Thursday, April 8, 2010

Penne with Italian Sausage

This recipe is a favorite at our house. It is fresh, delicious, and can be made to be low fat and healthy. I've made it for company a couple of times and it has always gotten rave reviews. I generally use spicy Italian sausage for the extra flavor because we like a little kick, but you can use the mild version for less spice or turkey Italian sausage for a lower fat version. I've made all of these versions and they are all great.

Penne with Italian Sausage
1 lb Italian sausage links (generally there are 5 links in a package)
1 medium onion, chopped (yellow or white)
2 cloves minced garlic
28 oz diced tomatoes (1 large can or 2 regular cans)
2 T pesto
1 1/2 cups penne pasta
3 cups fresh spinach
2 oz feta cheese

Cut sausages into 1/4 inch slices. In large saute pan, combine sausage, onion and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked and no longer pink in the center, stirring frequently.

Add diced tomatoes. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium saucepan, prepare pasta as directed on package. Once cooked, drain and set aside. Once finished simmering, add pesto to sausage mixture and stir to combine evenly. Spread cooked penne in bottom of 13x9 inch baking dish. Pour sausage mixture over pasta. Add spinach and feta and use spatula to carefully stir and turn all ingredients in pan to mix well (we are going for a casserole feel here, not separate layers).

Baked uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stuffed Blueberry French Toast

This is a fantastic recipe for brunch. I recommend serving it with a frittata or quiche (super easy recipe coming soon) and fresh fruit. Although it is pretty easy to put together, it tastes great and presents nicely, so guests love it. And, since you can prepare most of it the night before, it makes for less work the day of your event.

Stuffed Blueberry French Toast
12 slices thick bread, crusts removed and cubed (Potato or buttermilk work the best. Something light and fluffy.)
8 oz cream cheese
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen blueberries, or 3 cups fresh blueberries
10 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 T butter

Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish. Place 1/2 of the cubed bread in dish and spread around evenly. Cube the cream cheese into small pieces and arrange evenly in dish over bread. Add 1/3 of the blueberries over the cream cheese. Arrange remaining bread over the top. In medium bowl, beat together eggs, maple syrup and milk. Pour evenly over the bread so everything is moistened. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned.
While dish is baking, prepare your sauce. In saucepan combine water, sugar and cornstarch. Stir together to dissolve the sugar. Heat over medium-high heat adding 1/2 of the remaining blueberries. When sauce is cooked and thickened, add the remaining blueberries and the butter. Continue to heat until sauce is hot all the way through.
Remove french toast from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Cut into 8-10 pieces. Spoon desired amount of sauce over each individual potion when serving.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Lamb & Roasted Asparagus

Every year for Easter dinner we have the girls over and Roland makes a lamb roast. It is a tradition everyone looks forward to. With Easter coming up this weekend we are getting ready for another delicious dinner and I thought it would be the perfect time to pass on a few of our ideas. Last year Roland made a video explaining how he prepares the lamb.

Easter Lamb

Our side dishes vary from year to year, but we generally have a rice or potato side dish (last year it was rice pilaf, this year we are trying au gratin potatoes), rolls and a vegetable or two.One of the family favorites is this roasted asparagus. It is so simple but tastes great.

Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch of asparagus
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat the broiler. Wash asparagus and snap off bottoms of stems. Arrange asparagus on baking sheet in a single layer. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Broil for approx 10 minutes or until asparagus just starts to become tender but not soft. Half way through cooking I usually shuffle the pan a little to rotate the spears.

Happy Easter! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.