dinner in 30 minutes · Fast meal · Pasta

Quick Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

If you need supper in a hurry, pasta is often a good option because it cooks so quickly. The recipe I’m sharing today came together in about 25 minutes, but it tastes like one of those dishes that took a long time to make! Oh my word, this is delicious!

The list of ingredients is small, too. I had all the ingredients on hand when I stumbled across this recipe. Pasta, sausage, tomatoes and some half and half all come together to make a satisfying and filling main dish! I can’t wait to make this again!

I found a recipe but tweaked it to our preferences. Here’s how I made it…

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. pasta – I used what I had – Elbow, but Ziti or rigatoni would be perfect
  • 12 oz Italian sausage – I used mild
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup fat-free half and half
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach or frozen works too!
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking begin the sauce.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the Italian sausage and the onion, saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  • Add tomatoes, simmer and reduce the liquid by half.
  • Lower the heat, stir in the half and half, spinach, salt, pepper. Simmer until the cream is heated and the spinach is wilted. Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Drain the pasta, add to the sauce and stir to combine.
  • Serve immediately.

This meal needs a nice piece of bread to go along with it. I served a dish of applesauce instead of salad. It was a wonderful, fast meal!

I’m not a big pasta fan, but this recipe might change that!

I hope you’ll make and enjoy this quick and delicious recipe!

dinner in 30 minutes · Fast meal · summertime

Kentucky Hot Brown

Oh, how I have loved having all the fresh tomatoes this summer!  There are a few things I crave when I know a fresh tomato is in the house; one is a BLT on sour dough bread.  I took care of that craving a couple weeks ago.  Another yummy dish is a Kentucky Hot Brown.  If you’ve never had one, think of it as a BLT with turkey slices and cheese sauce added.  It is heavenly!  As you can imagine, however, it is a little on the fattening side. 

~Enter Cooking Light…

They have a lightened up version of this yummy Kentucky favorite, and it’s just as good as the more fattening version.  Okay, even if you don’t have fresh tomatoes lying around, go buy a tomato somewhere and make this for supper!  I had roasted a turkey breast a couple weeks ago and stored slices in the freezer marked, “Turkey Breast slices for Hot Browns.”  So, this recipe was in the back of my head for a few weeks! 

Sauce:

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard  

Remaining ingredients:
12 (1-ounce) slices white bread, toasted
3 cups shredded cooked turkey (about 6 ounces)
12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
5 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. To prepare sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour, salt, paprika, and pepper. Cook the mixture 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheddar, Worcestershire, and mustard; stir with a whisk until smooth. Keep warm.
  3. Arrange toast on a large baking sheet. Arrange turkey evenly over toast. Drizzle sauce evenly over turkey; top each toast slice with 1 tomato slice. Sprinkle evenly with bacon and Parmesan. Broil for 7 minutes or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Kentucky Hot Brown

If you need a couple recipe suggestions for fresh tomatoes, here’s a recipe using Cherry Tomatoes. This ravioli is so delicious! Of course you can’t beat a good ol’ Tomato Sandwich on white bread, spread with mayo and Cheddar cheese slice!
What is your favorite way to eat fresh tomatoes?

Fast meal · Side dish

The Fastest Way to Make Oven-Roasted Potatoes

See those crispy brown potatoes at the top of the picture? Read on!

I love discovering helpful tricks in the kitchen. I don’t mean like putting a rubber band around the spray nozzle and soaking the next user, I mean tricks that help me get a delicious homemade meal on the table in record time! When potatoes are on the supper menu, it can be tricky to get them cooked if you are pressed for time.

My husband and I love oven-roasted potatoes, but they can take 25-30 minutes to get done. I recently discovered a super-fast way to make them. We all know the microwave cooks things faster, but I don’t always love the texture of foods cooked that way. The technique I’m going to share starts off with the microwave, but ends in the oven.

Here’s how to make these crispy, golden potatoes in record time ~

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Cut your potatoes to whatever shape you’re wanting – diced, wedges or into fries.
  3. Place the potatoes into a dish that allows you to steam. I have a pot from Pampered Chef that works perfectly. Don’t over-crowd the potatoes. Using a dish big enough to let them cook. The more potatoes, obviously the longer they’ll take to cook.
  4. I don’t add any liquid at all!
  5. I place my 1 quart size container in the microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes. Potatoes should be soft, but not mushy.
  6. Put potatoes on the baking sheet, Season potatoes as desired. Place in oven and roast for about 10 minutes, or until golden and tender. Or you can cook them on the stovetop in a skillet coated with cooking spray and/or a little olive oil.
This is the updated version of the pot I have and love.

Crispy, delicious potatoes can be on the table much faster with this 2-step method of microwaving and browning. I hope this trick is as helpful to you as it has been for me!

If you need mashed potatoes done easily here’s my best tip for those!

Fast meal · Mexican Food

Sheet Pan Fish Tacos

New recipes are found everywhere…even in the Kroger Magazine! I love Kroger for lots of reasons, but this magazine they send out is a new reason to love shopping with them! The recent edition had tons of great recipes, as well as some craft ideas! I found some super good spring recipes that I tried this week. As a matter of fact, I tried FOUR recipes from in one week! But this recipe I’m sharing today was our favorite!

A lovely spice mixture is sprinkled on both the veggies and the fish, giving a normally plain piece of fish great flavor! The Crema that is added to the taco will make you want seconds or thirds! Wow. It’s just so good.

There are a couple changes I’ll be making in their method, and I’ll note them in the recipe below.

Directions

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1⁄2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound tilapia, cut into 1” strips – I used Mahi Mahi and it was super good!
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Warm corn or flour tortillas
  • Avocado slices
  • Step 1 Place rack in center of oven; preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Step 2 In small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne and salt.
  • Step 3 On sheet pan, drizzle peppers and onion with 1 tablespoon oil. Toss with half the spice mixture. Bake until lightly browned, 15 minutes. (I like my veggies a little crisp, so I’m going to add the fish and veggies on the pan at the same time. These were too cooked for my preference.
  • Step 4 Meanwhile, in medium bowl, toss fish, remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining spice mixture. Set aside.
  • Step 5 Push roasted vegetables to one half of pan; lay fish on other half. Return to oven; bake until fish is opaque and reaches a safe internal temperature of 145°F, 10 minutes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon lime juice over pan. Again, I’m going to add the fish and vegetables at the same time and cook them for the 10 minutes.
  • Step 6 In medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and cayenne. Season with salt, to taste.
  • Step 7 Serve fish on warm tortillas with sauce and avocado slices. Refrigerate any leftovers.

I served this with a homemade creamy coleslaw and it was the perfect side dish.

If you have a love for tacos like we do, and you enjoy fish, I hope you’ll try this recipe and be sure to make the Crema, too; it makes it extra special!

Also, like this recipe I shared a couple weeks ago, this is a one pan meal! Gotta love that!

Happy Taco Tuesday one day early! Thanks, Kroger!
Here’s another take on fish tacos that we love as well as this recipe for my homemade tortillas.

Dinner · Fast meal · Gluten-Free · vegetarian

Colorful Sheet Pan Dinner

If you haven’t gotten on the Sheet Pan dinner Chuck wagon train yet, what are you waiting for? I have been making these for a couple of years now. Everything is tossed onto a large baking pan and roasted in the oven. You can make them to suit your dietary needs and your family’s tastes. They’re hearty and delicious and fast!

We’ve recently had new friends come to dinner who are Vegan. I didn’t see this as an obstacle, but rather a challenge to get creative! Vegetables are an obvious “Yes” for Vegans, so I knew this Sheet Pan dinner would be safe.

If you want to add meat to this, some good options would be chicken breast filets, cubed, or Turkey sausage – both which would be added early to the pan. Then you add the vegetables that don’t require as much cooking time. If you wanted to add shrimp, you could cook the vegetables, then add the shrimp for the last few minutes.

The version I made yesterday for our Vegan friend had Chick Peas, which adds some protein. When it came out of the oven, I tasted it and felt like it needed a little bit more flavor, so I added a little vinaigrette. I’ll add that recipe on the recipe below. This is also a great side dish to a meat – so don’t think this is just Vegan-friendly!

My Menu:
Colorful Sheet Pan Dinner
Pork Tenderloin (for the meat-eaters)
Kale Salad – From Sam’s Club
Sour Dough Bread
Lemon Sorbet with fresh berries

Colorful Sheet Pan Dinner

  • 1 lb. baby red potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 ½ cups petite baby carrots or sliced carrots
  • 1 can (14oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon of EACH dried basil, dried thyme, dried oregano (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into thirds
  • ½ large red onion, sliced lengthwise
  • mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, silpat or lightly grease with cooking spray. Add the potatoes, onions, carrots and chickpeas to the center, drizzle with half the oil and most of the herb & spice mixture, toss well to coat. Every ten minutes I turned the vegetables over with a spatula to ensure even browning. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until tender.
  2. Remove the pan from the oven, add the asparagus, add the remaining oil and herb/spice mix, toss to coat, as shown above right. Place back in the oven and roast for 7-8 minutes.

Let cool and serve with sliced avocado and plenty of parsley sprinkled over top.

Dressing I added:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp  paprika
    Mix in small jar. Pour over cooked vegetables

Jump on board and make a Sheet pan dinner this week! It’s so delicious!