A is for Apple-Maple Chicken Sausage Breakfast Sammies

Wow, that recipe title is a mouthful!

Before diving into the recipe let’s stop for a moment and talk about PREP. If you’re like me you often rush into a recipe without reading the whole thing. So, you start the first instruction on the list and then read on as you cook along. This is great until you realize you needed to have five other things done before starting to saute the first thing, and then something burns or overcooks while you try to catch up. At this point you either start over because you’ve burned something beyond being edible or you accept the mistakes and serve your recipe as is.

I speak from experience here.

In the world of chefs, the proper term for this preparation process is: “mise en place” (pronounced “MEEZ-on-plahs”). This French term essentially means you have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go BEFORE you start cooking. Translated, it means “ to put in place.”

So, here’s your “mise en place” you’ll need to do to be ready to cook this recipe:

Hopefully this slideshow will also help you as you read along:

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1. Take out your ingredients: vegetable oil, ground chicken breast, butter (you’ll need 2 TBSP for cooking and 2 TBSP for spreading), maple syrup, spices (grill seasoning blend, poultry seasoning, cinnamon, whole nutmeg, salt and pepper), English muffins (leave them in the package for now), apple, and eggs.

2. Take out your tools: tablespoon, teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 cup dry measurer, 2 medium mixing bowls, Chef’s Knife (Utility Knife), 2 medium to large skillets, butter knife, wire whisk, cheese grater (if using), vegetable/fruit peeler, (fine) hand grater for the nutmeg.

I actually don’t think I have all the ingredients and tools in this shot as some were on the counter behind me, but you’ll see them soon!

3. Take out 8 eggs and crack them into one of your medium mixing bowls (by the way… I used a 2 cup Pyrex and it was a bit small… I know better now). Add a splash of milk, salt and pepper, and whisk together well with the eggs.

4. Shred your 1/4 pound cheddar, if needed (mine was pre-shredded so I just left the bag in the fridge until I needed it to prevent softening or melting). 1/4 pound = about 1 cup shredded 🙂

5. Peel, core and FINELY chop your McIntosh apple and put it in your other medium mixing bowl along with the ground chicken.

6. Add your maple syrup and spices to the ground chicken/ apple mixture: 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 TBSP grill seasoning blend, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (eyeball this).

Guess what… I forgot the cinnamon. Did you notice in the slideshow? I had it out… I had my measuring spoon out… I had done the  “mise en place” thing… and yet, I still forgot it. So, when the sausage patties were in the skillet I sprinkled a bit on each of them (is that cheating?)… oh well!

Another note… add a teaspoon of salt to the ground chicken mixture. Yes, you do add salt to the eggs and seasoning to the chicken mixture, but I thought that the patties could use a bit more salt after tasting the final product. You can always sprinkle your final patty with a bit of salt at the end, but it will distribute more evenly if you add salt to the chicken mixture now instead of after it’s cooked. It’s up to you though!

7. Cover a baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray, and place your split English muffins split-side up on the pan so they are ready to be toasted. Pre-heat your broiler at this time!

Now it’s time to start COOKING! Your hard work prepping (“mise en place-ing”) will pay off!

Grab one of those skillets you took out and put it over medium-high heat and immediately add the 1 TBSP oil and butter to the pan. Wait several minutes for this to get hot and then swirl your oil/butter mixture around so that it coats the bottom of your pan evenly. While the butter and oil are heating up, shape your patties. Press the ground chicken mixture firmly and evenly down into the bottom of your mixing bowl. Use a knife to cut the mixture (“score it”) into four equal portions.

Sorry about the unappetizing picture of the ground chicken in the slideshow, but it helps illustrate what I’m saying. The mixture will be slimy and sticky and you might even think you’ve ruined the recipe… but, press on! Use your hands to form a large, thin patty out of each of the sections of your ground chicken.

Now, swirl that pre-heated butter and oil mixture to coat the pan evenly and put your patties in the pan. I shaped each patty quickly and put it back in the bowl so that I didn’t have to do much shaping when I actually placed it in the pan. You want to be able to put all the patties in the pan at about the same time so they cook at the same pace. If you think you’re fast enough you can just shape it and put it in the pan immediately! It helped me to have each patty at least somewhat shaped ahead of time.

Cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side.

While your patties are cooking, put your English Muffins in the oven under the broiler. Watch them like a hawk! I find that I’ll check them every minute and nothing is happening, nothing is happening, nothing is happening, and then…. suddenly… they are burnt?! I hate that.

I remember the first time I had my husband’s grandparents over to our house for dinner. Though I can’t remember exactly what I made I know that it was going perfectly and I was so proud until I made the decision to put the dish under the broiler to melt the cheese on top. It burned a bit (not a total loss) and I was devastated. They probably could have cared less but I was so embarrassed. I’m over it now, but since then I watch my broiling items constantly (well, most of the time anyway…)

I usually take my toasted items out a bit before my husband’s as he likes just about everything toasted more than I do. Anybody relate?

When your muffins are toasted to your liking, take them out and butter them immediately so the butter becomes “one” with the muffin (YUM). Set them aside for a moment while the patties finish cooking and START on your eggs.

Take out that other skillet and set another burner to medium heat. Melt 1 TBSP of butter and let it heat up on medium-high to high over your stovetop. You can click here for an official “how to” on scrambling eggs (hint: click the “photos” tab to see Alton Brown’s step by step photos). If you already have a method of scrambling your perfect eggs just go with that  and you’re set!

If you time it right, your muffins will come out of the oven and be buttered, your patties will finish cooking and you can put them on top of half the toasted/ buttered muffins, and the eggs will be ready shortly after and you can scoop them right out of the skillet onto the sausage patties. You then sprinkle the tops of each sandwich with your cheese and pop the pan back in the oven until the cheese melts (be sure to take the sandwich ‘tops’ off the pan before sticking it back under the broiler or you will burn them!)

Here’s the slideshow again to give you an overview of everything one last time:

Put the sandwiches on your serving plates or a platter and complete them by placing the reserved muffin halves on top of each sandwich. Getting my 9 month old fed, dinner finished, and a hungry 2 year old started with her dinner meant only one final shot of our sammies… it happened to be on my daughter’s plate:

We dipped them in a mixture of ketchup and hot sauce but they were yummy on their own, as well. Sprinkle a little more salt on the patties if you think they need it and ENJOY!

You can click here to see the full recipe from Rachel Ray. I tweaked it a bit for my family but it’s basically the same! We just used the regular-sized English muffins we had and it worked just fine! Thanks Rachel Ray! Yummy!

Oh, and I almost forgot… “What kind of Apple-Eater am I?”

Click here if you want to see the options again.

If I am not eating my apple whole I guess I would be a “wedger”… I don’t care about the wedges being even so I took out the “compulsive” part. One of my favorite snacks, if I have time, is an apple cut into wedges and sprinkled with cinnamon (a little trick I learned from my mother-in-law that really does make the apples taste more special!)

Most of the time I am too lazy to cut up my apple for a late night snack so I just eat it whole. In this case I have to admit that I’m a “Stem-Plucker”. Yes, to my great embarrassment I’ve been twisting my stem and counting through the alphabet since junior high to discover my future spouse. I can’t remember what letters my stem would land on (or what I tried to make it land on) when I was unmarried, but as of now… my stem ALWAYS lands on “D” (for David)… if I can help it.

Let me know what kind of apple eater you are if you haven’t yet (it’s not too late!) AND let me know if you try this recipe out yourself for breakfast, lunch, dinner… a late night “snack”?! I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Happy eating!

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