Sunday, April 26, 2009

a little bit of spice

100_2737 We’ve made decisions on the paint colors finally, and our walls have little patches of color all over them from testing out the colors.  But our painting adventure is coming along pretty well.  I think we’re just exhausted from non-stop painting and lack of sleep!  It’s amazing how different colors look on a little swatch compared to when you get them on the wall.  We had a few ‘too bright’ surprises!

These next few weeks are going to be interesting, especially in the midst of painting, moving, finals and putting together a graduation/birthday party.  I am going to try to make the easiest things possible without resorting to the conveniences of eating out (well, as much as I can!).  That money can add up so quickly!  I have to say that I haven’t had much desire to cook (gasp!) with getting over being sick and all the craziness of this house thing.  It will be hard too when all the cooking utensils will be packed and we’ll be trying to get rid of all our food.  Bear with me!

Sometimes I wish I could afford to be a not-do-it-yourselfer.  We almost finished the downstairs and need to tackle a very high stair-case and most all of the upstairs. 

Taping is more than 1/2 the battle and takes up most of the time, especially since I am so darn meticulous with having straight lines.  But, they turned out pretty darn good!



I’m not sure what these colors will look like on your computer, but . . . This color is called greenfield pumpkin and is like a dark brownish, slightly orange-ish color.  (gotta get a new chandelier) 



Lots of cutting in and sore knees!  This color is called olivesheen, almost like a rich sage-y green.



This was interesting!  I still have to put the pumpkin in the alcove.



So far we have pretty much all the downstairs done (more than this photo), and need to start on the staircase and upstairs.  We also want to start the crown molding. 


You all know my love for spices because they impart such wonderful flavor without having to add extra calories.  I decided to play on the flavors of chicken shawarma with a simple yogurt-marinated grilled chicken and quinoa pilaf.  Super easy + good eats = extra yum!


Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

with a Quinoa Pilaf

For the marinade:

  • 1 cup non-fat yogurt (I used greek)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • juice from one lemon
  • standard package of chicken tenders (1.25lbs)

Mix everything together in a zippy bag along with the chicken and marinate on the counter for 25 minutes.  Cook chicken on grill pan for about 3 minutes per side until charred and slightly firm.

For the Quinoa:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper and 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • garam masala, curry powder, garlic powder and cumin
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts

Sauté the bell pepper and zucchini in the oil until browned.  Add the quinoa and spices and let them get toasty.  Add the water along with the raisins, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the pine nuts.  Serve along side the chicken.  Yum!


Do you like to be a do-it-yourselfer, or do you prefer to have the professionals do it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

it’s getting hot in here . . .

100_2732 We signed papers on Monday!  Woo-hoo!  We are still waiting for final arrangements from the bank, but it should be official by the end of this week.  Just crazy to think we could own a house, well townhouse that is, but it’s still ownership!  We are really into crunch time right now, and the other half and I are wondering what we got ourselves into trying to get situated in a house and take on projects at the end of the semester along with work???  We may have to hold back on some things.

I put some paint up on the walls from the colors we thought we would like and. . .whoa, they are so different!  Some of them turned out to be winners, but how anyone can tell what a color will look like on an entire wall from a tiny square I will never know.  Pretty soon our walls will look like all the colors of the rainbow before we can decide on a dang color! 

I wanted to make meatloaf for dinner, but being that it’s been in the 90s here in Vegas already, I’ve been trying to avoid that inefficient oven like the plague.  So I decided to make a quick alternative . . . stuffed meatloaf burgers!  I just had to mix the meat, form the patties, turn on the stove and sauté for a fraction of the time.  I served it with a fresh green salad on the side, although I really wanted some sweet potato fries!

Stuffed Meatloaf Burgers 

Yield:  About 6 patties


  • A little over 1 pound of extra lean ground beef (96% lean)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 jar TJ’s bruschetta mix (this makes them so moist!)
  • 1 tbsp crushed Italian herbs
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • cubed mozzarella for stuffing
  • whole wheat buns and all your favorite burger toppings


100_2736 Place the first 7 ingredients (through shallot) in a large bowl and incorporate.  Place a handful of meat in the palm of your hand and form half a patty.  Place about 2 cubes of cheese on top and cover with another handful of meat.  Form a tight seal.

Repeat with remaining meat and cheese.  Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Cook patties until 160 degrees or until desired doneness, about 5-6 minutes per side.  Place on a 100_2725clean plate and cover with foil until all batches are done.   Serve with buns and your favorite toppings! 

I also used these burgers crumbled on top of some leftover pesto pasta for a quick dinner . . . yum!

For 6 servings (analyzed with 95% lean beef), one patty has about 180-200 kcals, 8g of fat, 23g of protein, 10% calcium and 15% iron, along with good doses of zinc, riboflavin, B6 and B12.      


Gotta love that ooeey, gooey cheese!  We put a little more bruschetta mix on top.


Any painting dilemma stories?  I’d love to hear that I’m not alone!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

seeing green


We found out that we are going to close on Monday!  Woo-hoo!  Let the madness begin.  While we haven’t progressed in our packing endeavors, we did make a trip to drop off a load of furniture to the new place.  I also bought some quarts of paint to test the colors out and make sure they will work. 

At the moment I’m fighting off a viral URI (found out it’s not strep thank goodness!), but it’s been about 5 days and I’m hoping I’m half way through.  Plus that lovely time of the month has greeted me.  I guess they say when it rains it pours right? :)  I’m just looking through to the end of packing, moving, painting, flooring, getting settled, finishing finals and being able to . . . . RELAX!!  I see a little bit of light, but it’s in the distance.  Many thanks for all your kind words, I really appreciate it!

On to a lovely dinner . . .

Lemony Tofu Pesto Pasta   


4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)


  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved and seeds squeezed out (I used TJ’s heirloom tomato mix)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • Cooking spray
  • 4  teaspoons  olive oil, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2  cups tightly packed fresh baby spinach (about 1 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/2  cups cubed reduced-fat silken tofu (about 6 ounces, I only had firm on hand and it worked well)
  • 1  cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan-Romano cheese blend
  • 1  tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • juice and zest from one medium lemon
  • 4  cups  hot cooked whole wheat spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked)  We made fresh!  **Be sure to save 1/2 cup pasta water to thin sauce if needed.
  • 3  tablespoons  pine nuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 450°.

100_2705 Place tomatoes, cut sides up, and mushrooms on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Bake at 450° for 7 minutes or until tender.  Broil just until charred.

100_2701 Combine remaining 2 teaspoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, spinach, tofu, and next 6 ingredients (through lemon) in a food processor; process until smooth.

Combine spinach mixture and cooked pasta in a large skillet; cook over low until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally and adding pasta water if needed. Gently stir in tomatoes, mushrooms and toasted pine nuts; sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.  Enjoy!  We had the Bridlewood Chard featured here along with it.

This dish has about 300-350 kcals, 11g fat, 14g protein, and 44g Carbs



Here is the tower of pasta!  We like to place our pasta on this drying rack until we get ready to boil it all.  It helps it to rest and dries it out just a bit so they don’t all end up sticking to each other.  It’s also great if you want to dry the pasta out all the way and save for later.




A little close up . . . this dish was very refreshing!


I haven’t forgot about the demo site giveaway!!  I am planning to close the entry at the end of April and announce 5 winners with their choice of a 1GB hard drive or 3 iTunes downloads.  So there’s still time, I’d love to hear your feedback on the site survey!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

few delays

We found out that we won’t be able to close until next week sometime because there are 25 people ahead of us waiting to close at our title company and they are slammed.  And I thought people weren’t buying houses right now?  Even though we will be pushed back a bit, we still can spend time doing lots of packing this weekend.  Ugh! 

I also made a quick and easy dinner since C has class tonight.  Basically it’s a couscous pre-mix doctored up with some sautéed tofu, mushrooms and broccoli.  So easy! 

100_2696But for starters I had some home-made    Italian-style hummus with a can of drained chickpeas, 2 garlic cloves, 1 roasted red pepper, handful of basil, 1/4 cup parmesan and 2 tbsp pine nuts along side some whole-wheat naan from Trader Joe’s for dipping!  I saw this naan in the store when I was shopping today and thought . . . I want to make some hummus! 

I can’t wait to try all their naan flavors, and they even have some in the frozen section, which would be conducive to less spoilage and a better texture believe it or not.  I usually freeze all my fresh breads and cakes before frosting because they don’t dry out that way.  I loved this stuff!  It100_2699 has a wonderfully moist texture and is the perfect accompaniment to hummus. 

The whole wheat also has 8g of fiber per serving!  I want to try this for a quick pizza base too.  Yum!

On to the main course . . .

  • 1 box of pre-mix whole-wheat couscous with pumpkin and red pepper (Sofella brand from Costco) cooked according to the package, with just water
  • 3 stalks broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 carton crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 blocks TJ’s Teriyaki flavored tofu, cubed
  • splash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

100_2372 Cook the couscous according to the package directions (I used the pumpkin with red pepper flavor not the one to the left), omitting the oil.  Gently steam the broccoli until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water to preserve the green color.  Sauté the mushrooms and tofu in a large pan with a little olive oil until golden.  Add the broccoli and continue to cook to char it up a bit.  Turn off the heat.  Splash a couple glugs of vinegar, with the hoisin and sesame oil and mix everything up.  Serve along side the couscous or mix it all together.  Yum!

I made this bowl at one of those pottery places awhile ago and it has a sunflower in the middle at the bottom.  I Love cute eating-ware because it makes eating such an even better experience! 


Any fun weekend plans?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

busy times and mang-oats


Either I’m super busy running around like a chicken with its head cut off, or else there is not much going on.  Does that happen to you?  Sometimes it seems that everything all of a sudden culminates around a certain time . . . and this time it’s NOW!  The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy and I apologize for the lack of posts.  I would so much rather blog and read blogs all day! 

In House News . . .

We are hoping to sign papers on Wednesday to get the keys on Friday.  On Thursday we want to get all our paint supplies rounded up.  Friday is time to prep everything for painting (I’m not looking forward to this because taping off is half the battle!)  Saturday and Sunday we are going to be PAINTING like crazy people and hope it doesn’t look icky with uneven lines (fingers crossed).  The next weekend will be for touch up and a family birthday party, and have we even started packing yet??   The weekend after that will be dedicated to carpet/couch cleaning and the big MOVE!  But that’s not all . . . finals are the next week, along with Chris’ graduation and his grad/my b-day party!  Whew, there is a lot going on!  We also ordered the laminate flooring, but that won’t get here till after graduation, so that will be our next week’s project.  I think Home Depot has become our second home! 

This weeks grocery shopping was very frugal ($35 for two!) because, not only am I trying to save as much as I can, we have a lot of leftovers in the freezer that need to be used up.  One of them being Lamb Daube Provencal.  I thought I would serve it with some nice corn bread for dipping tonight.

image I wanted to highlight my oats this morning, I call them Mang-oats, featuring the tropical love of my life . . . MANGO! 


These guys are not only taste like the tropics they are great for you too.  In 1-cup sliced, there’s nearly most your Vitamin C needs and 3 g of fiber, super filling!



Here’s how I like to slice mine:  First cut off both ends to see how the direction of the pit in the middle is going.  Take your knife and cut along the pit in a oval shape.  Once you get the fleshy sides, I cube them with the skin still on.  Then you just have to cut the cubes off into the bowl.  Yum!


Serving for Two:

  • 1 3/4 cup non-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • hefty sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 mashed banana, the other half sliced on top
  • splash of vanilla extract, or any other tropical extract
  • 1 mango, cubed (see above)
  • Favorite toppings:  I topped mine this morning with ‘mix my granola’, scoop of TJ’s peanut butter, a scoop of cottage cheese and mango.  Some shredded coconut would be great too!

Boil the milk, raisins, spices together in a large pot.  Add the oats and mashed banana; stir.  Cook until desired consistency, about 5-7 minutes.  Turn off the heat, add extract and all your favorite toppings!

Here’s a picture with all the paint swatches and project plans in the background . . . wish us luck!

Do you have any good tips for painting textured walls and keeping lines straight?


Thursday, April 9, 2009

sloppy, yummy and a sweet ending


Sloppy Joe’s!  I haven’t made these in ages and I always feel like a kid again when I make them.  They’re the perfect thing because they are so easy to make and also very versatile to add into other recipes. 


It was so messy that I had to eat it with a fork! 

On the side I went for another simple thing . . . sweet potatoes!  I didn’t feel like running our oven from h*&l, because it gets too darn hot, so I just micro’d them on the potato setting which was super easy and they came out just fine.  They aren’t as ‘carmel-y’ tasting as when they bake in the oven, but it was pretty darn good to me :)


100_2681 And look what was there to greet me when I got home!


      I was so lucky to win a gift certificate to mix my granola from Emily and it finally arrived all the way from Florida.  I’ll use this a little later for a sweet surprise . . .

Sloppy Joe’s

Yield:  6 (about 1/2 cup serving)

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (95-96%)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium tomato sauce (I used my crock-pot sauce) I still have more of this left to make pasta later!
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • giant handful of chopped spinach
  • 6-8 whole wheat hamburger buns


Sauté the onion, bell pepper and lean beef in a large sauté pan over medium heat until cooked through and crumbled. 

Form a circle in the middle and plop tomato paste in pan and cook for 5 minutes to develop the flavor.  Add the tomato sauce and next 6 ingredients (through pepper); stir and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the spinach, let wilt. 

imagePlace about 1/2 cup of beef mixture onto each bun.  I also added some mozzarella cheese and a side of yummy sweet potato.  I have a little bit of ground beef and pasta sauce left over, so I’ll use that for some baked pasta tomorrow, love versatile leftovers! 

Approximate nutrition stats to the left are just for the beef mixture.




And as for the sweet surprise! . . .

I really wanted to try out the granola, and while it wasn’t breakfast time I knew I could find some way to use it!  I took one healthy choice fudge bar and chopped it up and layered it with the granola.  Then the bar got kind of melty and it was like indulgent ice cream contrasted with the chewy texture of the oats, so good! 

Here’s my granola mix:

100_2685I thought it was really good!  It’s just not as formed and crunchy as I like my granola to be.  I think it would be better as a muesli?  I prefer more of a plank type granola that almost breaks your teeth off.  It is also pretty expensive (about $13) and took 7 days to get to me, so I don’t know if I would get it again just for those two factors.  I did love the flavor and the idea of mixing your own to make it unique because they had plenty of yummy mix-ins to choose from.  Thanks Emily!
















What’s your favorite sweet ending to the day, food or otherwise?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

glorious oats


I love oatmeal for breakfast in the morning!  Not only is it a nutritional powerhouse, it is super filling and usually keeps me content till lunch time even when I eat breakfast at 6:30am.  Love that!

I have to say I prefer the quick-cooking oats better than the regular for some reason.  Is that blasphemy?  I like my oats really thick and dense and they seem to give it my kind of consistency.  The regular oats get too goopy for me for some reason.  I also really enjoy steel-cut oats for their dense and chewy texture.  The only thing with these is that they take so darn long to cook! 

100_2404 I found the perfect thing at Trader Joe’s the other day. . . Quick cooking steel cut oats!  It says they take 8 minutes, but I cooked them about 15 minutes, just until slightly chewy. 

So I decided to make my oatmeal triangles with these and a little 7-grain cereal from Bob’s Red Mill.  They turned out really good and cooked in 1/2 the time.  Sweet! 

Oatmeal Triangles (take 2)  

Yield:  8-10 servings (2 triangles)

  • 1 cup quick cooking steel cut oats (TJ’s brand)
  • 1/2 cup 7-grain cereal mix (Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 2 cups non-fat milk and 1 cup water
  • 1/3 heaping cup chunky cinnamon applesauce (I used my crock-pot apples)
  • 1/4 cup raisins, or your fav dried fruit
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of clove (careful cloves can be really powerful!)
  • You could also add some pumpkin, mushed banana, dash of vanilla extract . . .


Place milk, water, applesauce, raisins and spices in a large pot; bring to a gentle boil.  Add the oats and 7-grain cereal; stir.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick, about 15-20 minutes.  Adjust for seasonings if needed.  I always seem to add more cinnamon!

100_2672 Place mixture in a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Place in the fridge overnight uncovered.  In the morning, preheat oven to 425.  Cut the oatmeal into squares and then triangles (or any shape you like!) and place on a greased pan or silpat.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden. 

Serve with your favorites!  I like cottage cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit, slather of peanut butter, drizzle of honey, sprinkle of nuts, and cinnamon . . . the possibilities are endless! 

I even make an egg sammy with the triangles.  They’re also great for a hearty breakfast on the go when you don’t have time to cook oats in a pot every morning.  Yum!  There’s some cottage cheese under there somewhere.



I found this interesting article about when I discussed having nutrition facts labels available at restaurants.  This study found that having them actually does influence people to make better choices, who would have thought?

What do you think about labels in restaurants?  Do you have any unconventional oat usage?


Monday, April 6, 2009

roll it up

100_2669 Lasagna is a great way to stretch food dollars because it makes a butt-load of food!  I change it up a bit by rolling them up with the filling inside instead of layering the noodles.  It’s really fun and the kiddies will enjoy it too!

I’m really enjoying the spring break time off classes!  I had today off work too and was able to prep some food and snacks for the week, get caught up on cleaning and work on some school projects.  I also made it to a kick-my-butt box class which was really great.  Sometimes it’s just nice to have a day off, but it goes so darn fast!

Lasagna Roll-Ups 


Yield: 8-10 servings (2 roll-ups)

  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups skim mozzarella (1 cup for filling and 2 cups for topping)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs, crushed
  • pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 chicken sausage link, casing removed and sautéed in pan
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cups packed and chopped spinach
  • 16 lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (or see below)

For the crock-pot pasta sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, chopped fine
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 (28oz) cans roma tomatoes with basil, no salt added (I like the TJ’s brand)
  • 2 tbsp dried Italian herbs, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil to add freshness at the end (optional)


100_2666For the roll-ups

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place about 1 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Mix the first 9 ingredients (1 cup mozzarella cheese through spinach) in a large bowl.

100_2665 Boil the pasta noodles just until they are bendable and easy to work with.  Place them on a cookie sheet so they don’t stick.  Place about 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture down on each lasagna noodle and roll-up. 

100_2667 Place in a 9 x 13 baking pan.  You should be able to make about 15-16 roll-ups.  Cover with the rest of the pasta sauce and some foil.  Bake at 350 covered with foil for 20 minutes; remove the foil and increase oven temp to 400.  Sprinkle with about 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.  Bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden and crispy on top.  So good!

For the crock-pot sauce:

Sauté the onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil until slightly golden.  Clear a space in the center and plop the tomato paste in the middle.  Cook this for at least 8-10 minutes.  It really deepens the tomato flavor.  Add the balsamic vinegar and stir to reduce down a bit.  Add this to the crock-pot along with the tomatoes and spices.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Taste for seasonings and add the fresh basil at the very end.


Here is the average nutrition facts for 2 roll-ups.  I had to use a generic sauce which probably had a considerable amount of sodium in it.  I don’t really add that much salt to the tomato sauce because I love the fresh taste of tomato and fresh basil.  Plus when it cooks in the crock-pot all day it gives a wonderful depth of tomato flavor so you don’t need to use that much salt!  You could also reduce some of the mozzarella cheese on top because it was pretty cheesy! 

Cheesy goodness!  My favorite part is all the crusty crispies on the side.  You could also cut this recipe into two 8 x 8 square pans and freeze one (without the cheese on top and tightly wrapped/covered) to have another week.



 We are going to be eating leftovers for days.  And I’m sure the flavor will be even better tomorrow, yay!  And I can’t forget the birthday shout out to VeggieGirl, woo-hoo! 

And don’t forget to enter the survey at to give us your feedback on the new site.  Mention this on your blog and you’ll get two entries to win your choice of the 1 GB flash drive OR 5 itunes downloads.  We’d love to hear your feedback and get some significance with the results. 

Are you a big leftovers person?  If so, what is your favorite dish to have lots of?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

new demo site

100_2657 Happy Weekend!  The new demo site for eatingRD is up and running!  It will just give a little preview of what I’m piloting for a new business endeavor.  It’s still being tweaked and adjusted and there are still many things we need to add, so that is why I am asking for all your comments and feedback.  You all have such great ideas and insight and I would love to hear from you, good or bad, about what you think. 

imageHere is the link!  There is a short survey you can take that will give us some insight as to what you think of the new site, your impressions and expectations of RDs and a business like this, and ways you think it can be improved. 

Five entries will be chosen at random to win a 1GB flash drive from  Here’s an example one at the left.

Now on to dinner! . . .

This is definitely my favorite go-to dish because it’s pretty easy to make and it was the first recipe I ever got comfortable with.  It’s such a great feeling when you are in the kitchen and can just grab ingredients ‘a little bit here, a dash of that’ and it turns out well!  That’s what makes cooking so much fun, even if it doesn’t always turn out.  It’s a big experiment!  Go ahead and try it with different types of sausage (lower fat of course) and pasta to make it your own. I have made it for several family and friends, who always request me to make it, and it’s great for a casual yet elegant dinner party.  It always seems to disappear too fast!  This dish is great for leftovers, and I am all about the leftovers! They can be a great way to stretch food dollars.

Broccoli Sausage Pasta



Serves 4-6

  • Freshly ground pepper or Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • 2-3 heads broccoli, trimmed and washed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 links turkey or chicken sausage (lower fat), casing removed
  • 1 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth whisked with 1 1/2 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 12 oz of your favorite pasta, such as campanelle or farfalle
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan/Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling 


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots; cook until just golden. Add sausage; sauté, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until cooked through and forms crumbly bits on the bottom of the pan. Add broth mixture and scrape bits off bottom of pan. Cook until heated through, thickened and reduced down a bit, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. While that is reducing, add pasta to large pot of boiling water; cook according to package directions until al dente. Add broccoli florets, in the last 3-4 minutes of cooking.  Drain together. 
  3. Add pasta and broccoli to skillet or large pot; toss everything to combine. Season with black pepper and/or Mrs. Dash, and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle with cheese; toss to combine and serve! 

You can increase the amount of veggies by sautéing mushrooms and zucchini with the sausage too. I also recommend serving it with a nice piece of crusty bread and a fruity balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Yum!


100_2660 Along with the pasta we tried a new Chardonnay that turned out to be great!  This is the perfect malolactic – type chard if you have never experienced it before.  I would highly recommend it.  It was so full and buttery, and yet still crisp and refreshing.  The sausage I used in 100_2662the pasta was slightly spicy, and this chard stood up to it well and enveloped the spice in its buttery goodness.  There were notes of melon and nectarine with a slight citrus-y brightness.  It was pretty reasonable too at $12, you should try it!


100_2661 After dinner, we cuddled up (well, my guy fell asleep!) and watched Twilight. 

I’m still trying to find the time to get through the book portion!

This weekend I am planning on making a batch of granola bars (I tried them with 2 egg whites and less oil and they turned out good!) and Oatmeal Triangles with a new product from TJ’s to last for the week, along with a little bit of prepping of recipes to come . . . I see a twist on lasagna maybe?  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


How do you find time to make your meals?  Do you prep before hand or put it all together the same day?  Or rely on other quick methods?