I often create recipes on the fly, based on what I feel like eating or based on ingredients in my kitchen. This dish was created, as I walked through the grocery store, based on my preferred flavor profiles when making pasta.
Box of Ancient Harvest SuperGrain Garden Pagodas Pasta (first time trying this and it is worth the splurge! Other gluten-free national pasta brands don’t stand a chance against this!)
Pack of Aidelles Chicken Apple Sausage (4 count) (exclude this ingredient if you choose to go Vegetarian/Vegan)
Bag of Fresh Express Baby Spinach
Pint of Grape Tomatoes
California Sun Dry Sundried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Herbs
4-8 cloves of Garlic or 2-4 teaspoons of minced Garlic
3/4 cup of Olive Oil (add more or less based on desired texture)
2/3 cup of Pine Nuts
2 Oz of Basil (use less Basil and more spinach or arugula, if preferred)
Block of Parmesan Cheese (exclude this ingredient if you choose to go Vegan)
Cracked Black Pepper (i.e. from a pepper mill)
Prepare Pasta according to package instructions and set aside in a strainer
While pasta water boils / while pasta cooks, brown Chicken Apple Sausage on all sides in a grill pan over Medium Low heat with a Tablespoon on Olive Oil – I personally use a Calphalon Signature Nonstick 12′ Round Grill Pan
Once Brown on all sides, transfer to a cutting board and either allow to cool or use a fork to hold in place and cut each sausage into 5-6 diagonal slices (you can also skip the Chicken and go Vegan)
Warm a saute pan over Medium Low heat and add about 1/3 cup of sundried tomatoes
Add the sliced Chicken Sausage and 2-4 cloves of minced Garlic and allow to simmer for about 2-3 minutes
Add pint of Grape Tomatoes and allow to simmer for 3- 4 minutes or until tomatoes start to wrinkle
Add Spinach (washed and strained) and cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to wilt
Add Cooked Pasta
Add about 1 cup of Basil Pesto Sauce (you will have about 1 cup leftover or you add more, if preferred)
Plate pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and Cracked Black Pepper to taste
Basil Pesto Sauce:
You can prep the pesto while the Chicken Sausage browns by using a food processor – I love my Cuisinart Food Processor!
Add Pine Nuts (you can also use Walnuts but I preferred Pine Nuts), Basil (washed and strained), 2-4 cloves of Garlic and 1/3 bag of Spinach (you can add more Basil or use Arugula if preferred) and pulse until coarsely chopped (scrap ingredients off the sides with a silicon/rubber spatula after pulsing)
Turn on processor and add Olive Oil in a steady stream until well blended
Add 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (you can skip the cheese and go Vegan) and juice from 1 Lemon and pulse to mix together
Add Salt and Pepper to taste (add more lemon juice as a tradeoff for the salt)
2016 is about reinvesting time in my passion for reading. I plan to read a minimum of 1 book per month; I’ve purchased most of these books already to keep the momentum going, so wish me luck and comment below to let me know what you are reading or what you think about my selections.
1. The Bible – To remain balanced, I must feed my soul from the source
2. Fervent – I was gifted this book due to challenges I’m facing in my professional life; I look forward to learning how to pray purposefully
3. Travel Lightly – My pastor, Craig Oliver Sr. wrote a book! He is such a gifted spiritual leader and orator so I can’t wait to read this one
4. The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes – I have a habit of limiting myself, it’s time to SAY YES!
5. You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero – I am striving to achieve goals I’ve been running from for years, I need reinforcement!
6. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, let’s see how this goes!
Book Club Reads
7. To Kill a Mockingbird – I can’t believe I’ve never read this book, it is on my list thanks to a book club that I never actually had the time/opportunity to attend
8. Go Set a Watchman – This book also landed on my list due to my failed book club attempt and I hope that it lives up to the hype
Best Sellers / Recommendations
9. The Husband’s Secret – I came across this book on the best sellers list and I’m sure it will become a guilty pleasure
10. Between the World and Me – Racial tension is at an all time high and everyone has an opinion on what’s it is like to be Black in America, I am interested in understanding this author’s perspective
11. The Secret Handshake by Kathleen Kelley – Mastering the Politics of the Business Inner Circle – One of my mentors highly recommended this book and since politics are often unavoidable, I am looking forward to increasing my savvy
12. The Negotiation Book – I completed an intense negotiations course with The Gap Partnership and this was a parting gift so why not add some new tools to my kit!