Pasta and Sausage Two Ways

IMG_3919Last week was busy and we really did not have many family dinners.  In fact between after school activities running late and Mr. Mixture being out of town I got quite a reprieve when it came to cooking dinner.  We were able to enjoy several leftover type meals and breakfast for dinner, as it seems to always be a hit.  When Friday rolled around and I knew we would all be enjoying dinner together after a busy week, I decided to try something off our Recipe Must Try List.  I figured a pasta dish that Little Miss Mixture had picked would be a nice way to end a busy week.

On my initial attempt at Quick Rotini with Sausage and Tomato Sauce, I made some changes that fit into our eating style better.  As it indicated in the initial recipe we found in Cooking Light May 2014, you could substitute spinach for the Arugula.  Well in the last few years, we have become fans of all greens, so when I found an organic spinach arugula mix at the store, I decided it would add a nice touch of flavor to the pasta dish.  I substituted whole wheat pasta for the original called for rotini, as I rarely eat anything else.  I made a few other changes as well as I created the dish for Friday evening.

In the end the dish came out nicely, it had a little heat to it from the crushed red pepper and adding more greens that originally called for provided a nice color to the dish as well as increased the nutritional value.  But the greatest value in this meal was as a family of three there was plenty left over for another meal.  I do not have a problem with leftovers in fact there are some foods that I think are even better the second time around, but leftovers can be hit or miss with the other members of the Mixture family.  So when I decided to revamp the pasta dish for a nice week night meal, I was pleasantly surprised with its versatility.  The pasta dish became a perfect casserole and hit the spot on a dreary overcast day.  In fact it might have been better received and enjoyed than the first go round.

Quick Rotini with Sausage & Greens**

8 ounces Whole Wheat Rotini

Olive Oil

3 (4oz) Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage links, casings removed*

2 1/2 cups Greens (I used arugula spinach mix)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. In a large saucepan boil water.  Add pasta and cook 7-9 minutes.  Drain pasta over a bowl so that you can reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.

IMG_3917IMG_3918

2. Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage to the pan and cook about 5 minutes or until browned.  Add 1 cup greens, onion, oregano, crushed red pepper, and garlic.  Cook 2 minutes stirring frequently.

3. Add reserved cooking liquid, tomatoes, sugar, and black paper.  Bring to a boil and add pasta to skillet.  Cook about 2 minutes and add remaining greens.  Toss greens throughout pasta and serve.  Top with fresh parmesan cheese, if desired.

IMG_3934

Pasta and Sausage Take Two Baked

Leftover Quick Rotini with Sausage, and Greens

1/2 cup Ricotta or Cottage Cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup spaghetti sauce ( I used trader joe organic tomato & basil)

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup sliced or grated mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

2.  In a large bowl mix the pasta dish with Ricotta cheese and next five ingredients.  Once mixed well, pour into a ceramic or glass baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 20 – 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and pasta is bubbling.  Serve and enjoy.

Printer Friendly Version

IMG_3818IMG_3931IMG_3932IMG_3935

 

**We are a family of three so the original recipe that served four actually stretched to serve us twice since we enjoyed salads with it both times.  In order to get the benefit of this pasta dish two ways, you may want to double the original recipe.

IMG_3920

 

If you enjoy pasta dishes, here are some others you may like as well

IMG_3029 Red, White & Greens Pasta

IMG_2833

Snap Pea & Tortellini Pesto

Advertisements

Cilantro Serrano Pesto Pasta

CilantroIMG_3302

This is an herb that I am not sure I realized how much I liked it until about ten or so years ago.  It was around that time that I realized how nice the flavor was and what cilantro could do to a recipe.  Fresh herbs are great, but the problem I find with so many fresh herbs is you purchase them in bunches.  Rarely does a recipe call for that much.  Now if you are able to plan really well you can ensure that several foods you prepare that week will include the same fresh herb and then none is wasted.  But hello reality that does not work every time and some times just because you bought cilantro or another herb you may not want the same meals each time. Thus if you have the space or the energy growing you own herbs helps this dilemma considerably.  However I have tried growing cilantro and it is not easy.  You see I do not have a green thumb in fact I kill most house plants, but when it comes to garden herbs and plants I seem to manage usually, but cilantro is tough in the south.

The one good thing that came of my brief stint of trying to grow cilantro was some more recipes that utilized the herb.  When cilantro flourishes it does really well, but it has a short growing season and does not do well in heat.  Unlike basil and mint which as you snip them they grow more, my cilantro plants did not do that.  Rather they began to brown.  So in an effort to use all my nice cilantro I started cooking.  If you have been following my blog for anytime you know I love pesto.  So when I ran across this recipe that is a pasta dish but can just as easily be served as a pasta salad, I had to try it.

IMG_3855

Cilantro Serrano Pasta with Chicken 

Ingredients
1 1/2 Cups fresh cilantro
1/2 Cup fresh mint
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp toasted pecan halves
2 garlic cloves
1 serrano chile, seeded and sliced
2 Tbsp extravirgin olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast**
Cooking spray
3 Cups hot cooked penne pasta
2 Cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used a variety of heirloom cherry tomatoes)

Directions
Place cilantro and next 5 ingredients (through chile) in a food processor; process until well blended. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended. Place pesto in a large bowl; stir in vinegar and black pepper.
** Chicken can be prepared one of two ways.    1)Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat chicken with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. 2) Poach or boil chicken until cooked.IMG_3851IMG_3853

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Add chicken, pasta, and tomatoes to pesto; toss to combine.  Serve and Enjoy.

IMG_3855

* adapted from Cilantro Serrano Pesto with Grilled Chicken and Penne that appeared in Cooking Light Magazine

If you like pesto, be sure to check out these recipes that use different pesto sauces in a variety of ways.

IMG_2637Arugula Pesto

IMG_2644Shrimp Pesto Pizza

Arugula Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Fontina

Arugula Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Fontina

Fancy Grilled Cheese

IMG_2833Snap Pea Tortellini & Pesto

Red, White & Greens Pasta

Yes I know it is the week for Red, White, & Blue, but lets be honest there are just no good blue vegetables that would work in a pasta dish.IMG_3028

In preparing for the week, I asked Little Miss Mixture to help pick the meals.  Sometimes when I do this I get nothing, other times I get some of the most common foods we eat and then every now and then surprise a mix of favorites and new.  She had a perfect pick for meatless monday.  As we over the past several years begun eating more and more meatless meals.  There is a movement to encourage this called Meatless Monday, so I decided to join the movement.  It is not hard for us since we generally eat at least 1-2 meatless meals a week.  Now I just have to make sure it is how we start our week.  To find out more about the Meatless Monday movement and why you should give it a try check out this webpage.

You will find Let’s Have Mixture featured as a blog alone with other resources for meatless meals.

The meal Little Miss Mixture picked for monday was a pasta dish from her must make list in the May Cooking Light Magazine.  The dish first appeared in cooking light as a side dish and I am pretty sure it caught her attention because the bow tie shaped pasta.  Little Miss Mixture has a diverse palate, but just like many of us she is caught by eye appeal.  I am fine with this as I am often victim to this method of picking things as well.  I am sure most of us can agree we tend to pin recipes on Pinterest based on pictures.  Thus a reason I need to work on my food photography.  Check out my pinterest boards and you will most likely find more dessert than other items and I am sure this is due to my searching Pinterest after dinner and when I am in the mood for something sweet and the pictures.

In general we do not tend to have pasta dishes as a side item, so I decided to use her recipe pick for inspiration on a meatless meal.  My choice would have been to use a multi grain or whole wheat pasta as I generally do, but based on Little Miss Mixtures request we were to use farfalle, a bow tie shaped pasta.

I wonder why most of the fun and unique shaped pasta is not made whole grain?

The base of the recipe and the inspiration was taken from Cooking Light Tomato, Feta, and Thyme Farfalle.  We had some chard that I picked up at the farmer’s market over the weekend, so I decided that would be the perfect addition for a more balanced and hearty dish.  Thus Red, White, and Greens pasta was born.

Red, White, & Greens Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Leeks, sliced
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch Greens (rainbow, swiss chard)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Pasta
  • 1 Cup Tomatoes (cherry tomatoes halved, or chopped tomatoes)
  • 4 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Thyme ( if using fresh double)
  • 3/4 Cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 Tbsp Olive oil

Directions

  1. Cook pasta per directions
  2. In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add leeks and cook about 2 minutes
  4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute
  5. Add greens and allow to partially wilt
  6. Add pasta, tomatoes, thyme, lemon juice to the leek, garlic, and greens mixture.  Stir to combine. Add small amount of reserved pasta liquid if needed.
  7. Add feta cheese. Combine and serve.

IMG_3027IMG_3029

 

Printable recipe and nutrition information can be found here.

Monday Mixture

Things have been a whirlwind for the past few weeks and though it is summer and things are suppose to slow down.  Hence the lazy days of summer, it does not appear I am coming up for air quite yet.  Rather I am trying to catch my breath between last minute trips, dance recitals, swim meets and practices, and getting some work done around the house.

Regardless of how busy things get one thing remains constant, we eat.

1. What we ate this week June 8 – June 14

SaturdayFancy Grilled Cheese w/ basil pesto & Fruit Salad

Sunday – BLT Burgers and Creamed Corn

Monday – Red, White, & Greens Pasta

Tuesday – Taco Salad

Wednesday – Pretzel Chicken, Fried Potatoes, and Spinach, Raspberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Thursday – Packed Dinner of PB & J, Fruit, Chips (Swim Meet)

Friday – Leftovers

2. I had a small get together to attend this past week.  When you have a food blog and you tend to bake and cook quite a bit, I think you feel the pressure more than you should as to what to take.  The host requested a light appetizer, dessert, or bottle of wine.  It is the summer season and S’mores just speak summer taste, so I decided to make S’mores bites.  I made this recipe first last fall when I threw a 40th Party for Mr. Mixture.  They were simple, quick and easy to make and a perfect one bite.

Well things did not go as planned this week as they were an epic fail and with everything else going on I just did not have the time to put something else together.  So what does a mixture lover decide on, you guessed it my mom says ” it is your signature.”  Perfect I decided.  A simple yet satisfying mix of flavors sweet and salty.

IMG_3038

3. Pistachios – Last week I published Crack open some Goodness because as you know we like all varieties of nuts around here.  Funny thing happened as my parents recently returned from a cross country trip and brought us flavored pistachios.  Now we are all familiar with roasted nuts and different candied or coconut coated nuts, but these are unique.  The pistachios are from New Mexico and the flavors we received were Garlic & green chile, two levels of Red Chili – hot and XX hot.  I enjoy making my own nuts, but this is something I am not sure I can duplicate without altering.  The nuts are not roasted and they are still shelled.  This is an east coast southern girl has never seen before.

IMG_3059

4. Meatless Monday – Meatless Monday is a movement that was relaunched in 2003 as a public awareness program.  It actually began with President Woodrow Wilson during war times to encourage people to decrease their meat consumption, a staple food.  Today’s movement has been gaining momentum since it started appearing more routinely in the media since 2009 encouraging a meatless meal to improve health and help the environment.

Just like all groups and websites you must meet some criteria to be recognized as part of their movement.  Well take a look at my sidebar Let’s Have Mixture has new bling.  A meatless monday badge. You can also find my blog listed here.

Can you pledge to have a meatless meal every monday?  Start with trying it for one month, or throughout the summer.  You can browse recipes on this site and many others by the #meatlessmonday

5. Coming Soon

       What do you do with a recipe that fails?  

Toss it?  Eat it?  

Recipes for your Vitamix or Blender 

My all time favorite lunch

 

 

Tortellini with Snap Peas & Pesto

IMG_2833Looking for a quick and easy light summer meal, well look no further.  I took this recipe from my Recipe Must Make list, as it was one of the Cooking Light recipes that Little Miss Mixture picked.  I am a fan of Trader Joe’s refrigerated ravioli and tortellini.  Yes I would prefer if they were whole wheat like the dried pasta I use, but for a weeknight meal they are perfect.  I find they cook quickly whether you store them in your refrigerator or freezer and with some added vegetables, meats, or sauces they can quickly be transformed into a satisfying dinner.

Here is a great recipe to pair with refrigerated tortellini as you can prepare the sauce ahead of time and then you can get dinner ready in less than 10 minutes.

Tortellini with Snap Peas & Pesto

Ingredients
1 pkg Refrigerated Cheese Tortellini
8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved diagonally (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 Cup fresh mint leaves
1 Cup fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions
1. Cook tortellini according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add snap peas to pan during last 3 minutes of cooking; cook 3 minutes. Drain.
2. Place mint and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor or Vitamix; process until finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl once. Combine oil and juice in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. With processor on, slowly pour oil mixture through food chute; process until well blended. If using Vitamix simply add oil before other ingredients and process to combine (to get more detailed instructions on making pesto in the Vitamix refer here.  Combine tortellini mixture and mint mixture; toss gently to coat.

IMG_2830IMG_2831IMG_2832IMG_2834

* this recipe first appeared in Cooking Light

As I mentioned this recipe is on our must make list and we decided it deserved 4 out of 5 stars.  What does 4 out of 5 mean?  It means we will definitely use our fresh mint and basil plants again this summer to enjoy this fresh pesto dish.