Italian Sausage & Veggie Pasta with Garden Fresh Roasted Tomato Sauce

Well hello there!!

Yes, I’m still alive! Haven’t posted in awhile because of our busy season at work (which will be over in about a month & then you’ll be hearing from me a lot more) but I’ve missed my blog! Plus, after creating this DELICIOUS recipe with tomato sauce I whipped up from my very own garden, I could not help but share.

So, the awesome thing about having a garden is obviously that you get heaps of garden fresh produce at your fingertips. However, it’s a lot of work & with the busy season & not as much time in the kitchen, I was neglecting some of these ripe veggies 😦 Eventually, I found myself in my kitchen staring at a giant heaping bowl of tomatoes trying to figure out what to do with them (I have already made several giant batches of salsa so wanted to try something different).

Solution: Homemade Tomato Sauce.

I searched the web for the easiest method & I found the winner! Easy peasy. Ready for this?

1. Cut tomatoes in half & cut out core.
2. Drizzle rimmed baking sheet with olive oil & place tomatoes face down.
3. Throw in some fresh garlic (chopped or whole cloves), & fresh herbs. I just tore up some fresh basil & oregano I have growing.
4. Drizzle olive oil & some salt & pepper on everything. Admire the beauty 🙂

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5. Place in oven preheated to 250 degrees for 3-4 hours, or until tomatoes are soft & bursting. Mine only needed about 3 hours, but they were pretty ripe & soft already so depending on ripeness of your tomatoes, they may need longer. When they’re done, they’ll look like this. Nice & juicy 😉

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6. Once tomatoes are cooled down a bit, work in batches & spoon tomato mixture into a blender. Here, I added some more salt & pepper, a few more fresh herbs, & some dried herbs (italian seasoning). Blend up to your liking (less blending if you like it chunky, more blending if you want it smooth). Taste & add more salt & pepper if needed. Pour into a container & voila! You have homemade delicious tomato sauce.

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This actually made about twice as much but I froze half of it. Also some of my tomatoes from my garden are an orange color (not sure why that is, but whatever, they still taste good), which is why my sauce is an orangey red.

For a printable version of this sauce recipe, click here.

So, now that I had this delicious tomato sauce made, I had to think of something to do with it! I immediately thought of using Italian sausage & making a pasta dish. I have always LOVED pasta, but since I’ve gone gluten free, I don’t eat pasta much anymore. Luckily they’re making it a lot easier on people with gluten sensitivities nowadays & you can easily find gluten free pasta noodles, even in my small town! So I went to pick some up & came up with this recipe.

And I must say ….. it was a treat. Here’s how you make it!

1. Gather up all your ingredients. You will need a package of Italian sausage, penne pasta noodles, your homemade tomato sauce (or any sauce that you like), green pepper, red pepper, onion, mushrooms, & spinach. Oh, and wine….but that’s just for drinking while you cook (optional but recommended).

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2. Start heating up your water to boil the pasta noodles.

3. Heat up olive oil in large saute pan & place whole sausages in pan. Disclaimer: I tried cutting some up first before cooking. This makes it really hard to get an even cut as the insides like to squeeze out of the casing (that sounds gross but whatever). SO, with some input from my brilliant husband who was just watching me cook this & drooling, we decided it would work best to cook them a bit whole, then cut them. I ended up doing both as I had already attempted to cut up a few. Oops. Cook them whole & throw some chopped onion in the pan while you’re at it.

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4. When the sausages have a nice sear, remove them from the pan & let them cool a bit. Throw in some chopped green & red pepper (I used 1/2 of a large each). Sidenote: If your pasta water is boiling by now, toss about 1/2 package of penne into the water & get that cookin!

5. While the peppers & onion are cooking, slice up the sausages. The insides will probably still need to be cooked through, so toss those back in the pan to finish off. Throw some mushrooms in there while you’re at it too (I love mushrooms so I added a whole package of sliced mushrooms). As you can see, I’m making a ginormous batch of this pasta (my husband can eat a lot & we like leftovers…ha)

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6. Once the veggies & sausages are cooked through, throw in some spinach. Cook for a minute or so until wilted down slightly, then add in your wonderful sauce!

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7. Drain your pasta if cooked through & toss into the pan. Top with more fresh herbs if you please 🙂

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     8. Taste & add more salt & pepper & Italian seasoning if needed (try not to eat the whole pan while you’re at it). I had some fresh mozzarella cheese in the fridge, so I decided to grate some of that on top. Oh so goooood!

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     9. That’s it! This pasta dish took me less than a half hour & it made a ton. I’d say about 6-8 servings depending on portion sizes. Serve with garden fresh green beans (or your veggie of choice) & some wine & enjoy with someone you love! 🙂 We made this a special date night & ate in our dining room (with placemats & everything…ha!)

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Hope you enjoy this recipe! If you’d like a printable version, click here.

Thanks for following!

Until next time (which I hope is sooner than later),

 – Janeen

Sweet Potato Hash: My Go-To Recipe for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner! :)

Hello everyone!

One thing that I love to do is COOK & experiment with healthy, balanced recipes 🙂 So, today I thought I’d share one of my go-to recipes for ANY meal! Seriously, I make this at least twice a week & always make enough to have leftovers (that is, if my husband doesn’t eat it all first!) It is super quick & easy, not to mention healthy & DELICIOUS!! The other thing I love is that is is very customize-able (is that a word?) – you can throw in literally any veggies that you like or have on hand & it’s always fabulous.

OK, so here is how to make Sweet Potato Hash (this recipe makes around 4 large servings, so feel free to adjust as needed):

  1. Heat up your electric skillet (or large saute pan on stove) to medium heat. I like using an electric skillet b/c it is BIG, & like I said, I like to make a lot of this stuff 😉
  2.  Cook up some bacon! I usually just throw in however many slices I have on hand or however many fit in the pan. This time I cooked 9 slices of bacon. Cook approximately 3 minutes per side or however long it takes to get nice & browned & cooked through. Mmmm bacon…..

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     3.   While the bacon is cooking, start dicing your sweet potatoes. I diced up 2 medium sweet potatoes this time around.

     4.   When bacon is cooked through, remove from pan & place on a plate lined with paper towels. Leave a couple tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan (you might have to drain some off depending on how much grease your bacon produces).

     5.   Toss the diced sweet potatoes into your pan.

     6.   While your potatoes start to cook, dice up some onion. I used 1/2 of a medium sized yellow onion. Toss those in the pan with the sweet potatoes.

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     7.   Next, you can add any other veggies you’d like! This time I chopped up some sweet mini peppers & kale, but have used lots of other veggies in the past (mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, spinach, broccoli, etc.). Let me just tell you though, I’d highly recommend kale because sweet potatoes & kale go together like PB & J. Sounds strange, but trust me, it’s a fabulous combination. Toss the rest of your veggies in the pan, add about a tablespoon of chili powder (or to taste), & salt & pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes & rest of the veggies are cooked through completely (usually about 20 minutes total for the sweet potatoes).

     8.   While veggies are cooking, chop up your cooked bacon. Add to the pan when veggies are cooked & heat through (about 1-2 minutes).

*Look at this bacon/veggie yumminess!

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     9.   Turn off heat & cover veggie/bacon mixture with a lid to keep warm. In a separate pan, fry 2 eggs over-easy (keep yolk runny in the middle) for each serving. If serving 4 people, fry up 8 eggs. I just did 2 here because I was just eating 1 serving for me!  Use a healthy fat option to fry, like organic butter or coconut oil (my personal favorite with this recipe). Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

     10.  Spoon some hash onto your plate & top with the 2 fried eggs! Sometimes I top this with some avocado slices, but I didn’t have any on hand this time around.

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     11.  Dig in & enjoy!! 🙂

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Hope you like this recipe! Like I said, it’s my go-to & you really can’t mess it up! It’s perfect for any meal, too!

If you want a printable version, click here.

I’d love to hear what you think! 🙂

Happy eating!

– Janeen