Tortellini with Sundried Tomatoes, Chicken & Sausage

What’s the food that you can eat multiple times a week without getting tired of it?  I think for me it’s any type of pasta. I’m telling myself that this pasta dish is more healthy since it has some vegetables.  I’m not sure if that’s reality, but it’s one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes.  It has just enough spice to give the flavor an extra boost, but if spiciness isn’t your thing you can always omit the red pepper flakes.  Recipes with easy adaptations and adjustments are our favorite around here and we can’t wait to hear from you about how you love this one! ~Tracy

4 T. butter, cut into 1 T. pieces

1 T. sun dried tomato oil (from jar)

3 T. chopped sun dried tomatoes

4 oz. chopped baby bella mushrooms

2 T. minced garlic

¼ c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. dried basil leaves

1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

½ tsp. paprika

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 ¼ c. milk (I use 1%)

1 cup chicken broth (can use prepared chicken bouillon)

½ c. shredded parmesan cheese (more for topping)

2 packages cheese tortellini (such as Louisa Four Cheese tortellini, 19 oz. bags)

1 cup shredded chicken (I use rotisserie)

½ c. cooked/crumbled pork sausage

2 c. fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped

Cook your sausage, drain any excess grease and set aside.  Shred your rotisserie chicken while the sausage cooks and set it aside as well.

Begin cooking tortellini according to the package directions.  Leave the pasta slightly al dente as it will continue to cook when added to the other ingredients.

In a large skillet, melt 1 T. of butter and 1 T. of the sun dried tomato oil.  Sauté the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the sun dried tomatoes and continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes.   Add the minced garlic and heat through for another 30-45 seconds. Remove this mixture from the skillet and set it aside.  

Add the rest of the butter to the skillet and allow to melt.  Whisk in the flour until smooth.  Add all dried seasonings and mix together.  

Gradually add the chicken broth and milk until the mixture begins to thicken.  Slowly stir in the ½ c. parmesan cheese.

Add chicken and sausage to sauce.  Stir together and then add the cooked tortellini and the spinach, mushroom, tomato mixture.  Stir all together until well mixed and top with a generous helping of parmesan cheese.

WW Info:  This recipe makes approximately 10 cups at 13 points each on all three plans.

Breakfast Enchiladas

Confession:  I hardly ever cook breakfast…especially not at breakfast time.  I do, however make breakfast for supper a lot.  Why?  Because I love breakfast food but I do not love mornings.  I am not, nor ever shall I ever be, a morning person.  I’m a night owl by nature…I come by it honestly.  I don’t think my mother has ever been in bed before midnight in her adult life.  She always said when we were kids that it was the only time she could get anything done.  I get that, for sure!  I think all moms do.  Anywho, these are the reasons that, if we have a homemade breakfast-type meal, it’s usually in the P.M. 

If, on the rare occasion, I want to make something special for breakfast, I look for things that can be prepped in advance – like after the kids go to bed the night before.  That led me to these enchiladas.  I loved the idea of Breakfast Enchiladas but I wasn’t crazy about the couple of recipes I tried.  So, I did what I often do, and made up my own version.  It’s superb, if I do say so myself.  Packed with taters, veggies, sausage, and cheese, then covered with a creamy “sauce,” these Breakfast Enchiladas will fill you up, yet leave you wanting more.  Enjoy!  ~Erin

Ingredients

  • 4 c. frozen O’Brien hash browns with onions & peppers (the cubed kind – not shredded)
  • 2 c. cooked turkey sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage Crumbles.)
  • 4 oz. (about 1 ½ c.) reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese (I used Kraft 2%), divided
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 c. fat free half & half
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas (I used La Banderita Carb Counter Whole Wheat Wraps but any 1-point tortilla will do.)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Spray a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray, and spread the hash browns in an even layer. 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until they just start to brown.  Set aside to cool.  Turn off the oven.  This step can be done in advance and hash browns refrigerated until ready to use.

Once cool, transfer the hash browns to a medium bowl and combine with the turkey sausage, 1 cup of the shredded cheese and most of the green onions (reserve ½ c. cheese and some green onions for topping).

Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Assemble the enchiladas by filling each tortilla with a heaping half cup of the mixture, until all the filling has been evenly distributed among the 8 tortillas.

In the same, now-empty bowl, beat the eggs with the half & half, salt, and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the tortillas evenly and cover with foil. 

At this point, preheat the oven to 350°F while the enchiladas soak up the egg mixture for at least 15 minutes; OR these can be refrigerated overnight and cooked in the morning.  If refrigerated overnight, set the enchiladas out to come to room temp while the oven preheats.

Bake 30-32 minutes, until egg mixture is set; remove the foil and top with remaining cheese and green onions.  Bake 2-3 more minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This recipe makes 8 enchiladas.  Each enchilada is 6 SmartPoints.

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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. 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.
  4. Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; sauté veggies over medium heat until crisp-tender.
  5. 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.
  6. Disperse meat filling evenly on top of cheese in the ramekins.
  7. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and pat into discs.
  8. Top each ramekin with a piece of dough, stretching over the sides a bit.
  9. Brush the dough with egg and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, if desired.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. 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.

WW Freestyle Info.: Each serving (one full ramekin) is 10 points.  Makes 4 servings.  Without the dough, each serving is 7 points.  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 & WW friendly).  Enjoy!

Standard Ingredients (See Below for WW 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

WW 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.

WW Freestyle Info:  This makes 8 servings at 9 points each.   (Old SmartPoints:  10 SmartPoints).

*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.)

Baked Omelet

This is a no-fuss prep, no-hovering-over-the-stove-to-cook omelet for the family.  It mixes up quickly and you can customize it to your liking.  I love doing this one on a Sunday morning before church!  It’s nice and filling, so the sermon isn’t interrupted by a growling tummy. ~Kathy

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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
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 400°F.

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.