Baked Gnocchi with Keilbasa, Spinach and Herbs and some Fresh Mozzarella

Trying to get creative with cooking lately sometimes leaves me stumped… because I feel like I’ve tried to cook just about everything. My husband has even gifted me with cooking classes here locally so I can learn how to make dishes that are a bit ambitious for me… so I can learn how to do it correctly… and it was so fun! I learned how to make risotto! I even ventured and made a jambalaya risotto. Now, that will be on a blog at a later time, it is probably one of my favorite ways to make it! For my birthday this year, he is going to go to a cooking class WITH me! Some of the things I still want to learn how to perfect are: Salmon, homemade pasta (of all kinds), bread with a starter, fish (other than salmon), bone broth, homemade tortillas, paella, a perfect poached egg, and homemade mayonnaise… just to name a few! I thought I was over learning new things… but I seriously cannot stop watching videos and cooking shows and Netflix shows about cooking. I love to learn new techniques and methods and recipes!
One of my FAVORITE shows is Chef’s Table on Netflix. I watch the show with a notebook sometimes, writing down ideas that I want to try… or a type of food that I want to research and attempt recipes of. Is it just me that does this, or does anyone else? The more that I cook, the more that I want to know. Especially cooking for my husband… he makes me feel like a James Beard award winning chef! He is my love… and he makes me feel so adored, that I would cook every day if he was the only person that ever noticed or loved it. He is my person.
Because he is so special, I had to make a special recipe for gnocchi!
This recipe came from the fact that I was at Aldi, and walked past a package of gnocchi and my mouth started watering… so I bought it. HA! When I got home later, I realized that I didn’t want to do just anything with it, or what I have done before… I wanted to do something NEW. There’s a few things that you can do with gnocchi, but it’s usually pretty traditional. I have a certain way I wanted to make it, and had to get a bit creative with the ingredients and the way I prepared it so that I could get it just how I wanted it. Luckily, it turned out DELICIOUS!! This dish will seem like it is a lot of steps, but they are QUICK steps, and won’t take as long as it seems like it will… and all of the steps are worth it, for the end result. It felt rustic, and like comfort food.

Ingredients:

1 package of gnocchi (I used Aldi Priano Gnocchi – I will post a picture)
1/2 (to a whole, depending on how many servings you want) turkey Kielbasa (you can also use Aidells andouille sausage) sliced into bite size pieces and set aside
1/2 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1 ball of FRESH mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine (you can use chicken broth instead, just use 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 to 3 TB butter
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 sweet yellow onion
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
dash of dried red pepper flakes

Honestly, not the prettiest dish to photograph… but can you imagine the taste of that stringy, melted FRESH mozzarella over the crispy gnocchi?!?!?!?!

Directions:

Start by bring a large sauce pan full of water to boil with a dash of salt in it. Cook the gnocchi based on the instructions on the back of the package. Once cooked, strain and leave in a strainer and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, chop your onions, kielbasa, and spinach.
Heat a skillet, or dutch oven on the stove with 2 TB butter in it. Heat it at medium so you do not burn the butter. Take the onions, and put into the butter and start to saute. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and evenly space them so none is overlapping. Let simmer and crisp on the one side for about 2 minutes until they are slightly crisp and golden brown. Flip and do the same on the other side. Once browned on both sides, add the kielbasa, garlic, and seasonings and wine and chicken broth. Give a good stir to combine. Add the chopped spinach and stir until it just starts to wilt. Flatten out a bit and top with the sliced mozzarella, evenly spaced, and then sprinkle with a bit of the parmesan. Put into the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted, bubbly and slightly browned.

Makes 4 servings.

Then, SERVE!

This dish just warmed me through, I felt like it was a dish I would crave in the winter when I just needed some comfort food to warm the soul. My husband ate the leftovers for 2 days! I love the crisp on the gnocchi, where it’s soft and pillowy inside, but has a nice crunch on the outside… PERFECT!

One of my new favs ūüôā

Air-fried Hash and Brussel Sprouts Topped with an Egg and Pesto

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So, here I am, blogging again. Two years is quite a long time to take a hiatus. A lot has happened in that time… a lot! We aren’t even living in the same house… much less the same city. We have had adventures, losses, joys and sorrows. The same as a lot of others, I’m sure. I have really missed blogging, especially when my husband posts a picture of what I cook on facebook, and someone asks for the recipe… and I have to say “I have NO idea what I did!!”. It’s an effort and a habit to pay attention to what I am doing with how I am cooking. Writing down measurements, ingredients, cook times and heats…. otherwise I am just cooking based on taste and feeling… which I LOVE to do!! Cooking is my passion, my stress reliever and a joy. I have been cooking A LOT, especially lately, in my “new” kitchen. I have come up with quite a few recipes lately that my hubby asked me to make again… but I couldn’t remember exactly how I did it… so, again, he asked if I would pick up blogging so I could write it down. I put him off until I had a couple of people ask me for recipes of what I was posting… and now, here I am, posting some recipes I’ve made, and really want to become consistent again. Maybe I’ll even write a cookbook! That’s quite honestly a dream of mine! Either way, here is the recipe that my husband LOVED! I made it at the end of January with my Christmas gift, a Ninja Foodi!!!!! I LOVE my new Foodi…. LOVE. So versatile, and easy to use. I like that it is an air fryer, you can saute in it, broil, and pressure cook! I’ve made a few things in it, but this was the first meal I used it as an air fryer… and it turned out GREAT!

I did NOT take a lot of pictures when I was cooking, like I normally would… so the picture above is IT. I am also trying super hard to remember all of the ingredients that I used… bear with me, and let me know if you have any questions!! I got A LOT of my ingredients at Aldi.

Ingredients:

1 1lb bag of brussel sprouts (FYI, use them the SAME day you buy them, they go bad quickly.) (Also, got them at Aldi)
1 small bag of rainbow baby potatoes
1 zucchini
1/2 sweet yellow onion
1/2 turkey keilbasa
3 slices pre-cooked bacon
Pre-made (homemade if you can) Pesto
1 fried egg per person
Salt and Pepper – to taste
2-3 TB olive oil
1-2 tsp Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
Optional shaved parmesan for serving

This makes 4 servings

Directions:

Start by prepping the brussel sprouts. Dump the bag of brussel sprouts into a colander and wash WELL and dry them. Then, cut the stems off, and then slice the brussel sprouts in half, discarding the stems. Remove any browned or wilted looking leaves from each one and then set brussel sprouts aside in a large glass bowl. Microwave the pre-cooked bacon (or cook your bacon to your desired crispiness, crumble and set aside) for about 40 seconds, set aside. Cut your kielbasa into bite sized pieces and set aside. Dice your onion and add to the glass bowl. I sliced my zucchini into bite size pieces and then tossed them and the baby potatoes into the bowl as well (you can cut them into bite size pieces if you’d like, but I left them whole since they are already pretty small). Drizzle the olive oil over everything and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the seasonings and the salt and pepper and toss again so everything is evenly distributed. I placed my air fryer basket into the Ninja Foodi and then dumped the contents of the bowl directly into the Ninja Foodi basket. Close the air fryer lid, and set the temperature to 390, and the time to 15 minutes (You may have to add 5 minutes to this if you like it a bit more crispy). Open the lid and toss the contents about every 5 minutes. During the last five minutes add the kielbasa and toss, and close the lid to finish cooking.

While the air fryer is finishing up, put 1/2 TB butter in a pan and fry up a couple of eggs to put on top of your hash. Then, drizzle your pesto over the egg and hash, sprinkle bacon over top and SERVE! You can even top with a bit of shaved parmesan if you would like!
Let me know if you have any questions!

Quick Turkey Kielbasa and Pepper Skillet

When I was first married, I did a LOT of the quick skillet meals. The ones that are frozen, you dump in your skillet and a few minutes later it’s all done?! Well… look at the ingredients sometime. It’s not just whats on the front picture. It has a LOT of things that if you made something similar at home, you wouldn’t add. You won’t even understand what all of the ingredients are!

So, if you want a dinner that’s PARTIALLY homemade, that’s done in around 20 minutes… try this one!

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Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 whole turkey keilbasa sliced and halved
2 TB butter
4-5 sweet mini peppers sliced thin and seeded
1/4 sweet yellow onion sliced thin
1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium, free range organic)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 large organic carrots sliced
1/4 tsp  dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper

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Directions:

Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the diced potatoes and carrots. Add the chicken broth and all of the seasonings and cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until they are softening. Remove lid and add the onions, peppers and kielbasa and cook until heated through and the onions start to become translucent.

Serve and ENJOY!

See, Quick and easy!!

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And now, for the quote of the day:

50 Inspirational Quotes to Live By in Daily Life | http://blog.piktureplanet.com/inspirational-quotes-to-live-by-in-daily-life/

Spicy Beans and Rice with Kielbasa

My husband, who has a love of all things Mexican/spicy/taco related… LOVES beans and rice. Especially red beans and rice. I, personally, am kind of picky when it comes to beans. I’m all about a certain texture. Some ¬†beans have a “weirder” texture than others. Black beans are ones that I actually like/tolerate better than others. SO… when I decided to make this dish, I had to swap out a few ingredients… and then I spiced it up a bit! Usually rice and beans is quite mild, but I thought… let’s make it a bit spicy for my hubby! It turned out delicious too! I will give options for those who do NOT want the extra heat in the dish and prefer their beans and rice on the milder side.

This dish… literally… took me 15 minutes to cook. That’s it. Start to finish. 15 minutes, DONE. ¬†My husband took the kids and the dog on a walk, when they got back, dinner was done! That’s not hard, right?! Who needs a processed and prepackaged voila meal when you can make something like this so quickly?! AND you know all of the ingredients and sodium etc. content, because you put it in there! (Except for the kielbasa… but I get the cleanest, most natural kind I can possibly find… and the Turkey version!). So… give this one a try, you busy busy families! You won’t regret it!

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Servings: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 package (14 ounce) All Natural Turkey (or regular)¬†kielbasa,¬†sliced
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups water
  • 1 can (14 ounce) black beans, rinsed well
  • 2 mini sweet yellow peppers diced (OR half of a bell pepper)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne powder (SKIP if you want MILD rice and beans)
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning like: Emeril’s Bayou Blast (IF you want MILD, try using 1/4 tsp of turmeric!! Beautiful color and MILD taste!)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis (Rotel or similar) — for mild, use the diced tomatoes w/out the chilis
  • salt and pepper, to taste

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Directions
  1. Start the rice in a pan or the rice cooker. RINSE your rise until the water runs clear. I use a mesh colander. Place the rice into a pan, or rice cooker, and fill until the water covers the rice and rises to the first crease on your finger if you are BARELY touching the top of the rice…. Make sense?? If not, follow the directions on the bag. ūüôā Press COOK on the rice cooker if you have one… and move on. Otherwise, follow rice instructions on the bag.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high. Add the kielbasa and onion; sauté until onions become soft and translucent (about 3 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic, beans and peppers and stir for about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the cooked rice and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir until well incorporated.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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This was full of heat, and flavor, and makes my mouth water thinking about it!!

YUM! The leftovers definitely were enjoyed!!

And now, for the quote of the day:

The Dalai Lama has a Message for You. {13 Quotes to Steer your Life by} | elephant journal

Oven Roasted Sausage and Potatoes

This dish was definitely easy! You do have to have 30-45 minutes to bake/roast it… but it is completely worth it! Just a little chopping and peeling, a bit of stirring and you’ve got a filling and hearty meal that the whole family will LOVE! You could even use these same ingredients and put them in foil packets and toss them on the grill for a quick and easy meal as well! Either way it will turn out delicous!

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Oven Roasted Sausage and Potatoes
Serves 4

1 package of nitrite/nitrate free turkey kielbasa or smokes sausage
1/2 large yellow sweet onion, peeled and chopped
3 large yukon gold, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-2 TB butter
a handful of grated strong cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray cooking spray on a large 9×13 baking pan (casserole dish) or thinly coat with a bit of butter. Set aside.

Put the sausage rounds, onions and potatoes into a large bowl. Drizzle with a couple turns of olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika, dill, oregano (and even a dash of cayenne powder for a bit of spice if you’d like!) and dried thyme. Toss together with until everything is evenly distributed. Pour this out into the baking dish, and spread it out as much as you can. Top with small pieces of the butter evenly across the top (optional) for nicely browned potatoes.

Place into the heated oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes are golden brown and tender. Turn off the oven. Scatter the cheese over top of the cooked meat and potatoes, Pop back into the oven a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve immediately.

NOTE:  I would not use any more than 1/2 tsp of the dried thyme, unless you really, really like the flavour of thyme.

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Enjoy!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Creamy-Cheesy-Spicy Hearty One Pot Pasta

Do you want something creamy, and yet with a kick of heat at the same time? Something cheesy that still makes you sweat?! Who doesn’t!???? Right?
This dish is IT! And, it’s filling and yummy. Like, real yummy. (You’d never know I was an English major in college would you? I’m not going to discuss how long it’s been.)

This dish takes 20 to 25 minutes to complete, and only 1 pot dirtied! So, if you get home late, pop it in the pan with almost all of the ingredients, simmer… finish and serve! Love these types of dinners!

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Creamy-Cheesy-Spicy Hearty One Pot Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Turkey Kielbasa cut up
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (10 oz)¬†can fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1/2 cup¬†half&half
  • 8 oz dry pasta (I used whole grain spaghetti, you can use whatever)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach chopped
  • garnish with parmesan cheese and a bit more spinach (chopped)

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Instructions

  1. Add Olive Oil to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic powder and onion powder and cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, and half&half. Sprinkle spinach in and let wilt.
  4. Garnish with parmesan cheese, and a bit of extra spinach.
  5. Makes about 4 servings. YUM!

And, my favorite things to cook and stir with, that also makes sure that I don’t scratch my awesome pans are:

* Ioven 8.5 inch Silicone Spatula Set of 4

* Totally Bamboo 5-Piece Utensil Set

wpid-1427934476316.jpgAnd now, for the quote of the day:

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Quick and Easy Skillet Cabbage with Kielbasa

Sunday night and I need a quick dinner that’s filling, but won’t make me regret it the next morning. When you think Sunday dinner, what do you normally think? I usually think Chinese takeout, pizza, popcorn, oh… the list of easy options where I don’t cook could go on for quite a while! But tonight, I am remembering that I am in a fitness challenge group, and that I will be posting a picture of what I am eating. This, in turn, helps me to keep accountable to eating healthier! So… Cabbage and turkey kielbasa it is!

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Ingredients

2 TB butter or margarine
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced (I use all natural and nitrite/nitrate free turkey kilebasa)
4 TB olive oil for sauteing
Juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup or so) plus zest
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Dash (or more if you’d like!) Hot sauce

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Directions

Heat olive oil in the skillet on medium heat. Place chopped cabbage into the skillet. Add onion and garlic. Sautee until cabbage starts to get slightly more tender (about 3-5 minutes). Add lemon juice, zest and butter and sausage. Stir until cabbage is soft, bit still has a bit if crunch (unless you like it softer). Season with salt and pepper to taste¬† Serve with hot sauce or a bit of cheese if you’d like. It’s good as a main dish and also as a side dish! Quite filling too! Give this one a try if you want something to make with ingredients you most likely already have in your fridge and have no clue what to make! Isn’t that how great recipe are made?!

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Enjoy!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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1 Pot Wonder: Sun-dried Tomato and Kielbasa Pasta

I was at a women’s church conference a lot of the last couple days and wanted something quick and easy when I came home today. This was definitely the answer! I like dishes that I can just toss in 1 single pot, only dirty 1 dish, and then serve from that same dish.
Have you ever gotten done cooking and looked around and seen like an entire sink full worth of dishes to wash?! I definitely have done that. I do try to wash and clean as I go, but in general I like to use as little dishes as possible. When I find one that I like, I have to post it!
Side note: So today our dog had dog training! Good thing, he’s doing really well! Bad thing, he doesn’t show his true colors when the trainer is around… ever. It’s really really annoying! It’s lime children and their babysitter or nanny. ANGELS compared to when they are with you! Ha! Hopefully his true colors will come out when needed.

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Ingredients

3/4 pound spaghetti
1 package all natural nitrate free turkey kielbasa, thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes with some oil from the jar
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Kosher Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dash (1/8 tsp) cayenne powder
1 TB butter
1 cup grated Parmesan
Garnish with fresh parsley

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INSTRUCTIONS

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine spaghetti, kielbasa, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, cayenne powder and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan.
Serve immediately

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This one was a HIT too! So easy, and everyone went back for seconds and I still has some leftovers! Have a crazy day and need to have something quick to make? This is it! And I purchased all of these ingredients at Aldi! Give it a go!

And now, in honor of the women’s conference I went to this weekend, the quote of the day:

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