The older I get, the more I use meat more for a flavoring agent than the main attraction. Bacon & Sausage are perfect for this usage - bacon, because it's the most delicious of the meats, and sausage because it's already seasoned, so you can brown it and add practically anything to it and be lazy, not even adding other seasonings.
While it's true that sausage is fatty, consider how little you have to use to really pack a wallop of flavor - you can stretch one link of Italian sausage to serve 2-4 people, and end up with a meal with far less fat than if you used meat as the main component of the meal. And you'll end up with something far more tasty and good-for-you than if you would have used say, a chicken breast, which is the least flavorful of the meats.
One of my favorite things at the market is Northridge Organics' lamb products (Worthington Farmer's Market), especially the lamb chorizo. Lamb is fantastically suited to being made into chorizo, since its strong flavor is a good match for chorizo spices.
These recipes are pretty fast & easy, and can be made even easier by using a few shortcuts from Trader Joe's, a few lazy shortcuts which are favorites of mine. Trader Joe's sells boil-in-the-bag black "beluga" lentils and brown rice. Since brown rice takes forever to cook, this shortcut is a favorite of mine, and I love black lentils so much, and they are so easy - Husband and I love them when we are tired and getting home from work. Just boil them in the bag, top with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of feta cheese, and you have a nearly instant dinner. I also used Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant bruschetta topper instead of roasting my own red peppers. Because sometimes we need a shortcut!
Lamb Ratatouille - serves 2 (yes, I know it isn't real ratatouille, there are no tomatoes. sue me)
1 link lamb chorizo, or another soft sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium-sized eggplant, peeled (if desired) and cut into 1/2" cubes, tossed with 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine (if desired; all stock can be used)
1 cup chicken stock
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2" cubes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Roasted red pepper bruschetta topping (or 3 roasted red peppers, chopped finely)
In a large skillet, heat a tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble it into the pan. Break it up with a wooden spoon and brown until cooked through, then add the onions. Saute the onions for about 2 minutes and then add the eggplant. Toss everything and allow the eggplant to brown slightly, then add the wine. Cook until the wine is cooked out, about 3 minutes, and then add 1/4 cup chicken stock. When the chicken stock has cooked out, add the zucchini. Stir everything together and season with salt and pepper. Add another 1/4 cup chicken stock and cook it out and continue with the remaining stock. Cook until the eggplant is cooked to desired texture. Stir in the red pepper bruschetta topping, stirring until it is hot. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Lamb Chorizo with Brown Rice & Black Lentils - serves 2
1 link lamb chorizo or another soft sausage
1 package Trader Joe's brown rice, cooked in bag or 1 1/2 cup cooked, cold rice I used leftover brown rice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 package Trader Joe's black lentils, boiled in the bag (or 1 cup black lentils, cooked in plenty of boiling water and drained)
salt & pepper
10 dashes Tabasco, or to taste
2 tbsp feta (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble into the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the cold rice and stir everything together. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and cook until it has almost completely cooked down, and then add the lentils and stir everything together. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Serve hot or at room temperature with a little feat sprinkled over, if desired.
Hint - these two recipes are very tasty when combined!