April 2, 2020

Chicken Sausage Pasta Skillet

I love me a GOOD and easy pasta dish and this pasta skillet is so deliciously cravable and seriously could not be easier.  Pasta with a flavorful creamy tomato sauce is a major comfort food for my house.  It's just one of my go-to dinners when I have no idea what to make.  

This recipe is pretty special.  The chicken sausage in the sauce is such an unexpected addition, it's perfect if you are keeping things lean and beef-free, like we are at the moment.  This dish is everything and more.  It's comforting. It’s satisfying. The sauce can be used in so many ways: as a traditional pasta sauce, as a sauce on top of a bed of zoodles. You could even throw it on top of some butternut noodles for squash creation.
This recipe begins with caramelized mushrooms, then shallots... and onions. I mean – that combination alone is the biggest flavor builder of them all! After those big hitters, some rich tomato paste is added to deepen the flavors. The pan is deglazed with some red wine (hello!).  Hit it with some dried herbs and seasonings to amp things up a bit... and a touch of cream... Parmesan of course!
IT’S JUST SO GOOD. Here's how you make this yumminess happen:


3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Package of Chicken Sausage, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Fresh Mushroom, finely diced
1 Small Onion, finely diced
1/2 Small Shallot, finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup of Red Wine (Optional)
2 23 Ounce Cans Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
1-2 Tablespoons Sugar (more or less to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese
Cooked Pasta of your choice!

{Thinly slice your chicken sausage. I used hot Italian style but you could use any flavor you like.}

{In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and pan fry your chicken sausage until golden brown on both sides. This will develop extra flavor in the dish.}

{Remove the browned chicken sausage from the pan and set aside while you get started on the sauce.}

{Finely dice your mushroom, onion and shallot.}

{In the same skillet, add a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter, then the finely diced mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes or so or until golden brown.}

{Add in the diced shallots and onion and continue to cook until they are all caramelized, 5-7 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.}

When the mushrooms, onion and shallots are all golden brown, add in your garlic at the end.}

{Add the tomato paste and mix well for about a minute to combine.}

{Next, add in your wine to deglaze the pan. Mix well to combine the tomato paste and sauteed onions and mushrooms.}

{Add the can of crushed tomatoes to the tomato paste mixture. Real talk: you can also add in jarred tomato sauce.  I won't say a word! :)}

{Add in your seasonings and taste for perfection.}

{Add the browned chicken sausage and mix.}

{Let this simmer for about 15 minutes so the flavors can meld together beautifully.}

{Add in your heavy cream and stir.  Do not skip this part, it adds the perfect amount of richness and creaminess!}

{Simmer for a few minutes more and top with Parmesan cheese.}

{Look how deliciously rich and cheesy this sauce is!  I love the bites of chicken sausage throughout. It's just SO flavorful.}

{Make your pasta of choice to combine with the sauce and you have yourself an amazing dinner for any occasion!! I used the cutest butterfly/heart shaped pasta that I picked up from a specialty food store.  Yum!}

xoxo, thanks for reading and sharing! 

January 7, 2020

Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Sesame Shallot Vinaigrette

With the start of the new year, it comes natural to me to want to focus on eating more whole foods and this super simple spinach salad is the best way to get those veggies in while amping up the flavor! 

I have always loved the idea of  having a RESET salad of sorts, one that includes lots fresh veggies, a lean protein and a flavorful vinaigrette, and this one checks off each of those boxes. 

Honestly, this is embarrassingly easy – salads aren't really ever recipes at all.  As long as you have a really GOOD salad dressing, you can put together a bomb salad that will blow your socks off!  As soon as I started making my own salad dressings, my mind was blown on the flavor. It is really rare that I will use a store bought dressing these days. And I love that. }


For the Vinaigrette: 
1 Small Shallot, Chopped
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Ponzu {or Lemon Juice, as a substitute}
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Ginger
1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 Teaspoon Honey
1/4 Cup Avocado Oil

For the Salad: 
6 Cups Spinach 
1 Seedless Cucumber, Cut into Small Strips
1 Small Carrot, Cut into Small Strips
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Cut into Small Strips
1/2 Red Onion, Cut into Small Strips
1/2 Avocado, Sliced
Cooked Shrimp 

{The star of the show is clearly this Sesame Shallot Vinaigrette. I have been having a love affair with shallots lately - especially in salad dressings.  Whenever I am not in the mood for the harsh bite of fresh garlic, I simply use a chopped shallot in its place and it's been working beautifully.}

{In a small mixing bowl, add all of the vinaigrette ingredients and mix really well until smooth and combined.  You could also add everything to a small jar with a lid and shake really well until smooth.}

{Chop the veggies into small strips - this magnifies the textures of the salad and I think it makes eating your veggies much more interesting.}

{This salad is especially good because it reminds of a hot summer day. This is absolutely a salad that I would enjoy in the summer with a glass of icy cold wine.  I love eating a salad with similarly sized components so I made sure to chop the veggies the same size and shape.  It makes eating this fun and SATISFYING.}

{Adding simple grilled or roasted shrimp definitely takes this salad to the next level.}

{I mean, seriously! With a salad as colorful as this, how could you NOT want to eat it!?}

{Finally, drizzle that insanely flavorful vinaigrette on every single inch and ENJOY!}

{I can just hear the crunch through the screen, can't you? :)}

xoxo, thanks for reading and sharing! 

January 3, 2020

Friday's Faves | And so the Adventure Begins...

Happy New Year!!!!!!!  I am super excited to be back with a brand new blog post on the first Friday of 2020!  There is something absolutely magical about starting a fresh year and feeling like this is the start of a clean slate.  And it's even more special because this is also the beginning of a new DECADE! I don't really do "New Year Resolutions" but I did make a list of personal goals I want to achieve this year. I can't wait to cross each one off as the year goes by. 

I also like choose a word of the year. This is always a word that describes where I want my focus to be for the next twelve months.  The word I chose for 2020 is HEALTHY. ♥

{We went out on the town for New Year's Eve for the first time ever and had a wonderful evening.  It was so fun getting all dolled up and putting on a cute outfit to ring in the new year with my husband. Of course I sipped Sparking Rose while getting ready. :)}

{My teenager decided to have a New Year's Eve party and her decorations were the cutest - she did everything herself! It was fun getting ready and coming downstairs to festive gold and white decorations!}

{I picked up some sour champagne gummy bears and literally snacked on them all night long.  They were absolutely delicious! I put some in a sandwich bag and tucked them away in my purse.  I was so happy when I remembered that I had them in the Uber on our way to the second stop of the evening. LOL! I already can't wait to get them again next year!}

{I also picked up these gigantic gold hoops from the beauty supply store to wear with my outfit.  There is nothing like a new pair of sparkly gold hoops.  And I ALWAYS get mine from the neighborhood beauty supply store.  They are so cheap and such good quality!} 

{Here is what I wore - simple and classic. I also loved rocking this BRIGHT orange lippy. 
CHEERS to an amazing 2020! Wishing you all another year of everything you desire and more!}

xoxo, thanks for reading and sharing!