Monday, December 9, 2013

Lightened Up Italian Chicken Sausage Pasta Skillet with Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage


This time of year can be so very hectic.  Shopping, Wrapping, Decorating, Baking...the "to do list" seems endless.  Finding a healthy dinner that is ready in no time can be a HUGE challenge.  This Italian Chicken Sausage Pasta Skillet is a quick and easy meal you can have on the table in minutes!




Adapted from a dish I saw on my friend, and fellow Allrecipes Allastar, Valerie's blog  From Valerie's Kitchen, you make this dish from start to finish in one big oven proof skillet.  The original dish had more of a southwestern flair calling for full fat Monterrey jack cheese and heavy cream or half and half in the sauce, but I was able to make a few swaps for those high calorie ingredients to make this dish a bit more diet friendly, without sacrificing flavor.  I also decided to make it with an Italian flair because I had some Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Chicken sausage in the freezer already.

What's really great about this dish is, you can really make it your own and according to whatever ingredients you might have on hand.  You can use any flavor precooked turkey/chicken sausage, any combo of vegetables you like, and use any type of low fat cheese that you think will compliment your flavor choices.


Give this one a try and you can have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes!  You might even have time to sit back and relax for a minute or two!



Lightened Up Italian Chicken Sausage Pasta Skillet


Servings - 6   Serving Size - 1/6th of recipe   Points Plus per Serving - 8 Points+
*Calories - 331.3,   Total Fat - 10.5g,   Carb. - 35.4g,   Protein - 24.7g,   Fiber - 4g
(Nutrition information was calculated using Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage and Barilla Plus Mulitgrain Pasta.  Using other brands might change the values.)

Ingredients:

1 package (12 oz.) of fully cooked Chicken/Turkey Sausage that has been sliced into 1/2" rounds *I used TJ's Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green or red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, if desired
2 cups fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic, and oregano
8 oz. ( approximately 2 1/2 cups) uncooked pasta (shape of your choice) *I used Barilla Plus Multigrain Pasta
1/2 cup canned fat free evaporated milk
1/4 cup grated, Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup (4 oz.) of part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated or in slices
2 TBS. chopped parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
  1. In an oven proof skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, brown up the sliced sausage over med/high heat.  (About 4 - 5 minutes) Add in the onion and bell peppers.  Cook until the onion becomes translucent and the peppers begin to soften.  (About 5 minutes)  Add in the garlic and cook another minute or until it becomes fragrant.  
  2. Add in the mushrooms and allow them to cook until softened and most of the moisture has absorbed.  (About 5 minutes.)  Add in the red pepper flakes, if using. 
  3. Add in broth, tomatoes, and pasta.  Stir until combined.  Allow the liquid to come to a boil, then cover, and turn heat down to med/low.  Simmer, covered, until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.  
  4. Remove cover and stir in fat free evaporated skim milk and allow it to heat through.  
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.  Test to see if it needs salt and pepper, and season as you like.  Turn broiler on HIGH.  Top the skillet with 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese.  Place under broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese.  Remove and sprinkle with chopped parsley.  
  6. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving to let the sauce thicken up.  
Adapted from From Valerie's Kitchen

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I've always been a huge fan of TJ's chicken sausages and this is an excellent recipe to use them in!  I've made this recipe now several times since I discovered it because it's just so darn easy and who doesn't love the fact that there is only one pan to wash??

You can definitely add more veggies to bulk it up and make the servings sizes bigger without changing the calories much.  Try a combination of green and red peppers!  (Very festive for this time of year!)  This dish is great accompanied by a nice garden salad. 

Ok...seriously...where is the time going?  I feel so behind this year on Christmas preparations.  I know I'm not alone, because I keep hearing the same thing from many of my friends.  I've barely got any shopping done and I have only baked ONE cookie recipe!!  lol  I do have big plans though, as always...my counter is stocked and ready for a baking frenzy, should I ever find the time for it!  On the bright side...my tree finally did get decorated!

I hope you all are finding the time to get everything done that needs to be done in the upcoming weeks.  Give this pasta dish a try for dinner one night and see if you can gain a few extra minutes to get it all done!



7 comments:

  1. Great subs, Renee! It looks wonderful :)

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  2. This short time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas is TOUGH! This dish looks totally comforting. yum yum

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  3. I know what you mean about being short on time! It's going by crazy fast. I love chicken sausage, and this looks like a great recipe!

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  4. I know I would love this, and love that it is fast. Thanks for sharing it.

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  5. Looks good Rene. Thanksgiving was late this year which gives us less time between the two holidays. This year I have really cut back on what I am doing and it has relieved me of so much stress. I think I will enjoy the holiday season more this year.

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  6. I really want to reach through the computer screen and eat that - now! I will look for that sausage next time I am at TJ's - yum!

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