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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Slow cooking


I have a feeling that this is going to be my sanity this Fall.

Our week nights are being taken up with soccer and I'm not happy about it. True, it's my own doing signing up the kids for this, and honestly, I'm doing it for Wyatt. He's finally old enough and has been begging to play. In hindsight, I should have just signed him up, waiting to put Ethan in baseball in the spring. One kid, one sport a season. I think that will be our plan in the future. I'm so adamant about us having a decent family meal together at our kitchen table. It's so important. With soccer practice and makeup games happening right at the dinner hour (6pm) on the weeknights, we are either stuck grabbing a quick bite out after or eating an early dinner just before. I'm opting for the early dinner as much as possible. To make this happen I need my crock pot.

I have a feeling this website will be my new BFF. I saw it posted on Jen's blog awhile back, but after giving it a closer look, I'm really impressed. This girl is into healthy eating! I've shied away from many crock pot recipes because so many of them out there are full of fat, sodium and processed ingredients. She's really put some thought into her recipes and most of them are gluten free. I'm starting this week with her Pesto Chicken and Sweet Potatoes, Orange Chicken and Sweet Potato Chili (Vegan). I'm thinking the chili would be amazing with some sweet cornbread on top!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pasta with Chicken Sausage

Do you know how often I come to my own food blog for meal ideas? It's a lot. I like to know what works for us. And this next recipe is one that works!

With our weeks being very busy now with school, soccer, AWANA, and other various activities, often the first thing to go is eating at home. I'm determined to make it happen as much as possible. I'm passionate about my little family sitting around our table as often as possible eating a homecooked meal.

Tonight's one of those nights it would have been very easy to let that go. With Wyatt having soccer practice at 6-7pm, you'd think we'd just run out for a bite to eat after. And I just can't seem to get organized enough to have dinner ready at 5. Maybe that's something I need to work on for the future. But for tonight, I needed something easy to throw together while David took the boys to the soccer field.

This is a recipe that was inspired by a Real Simple recipe. It's quick, easy, and versatile. And most importantly, it passes the kid test. I'm making enough so we'll have leftovers for tomorrow.

Pasta with Chicken Sausage

12 ounces rigatoni (or other desired pasta)
2 tbs. Olive Oil
1 onion, sliced
6 ounces fully cooked chicken sausage links sliced (I prefer the chicken with apple kind)
Broccoli florets or peas if you have them
Parmesan cheese, grated

Optional:
White Wine
Half & Half (Or whole milk or heavy cream if you really want to go for it)
grated fresh nutmeg

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onion, stirring often. Let it get nice and brown, about 5 minutes or so. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until browned. While that's going on, cook pasta according to package directions. For a light, no-heavy sauce pasta, add the broccoli/peas and 1 1/4 cups water and simmer, uncovered, until the broccoli or peas are tender. Toss with the pasta and top with cheese.

Or...if you want a more saucy (and yes, fattening) version, after the sausage is browned, add a few good glugs of white wine and deglaze the pan. Once the wine has almost all been absorbed, add a good amount of your half and half (or milk or cream, or a combo). This is where I'm going to throw all you "exact measurements" people off. Just add as much as you'd like for the amount of sauce you'd like. Keep in mind the more you add the more runny it will be. I'd estimate I add about 1 1/2 -2 cups combo of half and half and 2% milk. Let it simmer a bit to thicken. Add some grated nutmeg. Add the veggies (if you want them) and simmer until tender. Another idea is to add about 1/2 to 1 cup of pumpkin for a wonderful Autumn dish.

Toss with the cooked pasta and top with cheese.

Skip lighting a scented candle that night because your house will smell amazing just from the cooking.