Whenever I plan menus for the week and write out my grocery list, I usually ask whichever family member wanders into the room for suggestions. "That bread with the sausage and spinach," is invariably a response, no matter how recently it made the recipe rotation.
I found the recipe years ago in a collection of four-ingredient dishes. I'm not sure I ever actually clipped the recipe because it was so simple, but I've tweaked it a bit through the years and added ingredients. Today's recipe includes peppers and onions, but mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes have also been interesting additions in the past.
The bread was a hit the first time I made it, so it's pretty tasty with just the four basic ingredients: frozen bread dough, Italian sausage, frozen spinach and mozzarella cheese.
The tantalizing aroma of baking bread, especially when it's stuffed with a savory sausage and spinach mixture, prompts everyone to sniff the air and ask how much longer until dinnertime.
I use Italian turkey sausage to cut calories and fat. If only I could find whole-wheat frozen bread dough, I'd feel confident that I'd made the recipe as healthy as possible.
When served with a light soup, the bread makes a sustaining meal on the coldest of winter days. Vegetable and Tortellini Soup comes together quickly with the convenience of frozen tortellini, and includes lots of fresh vegetables.
Renick slow foodies event
It's a green food event that has nothing to do with St. Patrick's Day. People who focus on purchasing locally produced foods, or locavores, and others interested in food tradition and sustainability will gather at The Crazy Baker in Renick at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Hosted by Jeff Kessler of Jeff's Breads and Hall Hitzig of The Crazy Baker, the event celebrates the slow food movement, which promotes food produced in traditional, healthy ways. Attendees are encouraged to bring food or a beverage to share and a chair to use during the gathering.
Call (304) 497-2768 or (304) 497-2799 for more information.
Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Bread
2 loaves of frozen bread dough, thawed
1 package Italian turkey sausage links, hot or mild
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons basil
1 small package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Thaw bread dough in refrigerator overnight. Place dough in a baking dish, cover and let rise, usually about four hours. Punch down dough and spread each loaf to about 10 by 18 inches.
Remove sausage casings and brown the sausage, crumbling it into small pieces. When nearly done, add onion and pepper and sauté 5 minutes. Thoroughly drain sausage mixture and mix in basil.
Spread half the sausage mixture down the middle of each bread dough rectangle.
Squeeze as much liquid as possible out of thawed spinach. Break up the mass of spinach.
Spoon spinach on top of sausage mixture.