Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Bake

I haven’t been able to post recipes as quickly or as often as I would like to lately – my life has been so busy! Between work and plans with friends and family, it seems like I’ve been running around non-stop. So my recipes to share with you have been piling up! I made this yummy dish about 3 weeks ago. I based it off of this recipe, which I had made when I was doing Paleo and really liked it. Simple and delicious! This time I added Brussels sprouts and baked them with the sweet potatoes. It was so yummy and great for leftovers too! Feel free to switch it up with different spices and veggies too – it’s a very versatile dish.

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Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs. chicken sausage, ground (or take links out of the casing and crumble)
  • 3 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 bag Brussels sprouts (about 20 sprouts), chopped
  • 1 cup chopped peppers and onions (I use frozen)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a large baking dish with oil and add the diced sweet potato and chopped sprouts. Drizzle with about 3 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft.

2.) Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp oil to a skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft. Then add the sausage and cook until no longer pink.

3.) Add sausage, onion, and peppers mixture to the baking dish. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, stirring everything together. Season with any desired spices and serve hot.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 356
Fat 19 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 23 g
Sodium 699 mg
Protein 24 g

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Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Spinach, and Creamy Butternut Sauce

Happy Friday! This has been quite a week here in New England with the “Blizzard of 2015″…we got about 2 feet of snow! However, we ended up having a lot of fun during the storm playing charades, making a big breakfast, watching some movies, and playing football in the snow. I also got to do a good amount of cooking and baking!

The night before the storm, I headed to the grocery store to make sure I had everything I needed to cook some stuff while I was snowed in. This ended up being the perfect dish for a cold and snowy night! I also appreciated not having to rush through cooking it, and having the time to experiment a bit, since I had a much-needed rest from my busy schedule this week. I also made some yummy no-bake bars – that recipe will be up soon (have to eat dinner before dessert, right?) Enjoy! 🙂

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Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Spinach, and Creamy Butternut Sauce

Adapted From: Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 4 links Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced (or pre-cooked cubes, I found them at Walmart!)
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance or other buttery spread
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus 1/4 tbsp for brushing/spraying onto squash before baking)
  • 6 cups cooked spaghetti squash (about 4.5-5 lb raw squash)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt, black pepper, and chili powder, to taste

Directions:

1.) Cook spaghetti squash (instructions here). Scrape into a large bowl/strainer lined with paper towels and set aside.

2.) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add raw butternut squash and cook until soft. Or heat pre-cooked cubes in microwave for about a minute to soften them. Then add squash to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add milk and blend again until creamy, adding salt and pepper (if desired).

3.) In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for a few minutes, then add in the chicken sausage and brown. Add in spinach, one handful at a time, until it fully wilts.

4.) Add creamy butternut sauce to the skillet and mix everything together. Add in cheddar cheese and stir, then season with salt, pepper, and chili powder, if desired.

5.) Divide spaghetti squash among 5 bowls/containers and then top each with sauce mixture until it’s evenly divided.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 311
Fat 15 g (4 g saturated)
Fiber 5 g
Carbs 33 g
Sodium 548 mg
Protein 17 g

Whole Wheat Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Red Pepper

I suppose I should start by saying, yes, I am alive…I haven’t posted in almost a month! Life has been crazy with work and school and all sorts of other things, so cooking new recipes has fallen on the backburner. I’ve been making lots of easy dishes that I’ve already posted on here, just because I haven’t had time to be adventurous. But this week I found time!

A few weeks ago I purchased the Skinnytaste Cookbook, which was written by Gina Homolka, the genius behind the Skinnytaste blog. I’ve always loved her recipes because she lightens up meals but still makes them taste amazing! She also makes a lot of Italian food lighter, which is a favorite of mine. You should definitely pick up her cookbook; everything looks mouth-wateringly good and there are appetizers, entrees, desserts, the whole 9 yards! I’ve been meaning to start making some of her recipes but hadn’t had time, so this week I found one that was quick and easy but looked delicious (and it was). Here it is!

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Whole Wheat Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Red Pepper

Adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 oz (6 links) Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 6 cups baby kale**
  • 13.25 oz (1 box) whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to taste)

Directions:

1.) Bring large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

2.) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Heat olive oil, then add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until soft, then add the sausage, breaking it into small pieces. Cook until sausage is lightly browned.

3.) Add in baby kale and cover the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook until kale is wilted.

**Use baby kale or cut the “stem” off regular kale! I had never cooked with kale before and I just used regular kale without cutting it, and the stem tastes bitter. So don’t make my mistake!

4.) Add cooked pasta to the skillet (or use a big pot if the skillet isn’t big enough). Turn to medium-high heat. Mix everything together and add 1/3 of the pasta water and stir. Add more water if it seems dry.

5.) Add parmesan, salt, pepper, and red paper, to taste, mixing everything together. Serve and top with a sprinkle of cheese!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 418
Fat 8 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 7 g
Carbs 59 g
Sodium 858 mg
Protein 30 g

Sausage and Sweet Potato with Peppers and Onions

I will start off by saying this is the first time I’ve cooked sweet potato. Which is probably surprising, because everyone loves it and it’s good for you and as a future dietitian I should certainly be eating some sweet potato. However, I’ve always hated things that are sweet but should be salty, i.e. sweet potato fries, kettle corn. Therefore I tried hating sweet potato for awhile, but recently became more open to sweet potato fries (with salt and ketchup, of course). Since fries are not remotely healthy, and regular potatoes are not paleo, I decided I needed to try sweet potatoes in another dish. I found this recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a bit; the result was DELICIOUS. I am now on the sweet potato train. It was awesome with the sausage, peppers, and onions, since it added some sweetness. I used mild Italian sausage, but my boyfriend said the sweet potato would have paired better with spicy sausage…I’m also not super adventurous with spice, but I made a bold move with the sweet potato and it worked, so who knows! Maybe I’ll start eating everything with ghost peppers someday (probably not). Anyways, enjoy this easy and yummy recipe!

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Sausage and Sweet Potato with Peppers and Onions

Adapted from: Infertility Thou Art A Heartless B!&@#

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs. Italian sausage, ground (or take links out of the casing and crumble)
  • 3 sweet potatoes (I got 2 large ones and a small one)
  • Chopped peppers and onions (I use frozen, so however much you would like)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:

1.) Brown the sausage on a skillet with a little olive oil; set aside in a bowl.

2.) Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potatoes.

3.) Using same skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat and cook peppers and onions until slightly soft. Then add sweet potato, stir everything together, and cover skillet with foil. Lower heat to medium low (about 4) and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are soft.

4.) Mix sausage in, add salt and pepper (to taste) and crushed red pepper (optional). Let cook for about 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy! (I garnished with parsley from our garden, but you don’t need that).

Lightened-up Italian: Spaghetti Squash Sausage Lasagna!

So we all know I love Italian food. I’ve been eating cheesy, saucy deliciousness probably since birth (when I was 2 my favorite food was spaghetti). Now that I am trying to make healthy versions of my Italian favorites, my go-to has been spaghetti squash. I had yet to try a “lasagna”, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it (plus the picture was mouthwatering!) Last week I had picked up two hefty spaghetti squashes at the local farm, so last night I got to work and whipped this up! I tweaked the recipe a bit, because my squash were pretty big, and I made it as a casserole rather than in the little boats (which are much cuter, but the two squashes were too big).  I also added diced tomato because I had a bunch of fresh tomatoes! I am not a huge fan of ricotta, so I didn’t add a ton, but feel free to add more if you would like!

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Spaghetti Squash Sausage Lasagna

Adapted from: Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 2 large spaghetti squash (I actually only used the “spaghetti” from 1.5 of the squashes and froze the last half – it made a ton!)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • 1 tbsp basil (I used 3 of the Trader Joe’s frozen cubes)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used part skim)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 14 oz (4 links) Italian turkey sausage
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes (or any pasta/marinara sauce!)

Directions:


1.) Preheat oven to 400ºF. Poke a hole in the side of the squash and heat for 1 minute in the microwave (I find that this softens it a bit before cutting). Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane. Season lightly with salt and black pepper; bake about 45 minutes (or longer if needed) on a baking sheet, cut side down.

2.) While the squash is cooking, 
heat oil and add onions and garlic in a large sauté pan on medium-low for about 3 to 4 minutes, until soft. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up into smaller pieces until browned and cooked through.

3.) When sausage is cooked, add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and basil, then cover, reducing heat to low. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes.

4.) 
When spaghetti squash is cooked (it will feel soft when you poke it with a knife/fork), let it cool for about 10 minutes, keeping the oven on.

5.) In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.

6.) When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to remove flesh, which will come out in spaghetti looking strands. Drain the squash on paper towels to soak up any excess liquid (I line a colander with paper towels), then toss with half of the sauce in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

7.) Top with remaining sauce, ricotta cheese mixture, and  mozzarella cheese, then bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Then cut into 8 squares and enjoy!

I was recently given a large basket of fresh veggies (thanks to my friend Gary and Harvey’s Farm!) so I used some of the tomatoes in this sauce. I also had big ambitions to cook another Skinnytaste recipe (Eggplant Rollatini!) last night, since there was some eggplant in the basket and I had never cooked it before. However, I didn’t realize quite how long it would take me to make the eggplant dish, since I was already using the oven for the squash; basically I was just trying to be a beast in the kitchen and failed.

I had cut the eggplant into strips, salted it (to remove moisture/bitterness), and baked it, but that was as far as I got since the parchment paper under the eggplant tried to set itself on fire in the stove (while the lasagna was in there of course).  I pulled the eggplant out of the oven, fuming and running around trying to do 20 things at once, until my boyfriend convinced me to calm myself and just sit down and watch TV. He also helped me do dishes and finish the squash lasagna (bless his soul for dealing with me in the kitchen!) So in the end, I froze the cooked eggplant, hoping I can come back and finish the rollatini at another time, and successfully made the squash lasagna. Note to self: don’t try to make multiple complicated dishes at once! However, later this week I plan to try at least one zucchini/summer squash “spiralized noodle” recipe – stay tuned!