What do you do when the temps are dangerously low, there are massive 4 foot snow drifts while snow pellets are blasting sideways at 65 miles an hour, and you’re craving grilled brats? You thank Johnsonville Sausage® profusely for thinking of you, and sending you a free Indoor Sizzling Sausage Grill and free sausages!! Holy hogsville, Batman!! And my latest recipe, Grilled Italian Sausage, Balsamic Roasted Red Grape & Blue Cheese Crostini with Pecans, is just in time for the upcoming Super Bowl!
What a fantastic and unexpected surprise this was, to be one of J-Ville’s very lucky fans to be chosen to participate! And although I was sent all of these wonderful gifts and this is a sponsored post, the following reviews of their grill and products will solely be my own and honest opinions as always.
So. Firstly. The grill!! My hubby was secretly dreaming of one of these, and I had no idea! He never told me! He had already watched the video and everything! So when I received the email to participate in this event, he about flipped!! I don’t know who was more excited, him or me!!
I’ve never minded cooking brats or sausages indoors, but let’s face it, you just can’t get them evenly browned on all sides like you can outdoors. Not to mention, the popping grease gets everywhere, and the wise and inventive grilling aficionados at Johnsonville® were all too aware of this dilemma, as well.
So they designed an indoor grill that encases each sausage perfectly to get even grilling on ALL sides. It has two easily removable non-stick cooking surfaces and a drip tray, so that you aren’t scrubbing the kitchen walls and stovetop for hours afterwards. They pop right out and clean in just minutes by hand or go straight into the dishwasher!
I was surprised at how easily it worked, and I loved that I could just place the sausages in, shut the lid, turn it on, and walk away to get other things prepped and ready to go!
Not having to stand over the pan turning and turning the sausages was like having a sous chef to help out! It shuts off and cools automatically, so you can’t overcook them or worry about burning them, either. Pretty dang cool! It really made my recipe twice as fast to make!
If there was any “complaint”, or suggestion for them, I’d ask for a longer cord. And to let people know that it will smoke a little. No biggie, just turn your hood vent on is all. That’s what I did and had no trouble at all.
But easy cleanup and convenience doesn’t matter unless it truly cooks them correctly, right? Exactly!
And I’m VERY happy to say, that they all cooked beautifully! Nicely and evenly browned on ALL sides, and cooked through just as promised! They came out GORGEOUS. I’ll NEVER go back to pan-frying them again! The easy cleanup and the fact that they cook themselves was a tremendous help!
And they went beautifully with this recipe, too! I chose Johnsonville’s® Fresh Sweet Italian Sausage Links for this one, but you could also try this recipe with literally any of their Italian Sausage Links that sound like fun!
*They even have a new Red Wine & Cheese one that I’d LOVE to try! That flavor would’ve been the BOMB for this recipe!
So. To start, I made up a simple balsamic and herb marinade and let it cool. While that was cooling, I also whipped up a basic cream cheese and herb spread, and sliced up some jurassic-sized seedless red grapes and red onion. Since my hubby doesn’t care for blue cheese, I left it out of the spread this time, but it’s added to the recipe below for all of us blue cheese lovers!
When the marinade was cool, I poured that over the fruit and onions, dumped it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and popped it into the oven to roast and caramelize.
Once that was going, I cooked the sausages in the Sizzling Sausage Grill. (SO convenient!) I set the grill onto a baking sheet and let them do their thing on the stovetop under the vent hood. Which worked perfectly!
While that was all cooking and baking, I chopped some pecans and had my blue cheese (for me and Phyllis), and feta cheese (for my hubby and Wally) all ready to go.
Once the sausages and grapes were all done, I let the sausages rest a few minutes while I sliced the baguette and toasted in under the broiler on both sides.
Then I smeared each piece of toasted bread with the cream cheese spread, topped them with slices of sweet Italian sausage, then spoonfuls of the roasted red grapes and onions, and sprinkled half with blue cheese and half with feta cheese crumbles.
Lastly, I sprinkled them all with chopped pecans!
And WOW what a treat!!
The crunchy, creamy, sweet and tart, nutty and cheesy combination was outstanding, and would make for the perfect game day munchie!! And that sweet Italian sausage was absolutely wonderful! Flavored beautifully, nice and juicy, and not fatty and gristly like so many other brands!
These are so easy to make, and you can even make up the cream cheese spread and the marinade in advance! Which makes them perfect for parties and entertaining!
Though these are simple, the flavors are so nicely complex, and the presentation so spectacular, that you could serve this at a dinner party or formal gathering, too!
Lastly, since they’re quite hearty, these babies would also make for a super fun lunch, too! Just serve with a simple salad and a little Italian dressing, and you’re good to go!
So, if you didn’t happen to get one of these handy indoor grills from Santa this year, you really should check into them! I absolutely LOVE mine, so much so, that I have not just one, but two more recipes coming up next!
I really had a blast using it, and now I don’t want to cook them indoors any other way! Thank you so much to Johnsonville® and the JVL Team for thinking of us! The hubs and I BOTH are just thrilled over this new Indoor Sizzling Sausage Grill, and I can’t wait to start cooking my next recipe!
Hope you all enjoy, and keep this recipe saved, Pinned, and in mind for the upcoming Super Bowl, and other gatherings and sporting events! You, and your family & friends, are going to LOVE these!
- 1 pkg. Johnsonville® Fresh Sweet (or any variety) Italian Sausage Links, grilled in the Indoor Sizzling Sausage Grill (or cooked how you like), rested, cut into slices on the bias
- Herbed Cream Cheese Spread:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese, optional but very good (*see note)
- ½ tsp. dried italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- ¼ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- tiny bit of fresh cracked salt to taste
- Herbed Balsamic Marinade:
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 - 2 tsp. red wine, to taste
- ⅛ tsp. each: dried italian seasoning, dried thyme, herbs de provence (*with lavender), regular salt, and coarse ground black pepper
- ½ Tbl. butter
- 2 cups halved large seedless red grapes, (halved lengthwise) measure after slicing
- ¼ of a large red onion, thinly sliced
- Rest of Ingredients:
- 1 french baguette, thinly sliced on the bias and lightly toasted on both sides
- ¼ - ⅓ cup blue cheese (or feta) crumbles
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- In small bowl, stir together softened cream cheese with rest of spread ingredients. Cover and set aside. (Can be made in advance.) *If adding blue cheese, stir it in last leaving it slightly chunky and not blended until creamy.
- In small saucepan, add marinade ingredients except grapes and onion. Over medium heat, bring just to a simmer, stirring. Remove and set aside to cool. (Can also be made in advance.) While marinade is cooling, slice grapes and onions and place into a bowl. When marinade is cool, pour over grapes and gently toss to evenly coat. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Pour grape mixture onto baking sheet, spread out evenly, and bake in fully preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While grapes are roasting, place sausages into Johnsonville's® Indoor Sizzling Sausage Grill. Cook according to instructions. (Don't forget the drip tray.) When done, remove and set aside.
- When grapes are roasted, remove and heat oven to broil. Slice baguette into thin slices and place onto a baking sheet. Spray tops with butter-flavored no-stick spray or brush with olive oil and broil until lightly toasted. Remove, turn slices over, spray or oil other side, and toast again. Remove to a serving platter.
- Spread each with some cream cheese spread. Slice sausages on the bias, and top with a few slices each (2 - 3). Top with spoonfuls of roasted grapes & onions. Sprinkle tops with blue or feta cheese crumbles and chopped pecans. Serve warm.