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 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
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
- Chives and Parsley for garnish
- Add pasta to salted, boiling water.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let the sauce absorb into the pasta a bit, and add the Parmesan cheese and basil, and again toss to combine.
- 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.