Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta - close up

Dinner was wonderful tonight with this gluten-free Penne pasta dish. It was mixed with a Brown Butter Sage sauce.

Sage has a history of being used in folk medicine apart from culinary uses. It is most commonly drunk as a tea, as the herb is good for the nerves, digestive system and for balancing estrogen levels in women.

Sage can help calm a fever, and is also natural blood purifier. It can also be useful for aiding the liver for detoxification purposes. Sage is also a natural nerve tonic to relieve a nervous headache.

Do you have joint pain, lethargy or a weak digestive system? Sage could be the answer for you.

Sage is usually an herb that accompanies chicken, and that is what the sausage is, a chicken sausage mixed with apple and cinnamon. The Penne pasta used in this recipe is a multi-grain gluten-free pasta. The grains include brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth. The quinoa seed is native to Peru, and the amaranth seed is native to Mexico.

Quinoa is not a true grain but a seed, and it contains the most protein when compared to any other grain. Both quinoa and amaranth also are great for keeping your blood sugars leveled.

Now for our featured recipe, “Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta” in a “Brown Butter Sage Sauce”. Both the chicken sausage and pasta are organically grown ingredients. Here is what you will need:

4 tbsp. olive oil

1 package chicken sausage

3 cups multi-grain gluten-free, Penne pasta

2 cups cubed, butternut squash

1 tbsp. dark brown sugar

½ cup pecan pieces

1 stick, salted butter

8 sage leaves, small

½ tsp. Himalayan Salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Slide a small baking sheet into your oven and preheat it to 400 degrees.

Cook gluten-free pasta according to package instructions. Any brand will do. We used De Boles.

preparing butternut sqaush for Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne PastaPeel and cube up two cups of butternut squash. In a bowl, toss the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and dark brown sugar. Remove heated baking sheet from oven, add the squash to the aluminum folded lined hot baking pan and place back into the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once during the cooking time. Remove once the squash is tender.

searing chicken sausage for Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne PastaIn a large medium heated skillet, add olive oil and sear the chicken sausages on all sides. Remove, slice and add back to the pan to cook the centers.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sausage, pasta and butternut squash, and set aside.

We provided this 39 second video as an illustration  for making the “Brown Butter Sage Sauce.”

Heat a 10 inch skillet on medium heat. Place the stick of cold butter into the hot pan, lift and swirl the butter. Add in the sage leaves and keep swirling until the butter has completely melted, should be a deep brown color, but not to the point of burning.

adding pecan pieces to Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta

After you have poured the brown butter sage sauce over the pasta, toss to mix well. Sprinkle pecan pieces over top and mix in.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Gluten Free Penne Pasta - close upPlate and serve.

 

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Creamy Chicken Florentine

Creamy Chicken Florentine

I found this recipe on the side of a tub of garlic Philly cooking cream. But I didn’t use the Philadelphia product, because of the added artificial flavors and chemicals. I make my own garlic cream as well as added the other ingredients the recipe called for.

The recipe calls for pine nuts, and pine nuts provide a good amount of both vitamins E and K. These vitamins have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. Vitamin-K helps form blood clots to prevent bleeding after injury, and vitamin-E helps with producing red blood cells essential for moving oxygen throughout the body.

These small nuts also have the trace minerals manganese, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Wow, a lot of nutrition for such a small nut.

Here is what you will need for the featured recipe – Creamy Chicken Florentine -.

First prepare the garlic cream sauce.

Garlic Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons butter, no salt

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 (14 ounce) can organic chicken broth, no salt

2 cups whipping cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon arrow-root starch

1/4 cup cold water

In a large saucepan, melt butter, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add whipping cream and salt and return to a boil, stirring frequently.

Mix water and cornstarch and add to sauce. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

After the sauce is made, set aside.

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Next you will need:

1 lb. Chicken breast cut into bit size pieces

1 cup red bell pepper, diced

6 oz. package baby spinach

1 cup garlic cream sauce

2 cups Penne pasta

2 tbsp. pine nuts

Cook Penne pasta; according to package instructions.

In a heated skillet with 2 tbs. of olive oil add chicken and red pepper and cook until chicken is no longer pink but oblique in color. Add spinach stir and cook 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.

Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of liquid. Stir in garlic cream sauce. Stir until mixed about 6 minutes. Add the two cups cooked penne pasta and mix in. Next add the pine nuts and mix till well incorporated.

Remove from heat, plate and serve.

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If you wanted you can lightly roast the pine nuts to increase their flavor. Roasting them would be done the same as you would roast other nuts, like almonds or pecans.

Spread the nuts over a cookie sheet and place in the oven on 350 for about 8 to 10 minutes, stir the nuts once. To add more intense garlic flavor to this recipe, mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of garlic powder with the nuts before roasting them.

To learn more about cruciferous vegetables, such as spinach is, link here to the Health News Library and scroll the page to review the articles and add to your knowledge on nutrition.

 

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Herb and Chicken Penne with Creamy Italian Cheese

Herb Chicken Penne with Creamy Italian Cheese

Delectable Italian deliciousness in a snap!! This meal is easy to make, in about 30 to 40 minutes.

Before we get started let’s see what the nutritional benefits of this pasta dish is.

Whole wheat Penne pasta is called for in this recipe. The whole wheat or brown pasta retains the fiber of the wheat flour. Therefore making the pasta a complex carbohydrate, not a simple carbohydrate like the traditional pastas with the fiber removed before being ground to flour. Complex carbohydrates digest slower, leaving you to feel full longer, giving more energy and controlling your blood sugar levels. This is great for diabetics.

A serving of Chicken (3 oz) provides 65% of your daily need of protein. The recipe also uses flaked sun-dried tomatoes, but before they are processed, one cup of sun-dried tomatoes provides 7.6 grams of protein, 1.6 grams of fat, and 6.6 grams of dietary fiber, which is equal to 27% of your daily need for fiber.

Sun-dried tomatoes serve as an excellent source of minerals, including potassium and magnesium. They also are filled with vitamins K and niacin a B vitamin. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and wound healing and niacin is good for brain function (source for sun-dried tomatoes: Livestrong).

cooked and rinsed whole wheat penne pastaHere are the step by step instructions with complete recipe to follow.

Cook 2 cups of whole wheat Penne pasta according to directions on package. Drain well, set aside.  Mix spices, including corn starch or arrowroot in a small bowl, set aside.

 

 

 

Here are the spices needed:

1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes flaked or powder

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon marjoram

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 ½ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoons dried onion

1 teaspoon corn starch or arrowroot powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

 

If you have allergies to corn than you can use arrowroot starch. You will find this starch in your local Whole Foods Market or other local health food store.

Also, you may not find flaked or powdered sun-dried tomatoes. Just buy whole dried sun-dried tomatoes and place one or two small dried tomatoes in a food processor and process to flakes or powder. It is your preference.

melting unsalted butter, adding chicken to cook until no more pink

Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chopped chicken, cook and stir 5 minutes or until lightly browned, or no pink is present and the meat is oblique in color.

mixing cooked chicken with spices, tomato, cream and cheese

 

Next add spices, 1 14.5 oz. can of petite tomatoes undrained, 1 cup of cream cream and 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan- Rigatino cheese.

Mix in; bring to a boil, stirring constantly until well blended and starts to thicken some. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.

 

Mixing in pasta, stirring to coat and cover pan to let stand for 5 minutes with heat off

Stir in pasta and toss gently to coat; cover and let stand with heat off for 5 minutes.

close-up of Herbed Chicken Penne with Creamy Italian Cheese

Plate and serve with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

 

Herb and Chicken Penne with Creamy Italian Cheese

2 cups whole wheat pasta Penne

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

1 pound chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks

1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes flaked or powder

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon marjoram

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 ½ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoons dried onion

1 teaspoon corn starch or arrowroot powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 14 ½ oz. can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup cream or half and half

½ cup grated fresh Parmesan-Rigatino cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain well, set aside.

 

Mix spices, including corn starch in a small bowl, set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chopped chicken; cook and stir 5 minutes or until lightly browned, seeing no pink in the meat.

Next add spices, tomatoes, cream and cheese. Mix in; bring to boil, stirring constantly until well blended and starts to thicken some. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in pasta and toss gently to coat; cover and let stand with heat off for 5 minutes.

Plate and serve with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

 

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Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

There has been a lot of new information on processed foods, seed oils high in omega-6, refined sugar, as being the cause of bodily inflammation. We have also read about lowering our carbohydrate intake, as too much carb’s over works the pancreas and heightens insulin levels. Refined grains is the big culprit to weight gain. Refined grains digest fast and causing rapid use of glucose or a spike of sugar levels in the blood stream, causing the body to store the excess sugar not used, as fat.

But what about whole wheat pasta? Or better yet 100% whole wheat pasta? When consumed, can it be to blame for weight gain as well? No!!

When the fiber is not taken away from the grain, but processed together, is actually better for the body. Fiber causes food to digest slower and at the same time move faster through the digestive tract.  As  the whole grain pasta is digested, it releases a stead flow of glucose (not all at once as does white pasta without the fiber) giving sustained energy. The fiber then pushes the digested food out, not being stored as fat.

A 1-cup serving of cooked whole-grain pasta contains 3.9 total grams of fiber, while the same amount of white pasta contains 2.3 grams.

It is also worthy of noting, that whole grains lower blood pressure, were as grains with the fiber removed can cause blood pressure to raise.

Now for our featured recipe: Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta. Here is what you will need:

12 0z. 100% whole wheat Penne pasta, cooked

1 package Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

1 1/2 cups Alfredo sauce

3/4 cup bell pepper strips, mixed colors

1/2 cup french stringed beans

For the vegetables, I just buy them fresh frozen from the Whole Foods Market. You can use a jar of Alfredo Sauce, but I make my own.

1/4 cup butter

1 cup Heavy cream

1/2 to 3/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated fresh

Heat a small sauce pan, medium-high. Add butter and melt, not allowing to scorch, next add cream and stir while pouring. After the two are well incorporated, add grated cheese and mix in as it melts. Bring to a small rapid bowl, remove from heat and set aside.

Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken SausageSome Al Fresco brand sausages you can buy already cooked and at some markets they package it fresh, uncooked. Al Fresco is my preferred brand, as it is minimally processed and no preservatives added.  Click on image to go to their web-site to receive a $1.00 coupon off. I have been buying the package at about $3.50 to 3.99.

I prefer to buy the fresh uncooked sausage.

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat. Let sausage crumble to small bits. Add Alfredo sauce, cooked pasta and vegetables. Stir until all are mixed well together.

Plate and serve.

Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta  with Italian Rustic Bread and melted Provolone

We had an Italian Rustic Bread loaf and melted provolone cheese on slices of the bread. Wow what a great addition to the plated pasta.

 

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Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

All products made from wheat flour will have the same glycemic index, whole grains include the bran component, which contains additional dietary fiber and B-vitamins. Also there is 7 to 12 grams of protein in whole wheat pasta. Protein is a needed daily to live well, making whole wheat pasta a better choice.

Our featured recipes has goat cheese that is about 7.21 g of fat, but it also has 5.88 g of protein. Remember, protein is needed to keep the body active and to make a repair muscle tissue. If you are active you will burn the fat. Also the monocular structure of the fat in goat’s milk is smaller than in cow’s milk, making goat cheese easer to digest. If you are lactose intolerant, goat milk is the way to go.

The recipe also calls for poultry, which is full of iron, zinc and vitamin B12.

So here is what you will need:

ingredients for Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

Also you will need 6 tablespoons of olive oil, divided. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the Penne pasta according to the packaged instructions. Over medium high heat in a large frying pan, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil.  Add garlic and sauté until lightly browned.  Remove from heat.  Stir in flour and salt.  Slowly whisk in milk, chicken broth; whisk constantly so no lumps form.  Return to heat, whisk in parmesan cheese, basil, oregano and black pepper. Set aside.

whisking milk ,chicken broth, cheeses and spices for Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Once heated add diced onions and sauté; then add chicken breast chunks, cook until pink is gone.

frying chicken and onions for Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

Next add spinach but do not stir in. Cover pan with lid. Turn heat to low and cook until spinach is wilted. Mix in spinach.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Spread a third of the cheese mixture in the bottom of the dish.  Top with a third of the pasta, then a third of the chicken/spinach mixture, Repeat twice.

preparing Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta first layer

Once you have prepared the pasta dish to bake, sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top if you wish too.

Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta prepared to cook

Place into oven and bake uncovered for 35 minutes. When done let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Plate and serve.

Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

Chicken and Goat Cheese Spinach Pasta

8 oz. penne pasta, whole wheat

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 tbsp. flour

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups chicken broth

¾ cup Parmesan, grated

½ tsp. basil, dried

¼ tsp. oregano, dried

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 medium onion, diced

3 chicken breasts, large; cut into 1-inch chunks

12 oz. baby spinach, fresh

1 ½ cups mozzarella, shredded

12 oz. goat cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Over medium high heat in a large frying pan, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil.  Add garlic and sauté until lightly browned.  Remove from heat.  Stir in flour and salt.  Slowly whisk in milk, chicken broth; whisk constantly so no lumps form.  Return to heat, whisk in parmesan cheese, basil, oregano and black pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Once heated add onion and sauté; then add chicken breast chunks, cook until pink is gone. Next add spinach but do not stir in. Cover pan with lid. Turn heat to low and cook until spinach is wilted. Mix in spinach.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Spread a third of the cheese mixture in the bottom of the dish.  Top with a third of the pasta, then a third of the chicken/spinach mixture, Repeat twice.  Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top if desired.

Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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