Barley + Chicken Sausage Bake

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Ain’t nothing sexy about a casserole. We can’t deny the comfort they provide, but they really need to work on their reputation…

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I just imagine some sort of chili frito mess when the word casserole is thrown around.

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Like, you ask me what’s for dinner & I tell you a casserole… Are you jazzed or what?!

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That’s why I’ve taken the liberty to call them “bakes” instead of the dreaded casserole. Genius!

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But still just as effing delicious.

Time: 50 minutes (prep + cooking) | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of barley
  • 5 links of chicken sausage (sun-dried tomato flavor here), cut in chunks
  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1.5 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp. of basil
  • 2 tbsp. of italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • S+P, to taste

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook barley according to package directions, drain & set aside
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat
  • Add garlic + onion, cook until fragrant
  • Add red pepper, cook until soft
  • Add chicken sausage + S+P, heat through
  • Add barley + tomato sauce + 1 cup of cheese + 1 tbsp. of basil + crushed red pepper + S+P, stir to combine
  • Layer barley + sausage mix into a greased baking dish
  • Add tomatoes, cover + bake for 25 minutes
  • Uncover and add remaining cheese + breadcrumbs, bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown
  • Top with remaining basil + dive in!

Pesto Pasta + Brussels Sprouts

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Perhaps the best part of getting married are all of the stellar kitchen appliances I added to our collection.

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The best one? This stunning food processor. I feel like Ina every time I pulse something.

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Before my precious, I was subjected to making pesto in a blender. What a tragedy.

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Now I get to process all of the things. I mean, it has 3 different blade options!!!

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I’m in a food processor induced euphoria & I never want to leave.

Time: 45 minutes (prep + cooking)

Serves: 2 with plenty for seconds or leftovers

Ingredients:

Pesto

  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 2 cups of basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan

Pasta + Brussels Sprouts + Chicken Sausage

  • 1 lb. of pasta (orecchiette seen here)
  • 1 lb. of brussels sprouts
  • 4-5 links of chicken sausage (garlic + herb flavored here), cut in chunks
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic
  • Sriracha, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. of honey
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • S+P, to taste
  • Parmesan for serving

How to:

  • For the pesto, combine walnuts + 3 tbsp. of garlic in a food processor. Pulse for about 20 seconds.
  • Add basil + some S+P, process on low
  • While processing, slowly add in the olive oil through that neat tube in the processor until the pesto is pureed
  • Add cheese and puree some more! About a minute.
  • For the brussels sprouts, roast them like I did here (maybe a few minutes less)
  • Cook pasta according to package directions
  • While cooking, heat 1 tbsp. of of olive oil + 1 tbsp. of garlic over medium heat
  • Add sausage and let brown
  • Add roasted brussels sprouts to the sausage pan and let cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • Once drained, put pasta back into the pot and add the pesto
  • Add sausage + brussels sprouts + S+P to the pasta pot and combine
  • Serve hot & with a sprinkle of more cheese – you will not be sorry

Adapted from this place: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/pesto-pasta-with-chicken-sausage-roasted-brussels-sprouts/

Gnocchi Skillet

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This is the first time I haven’t had a job since I was 15. I don’t really know what to do with my hands during all of this free time.

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Wait, yes I do – TELEVISION!!!!!!!!!

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In between job applications, researching how to work for myself and meal planning, I have rekindled the very serious relationship I once had with fictional TV characters.

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For example, today I re-watched the Grey’s Anatomy season 8 finale. YOU KNOW WHAT EPISODE I’M TALKING ABOUT.

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Thus, making it completely acceptable to drown my sorrows in this piping hot skillet full of gnocchi.

Time: 25 minutes (prep + cooking)

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of whole wheat gnocchi
  • 5 links of chicken sausage (spicy jalapeno variety used here), cut in chunks
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp. of basil, chiffonaded (is that a word?)
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • S+P, to taste
  • Grated parmesan for serving

How to:

  • Cook gnocchi according to package directions
  • While gnocchi is cooking, heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat
  • Cook chicken sausage for 3-5 minutes or until browned
  • Add tomatoes + S+P and cook until slightly blistered
  • Add gnocchi and cook for another 2 minutes
  • Add spinach + red pepper + S+P and cook until slightly wilted
  • Remove skillet from heat and fold in basil
  • Top with extra basil + cheese!!!!!

Idea came from this: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-gnocchi-skillet-with-sausage-amp-tomatoes-recipes-from-the-kitchn-206429