Spicy Sausage Pasta

I love Pinterest. Ever since a friend introduced me to it, I’ve become a bit of an addict. Then it dawned on me that I’ve pinned so many recipes, yet haven’t really tried any of them! Pinterest is slowly forming a world of people who love looking at pictures of pretty food, instead of making it hehe.

So I set out to work through my pins – though more are added so it’s a moving target – and make as many as possible. So far I’ve made Broccoli Quinoa Casserole, which is delicious! And also, Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites with Blue Cheese Dip, which are not as good as they sound. So it’s been a 50-50 split between deliciousness (seriously, make the casserole now!), and “meh”.

But this Spicy Sausage Pasta tips the scales to the deliciousness side a hundred fold! Oh wow, I can’t stress how much my husband and I love this recipe. It’s so easy, and so tasty – we’ve cooked it quite a few times now, and will cook it again…and again…and again! 🙂

Serves: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

1 lb smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 1/2 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
1/2 cup double (heavy) cream
16 oz pasta (originally recipe said 8 oz)
1 cup cheese, shredded (we used Cheddar Jack)
1/3 cup thinly sliced spring onions
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large sauspan, heat a little olive oil then add the sliced sausage and onion then cook until browned – about 4 minutes. (I hadn’t discovered Publix frozen diced onion before this recipe, but I’m so glad I did! What a time saver!) Add the garlic and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds.

2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, cream, and dried pasta (because we doubled the pasta quantity, I added 1/2 cup of water here too). Stir. Add salt and pepper if you wish – we didn’t add any. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes – until the pasta is cooked. 


3. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese and half the spring onions. Top with remaining cheese and spring onions – you can put it under the grill to brown the cheese, if your pan is safe to go under the grill, but we just served it as is 🙂

4. Enjoy!


We really love this Spicy Sausage Pasta, and have cooked it so many times now. It’s really easy to do, even my husband (who hates cooking) volunteers to make it!

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂  Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and follow my blog for more tasty treats!


Creamy Cucumber Salad

One of the side dishes that I absolutely love is cucumber salad! Since moving to America I’ve got to try a host of different takes on the dish, but I really liked the look of a recipe on Barefoot Contessa for Creamy Cucumber Salad. So I gave it a try, and it really is delicious! And so easy to make – which is always a bonus 🙂

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced (I used British cucumbers)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced in half rounds
2 cups (16 oz) plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream
1 tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, the original recipe calls for white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
black pepper to taste

Serves: 4

1. Mix the sliced cucumbers and red onion in a bowl with 3/4 tbsp salt. Pour the mixture into a collander and suspend over a bowl. Cover the whole thing with plastic wrap, and put it into the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to drain into the bowl.

2. Line a sieve with a paper towel and pour yogurt into it. Suspend over another bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and put it into the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to drain into the bowl.

3. Discard the collected liquid from both bowls.

4. Roll the cucumbers in paper towels to remove more of the remaining liquid. Then put them into a large bowl with the yogurt, and sour cream, dill, vinegar, and salt and peper to taste (we didn’t add any extra salt or pepper). Mix together thoroughly and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavours blend – we found that the leftovers of ours tasted even better the next day!

5. Serve chilled and enjoy 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂  Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

I’m also on Foodie Friday this week too 🙂


Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

They say admitting that you have a problem is the first step, right?  So here goes…. I have a problem. A problem that I think a lot of people suffer from. I am… a Pinterest hoarder!

Yes, I see all these wonderful looking recipes, and crafts, and design ideas and I pin them thinking “I’d love to make that!”  But do I ever make any of them? Nope! They go into the pin-hoarding vault and get forever forgotten about, until someone else re-pins it and I think “I should really make that…”

So I’ve decided to break the cycle!  I made a list of 4 recipes and their ingredients – four seemed like a manageable number in one month – and bought everything I needed before I got sidetracked by more pins.

This is the first recipe of the fab-four: Broccoli Quinoa Casserole 🙂  The original recipe is from Eating Well, Living Thin.

Quinoa is something I’ve eaten for a few years – my Mom is vegetarian so it’s been included in most recipes for a while.  My husband is pretty new to the quinoa scene though – and still refuses to believe the pronunciation (keen-WAH) – but he’s adventurous, tried it and really liked it! We both did, and we’ll definitely be making it again 🙂

10 oz can Cream of Broccoli Soup (or cream of mushroom, or cream of whatever you like soup!)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp milk
1 1/4 cups grated cheese (we used 4-cheese Mexican, because we like the mix of flavours)
1/2 tsp sugar (splenda if you prefer)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (or a dash of freshly grated)
2 cups cooked broccoli
3/4 cup quinoa (1 1/2 cups when cooked – see below)
grated cheese for the top (we used the same 4-cheese Mexican blend)

To cook the quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
pinch salt

Rince the quinoa in a sieve under a running tap, until the water runs clear.  Add the rinsed quinoa to a saucepan with the water and salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, then cook for about 18-20 minutes, stirring as little as possible.  The white “tail” will be visible when it’s cooked.

For the casserole:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C, 350 F, gas 4.  Grease a shallow 8×8″ casserole dish (I used a pie dish).

2. Mix together the soup, mayonnaise, milk, grated cheese, sugar and nutmeg in a large bowl. You can add black pepper to season if you like – I’m not a fan of it so we always leave it out of recipes.

3. Add the cooked quinoa and cooked broccoli and mix well.

4. Pour into the casserole dish and sprinkle over with grated cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden and bubbly.

5. We were too impatient and hungry, so our edges never got to the golden bubbly stage 😉

6. Enjoy!

We served ours as a side and it was really delicious! I’ll definitely be making it again, it was so simple and if you’re feeling healthy you can substitute the lower fat versions of things like mayonnaise or reduced fat cheese, and use low sodium soup.

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂  Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Also, this will be my first time taking part in Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm!


Apple Butter Pie

It wasn’t very long ago that I discovered apple butter. For those of you who aren’t sure what it is, think along the lines of a condensed apple sauce with added spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Really tasty stuff 🙂

I’m not a pie maker, or at least haven’t been until now! I went to a friend’s Pampered Chef party (which is a relatively new thing in England so I hadn’t been to one before) and of the things I bought there, one was a super cool looking pie dish 🙂

…Never in my life have I been so excited about a pie dish lol!

So I had a look online and found an apple butter pie recipe that looked good and gave it a try in my new awesome, super cool pie dish!

(Just to share the awesomeness)

The recipe I used came from Baking Bites and even though it was very tasty and enjoyable, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations so I’ll probably experiment with it a bit another time. I enjoyed the pie and I’d make it again, but I think the one thing for me that needed changing is the consistency – but apparently (so my husband, who is American, tells me) this has the exact same consistency as traditional American pumpkin pie and so he loved it just as it was!

So this may be a case of me just not being used to that kind of pie filling yet. American pie and English pie seem quite different! When I do tinker with the recipe though I’ll be sure to post the results 🙂

I will apologise in advance for any blurry photos, I still haven’t been able to get my camera fixed 🙁

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 50-60 minutes (depending on oven)

Sweet pie pastry to fit your pie dish
16 oz applle butter
12 oz evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.

2. Mix together the apple butter and evaporated milk. I stirred them together with a spoon but you can use a food processor if you prefer.

3. Add in the vanilla extract and eggs then stir well to thoroughly combine all of the ingredients. Again you can use a food processor if you prefer.

4. Roll out your pie pastry and line the pie dish. A trick I know, to stop the edges shrinking, is don’t cut off the excess pastry until AFTER it is cooked. This allows for some shrinkage and then you can get a nice neat edge 🙂

5. Pour in the filling and bake the pie in the oven for 50-60 minutes. I have a fan assisted over so it only took 50 minutes.

6. Bring the pie out of the oven and use a sharp knife to cut away the excess pastry. Be careful not to touch the pie dish (this was a failing point of my new dish actually, as it has “handles” that got in the way a bit so my edge wasn’t as neat as I’d have liked).

7. Enjoy a nice slice of pie! 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop and it’s their 1st anniversary 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and to follow my blog for more tasty treats!


Eggless Chocolate Orange Mousse

A while ago I came across a Nigella Lawson recipe for Eggless Dark Chocolate Mousse, tried out by US Masala. They looked delicious but for me the ultimate chocolate mousse has to have something extra… orange!

So I amended the recipe to give me a chocolate orange fix, but the great thing is that you could add anything you like in there – try some kahlua for a coffee flavour, or for a non-alcholic route try coffee flavouring, or even add more vanilla extract, or mint flavouring…whatever added extra that you like 🙂

For me though, it will always be orange in chocolate!

Makes: 4-6 (I got 5 portions, in small cocktail glasses, and I think they were the perfect size)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 1-2 hours

270 g (3 cups) mini marshmallows
50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
255 g (9 oz) dark chocolate drops (or a bar broken into pieces)
60 ml (1/4 cup) hot water
250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp Cointreau (Grand Marnier would also work well, or 1 tsp of orange flavouring)

1. Put the butter, water, marshmallows and chocolate drops into a saucepan and heat until melted together. Stir every now and then to prevent sticking and to stop the chocolate from burning as it melts.

2. When thoroughly melted, set aside to cool to room temperature. I transferred the mixture to a bowl to help it cool faster.

3. Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick.

4. Add the Cointreau (or any other flavouring that you like!) to the chocolate mixture and stir well. Now fold in the cream until you have a smooth consistency.

5. Pour, or spoon (I used a ladle!), the mixture into glasses or small bowls and put in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours, or until you want to eat them! I left mine for 1.5hrs, while we cooked and ate dinner 🙂

6. Eat and enjoy! I decorated the top of each mousse with a few mini marshmallows and chocolate drops. You could use a couple of coffee beans, or a sprig of mint, or even some orange segments for different looks depending on what you added to the mousse!

This was one of the best chocolate desserts that I’ve tasted! So easy to make and the texture and consistency is just perfect. The marshmallows add a nice sweetness so this isn’t a bitter dish at all, even with the dark chocolate in there. I will definitely be making this again!

This will be my blog post for the Hearth And Soul Blog Hop, a recipe hop that happens every Tuesday 🙂


Soup Season: Garden Pea Soup

I love peas. In the age old question of “what luxury item would you take to a desert island with you?” it would be peas without a doubt! Fresh garden peas (or frozen ones) though, not the canned variety because that’s just blasphemy.

When my husband and I first started dating he bought me a surprise gift and gave me the hint that it was green, my immediate (and jokey) reply was “is it peas?!” and joking aside, I would have still been a happy girl if it was hehe.

So I decide to put my pea obsession to good use and make a garden pea soup 🙂 I didn’t follow a recipe, I made it up as I went along! But it’s quick and simple to do, very few ingredients and you can add more or less of each of them – or throw some more in there like adding a carrot or two, some leeks maybe, even some fresh mint or bacon at the very end. That’s why I love soups, they’re so versatile!

Makes 8-10 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

1 kg frozen garden peas (fresh from pods are just as good!)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pints vegetable stock
1 pint boiling water
100 ml double or single cream (optional)

Add some butter to a large saucepan and cook the chopped onions until soft, add the crushed garlic and stir through, leave to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the peas – they don’t need to be defrosted, just add them right from the freezer bag, or shell them from the pods if you’re using fresh peas.

Stir and add the stock and extra water. You can add more or less stock and water depending on how thin/thick you would like your soup to be.

Stir through and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Blend in a blender or food processor then stir in the cream if using it (we decided not to). This is also the point where you could add chopped up cooked bacon and/or mint.

Even though we decided not to use the cream in the soup itself, we drizzled a little bit on top of each portion before serving. You could also add a few crispy bacon bits on top, or some grated parmesan cheese. …Or even all three!

We had a bowlful each, with some Warburton’s Seeded Batch, and it was delicious! I’m definitely going to make it again but with some parmesan shavings and bacon bits to top it off. This was so quick and easy to make and I’m all for ease when it comes to cooking!

The rest of the soup went into Pour And Store bags, as usual, to be stored in the freezer 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth And Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and to follow my blog for more tasty treats!