Pasta and Seasonal Vegetables with Hillshire Farm Sausage #Giveaway

As a mother with no time and a house full of fairly picky eaters, I rely heavily on what I call all-in-one dishes. Casseroles, crock pot meals, pastas with protein and veggies. They are quick and healthy if done right, and I can hide veggies in them. Honestly, I hoped I would never have to be the mom (and wife) that hides nutrition in less nutritious food, but it’s my reality, folks.

In my quest to provide my family with healthy meals, I am always on the lookout for ways to use ingredients I know they love. For example, sausage. So I was excited to stumble upon the Hillshire Farm booth in the Expo Hall at the BlogHer ’12 conference. Their booth was totally rockin’ and inspiring. They offered made-to-order samples, and had a variety sausages, grains, vegetables, and sauces that they graciously stir-fried and served.  I had turkey sausage and spinach with a balsamic vinegrette. It was awesome! I was pleasantly surprised that I liked the Hillshire Farm sausage since I’m not huge on prepared meats. Part of that had to do with the fresh ingredients that were paired with the sausage, which I found inspiring and something I could bring to my family table. .

Hillshire Farm provided me with a coupon for a free product so I could try a recipe at home I chose the turkey sausage, and developed the following recipe. My goal is not to be the next Food Network Star, (well, maybe it is!) so these ingredients are suggestions. Use them or substitute your own depending on your tastes, but I do urge you to use local, seasonal vegetables if you can!

Summer Harvest Veggies and Pasta with Hillshire Farm Turkey Sausage:


  • Hillshire Farms Turkey Sausage, sliced
  • Summer squash and zucchini cut into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • Red peppers, julienned
  • Onions, julienned
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Pasta
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chives and Parsley for garnish

To cook:

  1. Add pasta to salted, boiling water.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan and add the sausage. Cook until nicely caramelized. It’s pre-cooked, so you can cook it fairly high to get good color and develop the flavor, but keep an eye out and don’t burn it!
  3. Remove the sausage from the pan, and add the peppers and onions. When they are translucent, add the garlic and cook together until it starts to caramelize.
  4. Add the zucchini and squash. Cook until all veggies are caramelized, but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then deglaze with the balsamic vinegar.
  5. At this point the pasta should be done to al dente. Drain, but save a little of the cooking liquid. Add to the pan, along with the tomatoes, add the pasta water, and toss to combine.
  6. Let the sauce absorb into the pasta a bit, and add the Parmesan cheese and basil, and again toss to combine.
  7. Garnish with chives and parsley and serve!


This was a super hit with my family. They barely noticed the vegetables, and my son proclaimed this was the best sausage he ever had. And believe me, he knows his sausage!

If you had free sausage, what would you make with it? Submit your answer in the comment section below to qualify to win a 4 Hillshire Farm coupons for one free product! Drawing will be on August 21st!

Disclaimer: Hillshire Farm is providing the coupons for this giveaway. However, if I did not believe you can use their products to create healthy family meals, I would not have participated in this giveaway.

Monday meals: week of January 9, 2012

Heirloom tomato soup by Elaine Griffin Designs!

Heirloom tomato soup!

Here we go ya’ll. Time to figure out what we’re eatin’ this week. I’m only semi-inspired by my menu.

Monday: Lasagna soup – tomato soup with tortellini and a drop of part-skim ricotta on top. Also, some sort of mixed chopped veggie salad, and homemade bread if I can find the time to finally get my new bread machine out!

Tuesday: Curried black eyed peas, sweet potatoes, peas, and turkey over wild rice. With a sweet heirloom tomato chutney. Yum!

Wednesday: Cream of broccoli soup, salad, homemade bread.

Thursday: Leftover night!

Friday: Pizza night!

I have to say, of all the meals I’m most excited about tonight’s meal – lasagna soup, salad, and bread. But is anyone really surprised by that? I’m obsessing over tomato soup since I made this tomato soup a couple of weeks ago. I’ll let you know how it is.

What are you all eating this week? Anything super yummy? Or healthy? Or inspiring?


Light Asian-style chicken and pineapple salad with crispy wontons

I know I’ve said it before, like in this post about the best salad EVAHHHHH!  But immagonna say it again. I LOVE salad, ya’ll! I love it so much that I even had it for breakfast this morning. It was delicious.

Get your favorite lettuce or salad mix. I generally get the bulk organic baby lettuce. I feel it’s more bang for your buck – there is no waste and much less time spent prepping it.

For this salad I used:

  • leftover steamed brocolli
  • roasted red peppers
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • toasted almond slices
  • green onions

If I had sesame seeds, I would have toasted those to throw in too.

Here’s the salad:


Salad with Asian vegetables

I marinated the chicken in:

  • soy sauce
  • orange juice
  • rice wine vinegar
  • honey
  • red pepper flakes
  • a tiny bit of olive oil

I would have used ginger if I had remembered I had it! Which was totally a mommy brain moment, because I bought it just for this dish. Whatevs.

Then I sautéed it in another bit of olive oil until brown and almost done, and added a can of pineapple tidbits, without the juice – which you need to save. I don’t usually use canned foods, but pineapple is one I almost always keep around. Sautee your pineapple and chicken until it starts to get nice and golden, and then get it out of the pan. This would be better grilled on skewers, but I didn’t have it in me. Although I guess I could have thrown them on the grill pan that way. Oh well – next time!

Deglaze with the pineapple juice (probably about half). Or put pineapple juice in a pan if you have used a grill or grill pan for your chicken. Then add the same ingredients you used for your marinade. Wisk it good and get it good and bubbling without burning it. Keep it going for a few minutes to reduce it down. See – a yummy dressing that is thick and rich and not too horrible for you!!

Here is the chicken:


Asian-style chicken and pineapple

It was yummy!

Here is the dressing:


citrus soy salad dressing

citrus soy salad dressing

Normally I would dress the salad, but people always complain when I do that, so I put it on the side.

Now here is the best part. I made crispy wontons that were not fried! Oh yes I did!

It’s super easy. Get some wonton or egg roll wrappers, and cut them into strips. If you get egg roll wrappers, cut them down the middle and then into strips. Toss them with the littlest bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put them on a pizza sheet sprayed with non-stick spray, at about 350 degrees. Keep your eye on them and give them a stir now and then. Just cook them as crispy as you like!


crispy baked wontons

crispy baked wontons!

These were so good. And this whole meal was a super hit with everyone. Rock! Try this salad and tell me what you think!