Creamy Sausage and Tomato Pasta

As the cold weather draws nearer, many people will begin to serve more filling foods, like pasta and sauce. However, a lot people want more than just the typical spaghetti and meatballs and venture to try out other recipes featuring a variety of ingredients and therefore full of flavor! Here is a recipe for making creamy sausage and tomato pasta that is bound to leave mouths wanting more!

Creamy Sausage and Tomato Pasta

Serving Information

  • This recipe is approximately 5 servings

What You Will Need To Make Creamy Sausage and Tomato Pasta

  • 1lb Italian Sausages (I prefer sweet but it is your preference)
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 5 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups of Half-and-Half
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves
  • 1 box of penne or rigatoni pasta
  • Parmesan Cheese

How to Make Sausage and Tomato Pasta

Cook the Pasta

The first thing you will need to do is cook the pasta. To do this, get a large pot and add water. Use the instructions on the back of the pasta box to determine how much water you will need. Once the water is boiling, add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Then, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook the pasta for approximately 7 – 10 minutes or until pasta is at the desired consistency. Some people prefer their pasta done al dente, where the pasta is still firm yet completely cooked, while others prefer that pasta is softer.

Making the Sauce

While the pasta is cooking, you can be making the sauce, or for those that do not multi-task well, you can make the sauce before making the pasta. Before cooking the sausages, you should cut them into small bite-sized pieces. Then, brown the sausages in a frying pan. Once cooked, remove (if any) the casings from the sausage pieces. To save time, you could remove the casing before cooking and slice into pieces after cooking. Once the sausages are browned, add in the onions. Next, add the garlic and sauté for approximately 3 minutes. Once sautéed, add in your diced tomatoes and the can of tomato sauce. Cover the pan so that everything in the pan is heated completely through. Add the Half-and-Half  into the sauce in the pan and again, use the lid to heat your sauce all the way through. If you want a thicker sauce, you will have to cook your sauce longer. For those looking for a thin, yet flavorful sauce, cook for approximately 2-3 minutes. Yet, you be the judge and cook until your sauce is at the desired consistency. Add in the basil and let the sauce simmer for 2 more minutes.

Serve & Enjoy

Add the pasta to your sauce and mix so that the sauce completely covers your pasta. Serve pasta on separate plates, adding parmesan cheese as desired. Serve and enjoy!

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How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans

How to Freeze Fresh Green BeansMany people are resistant to freeze foods because they believe they will lose their freshness and will not be as good later. However, when frozen, green beans will last several months and they will not lose their amazing flavor. Here are some tips to freezing fresh green beans so that they can be used in any meal—and be full of crisp flavor!

 

Purchase Fresh Green Beans During Their Peak Season

You will want to purchase your green beans during the summer through the early fall seasons. This is when green beans taste the best and are known for their great flavor.

How to Select the Right Green Beans

You want to choose green beans that are brightly colored. The more colorful, the better! These green beans will, ideally, be blemish free, where they are not limp or shriveled. You want them firm and bright green.   

How to Freeze Green Beans

One of the most important things to remember when freezing green beans is to trim them before hand. Grab a handful of green beans and, using a sharp knife, cut off the stems. Do this for all of the green beans you want to freeze. Some people will also cut the tapered ends, this is completely up to you.

Remove the Fiber

Some beans will feature a stringy sort of fiber within the bean, located in the bean pod, that should be removed. However, if you do not see one, this means that your type of beans do not have this and you do not have to worry about removing it.

Cut into Small Pieces

Next, you should cut the green beans into small and bite sized pieces. This works out great because most recipes that feature green beans, such as a stew or casserole. You will want to cut the beans into 1 ½ inch pieces. If you know that you will not be needing the green beans to be in small pieces when you want to cook them in the future, you can choose to skip this step.

Blanching the Beans

The next step is to blanch the beans.  To do this, you will need to boil a pot of water. You will need 1 gallon of water for every pound of green beans. Boil the beans for approximately 2 minutes. If you did not cut them into small 1 ½ inch pieces, then you should boil them for approximately 4 minutes.

Freeze

After they are boiled, you want to immediately cool the beans by using ice water. Once cooled, drain beans from ice water.

Next, start putting the green beans into your freezer bags. You want the beans to be as compact as possible but still leaving about ½ inch to close the bag. Seal the bags and place in the freezer for freezing.

For those looking to preserve the freshness, or if you are using a lower quality freezer bag, you may consider using freezer tape on the seal to make sure the air is locked out.

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Thanksgiving’s Almost Here: You Can Do It!!

12-11-23 Thanksgiving 521x520

Thanksgiving is again almost upon us. For many of us that means the traditional holiday meal. The thought of Thanksgiving may evoke images of Grandma's stuffing or Mom's pumpkin pie, or the pictures of the golden turkey featured in the television commercials. What if the thought of trying to create the perfect dinner sends you into a panic? Don't worry. Thanksgiving is about family and friends, not food. There are many ways that you can replicate a traditional dinner with minimal effort.

Use a turkey breast instead of a full turkey

If you are cooking for a small group, consider purchasing a turkey breast. Cooking a turkey breast requires less prep time and less overall cooking time.

Consider purchasing the turkey already made

Many supermarkets and restaurants offer a ready-made turkey. To many, the turkey is the most important thing. Having it already prepared leaves you free to be innovative with the side dishes.

Use boxed stuffing

If you don't have a favorite stuffing recipe, consider using the packaged variety; it has the advantage of being incredibly easy to make.

Purchase frozen or ready-made pies or other desserts

Frozen pies have come a long way. Consider serving traditional pumpkin, pecan or apple pies. Pies can easily be baked the night before. Bakery cakes or cookies are also a good option.

Pick your favorite things to make from scratch

The major advantage to using shortcuts is not simply to save effort and time. It is to give you the freedom to create your own dishes and have fun with cooking. Knowing that the expected parts of the meal will be there gives you the opportunity to focus on making the things you want to make, so choose a favorite recipe and enjoy!

While it may sometimes not seem so, it is actually the positive family memories that you create that are important. While planning the holiday meals, take time to think about the impressions you want to create. Let the kids help with meal preparation. It's really not just about the food.

Easy Freezer Hash Browns…and a Quick Panini Press Tip

I always buy potatoes in bulk at Sam's Club because it's far more cost-effective to buy a huge bag there than a smaller one at the local grocery store.  However, I always seem to have too many and they start to sprout before I have the chance to use them.

Last night, I decided to use up the rest of my massive bag of potatoes with a quick and easy freezer trick.

Simply shred the potatoes using a grater or food processor.  Place the ones you aren't using on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place the potatoes in the freezer and "flash-freeze" them for a few hours.

Freezer Hash Browns

Then, break apart the frozen potatoes into meal (or individual size) portions, label them and freeze them for future use.

Family Portions

...and another quick trick...

If you have a panini press you can cook your hash browns with little effort.  Simply grease your press (well) and place the "bricks" on the on it.  Within 10-15 minutes you'll have crispy hash-browns without flipping them.  Mine turned out AMAZING this way..although my photo didn't.  😉

Panini Hash Browns