butternut Squash and Sausage "Stoup" with Crispy Brussels Sprouts is the perfect dinner to have linger on the stove on any busy night.

Yes, I love the butternut squash and kale and sausage in this dish, but I promise not to hate you if you want to swap in something equally delicious like fresh pumpkin, Swiss chard, beans, etc. The one thing I’m going to beg you to at least give a shot is these crispy Brussels sprouts as a topping because they are TO DIE FOR. I seriously love them so much. But you have to make them fresh, right before you’re ready to serve your “stoup,” or else they’ll get soggy. Trust me on this, crispy Brussels sprouts are about to change your life.

I mean, just the fact that this Butternut Squash and Sausage “Stoup” with Crispy Brussels Sprouts is a healthy and hearty meal should be reason enough to serve it up tomorrow night before your little ghosts and goblins head out for a night of trick-or-treating, but I will also say that it’s a great meal to just set up on the stove top and let people help themselves as they see fit. Shoot, you could even invite over all your adult friends to sit and enjoy this deliciousness while all the little ones do their Halloween thing.

Butternut Squash and Sausage "Stoup" with Crispy Brussels Sprouts is a hearty yet healthy weeknight meal that anyone will love.

Even if you don’t have any little ones doing any trick-or-treating this year, I’m going to just go ahead and guess that you yourself have been indulging just a leeeeetle bit on all the Halloween candy and other devilish treats that are making their appearance out there right now. And because I’m all about that balance, I’m prescribing this Butternut Squash and Sausage “Stoup” with Crispy Brussels Sprouts as the perfect dinner to counteract your impending sugar coma.

Two delicious bowls of Butternut Squash and Sausage "Stoup" with Crispy Brussels Sprouts ready to be devoured!

Here’s to a safe and happy Halloween and lots of delicious food in your immediate future!

Butternut Squash and Sausage "Stoup" with Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This hearty yet healthy stew and soup hybrid is full of the tastiest fall produce like butternut squash, kale and a topping of crispy Brussels sprouts.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of a white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 of a medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 3 cups packed kale, destemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 12 ounces precooked Italian chicken sausage (sweet or spicy), sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease (or 2 additional tablespoons olive oil)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts (about 8 sprouts)
Instructions
  1. Warm olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add onion and garlic and saute until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. 

  2. Add celery, carrot and butternut squash and saute another 5 minutes. 

  3. Add bay leaf, chicken stock and Parmesan rind (if using) and bring to a low boil. 

  4. Stir in kale, white wine and sausage and let simmer until kale is wilted and sausage is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm on low heat until ready to serve.

  5. Once your soup is prepared, make your crispy Brussels sprouts. Heat olive oil and bacon grease (if using) in a large, deep saute pan over high heat. Once oil is sizzling, drop in sliced Brussels sprouts. If the sprouts are going to be crowded in your pan if you use a whole batch, you can split them up into two batches. 

  6. Fry Brussels sprouts until they look frazzled with dark brown edges. Strain out of oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain and crisp up. 

  7. When you’re ready to eat, ladle the soup into bowls and top with Brussels sprouts.

Butternut Squash and Sausage "Stoup" with Crispy Brussels Sprouts | CaliGirlCooking.com

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese

Cornbread gets a delicious makeover when it’s loaded with sausage, green onions and shredded cheddar cheese and cooked in a seasoned cast iron skillet. 

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

I promised to balance out all that healthy stuff I brought you on Monday, didn’t I? Well, let me tell you, this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese truly delivers. We are, after all, in the season of comfort food (and Super Bowl Sunday!) so there’s no time like the present to indulge just a little bit. Plus, we’ve got to bake allllll of the things before the weather once again gets too warm for us to even think about turning on the oven.

As I was dreaming up this recipe, I originally thought I’d just make my loaded cornbread in a classic glass baking dish and serve it up in thick, hearty squares. But then, as I was putting away dishes and reorganizing all of my pots and pans, my eyes fell upon my extremely neglected cast iron skillet and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to give it some lovin’.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

The last time I used my trusty Lodge cast iron skillet for a recipe on this site was way back in April of last year, when I brought you this incredibly delicious (and still a reader favorite) Greek Skillet. It turned out so well, and has continued to serve me well in times of easy, healthy dinner needs, that I’m not sure what has taken me so long to break the skillet out again and put it to good use. Now that I’ve done it, I’m eager to start trying even more cast iron skillet recipes in the very near future…Do you have any suggestions of recipes I should try??

Not only is this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese incredibly decadent and drool-worthy, it’s also soooo easy to make. Yes, the batter is made from scratch, but I kid you not when I say it comes together in less than 15 minutes flat. With only 20 minutes of baking time, the cornbread would be a welcome addition to an easy weeknight dinner. I’m thinking it would be the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of Warming Minestrone Soup or a big Winter Kale Salad.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Oh, and did I mention we grease the pan with bacon fat? I know, I know, it sounds indulgent, but I’m really just jumping on the “no waste” cooking trend that’s predicted to be a huge trend in the world of food in 2017. I don’t know about you, but the hubs and I have a huge Mason jar full of bacon grease leftover from our weekend breakfasts, and prefer to put it to tasty use as opposed to having to discard of it in an old tomato sauce can. That being said, if it sounds just a bit TOO indulgent for you, you could always use butter (just know that you’ll be missing out on some delicious bacon-y flavor in this already indulgent dish!)

The only prep that you’ll need to do in preparation for this deliciousness is to cook up some Italian sausage, grate some cheddar cheese and slice some green onions. Once that’s all done, the batter will come together in no time flat, while your cast iron skillet is busy warming up (and getting seasoned with bacon grease) in the preheating oven.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’re looking for an easy dish that will “wow” your guests for Super Bowl Sunday, this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese is your answer. It might as well be deemed a “meal” with all of that protein from the sausage and cheese, and there’s even some “green stuff” hanging out in there. I might also add that it’s incredibly tasty with a little drizzle of honey over top, or if you REALLY want to be indulgent, slather on some creamy, high-quality butter.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

So now you have a healthy dish and this indulgent dish for your football-noshing pleasure this weekend. How about on Friday I bring you a cocktail??

Happy humpday friends!

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Cornbread gets a delicious makeover when it's loaded with sausage, green onions and shredded cheddar cheese and cooked in a seasoned cast iron skillet.

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 8 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 6-7 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (about 2 links)
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large green onion, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bacon grease in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and place in oven as it is preheating. 

  2. In a small nonstick skillet, brown the sausage, then set aside. 

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. 

  4. Add the buttermilk, eggs and butter to the same mixing bowl and whisk until combined. 

  5. Stir in the cooked sausage, green onions and cheddar cheese. 

  6. Using potholder, remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Pour in the batter and then return to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

This recipe should also work fine if you only have a 9-inch cast iron skillet. The bread will turn out a little thicker, so you will probably need to increase the baking time 5-10 minutes.

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage

If that title doesn’t make you think “Monday Night Football,” I don’t know what will. Maybe some food porn?

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’ve basically just combined a ton of my favorite fall and football foods into one giant dish of ooey-gooey, cheese-y deliciousness and called it Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Apples, Cheddar and Sausage. And no, I’m not sorry for bastardizing the classic bread pudding dish (I’ve done it once, I’ll do it again.) When something’s as sinfully good as this, you need to go all out and never look back. Which is exactly what I did.

But before I get to what will quickly become your new fall go-to recipe, tell me, how was your weekend? Did you do anything “fall-like” for the first weekend of the season?

There was no way we were celebrating anything fall-like here in Santa Barbara. It was HOTT. Yes, hot with two t’s. Seriously, every year I get so pumped up for the official start of this amazing season (thanks, Internet, and all of my other virtual friends in much cooler parts of the country) and every year I forget that we won’t really get our first rain or crisper evenings until ohhhh, about the end of October. So obviously I need to live vicariously through all of you and hear what you’ve been up to. Please, enlighten me!

I spent my weekend doing what any person living in 80 to 90 degree weather would do (naturally.) I spent some time at the beach, played some volleyball, headed to an outdoor birthday party, quenched my thirst with beer, and hunkered down in our air-conditioned duplex watching football. How typical, right?

What’s NOT typical is this Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Apples, Cheddar and Sausage. Chunks of salty pretzel bread are toasted up nice and golden and tossed with all of the amazing fall football flavors – we all know cheddar and sausage can’t be beat in this department – but I couldn’t resist throwing in those chunks of apple to really make this a touchdown dish for the season (you see what I did there?)

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage | CaliGirlCooking.com

Well, actually, apparently I could resist the apples at one point, because I completely forgot to add them in the first time I made this. The dish turned out alright, but I wanted to refine it just a tad more. The second time around, I made sure to throw in said apples, and I also switched from ground Italian sausage to sliced Italian chicken sausage. I’m so glad I did.

The slices of sausage stand out so much better than the ground, and the apples (tossed with a nice coating of cayenne and cinnamon) add the perfect touch of sweet and slightly spicy flavor to an otherwise savory (and very rich) dish. These pretzel bread cubes have a fine affinity for absorbing the egg mixture we use to bind everything together, and although tasty, it’s nice to have all of the other flavors popping up in there to cut through the decadence.

So, what do you think? Have I talked you into making this for an easy Monday Night Football meal yet? If not, read on.

We start with our pretzel bread and toast the cubes in a bath of golden garlic-infused butter.

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage | CaliGirlCooking.com

Next, we get a nice saute going for the apples, adding in onion, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne to really pump up the flavor.

We take our toasty pretzel cubes and apple saute and toss them together with sliced, cooked Italian chicken sausage, eggs and some almond milk.

And the cheese! We can’t forget the cheese. We stir some into the mix and reserve even more to sprinkle generously over the top. There’s no such thing as too much cheese.

Finally, we pour our mixture into a small, shallow baking dish (I used a 9-inch ceramic pie plate) and bake for about 30 minutes. Voila! We have Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage ready to devour in under an hour.

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage | CaliGirlCooking.com

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage | CaliGirlCooking.com

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage | CaliGirlCooking.com

So NOW are you convinced? I mean, really, all you need is a green salad to make this a completely acceptable meal. I think it’s the absolutely perfect way to get through another Monday.

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage | CaliGirlCooking.com

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
A savory bread pudding full of fall flavors - cheddar cheese, apples and sausage studded among garlicky pretzel bread and ready in under an hour!
Ingredients
  • 5 cups cubed pretzel bread
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ of a sweet onion diced
  • 1 Fuji apple diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 Italian chicken sausages cooked and sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 cups plus ½ cup grated cheddar cheese divided
  • Parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a small baking dish (either a 9-inch ceramic pie plate or an 8x8-inch glass baking dish) with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Melt ½ cup of butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, add pretzel bread cubes. Toss in butter and toast until all sides are golden-brown. Transfer from saute pan to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place the same large saute pan over medium heat and melt additional tablespoon of butter. Add onions and saute for a few minutes, until beginning to get fragrant and turn translucent. Add apples, cinnamon, cayenne and nutmeg. Saute for an additional 5-10 minutes, until apples and onions are cooked through.
  4. Add apple mixture to pretzel cubes in large mixing bowl. Add sausage, eggs, almond milk and 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle remaining ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese over top. Bake in 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.
  6. Cool slightly and then serve.
Recipe Notes

Beverage Pairing Notes: Since this is a classic football dish, I highly recommend enjoying a classic, ice-cold lager with it!

 

Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage | CaliGirlCooking.com

My kind of dinner!

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

A delicious, protein-packed breakfast version of classic stuffed Portobello mushrooms. They’re a great way to start your day off on the right foot!

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

We all know how much I love a good stuffed Portobello mushroom, so naturally I had to make a breakfast version so I have an excuse to eat these tasty, filling ‘shrooms every minute of every day. These Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms will leave you satisfied and wanting more. Maybe you’ll even want to make them for dinner? We love a good BFD in our household.

But first let’s chat for a second. I know I mentioned it briefly a week or so ago, but we are now officially ONE MONTH away from Chris and my Big Day!! That being said, it’s time for us to buckle down and really focus on putting whole, nutritious foods into our bodies for the next four weeks (with some exceptions of course, we still have the Fourth of July and one more wedding to get through before then!) I’ve decided to take you all along for the ride, so get ready for some super delicious and nutritious recipes coming your way in the very near future.

These Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are kind of my way of easing on into the extra-healthy eating mindset. They are certainly not unhealthy, but I couldn’t help myself and had to add a little cheese and make my sourdough breadcrumbs nice and toasty by using just a leeetle bit of butter. I hope you don’t mind (well, I’m sure you won’t mind after you taste these delicious little creations.)

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

What I DO think is awesome about these stuffed ‘shrooms as a breakfast item is the fact that they get you soooo much protein first thing in the morning and they will keep you full for hours on end. None of this fruity, carb-laden stuff that wears off an hour or two after you eat it. Chris and I actually had these for dinner and, since we hadn’t had lunch that day, I plated up two for each of us, but we both could only get through the first ones because they were so filling. Hooray for leftovers! They made a GREAT lunch today.

You get all of this blood sugar-stabilizing protein from both the Portobellos and the eggs, with a little extra added in from the sweet chicken Italian sausage and cheese. I think we’re safe to say that the Portobellos also count as a vegetable, so with the addition of fresh chives and tomatoes we can practically say we’re eating a salad for breakfast.

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

The other great things (yes, plural!) about these Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are:

  1. The ease with which they come together. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are the quickest option for a weekday breakfast as you’re running out the door to work, but they certainly don’t take so long that they’ll eat up your entire Saturday morning and cut into any of the other fun adventures you should be having during the weekend.  The saving grace that also makes these a viable option for a weekday meal? See Point #2 below…
  2. These reheat surprisingly well, which means you can easily prep them the night before and just pop them in the microwave or oven in the morning and have breakfast fit for a king in less than five minutes.  Just be sure you don’t overcook your eggs in the first place if you’re planning to go this route. I left mine with just the slightest bit of runniness before loading them into the Portobellos as stuffing, so when I reheated them in the microwave they came out perfectly.

So now you have no excuses not to make these! Just so we’re sure you’re not intimidated, let me walk you through the super simple process:

We clean and de-stem some huge, meaty Portobello mushrooms and brush them with an olive oil and fresh garlic combo. Before placing them in the oven we sprinkle on some salt and pepper because seasoning is king.

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

We roast our Portobellos for just a bit, then take them out of the oven and let them cool.

We cook up our Italian sausage and set it aside, then start with the scrambled egg mixture. In go eggs, fresh chives, tomatoes, cheese, and don’t forget the sausage!

We scramble those around until there’s just the tiniest bit of runniness left, and scoop the mixture evenly amongst our mushroom tops.

Finally, we whip up our trusty sourdough breadcrumbs, laced with just a bit more cheese. The sourdough breadcrumb-cheesy topping is the key to really taking these stuffed mushrooms into breakfast land.

A quick trip under the broiler, and we have ourselves deliciously hearty Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with a golden dusting of “toast.”

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

Serve now, serve later, doesn’t matter. These will be waiting and ready for you whenever you get the urge to eat them. Now who says breakfast isn’t the most exciting meal of the day? 😉

Scrambled Egg and Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A delicious, protein-packed breakfast version of the classic stuffed Portobello mushroom. A great way to start your day off on the right foot!

Course: Breakfast
Keyword: breakfast, brunch, mushrooms, sausage
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 541 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and destemmed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 sweet chicken Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup your choice of shredded cheese
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and place Portobello mushrooms on it.

  2. Combine garlic and olive oil in a small bowl and brush over mushrooms. Be sure to brush both the top and the bottom to get an even coating. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. The mushrooms may come out a bit soggy due to the natural moisture in them, but some of that will soak back in as the mushrooms cool. Once you are ready to load them up with the filling, you can gently dump out any moisture that has not reabsorbed.

  3. In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the Italian sausage. Once sausage is done, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.

  4. Place eggs in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to scramble. Using the same sauté pan as you did for the sausage, begin cooking eggs over medium heat. Low and slow is the way to go when cooking these to be sure you don’t overdo it. Almost as soon as you’ve added the eggs to the pan, add in the cherry tomatoes, chives and ¼ cup of the shredded cheese. Stir until eggs are mostly scrambled, with just a little bit of wetness remaining and then stir in the prepared sausage. 

  5. Gently scoop the scrambled egg mixture evenly into the four Portobello mushroom caps. Set aside (keeping them in a slightly warm oven will help them to not get too cold.)

  6. Using a food processor, break down the sourdough bread into small crumbs. Heat butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high. Once butter is melted, add sourdough breadcrumbs to pan. Let cook, stirring every so often to prevent burning, until breadcrumbs take on a golden, toasty color. Remove breadcrumbs to a small bowl and stir in remaining ¼ cup of shredded cheese. Sprinkle mixture over the top of each mushroom.

  7. Turn your oven broiler on high and place stuffed mushrooms under it for about 2 minutes. This will help further toast the breadcrumbs and melt the cheese. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Scrambled Egg & Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | CaliGirl Cooking

Breakfast of champions.