20-Minute Meal: Cajun Smoked Turkey Sausage Alfredo

While I haven't been in much of a festive mood this year, I still cook...and even eat occasionally! I was in the mood for smoked sausage the other night, so I threw together this splendid concoction in 20 minutes, start to finish:

While I made it just for me, out of sheer boredom and a sausage craving (yeah, yeah, I know...), what I made would easily serve four and would probably be really good with a nice, green salad on the side. 

What You Need: 

  • Medium egg noodles
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, chopped coarse
  • 1 bell pepper, whatever color you like, cored, seeded and chopped coarse
  • 1 pack turkey smoked sausage (we have Butterball brand, use whichever brand you've got) 
  • 1 jar Ragu Light Parmesan Alfredo (or whatever lite or fat-free Alfredo sauce you find)
  • Cayenne pepper, sprinklings...I didn't measure, sorry
  • Kosher salt...just a touch
  • 1 tbs olive oil

What You Do:

  • Heat water for noodles to boiling, add noodles and let them cook
  • Heat olive oil on medium and saute the peppers and onions for 5-7 minutes
  • Sprinkle a touch of kosher salt and cayenne pepper, to taste, over the peppers and onions
  • Slice sausage into 1/2 inch coins and add to the skillet
  • Continue cooking the peppers, onions and sausage for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, til the sausage gets all nice and toasty brown (see above...like that!) 
  • Check noodles. I like mine done. I don't do that Al Dente stuff...I'm not Italian. Sacrilege, I know!
  • Add the entire jar of Alfredo to the skillet and stir to evenly coat all the veggies and sausage. 
  • Reduce heat and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so to warm the sauce
  • Drain the noodles, add them to the skillet, stir it all up til everything is getting along nicely
  • Plate. 
That's it. Simple, straightforward and great for lazy, lonely cooks like me! 

Oh, and if you've ever wondered how to get all that sauce that's stuck to the sides of the jar OUT of the jar, read here for ways to set it free and get your money's worth out of canned and jarred items!! 

Happy, happy cooking, eating and then going back to whatever you were doing before I so rudely interrupted! 


Christmas Gifts with Flavor: Flavored Syrup for Coffee

So, clearly, December is the month for slacking...at least when it comes to cooking fodder, eh? I must apologize for my absences. Chickens. Heads Cut off. Ya know. 

Anyway....as the time for Christmas Cheer draws near, I thought I'd finally get this out to you, in case you've got some last minute gifts to come up with.  Above, is a bottle of peppermint syrup that my cousin's beloved made for her...at home....made, bottled and labeled...at home. 

And while I don't have a recipe myself, I did find these two recipes that sound EXTREMELY easy and cheap to make up...all you need to do is provide the bottles, labels and maybe a little ribbon to tie around the top.  

Peppermint Syrup from Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

EDIT: My cousin has divulged the recipe for the syrup pictured above!!!

-1 C. Water
-1 C. Sugar
-20 peppermint candies

Don't have exact directions, but I would imagine you add all the above into a pan and let it melt down, slowly, probably at medium, or medium to low heat...stirring regularly.

Lisa also stated that she would've enjoyed a touch more peppermint without more sugar, so she recommended adding a few drops of peppermint extract to bump up the flavor more, if you're into peppermint really, really bad! 

And peppermint is just one of about one billion possibilities when it comes to making flavored syrups for coffee, hot chocolate or even ice cream! 

You can find glass bottles with lids at most any dollar store. Just make sure you wash and rinse them thoroughly before filling with the syrup. 

Use a heavy stock paper or grocery bag paper to make your own labels. Whether you handwrite and design them, or create a label on your computer and print it onto the paper, your personal touches will make it even more special! Use a hot glue gun or glue stick to adhere the label to the bottle. 

Tie some raffia or regular foil ribbon around the top for a finishing touch. 

Voila...flavorful gift, freakishly cheap!  

I won't make any promises about posting more Christmas-related ideas before the big day, but I do want to wish you all a very Merry Whatever You Celebrate on That Day and hope it's the best one yet! 


Christmas 2013: Not So Jolly

Let's face it. I had high hopes of providing a ton of ideas for the upcoming Christmasy festivities. Yet, to be honest, 2013 hasn't been the happiest of years. In some cases, yes, but knowing what it's going to be like this year, with family issues and what not, I'm just not much in the spirit of Yuletide caring.

Don't get me wrong, I love holiday food and all, but anything I think about now is just the standard stuff:

-Homemade Mac and Cheese
-Green Bean Casserole
-Roast Beef
-My Aunt's always better than anyone else's homemade Chex Mix.

So, I would like to extend my apologies for being a bit Grinchy this year.

I'm working on creating a whole new me...one who is much happier and much more productive in 2014. As a tried and true introvert, this is taking a tremendous amount of mental work on my part! Meanwhile, I hope you can find some other recipes here that will help feed you between now and the big day!  Check out the archives. Or, jump on over to Simply Deb and see what else is going on! 

Happy Holidays! 


Christmas Gifts with Flavor: Quick Breads

Ok, kids....so it's December 3. That means approximately 2 to 2.5 weeks to get all your Christmas gifts planned, bought and wrapped before the big day. Over the course of these next two weeks, I'm going to share with you some great gift ideas that involve food, or the ingredients therein.

Giving food-related gifts not only saves you tons of cash, it allows you to make something from your heart and possibly provide something new that your friends and family members may have never tried before.

What I'm sharing today is something I've done throughout the years, when money was exceptionally tight and Christmas shopping was fairly out of the question. Most of the ingredients I used were bought at the local discount grocery (Save A Lot) and only took about a day to bake, then package the foodstuffs.

Quick breads 

I don't have my own recipes for these, I got each one out of one of the best, most useful cookbooks, ever:

Keep reading...it's worth it!  


Veggin' Out with Chef Boyardee

Back in October, I wrote about doctoring up your standard, run of the mill Chef Boyardee Pizza mix. I get bored easily. I also cannot make any sort of "boxed" meal without doing at least SOMETHING to it, whether that be adding more noodles, more veggies or different herbs, to make MORE of it and to make it taste at least LESS processed than it is.

(Please note, I never have claimed to be, nor will I ever BE a "foodie"...this should eliminate any expectation that I will never post about Hamburger Helper or frozen pot pies!)

Over the past month or so, I had some major stomach/gut issues and learned that I have that lovely thing called Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Yay. So, now, in hopes of finding the foods that will not upset my delicate innards, I've been playing around with assorted foods. I know that frozen pizza, fresh cucumbers, barbecued chicken, that lovely creamed chicken that I adore so much and Honey Bunches of Oats cereal all upset me greatly, much to my dismay. Everything I read, however, seems to want you to avoid any kind of healthy food, including vegetables, fiber and what not...so how is it that I can eat more healthy stuff without causing an internal ruckus? (I'll let you know when I fully figure that out!)

I wanted pizza, but didn't want the grease and fat levels of the frozen variety, so I picked up another Chef Boyardee pizza kit, the Cheese-only variety, and some fresh veggies that I knew would go good on top of it and set out to make a veggie pizza of sorts.

Keep reading to see what fresh hell I made!!!