Italian Turkey Sausage & Pepper Pasta

I’ve been making this for years…since before we had kids. In fact, when we were first married, we lived near a Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant and went there often. My husband always ordered a “Skilletini” which is a tomato based pasta dish served with peppers, onions, & sausage, much like this one. Maybe that’s why we love this so much. It reminds us of our newly-wed date nights. It was a favorite then and it’s a favorite now in our own home. ~Erin



8 oz. uncooked whole wheat penne pasta

1 ¼ lb. turkey Italian sausage (5 links)

1 bell pepper of each color: green, red, yellow, and orange; sliced into strips

1 lg. onion, sliced

2-4 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1 T. squeeze garlic)

1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 T. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. salt

3 T. of pasta water (reserved before draining cooked pasta)

1 T. olive oil

Parmesan cheese for serving, optional (not included in WW points calculations)

Crushed red pepper flakes for serving, optional


Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions; reserve 3 T. of pasta water, drain, & set aside.

Brown sausages in a large skillet over medium-high heat; remove from pan & set aside. You can either leave them whole to cook them, then slice each into four pieces; or you can slice and then cook them. I prefer to slice first and then cook the pieces because they cook faster. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Cook peppers and onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until they are crisp-tender (about 8 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute).

Add the Italian seasoning, salt, tomatoes, tomato sauce, pasta water, and sliced sausage pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add penne pasta and stir to heat through.

Serve with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

Weight Watchers Info.: This recipe makes 10 servings. Each 8 oz. serving (about 1 ½ c.) is 5 SmartPoints.


Shrimp & Peppers Cajun Skillet

This shrimp & peppers Cajun skillet is great all by itself.  And it hit me after I’d made it a couple of times that it would make a mean shrimp fajita too, if thrown into a nice warm tortilla.  Barry flips every time I make this–definitely one of his favorites.  I make it a little too spicy for the kids so I make sure I’ve got some leftovers for them so I don’t have to be conservative with the jalapeños.

As an aside, we love this blackening seasoning so much that we’ve started making a double batch most of the time…that quantity fits really nicely into a regular sized spice container. For easy storage, I reuse another emptied spice container.

You could tone down the spices if needed – tips for doing that in the recipe below. I love the heat though. It tastes just like I imagined one of Justin Wilson’s dishes would have when I watched him with Pappaw as a kid.  Enjoy!  ~Robin



Four Sisters Dish blackening seasoning (see recipe below)

12 oz. frozen container of deveined, peeled shrimp

3 T. olive oil, extra virgin, Divided (EVOO)

8 The Little Potato Company baby boomer fresh creamer potatoes, quartered

1 white onion, cut into 1” wedges

1 T. minced garlic (I use Spice World brand when I use jarred garlic – or fresh if it’s handy).

1 jalapeño pepper (slice into rings, then half the rings*)

1 bell pepper, green, cut into 1” chunks

2 bell peppers, red, cut into 1” chunks

1 tsp. garlic salt (sprinkle over veggies before add shrimp back to skillet)

Ingredients for Four Sisters Dish blackening seasoning: 

1 3/4 tsp. light brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. garlic salt

½ to 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (1 ½ tsp. is VERY hot – most will want ½ tsp. — or 1 tsp. if you want to go pretty spicy.  I love spicy food but 1 1/2 was almost too hot for me – tissues needed nearby.)

2 T. paprika (smoked paprika if making for lighter fish fillets; regular paprika for all other meats, shrimp included)


  1. Thaw shrimp; then pat to dry. Set aside.
  2. Mix up blackening seasoning (using regular paprika), stirring together all ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Begin heating a T. of EVOO in a skillet on medium heat.
  4. Coat a plate well with the Four Sisters Dish blackening seasoning. Place shrimp on the plate, then sprinkle the tops with the spice mixture as well so both sides are coated.
  5. Cook small shrimp on medium heat for 8 minutes (do not stir or they’ll lose the seasoning), turning to the other side halfway through cook time. When fully cooked, set aside.
  6. Do not wipe out the pan. The spices will help season your vegetables.
  7. Add remaining 2 T. of EVOO to the pan. Then add potatoes and onion; then lightly sprinkle them with blackening seasoning too (just to add a little flavor, not to coat them). Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. While the potatoes and onion cook, carefully remove the tails from your shrimp (be sure it’s cool enough before attempting).
  9. After potatoes and onions have cooked for five minutes, increase heat to medium-high and add jalapeño, bell peppers, & minced garlic. Sprinkle vegetables with 1 tsp. of garlic salt.  Cook for 9-11 minutes on medium-high heat until vegetables are seared and have picked up some of the spice flavors.  Be sure potatoes can be cut easily with a fork as well.
  10. Reduce heat to medium. Add shrimp back to pan, cooking another minute or just until shrimp is heated well.

Weight Watchers Info.: 4 SmartPoints (same on Freestyle plan) per serving; serves 5 (serving size: 1.5 cups).

*You could seed, then mince the jalapeño to make it less spicy.  However, if you don’t like things at all spicy, you could also use less than the whole pepper or none at all.

Broccoli Salad


Posted by Robin

Our aunt Kathleen never failed to bring this anytime we were having a salad supper at Grandma’s house, and we never failed to devour it. Even as small children. And the main ingredient is broccoli.  Enough said. 🙂

Salad Ingredients:

4 slices of bacon, crumbled into very small pieces (homemade bacon bits)

4 cups of small florets of broccoli (fresh – about 2 sm. heads)

3/4 c. sharp cheddar, shredded (don’t get the finely shredded cheese, as pieces won’t be substantive enough to taste well in the mix)*

¼- ½ large red onion, diced (depending on preference – I do ½ c.)

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 c. Miracle Whip*

1 1/2 T. sugar

2 T. white vinegar 

A dash of salt

*For the WW version if this recipe, use Miracle Whip Light and low fat cheddar. All other ingredients and quantities are the same.


Cook bacon until nice and crispy; drain, cool, and crumble.

In a large bowl, combine broccoli florets, cheddar, red onion, and bacon. Set aside.

To make dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together Miracle whip, sugar, vinegar, and salt until sugar is dissolved well, and it’s evenly combined.

Pour dressing over salad and gently toss to coat salad evenly.

Weight Watchers Info.:  Makes about 1 pound of salad – about 10 half-cup servings, 2 SmartPoints per serving (for Freestyle or the old plan).

Mango Salsa


Visiting an old friend is always fun, but when that friend has a husband who cooks while you sip drinks….well, that’s friendship gold.  Tracy’s life-long friend Dana has a husband who whips up a great Mango Salsa that is a summery treat you’ll love.  Thanks for sharing this recipe, Marc!



4 to 5 large Roma tomatoes, diced

½ yellow or white onion, diced

½ red or green bell pepper, seeded & diced

2 ripe mangos, peeled and diced

1 handful cilantro leaves, chopped

1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 T. freshly squeezed lime juice

½ tsp. salt



Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir together well, and enjoy!

This salsa is best served over a juicy piece of grilled chicken with some tortilla chips on the side!


Weight Watchers info:  drumroll please…. ZERO Smartpoints.  Enjoy all you want.