Quick Pasta with Sausage

If you like Pasta and don’t have much time, this is great.  It’s easy, and can be changed to suit your needs.  Perfect for leftovers meats like chicken, shrimp, whatever your taste buds prefer. You can adjust different ingredients depending on your preference.  It’s a dish I like to make especially when I know I have a lot of work to do and not time to cook.

Ingredients:

1 box of Penne Pasta (whole wheat preferred)

6 cloves of fresh garlic – chopped (less if you are not a garlic person)

Olive Oil (I used roasted garlic olive oil)

Pesto Sauce (jar)

3 green onions (chopped)

3 T of red onion (chopped)

1 c of fresh spinach (more or less up to you)

2 chicken sausage (sliced thin – more or less up to you)

2 Kielbasa (sliced thin – more or less)

Process:

Boil pasta according to directions on the box.  Add a little olive oil to the water and cook until just before it’s done.  Let it sit in hot water for about a minute, drain and rinse with cold water, set aside.

With about 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil in frying pan, brown the meat.  About 5 minutes before it’s ready, add the red onions, and about 1 clove of the garlic.

Place the pasta in a dutch oven size pan, or a 5 quart pan, with about 1/4 cup of olive oil.  With low heat, add the rest of the garlic,  cooked meat from the pan into the pasta and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently.

Add the spinach, about 2 T of pesto sauce.  Taste it and determine if you want more pesto sauce – add a little at a time for taste if you want more of a pesto flavor.

Add the green onions and stir often.  Let cook for no more than 10 minutes, the flavors should be mixed well and you can always adjust as you taste it.

If you don’t want any meat, this is a great dish without it too!

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Cookin’ for one of my BFF’s

One of the things I have learned deeply since moving to Chicago is that friends are truly as important as family.  I love my friends and in my transitional, depressing, exciting moments of moving from LA to Chicago – I have been able to truly see who my friends are and I cherish each one of them.

My friend told me that she needed to spend some time with me and I was more than happy to accommodate her.  Since I have been here visiting her I realized I needed her as much as she needed me.  It has been really nice and relaxing.  She has been spoiling me.  The best way I thought I could spoil her would be to cook one of my favorite meals for her, and her family.

It’s rare that I have had a chance to do that over the years because we always lived in different cities.  We became friends through our employer, and have maintained our friendship regardless of the distance. I think one of the warmest ways to express your feelings and love for family and friends, is through cooking.

Today’s menu was BBQ – ribs & chicken, corn on the cob, baked beans, potatoe salad, and deviled eggs.  It came out really GOOD!!

BBQ – Meat

I seasoned the meat two days ago! I always use old bay seasoning, Johnny’s seasoning, garlic, pepper, chili powder.  One addition this time which adds more flavor – fresh cilantro – ummm ummm good…I always use wood chips during the bbq process as well.  Do not bbq on top of the fire – at least the ribs.  I will put the chicken over the fire, turning often, but I stack it away from the fire as well to get that smoked flavor.

Beans

I use Bush brand beans.  I always combine at least two different types.  Drain the juice, save a little bit of it.  Add brown sugar, mustard, and bbq sauce.  Taste it and make any adjustments.  Bake at 325 for about an hour – covered.

(Some people like ground beef in it.  Depends on my audience, but that can be added after it has been browned and drained)

Corn on the cob

See my previous post about the cheese corn.

Potatoe Salad

I use Yukon Gold potatoes.  Boil until soft but not mushy.  Cut up celery, bell pepper, onion, green onion, garlic.  Cut up boiled eggs.  I usually will have 2 less eggs than potatoes to give you an idea of potatoes to eggs.  Add mayonnaise, relish, a pinch of sugar, mustard, and season to taste.

Deviled Eggs

Boil the eggs.  When they are ready, put cool water and a lot of ice.  The ice will keep that green tinge from being around the boiled egg – a lil trick.  Slice them the long way and put the yolk in a seperate bowl.  Mash up the yolks with a fork.  Add relish and a little bit of mayonnaise.  Add a pinch of sugar.  Tip:  Only put a little bit of mayonnaise at a time and stir.  I like mine sweet so I will put more relish in it.  I like it a the yolk a little stiff, but not too much.

Again, take the time to cook for those that you love…It truly is a way to one’s heart!