Lazy Sunday Casserole

When I saw a this recipe had “lazy” in the title, I knew I would be happy. Although baby boy is beginning to become more cooperative, I still have a heck of a time getting dinner on the table without some assistance from the husband. Thankfully he works from home, so most of the time, he can sneak upstairs to allow me some dinner prep time if he has a break in his schedule. Once I told him there was sausage and peppers involved in this meal (two of his most favorite things), he had no problem clearing a little bit of time in his schedule so I could make this “lazy Wedensday” casserole.

I tried like crazy to get a more appetizing looking picture of this, but try as I might, I just couldn’t get it, but trust me when I say this is fabulous! I’m not a fan of sausage, or vegetables, but I ate everything, and enjoyed it! It didn’t take as long as I thought it would to prep this, and while the husband finished up work, I enjoyed some time with my boys while the oven did all of the work. The balsamic vinegar really steps this up a notch. I cannot wait to make it again…maybe I’ll make it for a lazy Monday, or Tuesday, or…

Lazy Sunday Casserole

5 Italian sausages
1 pound red potatoes, cubed
1/2 pound baby carrots
1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
8 ounces whole fresh mushrooms
1 large onion, cut into large chunks
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all of the chopped vegetables in a large roasting pan. Whisk together the olive oil, minced garlic, basil, oregano and fennel seeds. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Pour chicken broth over vegetables. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender. Meanwhile, brown sausages in a large skillet over medium heat. They do not need to be cooked all the way through, just browned. Remove from skillet and slice into thirds. Remove foil from vegetables and add sausages to pan. Pour in balsamic vinegar and give everything a good stir. Return the pan to the oven, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, or until everything is browned as the sausages are cooked through.

Source:  Let’s Dish Recipes, originally adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

Peasant Pasta – Crazy Cooking Challenge #7

Now that I’m back to blogging more regularly, I wanted to find some kind of cooking challenge to join up with again, but one that didn’t require a huge time committment and allowed me some flexibility on recipe selection since I live with some picky eaters.  I was very excited to find the Crazy Cooking Challenge over on Mom’s Crazy Cooking!  Each month, she chooses a theme, and everyone in the group cooks/bakes a recipe that fits in that theme, and that recipe must come from another food blog.  Considering I follow at least 80 food blogs in my Google Reader, I knew this would be a challenge that I would really enjoy!

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This month’s theme was Spaghetti with Red Sauce.  We are a big pasta loving household, so I was very excited with this month’s theme!  My search for the perfect recipe took me to the blog Good Eats n’ Sweet Treats and this fantastic Peasant Pasta.  Pasta + sausage + red sauce = the happiest boys in the world in this house.  Both the husband and toddler man LOVE sausage and pasta, so I knew I had to make this.  We were not disappointed!  Even I, the one who really rather dislikes sausage, loved it!  The leftovers are just as good the next day.  This is orginally a Rachael Ray recipe from her show 30-Minute Meals.  I don’t know if you’ve ever tried any of her recipes, but they very rarely only take me 30 minutes.  Usually by the time it’s said and done, I’ve spent AT LEAST 45 minutes dealing with it.  This was an hoenst-to-God under 30 minute meal, and I will be making this again very, very soon!  Make sure you check out Jaime’s blog…there are a ton of fabulous recipes over there!

Peasant Pasta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, available in bulk at butcher counter or, 2 links, casings removed
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, available in bulk at butcher counter or, 4 links, casings removed
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup half and half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 leaves fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked to al dente
Grated Italian cheese, for passing

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan.

Add sausage meat. Crumble sausage meat as it browns. Add chopped garlic to the pan. When all of the crumbles have browned evenly, deglaze the pan drippings using chicken or vegetable broth.

Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring the sauce up to a bubble, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir cream into your sauce, this will blush the color and cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper. Stir basil into your sauce to combine. Toss hot drained spaghetti in pan with the sauce, then transfer pasta to serving bowl.

Source:  Slightly adapted from Good Eats n’ Sweet Treats, originally from Rachael Ray

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Glazed Kielbasa

I have been making this recipe for Glazed Kielbasa for at least the last six years or so.  The husband was craving kielbasa one night while we still lived in DC (before we were even married), and I thought this looked interesting.  Besides the great taste, this recipe is wonderful because it comes together quickly and I almost always have everything on hand.  Turkey kielbasa goes on sale buy one get one free at my grocery store somewhat frequently, and I like to stock up since it doesn’t expire too quickly.  Give this one a try!

Glazed Kielbasa
Servings:Points+: 5 points per serving

1 lb. cooked turkey kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup yellow mustard
3 Tbsp.  brown sugar
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp.  cracked black pepper
 
Bring kielbasa and chicken broth to boil in large skillet on medium heat; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until heated through.

Add mustard and brown sugar; mix well. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened and kielbasa is well glazed, stirring frequently.

Stir in parsley and pepper just before serving.

Source: Slightly adapted from Kraft Foods

Creamy Cajun Pasta with Smoked Sausage

Delicious.  Quick.  Easy.  My three favorite words to describe a weeknight dinner.  The husband is a fan of anything with the words “cajun” and “pasta” in the title, so when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it soon.  I’ve tried several different recipes for a cajun pasta before, but this one is the clear-cut winner!  The husband and I both loved this, and it will hit my dinner rotation frequently.  I did not have onions or garlic in the house (crazy, right?), so I omitted those and add a bit of garlic powder with the other seasonings.  I will definitely make sure I add the garlic and onion next time as it would make this dish even better.

Creamy Cajun Pasta with Smoked Sausage

1 box of penne pasta
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons of your favorite Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped parsley (I forgot to add this at the end!)
Parmesan cheese
1 (16-ounce) package turkey kielbasa, cut into bite-size pieces

In a large pot, boil water for pasta.

Brown kielbasa over medium heat in a large skillet. Once browned, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

In the same large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute for approximately 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant. Meanwhile, boil pasta and cook until al dente.

Add white wine or chicken broth to skillet and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Let wine or broth reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in Cajun seasoning, paprika, pepper, salt, and tomato paste.

Add half and half and heat to almost bubbling, then reduce heat to low. Allow the cream mixture to reduce by half, approximately 5 minutes.

Drain pasta and add to skillet. Add browned sausage and parsley, toss. Top with parmesan cheese.

Source:  Adapted from Southern Pink Lemonade, who got it from Cooks Like a Champion, originally adapted from Steamy Kitchen