Saturday, September 26, 2009

How to Make Sausage - Basic, Frugal Recipe

I've been planning my sausage experiment for today, as tonight is quesadilla night and my husband likes sausage in one of his quesadillas. I thought tonight would be a great time to test it out. I was going to save it as a post for when I go into labor, but since there has been some comments about my sausage, I thought I would post it now.

I found a basic recipe for polish sausage. The recipe, as in ingredients, were basic, but the process was long and complex, so I made sausage patties out of it.

Ground pork, the cheapest I could find, was $1.69 per pound at Save-A-Lot. I can get a ham butt for as little as $0.79 per pound when I stock up during a sale. After taking off the skin and bone, it comes close to $1.10 per pound. I would have to carefully grind it in my blender, which is possible, but quite tedious. The Dollar Tree has one pound turkey rolls for $1.00 per pound. So, we're going with turkey sausage.

The Dollar Tree turkey has one ingredient: turkey. It is commercially raised turkey, yes, but all of our meat is. We are, after all, living on under $1000 per month.

So, first I mixed these spices:

1 teaspoon salt - $0.01
1/2 teaspoon pepper - $0.01
1/2 teaspoon oregano $0.01
1 teaspoon garlic powder - $0.02

I have old garlic powder, like from when my husband and I were first married, so this was a great time to use some of it up. We usually use fresh garlic. This garlic powder was so old, I had to grind it in my mortar and pestle. I mixed the other spices in there then added them to my ground turkey.

I mixed it kind of like the way I knead dough, just to make sure all the spices were evenly distributed.

I made small patties and fried them all up. I can make sixteen one ounce patties easily out of this, although I didn't measure so precisely this time and came out with ten. This was just my experimental test run.

How did it come out?

I love it. I actually don't post any recipes that I don't love. My oldest son is enjoying a patty right now. My husband has slightly less refined taste buds than me, so I'm confident he will love them too. But he is a little less open to change. This whole sausage-replacing-hot-dogs idea took him a while to agree to, but he is whole heartedly on board now. It is a mild sausage, and by doubling or tripling the pepper, depending on your tastes, it would become a hot sausage.
What's it good for?

We'll be using it in our breakfasts, pizza, and my husband's quesadilla. By having patties fried and ready to eat, they will also replace hot dogs, my husband's snack of choice.

It's also cheaper than our old sausage, which was $1.33 per pound. We got 12 oz sausage rolls for $1 from the Dollar Tree, but the turkey is a whole pound for $1.

I'm looking forward to experimenting further with this recipe. We have a lot of old spices that any normal housewife would have thrown away long ago. They are still potent, just maybe not as potent as new spices. I'll be mixing some up and seeing how they come out. I'll post about any noteworthy combinations.

The Verdict:

We got a yummier, healthier sausage for less money. The work was minimal, as I just had to mix the spices and meat. I had to fry up the other sausage rolls anyway, so no extra work there. This one is a keeper.


Anonymous said...

This sausage sounds great. I *always* keep and use old spices and seasonings. I wish my the Dollar Trees around here had refrigerated and frozen foods. The only food they have is a small section of candy and snacks with a few canned goods.

SM said...

Congrats! That's awesome that you were able to do something to improve the health of your family. The only thing that I would worry about with buying pre-ground pork is the fat content. Personally I'd stock up on whatever pork is on sale... pork chops, loins, etc. and grind it myself after I trimmed the fat off! It might be tedious, but it will not take that long. Then again... and this isn't a knock... you did say that one of the reasons you don't make sides with dinner is because it is time consuming, so maybe you're not willing to spend the extra time on the sausage to make it as fat free as possible.

But anyway, that's awesome that it came out so good :)

Emily said...

To anonymous who keeps correcting my spelling, Thanks. I won't publish your comment, but I will correct my error. Please, continue to be my editor. I actually do appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

You can try a little sage or even poultry seasoning with the sausage mix. If you want a little spicier version, you could add crushed red pepper. :)


Treva said...

I don't worry about older spices. If I'm going to use something that is older, and there are a few in my cabinet, I just use more of it to make sure the flavoring is right. No worries. Most basic spices are extremely inexpensive and the most basic ones are the ones I go through quickly. It's those random ones that seem to take a while to use up!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm a little confused. You are intending to use this as a replacement for hotdogs, but you are also planning on replacing it in other recipes? What were you using in these recipes before? Just curious, because I do intend on using your two-week meal plan real soon here.

What would happen if you rolled it out into the shape of a hotdog? would it just crumble?

Emily said...

Anna, I'm going to use it in other recipes where I used sausage. I'll probaby mix up a fresh batch for those instead of using my prefried patties. The patties will be more for snacks for DH and breakfast. It would crumble as a hot dog, because we're not using casings. But he's tried it and ikes it!

Anonymous said...

I make vegan sausages out of vital wheat gluten flour and beans and I make them hot dog shaped by rolling them and then wrapping them in foil like tootsie rolls. I bake them in the oven...I'm sure a crock pot would work too though - in case you ever miss the old shape :)

Treva said...

And, to go along with Atheist Mama's idea, since you're not vegan, you could use an egg as binder in addition to rolling it up tootsie-style!

MBZ said...

Don't mix in sage if you are breastfeeding as it is an anti-galactagogue (it depresses the milk supply).

Kimber said...

I just want to say I enjoy reading your blog every day. I find you different from the other bloggers who seem to be out to impress each other. You stay just the way you are & don't listen to those others! You are the normal person with a small income & knows how to make her money last & take good care of her children! You are a breath of fresh air & keep up the good work!

Lori said...

Emily said...

Athiest Mama and Treva, I'm definitely going to try that, rolling it up, and the egg sounds like it woud do the trick.

Lori, that recipe looks awesome, and crock pot compatible as it is to be cooked at 325.

Anonymous said...


Does your dollar roll read "mechanically separated turkey"? The only rolls for 1.00 that I've been able to find are this kind. It's not "turkey" as you think of it. It's the goo stuck to the bones that they spray off with high pressure water resulting in a paste that looks a bit like hot dog insides. It doesn't have as much protein as regular turkey.

If it's this kind of "turkey" it will say so on the label. If it just says turkey then you're probably o.k. :)

Emily said...

Anon, I threw the package away, but I'll check when I stock up on more. I honestly don't expect to be buying high quality meat for $1/lb, but it will be better than the hot dog ingredients, which have added toxins and GMO corn syrup, right?

Troop Coordinator said...

Emily...I just discovered your blog through Frugal Living News and I am enjoying it so much. I will definitely try this turkey sausage. I also read another of your posts where you bake bread in cans in the crockpot...genius! Keep up the good work. : )

Anonymous said...

You're living cheaper, yes, but by purchasing commercially-raised meat you're supporting factory farming which is unethical.

Unknown said...

I use a sweet italian mix to make my husband's deer into sausage.It contains salt, pepper, sugar(you could use stevia), and fennel seeds 1/8 cup to 3 lbs meat.The sausage makes good spaghetti and meatloaf. My mother had a hand crank meat grinder that worked well for small amounts like this one
I use an attachment that fits on my kitchenaid
like this one

Anonymous said...

That's a great idea:) Too bad I can't find ground meat or any meat for that matter at the dollar store!!

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