After a brief hiatus (while getting settled in my new job), I am happy to be back and blogging again! When I last posted, it was Thanksgiving and I was reflecting on the hard and happy times alike during the preceding year. Since my last post, the happy times have far outnumbered the hard times! In January I took a quick (and bittersweet) vacation to Florida to visit my family for a few days (and say a tearful goodbye to my uncle who had passed away in September). In February I left a job that was making me miserable, accepted a job that is making me happier than I've been in years and had a lovely impromptu Valentine's Day getaway with Doug. The arrival of March brought foot surgery for Doug and several weeks of recovery at home; the silver lining being the opportunity for us to spend some fantastic quality time together while he was recovering. All in all, the past few months have been good to me - busy, but good. All that busy, however, has led to less home-cooked meals and more take-out on the way home; something I have vowed to change time and again. So while I make a concerted effort to spend more time in the kitchen, I need my life to get on board and quit positioning itself between me and the stove!
But seriously, have you ever had one of those days when life gets in the way? Where no matter what your intentions you can't seem to accomplish what you set out to...and for no real reason? I had several of those days last week, but none more so than Wednesday. Typically, Wednesdays at work are pretty standard - halfway through the work week, not terribly taxing or stressful and this particular Wednesday was par for the course. I had a fairly productive day at work - however replete with last minute meetings and ad hoc tasks that led me somewhat off my intended track - still I left feeling moderately accomplished. Upon arriving home, life's intervention kicked it into high gear when I opened the door and the doorknob fell off in my hand. After temporarily reattaching the doorknob and making a mental note to permanently fix it later, Doug arrived home and was motivated to clean so we began a cleaning spree (which mostly consisted of dusting and organizing the wine collection - no small task - and some light vacuuming). We got distracted by a cute puppy outside who needed our love and attention as well as our two cute puppies inside who needed our love and attention. And while outside, we noticed that the small patch of front lawn needed "mowing" (there's so little of it that we use a weed whacker to "mow") so Doug started weed whacking the lawn, I began raking the grassy bits and before you knew it we were pulling dead grass out by the roots, tilling the soil over the entire grass patch and spreading new grass seed; our fingers crossed for a plush new lawn. By the time we returned inside it was after 8pm and I'd lost all motivation to do the only thing I'd wanted to do since leaving work - cook dinner! See? Totally life's fault! Doug's brother was going to be joining us for dinner (his arrival was imminent) and seeing as I'd promised a home-cooked meal, last minute take out wasn't an option. I needed something fast - and hearty enough for two hungry guys! So I uncorked a bottle of wine, poured Doug and I each a glass and had dinner on the table in less time than it would have taken to have a pizza delivered - and well before Steve arrived! Life, if you're listening, I'm requesting more nights like this (i.e., wine and quick dinners) please!
A "healthified" twist on an Italian restaurant classic, this dish has fast become one of our favorites and, when I'm cooking, usually makes it into rotation once a week. It's so darn yummy, the fact that it's healthy, fast and super easy is just the proverbial icing! Move over Rachael Ray - I see your 30 minute meals and raise you waistline friendly! How's that for delish?!
Cal: 458 Fat: 12g Carb: 60g Protein: 27g Fiber: 5g
12 Weight Watchers points + per serving
1 lb rotini (I used original Barilla but feel free to substitute whole wheat &/or any shape you prefer)
1 package (5 links) Jennie-O Turkey Store Sausage or Purdue Turkey Sausage (sweet Italian style), casings removed
1 bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), cleaned and cut in thirds
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
1/4 cup fat free chicken broth
1/2 cup pasta water
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
cooking oil spray
salt and pepper to taste
**Recipe Variations: Try with hot turkey sausage instead of sweet or omit the meat entirely - it's delicious either way! Or, for an added veggie boost, double up on the broccoli rabe!**
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, liberally salt the water. Blanch broccoli rabe in the salted water for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Remove broccoli rabe with tongs (do not discard the water) and immediately plunge into a bowl of icy water - this shocks the broccoli rabe and halts the cooking process. Bring the pot of water back to a boil and add pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, spray a large saute pan with cooking oil spray and heat over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add turkey sausage. Break up the turkey sausage into small pieces as it cooks.
Add chicken broth, garlic and crushed red pepper. Drain broccoli rabe and add to cooked sausage. Saute until broccoli rabe is warmed throughout.
Cook pasta just to al dente, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain. Add cooked pasta, in batches, to the saute pan with the turkey sausage and broccoli rabe and stir to combine.
Add pasta water and pecorino romano.
Cook for 2-3 minutes (the starches in the pasta water will tighten up into a light sauce) and toss to coat.
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