May 20, 2010 at 8:51 a.m.

From chili to shish-kabobs, use your imagination

From chili to shish-kabobs, use your imagination
From chili to shish-kabobs, use your imagination

Do you like Polish sausage? I do. When I was a young' un we ate quite a bit of Polish sausage, kielbasa, or Polska as we call it. I say it's all in the same church, different pew! We have a 11 year old grandson, Adam, who has been eating sauerkraut, polska and boiled potatoes, since he was 6 years old. When he and his dad and sister came for supper I asked ahead of time if he would like spaghetti or polska and kraut. The answer is always, "You don't have to ask me what I'd like Gramma." Almost all of our grandchildren and their mom's and dad's have eaten this combination meal...except Anna, Adams sister who is 8 years old. She is asked to taste just a little bit and she does, but it doesn't go much farther than a teaspoon full. I know it's a processed meat, full of fat and salt, but we don't eat it every week.

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So, it's fixing meals using polska (AKA Kielbasa) in the recipes.

Since the weather has been cool off and on these days, I'm still making chili using polska and other kinds of veggies now and then rather than ground beef.

KIELBASA CHILI

1 lb. kielbasa (polska) halved, lengthwise, and sliced about 1-2-inch thick

2 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) diced tomatoes

1-15 oz. can chili beans

1 T. chili powder, or more, to your taste

1 can (8 oz.) corn, drained, or 1 c. frozen from a bag

1/2 c. sliced black olives

Topping:

Shredded cheese, sliced green onions, Parmesan cheese, hot french bread, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, croutons - optional

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, over medium high heat, saute kielbasa until browned. Stir in rest of ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer, uncovered 8-10 minutes. Serve buffet style, or pass toppings. It's easier to serve buffet style.

Makes 8 servings.

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KIELBASA AND CABBAGE SKILLET

1 medium onion, sliced

1 large green and sweet red pepper, julienned

2 T. butter

1 lb. kielbasa or Polska, cut into 1-inch pieces

1-16 oz. pkg. coleslaw mix

1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth or 1/2 t. granular bouillon mixed with 1/2 c. hot water

1/2 t - 1 t. garlic powder - more or less to taste

1/2 t. pepper

In a large fry pan, saute onions and pepper in butter until tender. Add rest of ingredients. Cook and stir 8-10 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender or as tender as you like them.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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KIELBASA WITH RICE

2 lbs., kielbasa or smoked beef sausage, halved lengthwise

1/4 c. minced onion

3 strips bacon, finely chopped

3/4 c. honey BBQ sauce

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1 T. prepared horseradish

2 tsps. water

1-2 t. minced garlic - more or less to taste

1/2 t. red pepper flakes or a couple shakes hot sauce (tabasco sauce)

Hot cooked white or brown rice - making 5-6 c. according to package directions

In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, saute kielbasa, onion and bacon until onion is tender; drain off fat. Add rest of ingredients, except rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Serve over rice.

Makes 6 servings.

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POTATO KIELBASA

SKILLET

1 lb. red potatoes, peeled, cut in 1-1/2-inch cubes, cooked until tender, drained

1 lb. kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch sliced

1/2 c. diced onion

1 T. olive or canola oil

2 T. each, brown sugar and vinegar

1 T. Dijon mustard

1/2 t. dried thyme leaves, crushed a bit

1/4 t. pepper

4 c. fresh baby spinach - can use larger leaf spinach, tearing and snipping off stems

5 bacon strips, fried crisp, drained and crumbled

In a large skillet, saute kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender. Add potatoes; saute 3-5 minutes longer or until onions and kielbasa are lightly browned. Combine next 5 ingredients in a small bowl; stir into kielbasa mixture. Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer, uncovered, 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add spinach and bacon; cook until spinach is wilted.

Makes 4-5 servings.

Kielbasa can also be used in making shish-kabobs on the grill. Cut kielbasa into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Put on kabob sticks as you would for beef kabobs. They can also be cooked over an open fire as you would hot dogs. Serve the usual pasta salad, coleslaw, baked beans, fresh veggies and dip, mustard and ketchup, etc. Top this cook-out off with s'mores or puffed marshmallows. Sounds good to me. This would be a good meal to serve your Memorial Day weekend celebration with family and friends.

Note: If this is to your liking, and if you're over 21 years old, marinate the pieces in beer for an hour or so. Be sure not to marinate in beer for the younger ones. Speaking of kabobs, we let our guests string their own kabobs with veggies, pineapple chunks, etc. Then we put meat on one stick, veggies on another, grill them, put them in separate dishes and pass, unless they want to do it themselves. You should see the combinations the kids makes... lots of meat and pineapple, but you do the grilling.

TFD: Life is like a bath - the longer you stay in there the more wrinkled you get. H-m-m... I don't take baths. You get in the tub, lay there for awhile, wash with soap and water, lay there some more in the soiled, dirty, whatever water, you get out and you stand there with ishy water dripping off your body, you dry yourself and now the towel is dirty, unless you shower after you've had your bath. You're wasting water that way so just take a shower, like I do. What a way to end this column. I bet I got a laugh out of you though!

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