Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Goat Cheese Pasta

Sausage and Goat Cheese Rigatoni

I’ve been on a roll lately, trying new recipes that are a little outside of my comfort zone.  I’m a true Dutch girl so most of my meals consist of a meat, a potato, some sort of veggie and a fruit – applesauce anyone?  A few weeks ago, I tried a pasta dish that seemed a little strange to me, but is now a regular in our household. Behold Sausage and Goat Cheese Rigatoni, courtesy of www.savvyeat.com.

I tried this recipe because of a few things: peppers were on sale at Kroger, I had a log of goat cheese from Trader Joe’s just begging to be opened, and I had a coupon for Johnsonville’s Chicken Sausage. I’ve never had chicken sausage before, so I was very interested to try it.

I’ve made the recipe three times since finding the recipe on Pinterest.  The first time, I followed the recipe as written, but I’ve made a few adjustments in my second and third tries.  First, I tossed the pasta with some marinara before topping with the peppers and onions.  I also didn’t have any dry white wine in the house (I was a little thirsty this weekend…), so I skipped that step and just threw the sausage in with the peppers and onions.

Peppers and Onions PastaAnd the results:  fantastic!  We’ve had it three times in the last 6 weeks; it’s that good!  The flavors are different than your average pasta dish – the peppers and onions are delicious with the goat cheese.  I don’t cook very often with sausage, but I’m hooked!  This dish is a now a regular in our house – you should try it today!

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Farmer’s Market Finds – Yum!

One of my favorite things about the summer is the farmer’s markets.  Louisville has lots of them, and one of our favorites is the Douglass Loop Farmer’s Market – right across the street from our old apartment.

On Saturday we picked up some heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil, so I decided to try a recipe courtesy of French Ponytail – Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Basil.  Pinterest is such a great place to search for recipes and I found this one right away.

And, of course, it was delicious.  I had never roasted tomatoes before, and I was pleasantly surprised on how easy it was.  Just dig out the seeds, drizzle them with oil and vinegar and then pop them in the oven for 30 minutes.  We did eat ours with a little toasted bread since I didn’t dig out as many of the seeds as I should.  It turned a little soupy but was still wonderful.

The fresh basil really makes all the difference.  I got a bunch for $2, so we’ll be eating lots of combinations of tomatoes, cheese and basil for the next few days.  Yum!

And, when I’m not surfing Pinterest, I’m hanging out with my daughter, Avery. Just had to share this picture – her smile cracks me up.  🙂

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

Now that I’ve been home with my little one for the last two months, I’m trying to develop some sort of schedule for us.  And, I think Mondays may become Casserole Monday.  Lame, I know, but it’s nice to make one big casserole on Monday and then eat it for the next few days.

This week, I decided to give Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake, courtesy of Saving Money Living Life, a try.  I picked this one because honestly, the picture made my mouth water.  All that cheesy goodness on top – yum!

Since I didn’t have any cooked chicken on hand, it look me a little bit to put the dish together.  (And I bought a bag of frozen spinach instead of a box, so it was a pain to thaw and drain.)  I definitely made lots of pans dirty with having to boil the noodles, cook the onion and chicken, and mix everything together.

Pasta Bake

The results?  Delicious!  My dish turned out just like the picture.  I used a 9×13 pan and followed the recipe exactly as printed.  I never thought to add chive and onion cream cheese to a dish like this, but it made all the difference.  The dish was creamy, full of Italian flavors but not overly fillings.  (Sometimes when I make these dishes, they are way too heavy for our family.)  My husband went back for seconds and took it to work for lunch the next day.  We’re adding this one to the rotation!

Slow Cooker Saves the Day! Pork Carnitas!

Pork Carnitas

Holy heat wave in Louisville!  I guess I’m used to it already after two years of living in Kentucky, but for some reason, last week just seemed super hot.  Cooking is always tricky when it’s warm outside.  When its 104 degrees outside, it’s almost cruel to send my husband to man the grill. So, I busted out the slow cooker and tried a new recipe from Pinterest – Pork Carnitas.  Yum.

I’ve had this pin on my Recipes to Try board for quite some time.  I believe I got this recipe from my sister Kathy and figured it was time to give it a shot.  Plus, pork was on sale at Kroger. Score!

The recipe is courtesy of The Kitchn and with a few minor modifications, it turned out great!  I realized that I was out of oregeno, so I had to substitute some special Italian blend seasoning from Penzey Spices.  I also used a smaller piece of pork – maybe 2.5 pounds or so – and adjusted the ingredients accordingly.

After an afternoon in the slow cooker, the meat was tender and spicy!  (Those chipotle peppers really pack the heat!)  With the meat, we had delicious pork carnitas with fresh radishes from the farmers market, a little sour cream, cilantro and lime juice.  My husband was a huge fan, gobbling them for dinner last week.  Of course, we had leftover meat so I made some enchiladas a few days later.  I love recipes where we actually eat the entire thing and are not wasteful!