Category Archives: pasta sauce

Take That, Rachel Ray

I laugh these days when I think of Rachel Ray and her so-called 30 Minute Meals.
As someone who has made several of them, I tell you this: while her recipes are generally easy and delicious, they only take 30 minutes if you are fast at chopping, own at least a 12″ skillet, and generally know how to cook.
But mostly, I laugh because these days, I think 30 minutes is a very, very long time to wait for dinner.
I prefer 15 minutes.

Which leads me to tonight’s weeknight bonanza: Apple Chicken Sausage and Peas in a Chicken Fettucini Sauce.
In cooking for my family, I have a few criteria I (mostly) follow:
1. Tasty
2. Healthy (veggies!)
3. Appropriate for a toddler

It is #3 that has really been influencing the way I cook as of late. Not because my child is picky-at this point she eats almost anything-but because I am picky about what goes in her body. While I fill myself with leftover Halloween candy, my child has yet to experience a chocolate bar. I freak out at filling her with sodium, white flour, sugar, red #5 (or whatever).

Yet, I do want to eat more healthfully. Like most people, i go through phases of eating well vs. eating whatever is grabable, and watching what i eat vs. eating while i watch tv. Each day, i become more aware of myself as a role model, as my little one reaches for whatever I am eating and says, “More, Mamma?” At some point, my toddler will notice she is eating fruit while I eat Tootsie Rolls.
That time is coming ever closer. And moderation is the key to all things in life, at the end of the day. I can’t control everything she eats forever-or even now. And I think my husband and I benefit from well balanced meals as opposed to The Deadliest Catch Sausage Sandwich (fry sausages. Toast white bread. sandwich sausages in bread. Mmmm).

Tonight was an excellent compromise meal. It is also incredibly easy. By using gluten free sausage and organic frozen peas, and a cheapo bag of Supermarket Brand Noodle Chicken Flavored side dish (so I guess we are traveling food network prime time with semi-homemade) I made a delicioso meal we all shared and ate together. In 15 minutes.

I mean, eating as a family is what it’s all about, right?

Apple Chicken Sausage and Peas in a Chicken Fettucini Sauce
1 package of 4 chicken apple sausages (I like these)
1+ cups frozen peas (I buy a huge 6 lb organic bag at BJs! $6.99! Amazing deal!)
I package noodles, chicken flavor (like this one
1 tablespoon of butter
Italian seasoning

1. Fry sausages in a non-stick skillet to get some browning on each side. Remove them from the pan.
2. Throw in 2 cups water, tablespoon of butter, and the peas. This will deglaze your pan and give the often not so hot bagged noodles some extra flavor.
3. Slice the sausage into rounds and return to the pan.
4. Allow water to come to a boil, and add noodles. Cook according to directions on bag.
5. Season with pepper and Italian seasonings to taste.



Pass the salt.

I love to cook, but here is a secret- I am both busy and lazy. I am a working mom, and I like to eat real food for dinner. It is also important to me to feed my baby good food, and I am working hard to set a good example. So, gone are the days-okay, who am I kidding, the MONTHS- of cheese quesadillas for dinner.
That is when I say, bring on the secret ingredient! Make my dinner special! Keep me motivated so I don’t hit the drive-thru!
Pasta is the next quickest thing to drive-thru, and seasonal ingredients make for a fantastic pasta sauce. I amped mine up tonight with my new favorite sprinkle-applewood smoked sea salt.
Applewood smoked sea salt adds a smoky, outdoor flavor to a skillet based sauce. It is a shortcut to slow grilling or roasting vegetables to get that charcoal-grill flavor. It is also tremendous on meat.
We found it at a local gourmet store, but it is available on the internets here applewood smoked sea salt

Here is the recipe I used to make this late summer tomato sauce:
Many tomatoes, preferably from your or someone else’s yard-I used two baseball sized tomatoes and about six cherry tomatoes
3/4 of a green pepper
1cup of pre-boiled cauliflower (you can use raw if you want, but boiling it first makes it absorb more sauce flavor)
A good glug of olive oil-about a tablespoon
A teaspoon of applewood smoked sea salt.
Four servings of your favorite pasta-mine is thin spaghetti.

Pour the olive oil into a skillet. Set your pasta water to boil.
Chop the green peppers into thin strips, and throw them in the skillet. Turn on the skillet to begin cooking the peppers. I used medium on my stove. You want a good sizzle but don’t burn them!
Chop the tomatoes into large pieces however you like. I mean, we are LAZY, people! Just get them in the pan!
Throw them in the pan.
Chop the cauliflower. Throw that in too.
Check the pasta.
Stir your sauce and add the salt. This will draw water out of your veggies and make it saucier.
Throw in the pasta and cook according to directions on the box. Cook your sauce at a vigorous bubble while your pasta cooks.

When your pasta is done, so is the sauce. Drain the pasta, throw it into the skillet and turn of the heat. Toss it together well, and serve!
Imagine a photo of pasta with sauce here.
I don’t have one because….I was hungry!