Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicken Sausage & Sweet Peppers with Penne

I love everything about this dinner. It was warm and filling with loads of flavor. This mozzarella and garlic chicken sausage I buy at Sam's Club is a great way to change up the dinner menu. It has a lot of flavor with out all of the fat and calories of beef or pork sausage. It is perfect grilled, but with at least a few feet of snow still on the ground here, I will be cooking these inside for a while.

These mini sweet peppers are helping me get through winter right now. They are so bright in color and full of sweetness in contrast to the bitter cold and grey weather outside. I love eating these peppers raw- they made a snack for me at work.
The pasta I used in this dish is not your ordinary pasta. For the past year I have been primarily using Dreamfields Pasta. It is a local pasta, coming from Carrington, ND, but to me the best part is that it does not raise blood sugar as high as normal pasta. This pasta has 5g of fiber and because of the way it is processed it digests further down in your intestines, not affecting blood sugar as much. I probably recommend this product to at least 3 or more patients per day I like it so much. It tastes great and you don't have to feel bad about eating your fill. Of course it still has calories, but it is going to keep you full longer because of the fiber and digestion process. Next week I will be serving some Dreamfields pasta to members of the North Dakota Legislature while we promote services that Registered Dietitians provide in our state.

The last reason I love this dish- I used some tomato sauce that I made with my garden tomatoes and had frozen. Enjoy!
Chicken Sausage & Sweet Peppers with Penne
Serves 4

5 pre-cooked chicken sausages, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
12 mini sweet pepper or 3 large bell peppers, cut into bite sized pieces
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
splash of white wine
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
16 oz tomato sauce
handful basil leaves
6-8 oz penne pasta (I recommend Dreamfields)
1/4 cup half and half
grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente and drain. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
2. Heat a large pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. Add peppers and garlic. Cook for several minutes until they start to brown.
3. Add chicken sausage to pan and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Add splash of wine to pan and allow to cook down for 1-2 minutes
4. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and basil to pan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and allow liquid to cook down for about 5 minutes. Add reserved cooking water and half and half and stir to combine.
5. Add pasta to chicken sausage mixture and cook for about 2 minutes more. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

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