Spicy Turkey Sausage & Rotini Pasta with Béchamel Sauce

spicy turkey sausage

I can’t deny that I love pasta dishes, it must be the Italian in me, but it gets boring to eat the same thing over and over again. My son loves meatballs, most kids do, but I can’t always eat them, when its pasta night, I like to come up with different combinations just to keep it interesting, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I don’t post those one, I just hide it in shame, feeding the stray animals around, they appreciate it at least I opted for using a browned spicy turkey sausage in this pasta dish making it a little better of a healthy option, and a little  kick with the spicy heat. For the kids you can just simply brown a small amount of mild turkey sausage in a separate pan, or if you don’t like spicy sausage make the entire dish with mild turkey sausage instead. Since its summer a great option would be to cook the sausage on the BBQ giving it another great layer of flavor, but it was a little cooler the day I made this dish, so I made on the stove top.

If your looking for a spiced up different pasta dish to get out of the same old dishes for a change give this Spicy Turkey Sausage & Rotini Pasta with Béchamel Sauce a try. Ciao for now.

Prep time:  15 mins

Cook time:  35 mins

Total time:  50 mins

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

Ingredients for Béchamel Sauce:

3 tbsp. OPTION 1 is organic butter this is a healthy option but has a little higher fat content then option 3

OPTION 2 is a vegan and lactose free margarine this is a great option for those who need to follow a lactose free diet usually helping those with IC/PBS and GLUTEN INTOLERANCE or

OPTION 3 is smart balance buttery spread with omega 3, this is a healthier option promoting heart health. Choose one of the 3 options.

2 tbsp. organic unrefined, unbleached white flour (as a substitute for a gluten free diet use either equal measurements of arrow root starch or sweet rice flour)

1 tsp. of fresh garlic pureed

2 cups of skim milk (I use lactose free skim milk some people with IC/PBS can not tolerate the lactose in milk)

½ tsp. of oregano and basil each you can also use fresh herbs which will taste better, just a small hand full chopped up fine will do the trick

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. black pepper (omit if not tolerable in your IC/PBS diet.)

½ cup organic fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Sausage and Pasta Toss:

1 box whole wheat rotini pasta if you are looking to make a gluten-free dish use your favorite GF pasta. I prefer to use corn pasta instead of rice pasta, it cooks a little more firm and has better taste in my opinion, but its what ever you prefer.

4-5 links of spicy turkey sausage

½ cup frozen peas

½ cup frozen corn

about half a package of cherry tomatoes sliced

1 red pepper sliced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 green onion chopped

1 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Instructions for Béchamel Sauce:

In a saucepan melt butter on low heat, add finely pureed garlic sauté for 1 minute, add flour one tbsp. at a time whisking completely to avoid any clumps.

Add milk whisk together turn up heat to medium and allow to boil over and thicken about 5 mins.

Season with sea salt, black pepper if tolerable in IC/PBS diet, oregano, and basil, whisk to blend.

Remove from heat and add Parmesan blending in, set aside on a warmer or just cover to keep warm during the time that everything else is being completed.

Start preparing the pasta by bringing boiling a large pan filled with water, and start cooking your pasta in accordance with the instructions on the packaging, till al dente. The next step is to remove excess water and leave to the side, for a few minutes if the rest of the meal is not ready yet. I try to organize my time so the sausage and veggies are ready by the time the pasta is done cooking.

Instructions for Spicy Sausage Pasta:

Using a decent sized skillet, heat up olive oil, sauté garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes till softened, stirring so not to burn, add in cut up spicy sausage, cover and allow to brown for around 3 to 5 minutes, then stir over, cover again, and brown the other side another 2-3 minutes.

Remove lid toss in red peppers, sauté for around 2 to 3 minutes, then add in chopped tomatoes, corn and peas, cook just till warmed about 1-2 minutes, add in cooked and well drain pasta, pour in Béchamel sauce, as much or as little as you like toss to coat everything and simmer for 1 minute just to make sure the pasta and sauce are heated through. Sprinkle a little fresh Parmesan over top and serve warm.

All I can say is enjoy this recipe because it will be delicious. But, just remember to thoroughly clean your teeth because things can get a bit messy when you’re eating this. Hope this doesn’t put you off because the recipe is incredibly delicious.

Finding the Best Electric Toothbrush in the UK

philips diamondclean

If you’re British then I’m sure you’re aware that our teeth don’t have a good reputation in the rest of the world. I think it’s probably because we love tea and coffee so much and we certainly don’t take care of our teeth that much. I know that a lot of the times that I’ve gone to see my Dentist, he’s not been too pleased with me. But I think times are changing a little bit. A lot of us are thinking more and more about how our teeth look and this is partly due to the social media teaching us how to look better and how to take care of ourselves a bit better. On top of that, the UK has the latest technology when it comes to cleaning teeth and there are certainly high quality electric toothbrushes available here.

I think these types of rechargeable electric toothbrushes do help when it comes to cleaning the teeth properly when compared to a normal toothbrush. If you combine this with flossing and regular use of mouthwash, you’re definitely going to see some great results very quickly. And if you haven’t used an electric toothbrush before then it’s probably the right time to get one. Due to the holiday season, there are tons of sales and I’m sure you can bag a good deal if you try hard enough. But before doing this, make sure you read electric toothbrush reviews and compare the ratings and reviews of each model.

When it comes to the top rated rechargeable toothbrushes, there are some that stand out more than the rest. The Oral B 6000 model is probably the best electric toothbrush by Oral B and it has Bluetooth technology within it. This means that you can connect to an app and everything. However, when it comes to buying the best electric toothbrush, connecting it to an app is useless. We are more interested in seeing how it performs and I must admit it does this fantastically well. It probably has the best battery available and it kind of reads how you brush your teeth and optimise itself for your habits. You will even be able to monitor these and share them with your dentist if you wanted to. In general, I just think this is the best when it comes to performance and battery life.

The EasyClean toothbrush by Sonicare is another one that does exactly what it says. When compared to the previous model, this one is a lot simpler but it carries out the task really impressively. I think this electric toothbrush is perfect for someone who doesn’t want any features and would rather spend less on getting a rechargeable toothbrush that is efficient and powerful. Once again, the biggest advantage associated with the Sonicare EasyClean rechargeable toothbrush is that it provides a huge battery that is going to allow the toothbrush to work for quite a few weeks. This is also the toothbrush that is associated with the best value for money.

Lastly, the ProClinical A1500 by Colgate is another top rated electric toothbrush that I have come across. Unfortunately I don’t have too much experience with this one but I’ve heard lots of great things about it. This is because the latest technology that focus different on different teeth has been utilized to make this model. This means that this toothbrush is going to function differently for different teeth and this is bound to ensure thorough and more efficient cleaning. The only issue with this model is that you might not like it at the start and it certainly takes a little bit of getting used to. However, if you continue using it for a few weeks, I have no doubts that this is going to do wonders for your teeth.

Pepper Goat Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

portobello mushrooms

It was another cold day today, and that’s why I have a quick and easy meal plan for you with a Pepper Goat Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushroom being the lead runner of the meal, you can cook them up on the BBQ so it might even heat up your home. But, cooking these will definitely fill your home with plenty of delicious wow factor flavour.

Hope everyone finds good ways to keep warm.

Ciao for now!

Side dish suggestions for this meal:

Mediterranean Whole Wheat Couscous Salad

Veggie Tiny Rotini Pasta Salad

Berry Spinach Salad

Balsamic Breaded Tomato Salad

Prep time:  15 mins

Cook time:  10 mins

Total time:  25 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

4 large Portobello mushrooms2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. No Salt vegetable seasoning by Club House

¼ tsp., sea salt

⅓ cup shredded skim milk mozzarella

4 tbsp. Pepper Goat Cheese

Instructions

Clean out the bottoms of the Portobello mushroom, using a small spoon to gently scrap away the gills, set onto a large plate or tray.

In a small bowl combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, cayenne, vegetable seasoning and sea salt, whisk to combine, drizzle equal portions over each Portobello mushroom and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.

In the mean time grate mozzarella into a bowl add the 4 tbsp. of pepper goat cheese and mix to combine, set aside for a few minutes, while you prep the mushrooms.

Heat up your grill on medium heat, place the mushroom down on the side where the gills were, Close lid and BBQ for 3-4 minutes till it starts to brown, remove from grill place onto a tray and fill that grilled side with shredded mozzarella and pepper goat cheese, place back on the grill with the cheese side facing up and grill for another 4-5 minutes till mushroom starts to crispy and cheese is melted, Remove from grill. If you like you can brown the cheese under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes, although this would defeat the purpose of not having to turn on the oven, but for a little browned cheese and a few minutes, why not I say.

Serve hot with either a tossed green salad, spinach salad or even a pasta salad filled with your favorite veggies. I usually cut up all my veggies for a pasta salad prior to cooking the mushrooms, toss them into a bowl, add dressing, and get the pasta started on the side burner of the BBQ, cook the mushrooms about the same time as you add the pasta to the boiling water and your meal should be ready at the same time.

Ricotta Mashed Potato

mashed-potatoes

You wouldn’t believe how fluffy and creamy these baked mashed potatoes are unless you tried it for yourself. The smooth and light ricotta cheese is a complete compliment for a light tasting potato side dish that you will want to serve with your next turkey or chicken dinner. I made them a little extra special by serving them in a personal sized ramekins, making it a sweet addition to a dinner plate and helping to control portion serving which helps keep the waist line in check.

Be sure to keep this recipe in your personal recipe box for a go to on special occasions such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Prep time:  25 mins

Cook time:  20 mins

Total time:  45 mins

Serves: 4

Be sure to keep this simple yet most impressive mashed potato side dish in your recipe box, ready to pull out for Holidays, special occasions or a nice dinner with the family.

Ingredients

6-8 large Yukon potatoes

¼ cup skim milk

½ cup ricotta cheese

2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

½ cup grated provolone cheese divided

1 tbsp. whole wheat bread crumbs

1 tbsp. ground flax seed

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Instructions

Peel and clean potatoes. Cut them into cubes and place them in a large pot filled ¾ with water, bring to a boil and cook potatoes for about 15 minutes till potatoes are fork tender.

Place milk in a cup and warm up in microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Place ricotta in a dish and warm up in microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Drain potatoes in a colander and place back into pot.

Place butter in pot along with milk, ¼ cup of provolone cheese and Parmesan mashed blending all ingredients together. I use an electric hand mixer to save my arm from over exertion.

Add in Ricotta and mix till smooth and creamy.

Scoop potatoes into ramekins and top each one with the remaining grated provolone cheese.

In a small dish place ground flax-seed and bread crumbs whisk to combine, sprinkle over top of each ramekins.

Heat oven to 400F, place ramekins on a baking sheet and place in oven, bake for 20 minutes, till cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.

Strawberry Sauce

balsamic strawberry sauce

With all the strawberries I have I couldn’t resist to make a good strawberry sauce, perfect for drizzling over pancakes, waffles, all kinds of cakes, muffins, even ice cream. This is a great recipe to keep in your recipe files because it is super easy to make and everyone will love it.

Perhaps I will make a light cheese cake later today or waffles with fresh fruit and strawberry sauce drizzled over top for a dessert tonight after dinner, that one sounds good too, oh so many choices, so little time, plus I would have to work out in my sleep if I eat too much, and my sleep is important to me lol.

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Serves: 1 cup

Ingredients

1 pint strawberries

1/3 cup organic sugar

2 tbsp. orange juice not from concentrate

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 cup water

Instructions

Wash strawberries well, cut them up into small pieces, and place them into a heavy saucepot.

Season the strawberries with the sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon, toss to coat.

Pour in lemon and orange juice.

Add 2 tbsp. of corn starch to the 1/2 cup of water, whisk till it is dissolved completely, and pour into sauce pot.

Bring mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat stirring occasionally, once it comes to a gently boil, turn down to a low simmer, stirring frequently allow to thicken for about 5 minutes, remove from heat once desired thickness is reached. The sauce will continue to thicken a little as it cools.

Once the sauce has cooled, puree in a blender or processor. I go the extra mile and strain all the seeds out as well. I don’t like the seeds too much but either way that part is up to you.

The strawberry sauce as I am putting it in my mini processor to puree it. No sense in getting the big blender dirty.

Now its time to strain out the seeds and little pulp. You don’t have to do this step, I just prefer not to have the little seeds stuck in my teeth.

Viola lovely smooth strawberry sauce ready for what ever your heart desires. Make sure you store it in an airtight container, and store it in the fridge. It should stay fresh for 2-3 days, or you can freeze it.

Zucchini Potato Hash Brown Breakfast

zucchini hash brown

I basically have breakfast on the menu a lot these days. I have made zucchini chips in the past but todays menu item is comforting Zucchini Potato Hash Brown breakfast. It has a great crispy crunch texture along with a savoury flavour that will have you looking back in the pan to see if you remembered to make some extra.

Breakfast has always been my favourite meal and I think right now its my meal of choice to be cooking because first thing in the morning is the only time of the day that’s kinda cool out, and I don’t mind turning on the stove or oven, plus I’m hungry so I make breakfast naturally. The rest of the day I have literally been avoiding the kitchen like the plague, and not to mention I think I am going through a cooking drought.

This cooking drought feeling is a first for me. I just can’t seem to come up with anything creative, and I find myself not wanting to be the one who comes up with what to cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and really I can’t manage to cook the some old thing for dinner not even one more time, I may scream if I have too.

At first I felt a sense of fear thinking that I lost my passion and mojo, and I thought great now what I am going to do? Now I realize that all of food lovers and us aspiring cooks need new resources, and a chance of revisiting what we have already done to get some of that much needed inspiration back. This morning I came across one of the blogs I get RSS feed from, and this blogger was experiencing the same feelings I am. I instantly felt relieved because it made me realize that I wasn’t loosing anything, I just needed to explore some new things and places that would give me my inspiration for the love of food and cooking back. This week on my grocery shopping day I am heading straight for the book store, and scanning the cookbook isle to see what new inspiration may jump out at me and say, “take me home, you need me.” I think it will be exactly what I need to get those creative juices flowing back.

Stay tuned for the newly inspired, revamped me, hopefully.

Enjoy your breakfast, fill up on energy and good feelings and be inspired with what ever your passions are, Ciao for now, I’ll be back soon!!

Zucchini Potato Hash-Brown Breakfast

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Total time: 50 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients

1 small zucchini grated and set into a colander to naturally release its extra fluid for about 20-30 minutes, season with sea salt

2 small red potatoes grated

1 clove of garlic mined fine1 small shallot sliced (for IC/PBS I find that shallots are milder then regular onions and usually are tolerable for me you may choose to omit them)

2 tbsp. olive oil ( as well for IC/PBS if olive oil is not tolerable for you, you can sub with canola oil)

sea salt and black pepper to season

½ tsp. vegetable seasoning by Club house

2 eggs

½ cup choice of cheese such as old white cheddar or regular aged cheddar (optional)

Instructions

Wash and dry zucchini, grate it into a colander, season with sea salt and allow for the excess fluid to naturally release itself, this is called dredging, usually 20-30 minutes will do. Once you have dredged the zucchini using your hands place the zucchini onto a clean kitchen towel, pull all the sides together and ring out the water squeeze out as much of the extra fluid as possible and place the zucchini into a bowl.

Wash and dry the potato grate it as well you can do the two at the same time in separate towels. Then squeeze out extra fluid as well place the potato into the bowl with the zucchini, season them with sea salt, black pepper and vegetable seasoning.

Heat up olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat, add minced garlic and sliced shallots cook for 2 minutes till shallots are softened.

Add zucchini and potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes on one side till browned flip them over and cook the other side for another 5-7 minutes till browned as well, make sure you are cooking them on a medium-high heat to get the browned texture.

In a separate pan while the hash browns are cooking, cook your eggs the way you like them over easy, medium, hard, scrambled or even boiled then sliced.

Place cooked hash browns onto a plate top with a sprinkle of cheese if desired, lay your egg over top, serve hot and enjoy.

Zucchini Chips

zucchini chips recipe

I don’t think I have ever met anyone as of yet who doesn’t like eating chips, but the usual truth about chips is the fact of how unhealthy they are. I have seen from time to time vegetable chips in the grocery store in the health food section, and at local markets. They have always caught my eye of interest, so I thought they shouldn’t be too hard to duplicate.

First thing was first, I bought an already made bag of vegetable chips, to get a better idea of the taste and texture. To my surprise it didn’t taste like cardboard. They were crunchy and had just the right amount of flavour, so now it was time for me to give it a try. I decided to make zucchini chips, but you can use zucchini, eggplants, even beets. My next trip to the grocery store I am going to pick up some beets and give beets a try too.

This recipe includes just a few simple ingredients, and the flavour is open to play around with. If you like things more on the plain side, just salt and pepper might be your pick or you can venture down the road of a little spicy kick, such as adding cayenne or a little piri piri sauce. Options are endless as long as you like the flavour.

Recipe type: Snack

Prep time:  1 hour

Cook time:  2 hours

Total time:  3 hours

Serves: 1 cup

Ingredients

1 small zucchini

½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp. white rice vinegar

½ tsp. sea salt

⅛ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. sweet chilli pepper

½ tsp. vegetable seasoning by Club House

Instructions

Wash zucchini and pat dry, using a mandolin or sharp knife cut thin slices round, about ¼ inch thick.

This recipe will work out better and crisper if you place the sliced zucchini in a colander, than place a plate over top and put a heavy jar of something like pickles on top of the plate, this will allow for the retained water in the zucchini to be released. Allow for the water to release for about an hour.

Once the zucchini are ready place them into a small bowl, pour olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, pepper and spices in the bowl as well, toss to evenly coat.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the zucchini in rows. It is ok if you slightly over lap, but do not cover completely.

Place in an oven that has been heated to a low 200F, allow for the zucchini to cook for about 2 hours or until dry and crisp to touch.

Keep an eye on them after an hour because time may vary from one oven to another.

You can enjoy these plain or make a yogurt dip using plain greek yogurt and some fresh dill and a dash of sweet chilli pepper. Also be sure to check my other recipe involving zucchini that I shared recently!