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“what should I make for dinner”

sweet salvage

Yesterday, I came home after a morning at Sweet Salvage and asked Connor what he wanted for dinner. It was his only night off this week, so he could pick whatever he wanted. He didn’t know but told me he’d think about it while I went off to a lunch appointment.

I had lunch with Marissa’s future mother-in-law, Amy, to go over some wedding details.


After lunch, I sent Connor a text, “Any dinner thoughts yet?”

He replied, “Roast pheasant with buffalo sausage and sparkling cider sauerkraut.”

I said, “So helpful.”

He sent back a text, “Was it not specific enough?”

I thought, “He’s egging me on” … so I said, “Sure sounds good.”

I headed towards the grocery store, fully intent on just picking up some tortillas and making chicken enchiladas. I mean, if he wasn’t going to say what he wanted, I certainly wasn’t going to ask again.

A few minutes later, I get another text, this time with the website for his pheasant recipe!


OK, I’ll take the bait. I sent back a text, “Any idea where I can get pheasant and buffalo sausage, Mr. Smarty Pants?”

His reply, “Costco?”


As I drove, I thought, “What the heck! I’m going to take his dare and make a version of his darn recipe.”


I picked up Cornish game hens in place of the pheasant…


…and hot Italian sausage in place of buffalo sausage.


I checked out the recipe and it called for 6 pounds of prepared sauerkraut. Six pounds! A one-pound package costs $3.49, I’m not about to spend $21 on sauerkraut! So, I bought just one package. I mean, I was going to have to alter this silly recipe drastically anyhow.

Turns out Connor went on Google and typed in “What should I make for dinner?”  A few sites came up and from that he picked out-

Roast Pheasants with Buffalo Sausages and Sparkling Cider Sauerkraut


This recipe calls for juniper berries. I used them since I have them on hand, but if you don’t – there is no reason to go buy a jar – they honestly don’t add much flavor at all.

Here is my recipe for…

cornish hens

Roast Cornish Game Hens with Hot Italian Sausage and Apple Cider Sauerkraut

1 pound prepared sauerkraut, washed in cold water to remove the brine, and squeezed dry in paper towels
3 thick slices smoked bacon, chopped
1/2 medium-size yellow onion, diced
1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
3 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 to 4 Cornish game hens
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
8 juniper berries, lightly crushed
4 fresh sage sprigs
1 pound hot Italian sausage links
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


In a large skillet, over low heat, render the bacon fat but do not allow the bacon to crisp or brown. Remove the bacon and transfer to an 8×8-inch Pyrex dish.


Add the onions to the rendered fat and sauté until wilted.

kraut and apples

Add the apple and sauerkraut.


Pour in the apple cider and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Mix in the caraway seeds. Transfer the sauerkraut mixture to the casserole with the bacon.

cook off

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

lightly brown

While the sauerkraut is in the oven, divide the juniper and sage between the cavities of the birds. Melt the butter in a heavy ovenproof skillet. Lightly brown the birds evenly on both sides.


Remove the sauerkraut from the oven and remove the foil carefully (watch out for the steam) and stir, replace the foil. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place the dish with the sauerkraut on the top shelf of the oven and place the skillet with the hens (uncovered) on the bottom shelf of the oven and roast for 1 hour.

While the birds are cooking, prick the sausages and cook them in a heavy skillet with about ½ cup of water until the water evaporates, turning until the sausages are browned.


Remove the skillet with the birds from the oven and carefully pour off the liquid that has accumulated in the skillet. Remove the foil from the Pyrex dish of sauerkraut, stir and return both to the oven, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.


To serve, cut up the hens and slice the sausages.

cornish hens

Spoon the sauerkraut on dinner plates and arrange the meats over the sauerkraut and finish with a sprinkle of the chopped parsley.

Serves 4 to 6

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1 Betsy { 02.20.15 at 9:07 AM }

awesome Mother !

2 Betsy { 02.20.15 at 9:08 AM }

when you go to SS on first day what time do you have to get there

3 Linda Hopkins { 02.20.15 at 9:16 AM }

Betsy, If we want to be near the front of the line, we leave our house at 9:00 (they open at 10:00) but yesterday we left at 9:45 and were still there when the doors opened and didn’t have to wait in the “second line.” The second line people are the ones who have to wait outside for customers to leave so they can get in. They can only let a set amount of people in per the fire code.

4 Marissa { 02.20.15 at 10:05 AM }

You are an amazing Mama! Also, those initials in the top picture look familiar…

5 Anne { 02.20.15 at 11:25 AM }

WOW. Impressive!! I know your biggest enjoyment came from taking that dare from Connor and meeting the challenge! (although you are not competitive by any means 😉 You rock. Sooo…would you make this again?

6 Peggy { 02.20.15 at 11:49 AM }

He better have LOVED that dinner!!! That is awesome.

7 Linda { 02.20.15 at 1:49 PM }

Anne. I would make it again, just without that game hens. There was just too much meat! But the sauerkraut and sausages were awesome!

8 Tram Mai { 02.20.15 at 11:22 PM }

I hope he realizes how lucky he is!!!

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