Pasta with Italian Sausage and Broccoli

Super easy, delicious, quick, and inexpensive!  What more could you ask?

Serves 3

1/3 to 1/2 lb rigatoni or other shaped pasta
3 cups small broccoli florets
1 or 2 Italian sausage links (I like chicken sweet Italian)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Parmesan, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes, for serving

Set a large skillet over medium-high heat, remove sausage from casing, and crumble into the skillet.  Brown well, stirring as needed, breaking into bite-sized pieces.  Drain any excess fat and keep warm in the skillet over low heat.


Method 1) Fill a large pot half-full of water, add a teaspoon of table salt and the pasta, set over high heat, and cover.  When the pasta is almost done, add the broccoli, and continue to cook until the broccoli is the way you like it. Drain the pasta and broccoli and finish the dish.

Method 2) If you have a pot with a pasta insert, try it this way:
Use the new method of putting the pasta in the pot, cover with 1″ of water, add salt, and set on the stove on high.  When the water has started to boil, add the pasta insert with your broccoli in it and cook until the broccoli is done to your taste.  Then remove the pasta insert and broccoli and cover the broccoli with ice cubes if you want to stop the cooking sooner than later.  When the pasta is done to your liking, drain it (not completely) and finish the dish.

To finish:

When the sausage is fully cooked, add the pasta and broccoli to the skillet , along with the garlic powder and olive oil.  Stir well until the pasta is coated with oil.  Serve with Parmesan, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.



Published in: on July 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Slightly adapted from a recipe from Meal Makeover Moms’ “No Whine With Dinner”

Makes 8 Servings

  • 2½ pounds pork loin, trimmed of fat and cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half across the equator and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 6 oz barbecue sauce
  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns, lightly toasted
  1. Put the pork, carrot, red bell pepper, onion, and barbecue sauce in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the pork is tender, 6 to 8 hours.
  2. When the meat is done, drain off juice as desired. Use two forks to pull the meat into shreds.  Stir until well combined, adding more sauce as desired.  Divide the pork mixture evenly between the hamburger buns and serve.

Ma  yes
Sam  so-so
Anna  so-so
Da   yes

Published in: on May 19, 2016 at 5:56 pm  Comments (1)  

Kalamata Cavatini


This dish was inspired by Mama Ang’s Cavatini at Just a Pinch, Baked Ziti by Jeanne Lemlin and my own ideas. Scroll all the way down for a vegetarian version.  The photo is of the first time I made it, before I got the olive inspiration.

3 links sweet Italian turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
1 jar pasta sauce
1 cup elbow macaroni
1 cup penne
1 cup rigatoni
2 cups shredded Muenster
16 oz. low-fat cottage cheese (optional)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or a combo of basil and oregano)
1/2 cup quartered kalamata olives
1/4 cup Parmesan + more to pass at the table
fresh chopped basil and/or parsley for topping each serving, if you like

Oil a tall 9×12″ pan.

Fill a pasta pot 2/3 with water, add a teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add pasta and cook 10 minutes or until al dente.  Drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, brown meat in a large skillet, breaking into small bits.  Remove meat, set aside.  Wipe out the pan and set it back on the burner.  Add the olive oil, onion and green pepper.  Saute until soft, then add the mushrooms and saute another 3 minutes.  Stir in the olives, if everybody likes them.  If not, use them as topping on part of the dish before baking.

Combine the shredded cheese, optional cottage cheese, and Italian seasoning in a medium-sized bowl.

Put the pasta, meat, vegetables and the jar of sauce into the pasta pot and stir well.

Put half the pasta and sauce mixture in the bottom of the pan.  Top with half the cheese mixture.  Add rest of the pasta & sauce, then the rest of the cheese mixture.  Top part of the casserole with olives if not everybody likes them.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan over everything.

Oil (or spray) a piece of aluminum foil and cover.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.


Vegetarian Version 6/10/17:

2 cups each Trader Joe’s Fusilli, DeCecco Cavatappi, Trader Joe’s organic Penne cooked separately until al dente+
28 oz. Cento tomato puree (Sprouts)
1/2 lb mushrooms
1/2 green pepper, 1/2 red pepper
1/2 onion
dried basil & oregano
1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinager
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper

no cottage cheese, no Italian seasoning in the cheese

kalamatas on 1/3 but should have been 2/3 because everybody liked them except the kids

could have added a can of chopped tomatoes too

sausages on the side for carnivores

Published in: on November 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Green Chili Pork Stew


Sam:  “Mom, what do you put in this pork stew to make it so delicious?”

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs Country Style Pork Ribs (boneless), cut into 1.5″ pieces
1 large onion, small dice
2-4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 stalks celery, small dice
1 large can chopped green chilies
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and saute until starting to soften.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat until completely soft.  Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.

Meanwhile, brown the pork in the other 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium straight-sided pan with a lid.  Do this in batches if needed, so the pork browns nicely and quickly.  Salt and pepper the pork as it cooks.  When all the pork is browned, return it (and any juices) to the pan and add the soft onion and celery, the green chilies, chicken broth and tomato sauce.  The pork should barely be covered with the broth – add water if necessary.  Cover with the lid and let it just barely simmer for about 2-4 hours (be sure not to boil it).  (I like to cook this a day ahead, then cook another 3 hours or so the next day, adding more water or broth as necessary.)  The pork should be very tender.  Break up the pork with the back of a spoon or fork, removing any chunks of fat, before serving.

Serve with sour cream and salsa, with rice and corn on the side.  Also makes a lovely enchilada filling.  Freezes well.

You can also make this in a crock pot – put the vegetables (raw or cooked) in the bottom, the browned meat on top, cover with broth (use only about 1 cup) and cook on low for about 8 hours.

Published in: on September 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

from Seventeen magazine, circa 1974

They spelled it Lasagne, like Lenora Mattingly Weber did in The Beany Malone Cookbook, which I bet was a ’70s thing.

Serves 6
503 calories per serving

9 lasagne noodles
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed, meat crumbled
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1/2 c. sliced green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. part skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook noodles in boiling salted water per package directions, about 10 minutes.  Drain, spread on paper towels.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until browned, about 8 minutes.  Drain off fat.  Add spinach, stir in scallions and garlic and cook one minute.

In a bowl combine ricotta and Parmesan with eggs and nutmeg, blending well.  Stir in spinach/sausage mixture.

In the bottom of a greased 11 x 7″ baking dish, arrange 3 noodles.  Spread with 1/3 spinach mixture, then sprinkle with 1/3 mozzarella.  Add another layer of noodles, 1/2 the remaining spinach mixture, and 1/2 the remaining mozzarella.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Cover loosely with foil and bake 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Lasagne will be easier to cut if you let it stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Published in: on May 4, 2013 at 7:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Easy Pork Chop Casserole

From one of the Beany ladies.  Speak up if this is yours!  :o)

Use 1 thick, bone-in pork chop per person. Brown in olive oil, then place in a casserole dish.  Saute some chopped onion until soft, spread over the pork chops.  Top with a peeled, sliced russet potato (1/2 to 1 potato per person).  Do not add salt – the soup is salty enough. Mix one can cream of mushroom soup with half a can of water.  Pour over the casserole, cover with lid and bake at 350 degrees F for 90 minutes.

(For boneless chops, make sure potatoes are cut very thinly, and cook 60 minutes.)

“Old fashioned, but tasty, and never dry.”

Published in: on April 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sausage, Kale & Potato Hash

Serves 1

1 cup leftover Sausage & Potato Bake
1 cup steamed, chopped kale
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Heat oil in a medium-sized skilled over medium heat.  Tilt the skillet to distribute the oil evenly.  When hot, add the kale to half the skillet and fry until starting to crisp and brown, a few minutes.  Then add the Sausage & Potato Bake to the empty half of the skillet and let it cook, undisturbed, until it browns, a few minutes.  Turn each side and brown more if you like.  When it’s done to your taste, stir it all together, add salt & pepper to taste, and serve.

Of course this would be terrific with poached eggs on top, or next to scrambled eggs…

Published in: on April 20, 2013 at 9:07 am  Comments (1)  
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Sausage and Potato Bake

Slightly adapted from The Beany Malone Cookbook by Lenora Mattingly Weber. 

Very homey.

4/17/13:  This really shines as leftovers as follows:  Steam some kale leaves and chop them fine (as for Kale & Potato Hash).  Fry them in olive oil until starting to crisp.  Push to one side of the pan.  Add some of the sausage and potato bake and let that brown on the other side of the pan.  Stir together and serve.  Yowza.

Serves 4-6.

2 medium- to large-sized russet potatoes
1 lb Italian sausage, any casings removed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 slices day-old whole wheat bread, crusts removed, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Quarter the potatoes and simmer them in water ’til tender.  Drain.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, brown the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces, and cooking it all the way through.  Drain on paper towels.  Wipe out the skillet, add the olive oil  and slowly cook the onion until very tender.  Add 1/4 cup water and simmer until completely soft and not at all brown.  Return the sausage to the skillet.  Stir in the bread cubes.  Beat the egg in a small bowl, add the evaporated milk and 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper, and beat together.  Dice the drained potatoes, add to the skillet with the milk mixture and stir to combine.  Pour into a greased 2 qt baking dish with a lid.  Cover and bake for about 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Remove the lid for the last 5 minutes if you’d like to brown the top.

Published in: on April 13, 2013 at 5:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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To Try: Bacon Chard Quesadillas

From EatingWell: March/April 2013

Whole-wheat tortillas are filled with smoky bacon, earthy chard and zesty Monterey Jack cheese in this quick, healthy quesadilla recipe that you can cook all in one skillet.

4 servings, 2 quesadillas each | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes

4 slices center-cut bacon, chopped
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
4 cups chopped chard leaves (from 1 bunch)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
8 6-inch whole-wheat tortillas
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add chard and pepper; cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add beans and coarsely mash; stir to combine. Remove from heat.

Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread a generous 1/4 cup filling and 2 tablespoons cheese on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

Wipe out the pan and return to medium heat. Add 4 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook the remaining quesadillas.


Per serving : 348 Calories; 12 g Fat; 6 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 32 mg Cholesterol; 50 g Carbohydrates; 19 g Protein; 9 g Fiber; 700 mg Sodium; 618 mg Potassium

3 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1 medium fat meat, 1/2 fat

Published in: on March 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dijon Pork Chops

I found this in the “Recipe Roundup” section of the “Spirit of Aloha” in-flight magazine when we went to Maui on our honeymoon in September 1993.

6 Tbsp bread crumbs
2 Tbsp melted butter
salt & pepper
4  1-inch thick boneless pork chops
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the butter and breadcrumbs.   Add salt and pepper to taste.  Coat one side of the porkchops with mustard and place on a baking sheet.  Distribute the crumb mixture over the tops, patting lightly ’til it clings.  Bake until brown, about 30 minutes.

Published in: on February 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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