I have a confession to make. It’s a sad and terrible confession but one that I should get off my chest, right here and now. Why prolong the inevitable? Sure it’s embarrassing, but maybe I’m not the only one out there with the same belief. Or I guess I should say, with the same belief that I used to have. I don’t anymore because now I’ve totally seen the light. I used to think cooking with sausage was a big hassle. It was daunting and scary to me because I felt like I just never knew what to cook with it. I was in a slump, friends. A cooking slump, and those are the worst kinds of slumps to be in. I mean, a guy can only eat so many hot dogs before you begin to get tired of them. So I wouldn’t really make anything else with sausage. I always bypassed it at the grocery store, not wanting to put that pressure on myself. Whenever I’d pass through the sausage aisle, I’d look away. It was too much for me to bear. Of course I would always end up getting chicken because, in my mind, it was the easiest thing to cook with. “Jonathan, just grab a couple of chicken breasts and call it a day,” I would say. Just like that too. I like to talk to myself in first person sometimes. If you recall my Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pie post, my friend Jenny can attest to always having chicken at my house. It was starting to become a problem. So one day I got the courage to start exploring more with smoked sausage. In part because anything smoked is just plain delicious (have you met my friend bacon?) but mostly because sometimes—and by sometimes I mean like all the time—I get lazy in the kitchen and just want something quick and easy to whip up so I can devour it as soon as possible. Can you blame me?
So there I am one day at the grocery store, walking—no, stomping, that sounds a lot better—towards the sausage aisle with determination in my eyes. Really it was a glint in my eyes and a light bulb over my head, because I finally had an idea as to what I can cook with sausage. It wasn’t that hard to come up with, really. I just started thinking of all the delicious things I enjoy eating and then I’d mentally swap out the main ingredient for sausage. I did that until I got the perfect match. You all know my love for doughnuts, however, cake doughnuts with a sausage glaze just didn’t sit well with me. So just like that, sweets were out of the question. Sausage lasagna with a creamy béchamel sauce with seven different cheeses sounded amazing. I was just about to pick up the eighth cheese when I came to my senses. “Jonathan, you don’t have that kind of time on your hands to make a lasagna! You need something quick and easy!” So out the window went that plan. Then all of a sudden someone threw a package of tortillas at my face and BAM just like that, tacos were in my future. Oh and not just any tacos, my friends, but angus beef smoked sausage tacos.
After about fifteen of the most stress-free minutes I’ve ever encountered in the kitchen, I sat down to eat my beef sausage and peppers tacos with all the toppings you could possibly think of. And right there, between my fifth and sixth taco, I realized cooking with sausage isn’t all that difficult at all. In fact, it’s ridiculously easy (and tasty too). So now every time I go to the grocery store, I don’t avoid the sausage aisle. In fact, I go over and wave at it, picking up a few packages of Hillshire Farm along the way. “Hello delicious smoked sausage,” I yell out. Don’t worry, I look around before talking to the sausage to make sure no one is looking at me. I’m not that crazy. Okay maybe a little crazy. Crazy for smoked sausage tacos that is.
Let’s start with the easiest part of this recipe, which is hard for me to say because everything in this recipe is super easy to make. But for the purpose of defining something in particular, the avocado cream that goes drizzled all on top of the tacos is by far the easiest sauce you’ll ever make. Cut the avocados in half, and scoop them out into a large bowl, sans pits.
Season with salt, pepper and fresh lime juice. Then give it a smash with either a fork, or a vegetable masher.
**Tip: You can also do this with a food processor, but why go through all the hassle of dirtying something else that you’ll have to wash later on. This is a 15 minute recipe, let’s also make the clean up 15 minutes as well. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather just wash a vegetable masher instead of a food processor bowl and the lid and the blade, and then have to struggle with putting it back together.**
You want to smash the avocado until it is somewhat smooth. You can leave it slightly chunky, if that’s how you prefer it.
Add the sour cream and then mix, whisk, or mash until it’s completely combined with the avocado. That’s it! You’re done! That was the fastest thing you’ve ever made in the kitchen right? Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. Tell all your friends. Transfer the avocado cream to a small serving bowl. Wrap with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to eat.
**Tip: You can use this avocado cream for everything and anything. Smear it on a couple of burger buns or sandwich bread slices. You can use it in place of everyday ranch for dipping veggies and chips. Of course it’s super delicious in these tacos, so I highly recommend making it to go along with tacos.**
Now let’s turn out attention to the main star of the show. What makes this a 15 minute meal is the Hillshire Farm Angus Beef Smoked Sausage. Thanks to the “smoke” factor in this sausage, it’s already cooked so all you have to do is basically heat through (in this case, we’re grilling the sausage because grilling is fun!) Heat a stove top grill pan—outdoor grill would work too if you don’t mind lighting it and going through all the motions of getting a fire started—over medium-high heat. Once the pan just starts to smoke, lightly grease it with cooking spray. Then place the sliced sausage on the pan, in a single layer.
**Tip: Try not to crowd the pan with the sausage. You might have to grill it in batches, to ensure that it gets crispy and charred. That’s okay.**
Grill for about 2 to 4 minutes on the first side, or until the sausage gets charred and crispy. Flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the second side.
Transfer the grilled sausage to a plate and continue grilling the rest. You can cover the plate loosely with foil, to keep warm.
With the grill still over medium-high heat, add the sliced red onions, and bell peppers. I like to use a variety of bell peppers to pump up the color. I used green, red and yellow, feel free to do the same.
Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes, tossing frequently, until they are cooked and slightly charred.
Aside from chopping up the various toppings of your choice, you are done. What?!?! The madness! I know! It’s that simple. Who would have thought that making a delicious dinner could be that easy? And the best part is that you didn’t even grab that chicken. HAH! In your face chicken! Look at us, cooking with sausage. Thinking outside the box with these sausage tacos. We definitely know how to party.
Warm up a few corn or flour tortillas, whichever your favorite kind are. Then pile on the grilled onions and peppers and grilled sausage.
So now that all that tedious-hard-work-I-can’t-believe-it-took-so-long (not really), cooking is over and done with. Let’s talk about toppings shall we? The best part of tacos are the toppings, because you can go wild and crazy and let your imagination take off. I have all the usual suspects here. Fresh shredded lettuce. Diced tomatoes. Grated cheddar cheese. Lime wedges for squeezing. Chopped cilantro. Let’s not forget about our homemade avocado cream, that’s important!
These tacos are great by themselves because they are gigantic and very hearty and filling. Of course, if you’re like me, I like to eat tacos with rice and beans. So make a quick pot of rice right at the beginning and open up a can of beans (your favorite kind). Serve it along with chips and store-bought salsa. This 15 minute meal can totally wow your family and friends, or don’t invite anyone and eat it all by yourself. That’s (not) what I did, but if I had done that I wouldn’t regret it for a minute. These tacos are that delicious. So the next time you’re at work super late in the evening, and you still have to go home and make dinner but don’t know what to cook, look onto these Beef Sausage and Peppers Tacos. They got you covered. Enjoy!
Beef Sausage and Peppers Tacos*
Need to have dinner on the table in 15 minutes? Looking for something tasty that is super easy to make and doesn’t involve chicken? Do you have to feed picky eaters? Are you tired of these questions? Try these sausage tacos with your favorite type of Hillshire Farm smoked sausage. Ready in no time, it’s a great way to get those you love to eat fresh veggies like grilled onions and peppers and lettuce and tomatoes and avocados. Go wild with the toppings and make it into a taco bar. Tuesday Taco Night just got a whole lot better; we’re cooking with sausage!
Yield: 4 servings
Cook time: 12 minutes
- 1 (13oz) package Hillshire Farm Angus Beef Smoked Sausage, sliced
- 3 bell peppers, sliced (green, yellow and red)
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 8 corn tortillas
- avocado cream (recipe follows)
- shredded lettuce
- diced tomatoes
- chopped cilantro
- grated cheddar cheese
- lime wedges
- chopped onions
1. Heat a stove top grill pan over medium-high heat. Grease lightly with cooking spray. Once the grill is just starting to smoke, arrange the sliced sausage evenly on a single layer. Do not over crowd the pan, you might have to cook the sausage in batches. Grill for about 2 to 4 minutes on the first side, or until charred and crispy. Flip and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining sausage. With the grill pan still over medium-high heat, add the sliced onions and peppers, and cook for about 4 to 6 minutes, tossing frequently until the veggies are charred and cooked through.
2. Heat the tortillas in a skillet and fill with the grilled sausage and onions and peppers. Top with the avocado cream and your desired toppings. Serve it alongside a quick batch of rice or store bought beans. Go a little crazy and eat it with chips and salsa to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!
This super easy sauce can be used for all your spreading and dipping needs. It’s perfect as a sauce in sandwiches or burgers, or as a dip for fresh vegetables and chips. It’s best served with tacos and not just any tacos, but Beef Sausage and Peppers Tacos. Maybe I’m a little biased, but I think you should give it a try with that recipe. Just saying.
Yield: about 1 cup
Prep Time: 3 minutes
- 2 ripe avocados, seeded and scooped
- 1 lime, juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked back pepper
1. Mash all the ingredients together in a large bowl until somewhat smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Store in fridge until ready to use. Will keep for up to one day, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Enjoy!
*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Hillshire Farm sponsored it and compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, the thoughts are my own.