Tag Archives: easy dinner

Cavatappi with Sausage, Spinach, and Marinara

Let’s admit, it’s been a lot on us to try and come up with creative meals for dinner during our stay-at-home order these last few months. To be honest, we’ve resorted to ordering in twice a week and Taco Bell on Tuesday, which tastes delicious, but nonetheless is wasting money and not the healthiest thing to do. We finally cleaned off and fired up the grill on Sunday and made homemade burgers, hotdogs, grilled vegetables, and I was finally able to try some turkey sausages a company sent to me a few months back (by the way, they are AMAZING – Great American Turkey Co.)

Because it was only my husband and I, there were a decent amount of leftovers. Last night, I decided to make some pasta and throw the sausages in, along with some spinach I had in the fridge. I also remembered I took out frozen marinara sauce I made a few weeks ago so I added that to the pasta too. It was a leftover’s dream! Not only did the marinara taste just as good as it did when I made it, but the al dente boiled pasta (I love using Banza or Jovial pasta – which can be found on Thrive Market –> click the banner to the right or click here) and the spinach and sausages were such a good combination. I hate wasting food, so for this dinner to be a homerun, I was darn proud that I was able to use up food from a few nights ago, and what I rummaged in my fridge and freezer.

If you want to make this from scratch, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 package Banza cavatappi (or preferred pasta)
  • 1 package Great American Turkey Co sweet italian turkey sausage links
    • you can find where they are located on their website! Or, just use a different version of your favorite sausage
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
    • I like to make my own, but when I don’t, I use Rao’s
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Start by cooking the sausages to you preference, I like to grill them during the warmer months but you could always slice them and toss in some EVOO on a skillet. When the sausages begin to brown and cook, about 5-6 minutes, toss in the baby spinach. The spinach will cook down and wilt with the sausage. Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to boil, and add salt when water is boiling. Cook your pasta to desired doneness, with Banza I cook a minute or two less so that it does not fall apart, so the cavatappi says 9-11m, I cooked for just around 8 minutes or so. Drain the pasta and pour back into the pot. Add in the marinara of choice, then add in the sausage and spinach and mix together. Sprinkle with a little bit of parmesan, salt, and pepper and let your taste buds dance and sing. NOMaste healthy and safe friends!

Barbacoa (Steak) Quesadillas

Day number 49723.6 of quarantine during this global pandemic, and here we are, staying at home, cooking up a storm, and watching reruns of reruns of The Office. Days are blending into the next, and with each day passing a small glimmer of hope appears. I continue to think about the families who lost all their income, the students who are without any source of food, and new moms such as myself navigating parenthood with very limited interaction with family and the real world. What a time in our history, huh?

Over in our home, we love a good Mexican night. What’s not to love? Guacamole, margaritas, and delicious food, such as quesadillas. I didn’t swap anything for these: I used Whole Foods organic flour tortillas, a chuck roast, homemade guacamole and Organic valley mexican blend cheese. THAT’S IT. Barbacoa is traditionally a stewed beef in an oven or a slow cooker, and so that’s what I did. I’ll admit, I started cooking a little late so it wasn’t as tender as I would have preferred, BUT the flavor was spot on and had it cooked for another 2 hours it would have been perfection.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2lbs chuck roast
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 package mexican blend cheese
  • Beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Homemade guacamole or store-bought
    • for homemade:
      • two ripe avocados
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
      • half a lime to squeeze in juice
      • salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

First and foremost, prep the chuck roast by patting it dry and seasoning generously with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Place into the slow cooker and fill with 2 cups of water and 32oz broth (I LOVE Kettle and Fire’s beef broth – it’s delicious and packed with collagen and incredible benefits). Set on low cook for 8 hours, or high cook for 6 hour. You want the meat to be as tender as possible.

When the meat is done, pull apart with two forks or use poultry scissors to cut the meat into smaller pieces (this is what I did). Add the meat back to the stock and let it marinade. Spray cooking spray into a skillet and heat on medium high heat. Take a tortilla and let it begin to crisp. Add in the meat, then a few pinches of the cheese. Let it cook for two minutes on this side. Top the tortilla with a second tortilla and flip. Cook again for another two to three minutes. Repeat until all tortillas are used or to your desire. You can always leave some for leftovers tomorrow. Pair with the guacamole and an extra large margarita 🙂 Enjoy!

Balsamic Penne Caprese with Spinach

Stay at home week 9. We officially have a two month old (on Sunday the 17th) and I cannot believe how time flies in a matter of a snap. I kind of wish time would go quicker so I can have family and friends over again, be close enough to hug again, enjoy a brunch cocktail at a restaurant again, but all in good time. This time spent at home with Rowen is something that not many new moms experience so I am eternally grateful to have this special bond with him, and more time with my husband too. Having more time at home also allows me to be in my kitchen more which I will never complain about.

I’m going to officially call this week pasta week, because I’ve made pasta twice already, including the dish I’m sharing on the blog today: penne pasta with tomato and mozzarella (caprese) tossed in a homemade balsamic sauce/glaze with sautéed spinach. As most recipes do, this one came to me in the shower. Don’t judge me. I think a lot in the shower and I had a vision for a lighter, vegetable-based, with a touch of sweetness pasta dinner that would be good with a variety of mix-ins. Caprese, which is simply tomato and mozzarella, is delicious on its own, so to throw it together with penne pasta, a homemade balsamic glaze, and add in some spinach, what’s not to love?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pkg penne pasta ( I did NOT make this recipe gluten free but I imagine any gluten free pasta would do, Banza in particular or Jovial – found on Thrive Market – link to the site on the banner on the right!)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pint fresh mozzarella balls “ciliegine” style (size of a cherry tomato)
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil (to sauté the spinach)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Oregano
  • Dried Basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the pasta:

  • Sauté the spinach on the stove with the butter and set aside (the spinach will wilt and become half the portion you put in).
  • Take out the mozzarella balls from its container and put into a separate bowl to let them dry. Rinse and quarter the grape tomatoes – set aside as well.
  • Prepare your pasta as described by the package and drain. Pour pasta into a large serving bowl.

For the balsamic:

  • Pour the cup of balsamic into a small sauce pan on medium heat.
  • Add in the coconut or brown sugar and maple syrup.
  • Whisk together and bring to a boil, stir for 3-4 minutes until it becomes a little thicker.
  • Turn off heat or set to a very low flame, be careful not to burn.

Combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach in with the pasta and mix. Pour the balsamic sauce/glaze all over and mix together. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried basil, and oregano. Serve with a side of garlic bread, a glass of Montepulciano, and a new show on Netflix and you’ve got yourself a great evening. NOMaste 🙂

Sausage and Peppers

Peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Donuts and coffee. Okay, the donuts and coffee doesn’t necessarily fit the analogy, but I can always go for a donut when I have coffee it sort of counts. Classic pairings are sometimes even more delicious than getting ultra creative and trying hard in the kitchen. During today’s current reality (I REFUSE to say new normal, because nothing about this is normal, it’s our current reality and if things shift afterwards – hopefully they do – it will be our new reality), it’s damn near impossible to order groceries on whatever site you use, grab a delivery slot, and get everything you hoped for. Sometimes, we have make do with what we have, and that’s what sausage and peppers was for me.

I’m a purist when it comes to certain foods, and sausage is one of them. I’m not a huuuge turkey or chicken sausage fan, I just feel like the flavor in pork sausage tastes better, and it’s higher fat for a reason! Trader Joe’s makes an awesome pork and beef uncured sausage link pack that I am dying to grab again, when I am brave enough to venture to stores. I had a pack in the freezer and decided “THIS is a good time to take these out and make lunch with them.” I had also ordered several bell peppers from the previous week’s grocery delivery, so AHA!… let’s make sausage and peppers. I’d like to take a moment to settle a debate here too: I despise green peppers. There is no room for them at the table: they smell and taste like dirt and are super bitter. I prefer orange and yellow bell peppers and usually have them on hand.

Here’s what you’ll need for this super simple and tasty dish:

  • 1 pkg sausage (I’ll allow turkey or chicken substitutes here), sliced into small rounds
  • 2 medium peppers, julienned (sliced thin)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Your favorite spicy seasoning – I use a fajita mix or cajun mix, I would also use New Bae seasoning from Primal Palate, found here!

Start by heating a large sauté pan with the olive oil. Throw in the peppers and let them cook down until they begin to sweat and slightly brown, this will be around 5-7 minutes. Throw in the sliced sausage and sprinkle in your seasoning. Cook until the sides of the sausage are browned and the peppers are soft.

This dish is perfect on its own, over orzo pasta, paired with rice, or can be tossed with other roasted veggies. I will also say this stays well in the fridge so it’s a perfect stay-at-home meal prep for lunches. Enjoy!

Ground Turkey and Chickpea Skillet with Roasted Veggie Medley

Good ol’ quarantine. Welcome to week 5 of stay-at-home, and getting creative in the kitchen. I accidentally bought a 5lb (YES 5LB) bag of carrots from Whole Foods a few weeks ago, and have been lucky to snag some slots at Whole Foods and Fairway delivery frantically throwing in zucchini and yellow squash into the cart, hoping that they still had it in stock. Thankfully, they did. I’m breastfeeding and while there really isn’t much science to back up cruciferous vegetables tend to make babies gassy, I still err on the side of caution and stick to spinach and zucchini for my vegetables.

I love ground turkey, and when I wasn’t much of a red meat eater (which changed the minute I tried Bistecca Fiorentina in Florence on my honeymoon five years ago), I relied heavily on ground turkey for everything. I find the key to making it tasty is a generous amount of seasoning and bone broth. That’s why I love this skillet: it has an abundance of flavor from cumin, onion, and garlic powder, a splash of dry white cooking wine (because why not?) and chicken bone broth from Kettle and Fire. I thickened the skillet with my trusty arrowroot and sprinkled some sharp white cheddar on top and broiled until it was perfectly melted. Let’s get down to business…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • For the ground turkey skillet:
    • 1 pkg or 1lb ground turkey (I like dark meat turkey – that’s where the flavor and juices are!)
    • 1 tbsp oil (I prefer Olive or Avocado oil)
    • 1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1.5 cup baby spinach
    • 1/4 cup bone broth or chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock too!)
    • Splash of dry white cooking wine
    • Onion powder
    • Garlic powder
    • Cumin powder
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar (or any kind of shredded cheese – this is completely optional)
  • For the roasted veggies:
    • 3 large carrots, rinsed and sliced into long quarters
    • 2 zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
    • 1 yellow squash, sliced thick

Begin with cutting/slicing the vegetables and toss in some oil then layer onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and dried basil and/or rosemary. Bake at 375* for 35 minutes.

In the meantime, grease a cast iron skillet with the oil of choice and set the heat to a medium flame. Add in the ground turkey and cook until 90% browned. Add in the garbanzo beans, spinach, and let the spinach begin to wilt – trust me it will. Add in seasonings and toss together. Pour in white wine to deglaze the skillet, and add in the broth. Turn flame up a little bit to bring to a gentle boil and add in arrowroot/thickener. Mix together until broth and turkey/garbanzo mixture becomes thick. Sprinkle cheese on top and broil for 3 minutes. Serve on top of the veggies or make a side of rice, either way, this is a perfect “what do I have on hand?” meal fit for a family at home 🙂 NOMaste healthy and safe my friends!