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

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Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

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Pizza Pot Pies

I very rarely sit down and watch a TV show.  About the only time I watch a show, in its entirety, is when I’m on the treadmill.  My favorite channel?  Food Network.  I am aware that it’s odd to watch cooking shows while exercising but I love them.  Not long ago, I watching a show where chefs recall their favorite dishes they’ve ever eaten.  This particular episode featured a restaurant that served pizza pot pies.  Ooey, gooey cheese, meat, and veggies, all covered with a warm crust… I knew I had to recreate it for myself.

These pizza pot pies are a fun variation on regular pizza.  There’s just something about getting your own little dish to yourself that you can turn upside down.  Seeing the melty cheese stretch as the filling piles high on top of the soft crust is about as much fun as dinner gets. YUMMY!  ͂ Erin

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Ingredients:

1 c. self-rising flour

1 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt

½ lb. mild turkey breakfast sausage, browned & drained

1 medium bell peppers, diced

½ medium onion, diced

4 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, diced

2 oz. turkey pepperoni, chopped

2 oz. fully cooked Canadian bacon, chopped

1 1/3 c. low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, divided

2 cloves minced garlic

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. dried basil

½ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. oregano

½ tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. sugar

Non-stick cooking spray

1 egg, beaten

Italian seasoning, optional

Instructions:

To make the crust, mix the Greek yogurt and the self-rising flour in the bowl of your stand mixer for a couple minutes on low until well mixed.  I used my paddle attachment.  You can also mix it by hand.  Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface (flour your hands too) and knead it a few times.  Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Spray 4 6-ounce ramekins inside and out and place them on a sheet pan.  (If you don’t have ramekins, see note below.)  Fill each ramekin with 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.  Set aside.

Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; sauté veggies over medium heat until crisp-tender.

Add cooked sausage, chopped pepperoni, chopped Canadian bacon, minced garlic, tomato sauce, garlic salt, basil, onion powder, oregano, paprika, black pepper, and sugar.  Simmer on low about 5 minutes.

Disperse meat filling evenly on top of cheese in the ramekins.

Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and pat into discs.

Top each ramekin with a piece of dough, stretching over the sides a bit.

Brush the dough with egg and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, if desired.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Using an oven mitt, turn out on your plate for serving. Careful, it might be slippery!

*This can easily be made in an 8×8 casserole dish, layered in opposite order:  crust on the bottom, filling, then cheese on top.

 

Weight Watchers info:  Each serving (one full ramekin) is 10 SmartPoints.  Makes 4 servings.

Without the dough, each serving is 7 SmartPoints.  I wanted you to have this information in case you want to substitute a pre-packaged refrigerated pizza dough.  I understand that sometimes we don’t all have time to mix up our own pizza dough!

Cream Cheese Quiche with Sausage, Cheese, & Spinach

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This quiche is one of Erin’s kids’ favorite meals.  It’s often requested for breakfast, brunch, and even supper.  Who doesn’t love breakfast food for supper?!  It’s so quick and easy to throw together and tastes like something you’d get at a fancy brunch.  There are two sets of ingredients noted below (standard & Weight Watchers friendly).  Enjoy!

 

Standard Ingredients (see below for Weight Watchers ingredient list):

7 eggs, room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 c. finely shredded cheddar or Colby-jack cheese

1 deep dish frozen pie crust

8 oz. breakfast sausage

2 c. baby spinach, loosely packed

2 T. half & half or milk

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

 

Weight Watchers Ingredients:

7 eggs, room temperature

8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature

1 c. Kraft 2% Mexican shredded cheese blend

1 deep dish frozen pie crust (such as Pillsbury All Vegetable)

8 oz. turkey breakfast sausage, browned (Jennie-O used here)

2 c. baby spinach, loosely packaged

2 T. fat-free half & half

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Make sure your eggs and cream cheese are room temperature.  If not, you can microwave the cream cheese until it’s softened but not warm.  You can place your eggs in lukewarm water to bring them to room temperature faster.

Chop the spinach, removing any tough stems as needed.

In a blender, combine room temp. cream cheese, eggs, half & half, and salt & pepper until smooth.

Layer half the browned sausage, half the chopped spinach, and half the cheese in the bottom of the frozen pie crust.

Pour half the egg mixture over top.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Place quiche on foil-lined cookie sheet (in case it overflows!) and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until center is set.

*If it starts to brown too much, place a piece of foil loosely over the top.

*Don’t have sausage?  No problem.  You can substitute crisp bacon or ham for the sausage.  (Be sure to adjust WW SmartPoints accordingly, if applicable.)

 

Weight Watchers info:  This makes 8 servings

Old SmartPoints:  10 SmartPoints

Freestyle SmartPoints:  9 SmartPoints

 

Baked Omelet

This is a no fuss, no hovering over the stove, omelet for the family.  It mixes up quickly and you can customize it to your liking.

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Ingredients: 

8 large eggs

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup finely chopped fully cooked ham or pork breakfast sausage

1/4 cup finely chopped kale

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

3 Tbsp. finely chopped onion

¼ tsp salt

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Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 400°

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and cream. Stir in the cheese, ham, green pepper, kale, and onion.  Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking dish.   Loosely cover with foil.  Bake for 25 minutes or until set and golden brown.