Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baked Penne and Sausage Supper

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.

Serves 4: 1 serving is 1 4 inch square

Per Serving: 380 cal, 13g fat, 45g carb, 22g prot, 8g fiber

What are some of the small things that make YOU happy?


Nisrine Merzouki said...

Ver hearty and delicious pasta dish. I should make that sometime next week.

Megan said...

We've watched Tangled a few times already and I love it every time!
One of the things that makes me happy is my typical Saturday morning routine with the kids. We make pancakes for breakfast, watch cartoons, then head to Starbucks so for coffee (for mommy!) and a treat for the boys (usually banana bread), then we go to the park so they can play while I sit and enjoy my coffee. I look forward to it every week.

Ann said...

I love your post. It is the little things that really make up the good times of life. The penne and sausage look great.

Kim said...

Some of the same things make me really happy. I just found a pair of jean capris that fit perfectly. Major Score!!

Baked penne and sausage would make me very happy too though. This looks delicious!

♥peachkins♥ said...

My daughter and I loved Tangled! that's all she talks about!

peachkins at The Peach Kitchen

ARLENE said...

A lovely post, Teresa, and you're so right about appreciating the many small miracles that make up our lives.

Niki said...

First, i love Tangled too!
Second, your post is absolutely adorable, i love all of the things that make you happy.
And last, your pasta recipe looks so yummy!
Great job!!

Jennifurla said...

I love your list! Just last night while out at dinner, the waiter brought us a cupcake to take home to our sweet~!

SashaInTheKitchen said...

this looks absolutely great! Yum

Cassie said...

Sausage pasta with tomato sauce and lots of cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. I don't eat it too often anymore but it definitely reminds me of mom's dinners. The little things for me... seeing my kitty cat happily sniffing the spring air or laying in the sun, green grass, neighbors who plant my favorite flowers in their yards...

Debbie said...

Yum...this is my kind of food!

Lara said...

My family loves this kind of meal! :)

The Blonde Duck said...

Is Tangled as good as the old school Disney princess movies?

Barbara said...

I love the things that make you happy, Teresa, especially the kiss on the arm!
Today, what made me happy was to get on the scale and find I lost 3 pounds. :)
Doesn't take much to make me happy!
Never have even heard of Tangled, but then I don't have kids at home either.
Love your pasta!

Julie said...

I loved reading your happy gave me the warm fuzzies :) And I love that this dish is light too...definitely bookmarking.

Val said...

I wish we were neighbors =))

MaryBeth said...

This looks so good, very hearty and comforting. I would eat a big bowl of it and be a happy girl!

Reeni said...

What a sweet post! And a delicious and comforting pasta - bonus that it's light! (I love when my Dad does the dishes for me!)

Joanne said...

Awww yes yes yes! Be thankful for the little things! Love this post, both for it's optimism and also because it has pasta. With lots of cheese. Sigh. Love.

Mary said...

Pleasures large and small make life worth living. You seem to have a handle on everything that's important. I love your recipe. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Anonymous said...

Since my daughter is 19, I miss out on all those kid movies - I'll have to check out Tangled!

I love my weekly dates with my daughter - she's in college, friends, work - we sometimes don't see each other for a couple days!

girlichef said...

AW! So many of those things make me happy, too...I had to giggle at the book thing- I totally do that, too. Everybody looks at me expectantly and my nose is in a book. ha ha ha. The Penne & Sausage & CHEESE dish looks awesome :D

sara cardon said...

Love it! Love everything about this post!

Shelby said...

First, your supper looks delicious! Second, my little boy is a lot older than yours....but it touches my heart to receive a text from him to tell me he loves me. I miss my chilren so much!

Alissa said...

This is why I LOVE you! You're always so positive and happy & notice the little things that make life more rich & awesome! You're such a breath of fresh air!

PS. WE LOVE TANGLED!!!! My fave!

Chris said...

Bookmarked this and in love with it. Will try soon.

The little things that make me happy:
-a text from my wife just because
-a moment of interaction with a wild animal, that moment when you are both aware of each other. If it's a grizzly bear or shark, not so much.
-my kids' laughter is twice as good

Foodness Gracious said...

Mmmm, baked pasta dishes are never a dissapointment and this is a winner!