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I smell sausage....

Let the air cool off a few degrees, and I am a changed woman. Suddenly, I want to cook and therefore heat up the house. When October tumbles over into November, I feel like putting the k-rab (fake crab) salads aside and digging into something substantial and savory and aromatic. I turn into a meat eater.

And what meat evokes fall more than sausage? Oh my, I am salivating now just thinking about the irresistable aroma of sage and pork, the discs softly hissing in a hot skillet.

The down side is when you dare glance at the nutrition information. Seventeen grams of fat per serving for stuffed sausage! Yikes! Too much of that good thing and we will, indeed, be what we eat.

You can have your sausage and eat it, too, if you use it wisely. Use it to enhance a dish. I offer this recipe as an example. Chicken with Andouille and Peppers is from "Shortcuts: 130 Almost-from-scratch Recipes," a cookbook published by Weight Watchers in 2008 for availability at meetings.

Here, diet-friendly but subtly flavored chicken tenders pair with big-personality slices of andouille, sort of like a shy, reluctant debutante with her football-star cotillion escort.

If you can’t find andouille, a good, hot smoked sausage will be fine. The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning; I use Tony Chachere’s, and 1/2 teaspoon is a little puny for me, so I measure mine just short of a level teaspoon. I serve this with brown rice.

CHICKEN WITH ANOUILLE AND PEPPERS

1/2 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 pound andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch slices

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (optional)

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the sausage to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Wipe the skillet with paper towels; spray with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and Cajun seasoning (if using); cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and sausage; return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes longer.

Serves 4.

Per serving (minus the rice): 203 calories, 10 g. fat, 58 mg. cholesterol, 445 mg. sodium, 2 g. fiber.

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