Italian Sausage Pasta

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This is another easy, hearty delicious meal.

This is a dish I created a while back trying to come up with a different use for Italian Sausage instead of the usual meals.

4 Italian Sausage Links
16 oz box of pasta (I use large shells) cooked
1/2 onion
1/4 slice of pepper (2 colors or 1/2 of one color)
1 medium clove of garlic
3 TBSP butter
4 TBSP olive oil
2 cups beef bouillon with 1 heaping TBSP cornstarch stirred in until dissolved
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Par-boil the sausage for 25 minutes and then finish cooking in micro (about 3 minutes) or pan fry until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit to slice

Dice the onion and peppers (I like to use 2 colors to keep it colorful)

Mince the garlic clove or dice very small

Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onions and peppers. Cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add the oil and garlic and stir gently heating it on medium heat for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat up and pour in the bouillon and cornstarch mixture stirring frequently until starting to thicken and turn down heat.

Add in the sliced Italian Sausage and heat it through.

Serve over pasta and sprinkle with grated cheese!

Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce

sauce

Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce

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2014 and 2015 First Place winners spoons

Saturday was the Annual Pasta-Sauce Off Competition hosted by the Cooking for Cancer Club in our area.  This club was created by two young girls in my daughter’s class to raise funds for children with cancer.  It benefits Carly’s Club of Roswell Park.

The event consists of volunteers making a pasta sauce and entering a competition.  Visitors purchase sample tickets and can sample all of the sauces and vote for their favorite sauce.  There is a huge basket raffle (94 baskets), a silent auction with some very unique treasures, a bake sale, 50/50 raffle, and all of the proceeds raised are donated to help make sick children’s lives a little bit better!  This event raised $5,000.00!!!!  Such a huge accomplishment for these girls!

Now on to the Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce—-last year I entered the event with a Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce and won 1st place!! (Recipe here: Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce)

This year I wanted to make a different sauce and decided on a Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce.  And guess what…I won again!!

Back to back victories 🙂

It is a lot of fun but even more so knowing you are doing something that will hopefully brighten someones day who may so desperately need it.

Here is the link to my Facebook page which has the recipe for you to try and a few pictures from the event!  The sauce is delicious and helped me top 13 other entries 🙂

CREAMY BASIL TOMATO SAUCE RECIPE

Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

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I think goat cheese makes all things better.  I could probably eat it in my breakfast cereal and like it.  This dish is SUPER simple and so fantastically delicious.  The creamy goat cheese blends so well with the tartness of the sun-dried tomatoes.  You will be impressed!

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The ingredients are simple.

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Preparations could not be much easier.

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Once cooked and goat cheese added it becomes a creamy taste of heaven!

I feel like I always say this but for as simple as this dish is, it’s so impressive you will amaze your family and friends.  This mixture is served in a lot of our local restaurants for triple the price it will cost you to make it for a family of 4.  Give it a try!

Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

4 thin chicken breasts cut into cubes (approximately 2 cups)

½ jar sun-dried tomatoes chopped finely (and ½ the oil and seasonings from in the jar)

Goat cheese crumbles (measure to your taste per dish)

5 Tbsp garlic flavored oil or olive oil

3 cloves minced garlic (approximately 2 Tbsp)

1 cup chicken stock or broth

16 oz box of pasta (penne is great for this dish)

Salt/Pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions

Heat 3 Tbsp oil and brown and cook the chicken until done

Once cooked add the chicken stock and garlic and bring to a boil

Turn heat off and add the sundried tomatoes with ½ jar of the oil and seasoning and 2 Tbsp garlic/olive oil stirring immediately to heat through

Serve over pasta and top with crumbled goat cheese

TIPS:

Stir the goat cheese immediately after putting on the pasta and it will melt and make the pasta creamy

You can also add chopped kale or spinach to this dish wilting it with the chicken stock.

Chicken Picatta

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This is another one of those easy impressive dishes done in less than 30 minutes.  It’s fool proof meaning you can change or add things and it always turns out great.

Capers are key in Picatta.  If you are not familiar with capers they are a pickled flower bud before it flowers.  It is then brined and stored.  They taste very close to a green olive but a bit saltier.  I LOVE them in this dish as they add just enough salty sourness to the buttery sauce.

Here are the super easy directions with pictures and the recipe will be at the end.

ingredients oil chicken

Assemble the ingredients.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the thin chicken breasts.

browning browned done

Brown them until cooked through. Remove and stack on top of each other and cover tightly with foil to keep them warm.

pasta

Cook the pasta according to the directions.  I like to use a thin pasta like Angel Hair but tonight I only had Fettucine noodles and they work just as well.

bits stock stock scrape

The frying pan will look like this after you remove the chicken.  Pour in the chicken stock and scrape all those yummy bits from the pan as they help flavor your sauce.

butter butter bits

Add the butter and melt it into the sauce stirring.  Add the rest of the ingredients and capers.  Let simmer for about 3 minutes.

Drain pasta and serve a chicken breast on top with the sauce spooned over the pasta.

cranberry sauce steamed veggies

Serve with some homemade cranberry sauce and a few steamed vegetables.

dinner

Dinner is served!  There won’t be a scrap left on the plate!!

Here are the EASY directions:

5-6 thin boneless chicken breasts (or regular pounded thin)

Approx. 5 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil (or regular)

4 Tablespoons butter

1 cup chicken broth

2-3 tablespoon lemon juice (one lemon juiced)

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

sprinkle salt/pepper

2 Tablespoons capers (more or less to your taste or add them separately on each dish)

1 box angel hair pasta (or any pasta of choice)

Heat oil in skillet

Place chicken in and cook through (about 4 minutes per side if thin)

Remove and cover with tin foil when done

Add broth to skillet and use spatula to scrap all the browned bits from skillet

Heat through and add butter stirring until melted

Add the remaining ingredients

Add capers and simmer about 3 minutes and add chicken broth and remaining ingredients.

Cook approximately 5 minutes while cooking angel hair pasta (you can add more broth if it cooks down too much)

Immediately serve pasta with chicken on top and spoonful of sauce from skillet

Season with salt/pepper (you can add parmesan cheese also)

Julie’s Pasta Fagioli (Crockpot Cooking)

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How incredible is a friend who brings you a batch of this for dinner???

My friend brought this over as she made a batch and it makes quite a large amount.  It was enough for 5 nice size bowls.  I grated a little fresh parmesan cheese and added a tiny basil leaf to each bowl which just enhanced the dish even more.

This is the perfect dinner for a cold night, family dinner, dinner party, or even pot luck as it makes a huge amount.  It is also something you can freeze in batches for those busy nights you don’t have enough time to cook.

This is only a portion of the amount she made:

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Here is Julie’s recipe:

Julie’s Pasta Fagioli

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion chopped
3 carrots chopped
4 stalks celery chopped
2 cans (28oz) diced tomatoes – undrained
1 can (16oz) red kidney beans
1 can (16oz) white kidney beans
3 cans (10oz) beef stock
3 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons pepper
5 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
1 jar (20 oz) spaghetti sauce
8oz. Pasta
Brown the ground beef and drain.
Add all ingredients to crock pot except pasta.
Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.
During last hour on low or 30 minutes on high, add pasta.

This is the original recipe. Julie has changed it some for her family. – using half the amount of beans and double or almost double the ground beef and pasta.

When I make this (which will be soon) I will probably add 3 cloves of minced garlic as we love garlic in this house!!