Spicy Sausage and Pasta Casserole

Do you ever have those days where you impulse buy things you don’t usually use or particularly need just because it’s on sale and you have a killer coupon? That happens to me more often than I would probably care to admit. I mean, if the final price is going to be almost FREE, it just seems like doing the store a favor to take the merchandise off of their hands. That, and I get a little bit of a rush. Call it a ‘cheap high’. That’s exactly how I ended up with several packages of smoked sausage in my freezer that needed cooking and no ideas about what to do with it. Then I came across this cheesy nugget of a recipe at Kevin & Amanda‘s blog and decided to give it a go. You can never go wrong with a pasta and cheese combo. I altered it a bit to feed my larger family and it’s now one of my ‘fan favorites’. Seriously, it’s delicious. Give it a try…your taste buds will thank you.

Spicy Sausage and Pasta Casserole

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  •  1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into coin-sized slices
  • 1 lb. pasta, rotini, penne, or campanelle
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel, mild
  • 2 cups mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp each, salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup scallions, thinly sliced

Directions

  1.  Over medium high heat, add olive oil to a dutch oven and toss with smoke sausage and onions. Saute until lightly browned. 
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, only about 30 seconds.
  3. Add in broth, tomatoes, half and half, pasta, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low.
  5. Simmer until pasta is tender.
  6. Remove the pot from heat and stir in 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Transfer to a casserole or baking dish and top with remaining cup of cheese and scallions.
  8. Broil until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.
  9. Serve.

Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

With football season, wrestling practice, homework, and Church activities during the week, some nights it’s really hard to find the time for dinners that require a lot of prep. My kids keep me on the go, and there’s never a dull moment. However, with so many activities crammed into just a few short hours, weeknights are when I try to use my ‘set it and forget it’ recipes. I’m always searching for ways to incorporate great taste and nutritious ingredients into my family’s  dinners, especially in my simple meal ideas. This recipe was suggested to me by a friend and I adapted it to my taste from Food.com‘s version. My boys aren’t picky eaters, but they still balk at the use of the word ‘spinach’ in combination with the dinner they’re anticipating. Something about those pretty, leafy greens makes kids nervous. I swear, it must be ingrained in their DNA. They just can’t ever seem to believe that it might taste good, delicious even. That being said, my kids have heartily approved of this meal and not one leaf was left. It was a struggle for them not to lick their plates clean. Even my husband was pleasantly surprised that just a few common ingredients could yield such a hearty, flavorful meal. Perfect for a chilly fall evening.

Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, fat-trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 2 lbs. red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, white or yellow, cut into wedges
  • 1 10 oz package fresh spinach, or frozen if thawed prior to use
  • 3 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • grated, or shredded Parmesan cheese, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine potatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Toss to coat.
  3. Pour the mixture into a large roasting pan.
  4. Roast vegetables for 25 minutes, stirring once.
  5. Add chicken, tossing once more to coat.
  6. Roast 15 minutes longer, or until chicken is cooked through.
  7. Evenly distribute spinach over the chicken and vegetables.
  8. Roast 5 more minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
  9. Toss before serving.
  10. Garnish with Parmesan cheese