Tag Archives: italian. sausage

Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers

A dinner of “stuffed peppers” often gets a bad rap.  My friends and family either love it…or hate it.  My guess on the nay-sayer’s is due to the peppers that I have devoured in my life have just been, well..bland.  Ground beef or turkey, rice, maybe some chopped veggies.  Did I mention they’re often dry too??  Well my Italian version is anything but!

The simple garlic, onion and tomato sauce (plus sneaking in that zucchini) keeps it from turning dry and I always choose the ‘hot’ Italian sausage for the slight extra kick!  Do you have kids?  Well still get the ‘hot’, trust me, it’s not that spicy, just flavor!  Last, but definitely not least, that layer of fresh mozzarella cheese puts the average pizza slice to shame!!

Now you can these eat on their own or perhaps with a side salad or even that dry rice, BUT..since we’re cooking with those Italian flavors, why not place your finished product atop perfectly al dente pasta!  Garlic bread too, perhaps?….

The Starting Lineup

  • 3-4 bell peppers, seeded and halved
  • 1 package Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 14oz Italian finely chopped tomatoes (I prefer Cirio Italian with basil)
  • Mozzarella cheese slices (Fresh)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper 

Garnish/Side (optional)

  • Pasta noodles, cooked al dente
  • Reserved leftover sauce from the meat mixture
  • Chopped basil
  • Shredded parmesan

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees while bringing the olive oil in a large skillet to medium heat,  *Spray a 9×13 oven proof baking dish with nonstick spray.

In your hot skillet, add in the sausage (out of its casing) and cook completely through while chopping up with the back of your spoon.  Once cooked, remove the sausage and drain all but 1 tbsp of the oil/grease.

Now add in the diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes, followed by the zucchini for 2 minutes and finally the garlic for 1 minute.  To the sautéed vegetables, pour in the finely chopped Italian tomatoes (careful for splatter!) and add the cooked sausage back in.

Your filling is done!  Spoon equal amounts into your halved and seeded bell peppers and place into the 9×13 baking dish.  Top each with a healthy amount of cheese.  PLEASE do not scrimp on this!  *If I purchased the larger package of mozzarella, I have been known to place a slice in the bottom of each pepper before I fill, followed by more on the top!  Yes!!

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Cover the baking dish and peppers with foil and pop in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.  Uncover and let the cheese bubble for another 5 minutes, remove from the oven and let rest.  *My husband loves his mozz topping to be on the browned side, so I will place our right under the broiler for mere 2-3 minutes.

If desired, while the peppers are in the oven, prepare the pasta noodle side and dress in any reserved sauce from the meat mixture.  *I make sure to keep those juices exactly for this reason!

Garnish your plate with a bit of extra chopped basil, perhaps grated parmesan, and you have certainly elevated those hum-drum stuffed peppers!!

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Spinach & Sausage Gnocchi

I must be feeling “off” because instead of (my favorite) Mexican food…I was having an Italian craving!  So I loaded up the crew and headed to the store in search of something that’d catch my eye!

Once in the produce section, I saw aplenty of fresh mushrooms, and while their meaty texture would of been fine alone for me, I KNOW my hubby needs meat in his meals.  So let’s head for the Italian Sausage!!  In true Carly form I went with the spicy..hey, even my young boys love it!  Finally, what goes better with sausage and mushrooms in not only flavor, but color?  Sautéed spinach!!  Dang, when paired with the onions and garlic, the light pillowy texture from the gnocchi (Im dreamy eyed right now), this was just delicious!!  **plus quick!!

*This can be made gluten free.

*You can leave out the sausage and substitute veggie broth instead of beef stock for a vegetarian option.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 16oz pckg gnocchi (gluten free available)
  • 1 pckg Italian sausage links (I used spicy)
  • 1 9oz pckg frozen spinach (defrosted and drained)
  • 2 portobello mushrooms (cleaned, scraped and sliced)
  • 1 8oz pckg baby Bella’s mushrooms (cleaned & sliced)
  • 1 cup beef stock (gluten free available)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic and 1/2 shallot, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper, red pepper flake (a pinch each/to taste) 

    Beef broth not pictured

         

In a large skillet on medium heat, place in the Italian sausages along with a couple Tbsps of water.  Cover and allow to brown, turning ever so often.  Once the sausages are browned on all sides, remove most of the grease and then carefully poor in the 1 cup beef stock over the sausage.  Cover again and allow to steam in the broth for about 5 minutes to finish cooking through.  When finished, set aside on a paper towel lined plate reserving the pan juices. 

   

**Meanwhile bring a large stockpot of salted water to a low boil.  

In that same pan with the reserved juices, add in the garlic & shallot and cook for 1 minute. 

 Next, toss in all of the mushrooms followed shortly with the defrosted & drained spinach.  Sauté the veggies together while slicing the now cooled and cooked sausage links into 1″ pieces.  Add to the skillet. 

     

**Your water should now be boiling, so toss in the gnocchi and cook to package directions.  This does NOT take long folks.

Gnocchi is now cooked!  With a ladle transfer the pillowy potato bites directly into the sausage skillet.  Make sure to include a little of the cooking water with the gnocchi!  Really makes for a great sauce!! 

 Finally…add that nutty parmesan cheese over top the entire skillet and fold in. 

Serve with a bit more freshly grated Parmesan on top alongside a light salad and glass of vino!!  Enjoy!!! 

 

Creamy Tortellini & Sausage Stew (crockpot)

This is an all-time favorite recipe in my home on these chilly Fall (& winter) days.  Now I cannot take credit for this classic crockpot meal delight, but it is SO easy, SO yummy and SO filling that if I can even reach just one person who has yet to taste this…my job is done.  I’m happily passing the torch along from whomever made up this genius and simple meal!

Besides cooking the sausage beforehand (for texture and sanitary reasons ;), this is a “throw it all in one pot” meal and walk out the door.  You’re family will absolutely think you’re something brilliant!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (cooked)
  • 1 bag frozen cheese tortellinis, aboubt 1lb
  • 32oz box of chicken broth
  • 2 cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 block cream cheese, 8oz, cubed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 bag spinach leaves, about 8oz

Garnish (optional)

  • Parmesan Cheese (shredded/grated)
  • Pesto Sauce   

Starting off with the sausage…now to each their own here, but in my home we prefer ours cooked and sliced.  This way adds a bit more texture and bite to the stew.  Alternatively, you can absolutely remove the sausage from the casing and cook as you would ground beef.  The flavor will be the exact same..promise. 

   That all being said, I seared each side of the italian sausage hot links for a few minutes per side.  I then took them off the heat to a cutting board and allowed to cool down (rest) for about 5 minutes before slicing up. 

 Next, coat your crockpot with non-stick spray (optional) and then lay the sliced onions on the bottom.  Follow that with the rest of the ingredients.  Layer the frozen tortellinis, cooked sausage, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, cubed cream cheese and then the spinach leaves.   

         Stir together as well as you can (uncooked spinach can be a pain) then cover, set to low and allow the flavors to meld together for about 5 hours.  Remember, this is a crockpot, so if it is cooking away even longer on low, it is No.Big.Deal!!

Once you’re meal is ready, I like to top each bowl with a bit of shredded parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread and butter.  Enjoy! 

 *At times I will put just half of the bag of spinach in at first and then a couple of hours in I’ll stir in the rest (so it all fits)!.

Pizza Pot Pie (supreme)

What do you do when you’re craving a deep dish pizza but your husband wants a chicken pot pie?  Well you combine the two of course!!  I just so happened to have these tasty ingredients on hand as well, which made it all the better!!!

Another great thing about this meal is you can add any of your favorite ingredients or whatever is handy!  Now my husband is a meat eater, so naturally I went the “supreme” route, but you can make it to your family’s liking!  Ham n cheese, Hawaiian, Mediterranean, veggie lover or just an old fashion pepperoni and cheese!!  Plus, this dinner WILL fill everyone up!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pie dough (2 rounds)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 pckg italian sausage links, chopped
  • 1 pckg pepperoni slices
  • 2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce 
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 container mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small can black olives, sliced
  • 1 egg (egg wash) 

In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp of EVOO to medium/medium high heat.  Add in both the hamburger meat and the cut Italian sausage pieces.  Heat till cooked through, stirring occasionally.  *Now I seasoned with just a pinch each of salt, pepper and oregano.  Due to the preseasoned sausages I had, I didn’t go overboard.
 While the meats are browning you can rinse, slice, dice and mince your veggies.  It’s always way easier to have this step done by the time your meat has finished cooking.

 Now here is where YOU can decide what sort of pan you’d like to use.  This time I chose a spring form pan (think ‘cheesecake’ pan), but more often than not I’ll use my cast-iron skillet!  …and don’t forget about a regular pie dish, all of these can do the job!

So with your pan of choice, take a tbsp or two of butter and coat the entire inside of the pan.  Now with one of the pie dough rounds, gently press into the pan and up the sides (if needed you can absolutely lighty flour a surface and rolling pin to enlarge the pie round.  If you’re using a standard pie pan this will not be an issue).

   Apply a light amount of shredded cheese to the crust followed by the cut veggies, including the garlic.

 Ok..your meat is now cooked through (if you’re following my directions that is ;)). With a slotted spoon transfer the meat to a large clean bowl.  *The slotted spoon is to drain the grease.  Now add the cup of pizza sauce and toss to coat.

   The meat mixture will now be poured evenly overtop the veggies, followed by the rest of the cheese and then a layer of pepperoni slices.

     Ok, time for your 2nd pie dough round!  Carefully lay overtop all of that pizza-y goodness and then the edges are your choice: crimp, fold over/under the 1st dough sides, make it decorative…do what you makes your heart happy!

Finallllyyy….brush the egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water) all over the top of the dough and make a few small slits on the top.  Place the ‘pie’ pan (what have you) onto a baking sheet and then place into your preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.  The top will take on a lovely golden brown color!

     Once the pizza pot pie has finished baking, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into.

  

I like to serve a large slice with a side salad and call it a night! *cause you’re as stuffed as this Pizza Pot Pie Supreme! 

  

*Tip:  you can par-bake your bottom crust for about 10-12 minutes before you start layering the good stuff.  It will hold up better.

Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Pasta

Traditional marinara sauce can get boring..but a roasted red pepper sauce??  Let’s try!!  This is easy to make and will give your tastebuds a nice treat and dinnertime a kick!

While watching some of my favorite shows on my beloved Food Network, I saw two “chefs” have similar recipes like this (I use the word chef loosely because they’re not formally trained, but fantastic cooks nonetheless).

Anywaayy, I combined the two ideas, tweaked a few things and the end result has won rave reviews with my friends and family.  Again, even my two toddlers approve and that’s saying something!

So feel free to give this recipe a try when your family’s response to what they’d like for dinner is “I don’t care..” Man, I hate that one 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb Italian sausage, sliced
  • 12oz+ penne pasta
  • 15oz jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Basil, fresh torn
  • Kosher salt & pepper 

We’ll start this pasta delight with prepping some of the veggies.  Slighty chop up the roasted red peppers (drained from jar), dice the onion and mince those garlic cloves.


Now, start the water for your pasta.  Bring to a boil and cook till one minute under your package directions.  They will finish cooking in your roasted red pepper purée.

You’ll also want to start the sliced Italian sausage links in a separate pan.  Cook till browned.


Now to make that rich and creamy sauce!  In a heavy bottom pot, heat 1/2 of the butter (2tbsp) over med-high heat.  Add in your onions and garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes.  Next add in the roasted red peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes till heated through.

*your water should be boiling about now to add in your pasta.

After the veggie mix is softened and hot, spoon into a food processor (you can use a blender as well, just make sure to secure the lid while holding a hand towel.  The hot liquid and normal blenders don’t mix well and can explode).

Pulse this mix till pretty smooth.  A few veggie chunks left are still great for texture.

  

In the same heavy bottomed pot on med heat, add in the last two Tbsp’s of butter.  Pour the pepper purée back in with the chicken broth/stock, heavy cream, salt and pepper.

  
The noodles should be just about done now, so really quick, grate 3/4 cup of parmesan and give a rough chop to your parsley & basil leaves.  Ladle your pasta noodles directly into your sauce along with the chopped herbs and 3/4 cup cheese.  Toss together.

  

Lastly, mix in your now cooked Italian sausage straight into your dressed pasta and get garnishes ready to serve!

Plate your pasta with an extra serving a grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle of torn parsley and basil.  Enjoy!

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