I originally started this blog as a place to store tried and true recipes for my family. It didn't take long to discover how supportive and fun the blog community was and I became hooked! I rarely create my own recipes, but I still hope you'll enjoy the recipes that I find and tweak a bit.
It's been a hectic morning, but we're already done for the day, and now we are all in jammies watching Tangled. Have you seen Tangled yet? I'm pretty sure it's the cutest cartoon ever made.
And while we are all snuggling and munching on Pirate's Booty, it's hitting me how important it is to embrace the small things that make us happy. We can't always escape life with a cruise or ease the pressure of life with a new car, but we can be grateful for life's day to day mercies and gifts. Here are some of those things for me...
*Reading a book and reaching that twist or climax in the plot that makes me gasp, or laugh out loud (resulting in really weird looks from my family).
*The store clerk that comps a treat for my kids and has them smiling all afternoon.
*Finding that article of clothing that fits so well that you're convinced it was made JUST for you.
*A three hour gab fest with your best friend at Cheesecake Factory, Buffalo Blasts included.
*A passing kiss on the arm from your little boy who in that moment just needed to let you know that he loves you.
*Your husband coming home early, when you didn't plan on him coming back until way past dinner.
*Eating a dish full of pasta, AND sausage, AND cheese, without feeling any guilt because it happens to be light! Baked Penne and Sausage Supper America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil 1 onion, halved and sliced thin 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 8 ounces hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, cut out of it's casing salt and pepper 8 ounces whole wheat pasta (I used regular) 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside. Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until mostly smooth, about 5 pulses.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Stir in the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in the processed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until almost al dente but still firm to the bite. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
5. Add the meat sauce and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. spread half of the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining pasta and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
6. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let cook for 5 minutes before serving.