Chicken Sausage with Penne and Broccoli

I bought some delicious chicken sausage from Costco a few days ago with the intention of making Lexi’s Clean Kitchen’s Shakshuka. Unfortunately, I thought I had diced tomatoes but we’re out. I had to improvise last night and it turned out delicious!

Chicken Sausage with Penne and Broccoli

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 package (4 links) Chicken Sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 lb Penne
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (separated) freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, generously salt water. Set on high and wait for a boil.
  2. While waiting for the water, heat oil in a large skillet. Once hot, toss in chicken sausage. Cook until browned (3-5 minutes). Remove and place into a bowl.
  3. Once water is boiling, pour in broccoli. Cook for 4 minutes until cooked but still crisp. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and put it into the bowl with the sausage. Add in penne. Follow directions on box until al dente.
  4. Back in the skillet, add onion, bell pepper, salt, and pepper. Cook until soft, about 6 minutes, on medium heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and add in cream and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Cook while stirring for about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add in broccoli and sausage and mix until well combined.
  5. When penne is al dente, reserve 1/2 of cooking liquid, then drain pasta. Add reserved liquid and penne to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  6. Add 2 tbsp Parmesan on top and serve hot.

There are a bunch of modifications you can make to this recipe. I meant to throw spinach in at the end but forgot. Also, the green pepper can be omitted. I only used it because we had one ready in our garden and my 6 year old loves when we use food from the garden. I think garlic would be a good addition and will likely add it next time.



Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Raisins

I forgot to take pictures of this but it turned out delicious! I really like the hint of cinnamon and the caramelization on the butternut squash when it’s roasted. Yum!


Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Raisins

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 butternut squash – diced into about 1 inch cubes
  • 3 apples of your choice (I used Honeycrisp) – Sliced into 8 wedges each
  • 3/4 cup Raisins
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oven to 400*F.
  2. Grease two shallow baking dishes.
  3. Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Mix until all spices are evenly distributed.
  4. Split evenly onto your two, greased baking dishes.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until done to your liking.
  6. Enjoy!



Herby Lamb Chops

This weekend Costco has Australian lamb chops on sale. I’ve never cooked lamb. I don’t know much about it other than it goes well with rosemary and thyme. I have no idea what makes an Australian lamb chop different from any other lamb chop other than the county it comes from… I’m feeling like I should do some research now.

Anyways, I bought them. I made them. They were delicious. I roasted butternut squash with apples and raisins to go with the chops. Also delicious. I’ll post that recipe soon.

For now, here’s how the chops went down:


  • 8-10 Australian lamb chops
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 1tbsp for cooking
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, lightly ground (picture below)


  1. Place all the ingredients into a gallon plastic bag. Let it marinate a minimum of 30 minutes at room temperature. I placed mine in the refrigerator for 90 minutes then took it out 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat oven to 400*.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet with a tablespoon of oil. When it’s hot, place chops in. Brown on each side for about 3 minutes.
  4. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Take out of oven and let rest on a plate, not in cast iron.
  6. Enjoy!

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. 😦 I promise it looked and tasted delicious!




Sweet Potato Chicken Nuggets

For Valentine’s Day I made heart-shaped chicken nuggets. I’m not a great Pinterest mom but occasionally I impress myself. 😉

This recipe is from a friend of mine. It’s simple, delicious, and healthy. The kids and I devoured them. Served with sweet potato fries and spinach, it makes a great meal.

Sweet Potato Chicken Nuggets

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 1 small sweet potato, steamed and skin removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Seasonings of your choice – I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, and parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pour oatmeal into a food processor and grind about 20 seconds. I like when some pieces are still large and some are very fine. Pour into a bowl. Mix in flax meal, cheese, onion and garlic powder. Set aside. (This will be your breading.)
  3. Into the food processor, put chicken breasts, sweet potato, garlic clove, and seasonings. Blend this together until well combined.
  4. (Here comes the gross part!) Spoon out 1 spoonful of chicken nugget mixture and put into breading. Roll it around until completed covered.
  5. Place chicken nugget onto parchment lined baking sheet. You can now shape it into any shape you’d like. Continue this process until all the chicken nugget mixture is gone.
  6. Place in the oven for 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  7. Enjoy!




I hope you likes these as much as my kids and I do! You can also easily add in some hidden vegetables. I think carrots and cauliflower would taste good. I thought about adding beets to make them red but opted to leave them out this time. If your kids don’t mind seeing green flecks in their food (my 6 y/o does) some spinach, kale, or broccoli could totally be added to the mixture.

Happy cooking!


Instant Pot Turkey Chili

I’m not a fan of beans. Like, I hate them. Blah! It’s a texture thing. I do enjoy a good beanless chili though and the one I threw together a few days ago turned out great. Bonus – I was able to do the entire thing in the RV!

Instant Pot Turkey Chili

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder


  1. Set the instant pot to saute. Toss in the turkey and onions. Cook until the turkey begins to brown. (You can use olive oil to brown the turkey but I forgot ours at home and it was still delicious.)
  2. Throw in the rest of the ingredients. Change the instant pot from saute to manual. Seal the lid and set for 9 minutes.
  3. When the timer dings, do a quick release. Serve over rice (or cornbread, mmmm!) and enjoy!



If you like a spicier chili, add in some red pepper. The vegetables can be changed around too. I used what I had on hand. Let me know what you think!



Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

I bought an instant pot out of frustration one afternoon. The husband had been underway for a few weeks. The toddler needed to be held if I was in the kitchen. And it was hot in southern California! I reached out to Facebook friends for info on meals to cook with one hand while holding a 25lb (at the time) toddler. Everyone who responded said “INSTANT POT!” So, I dragged the boys to the NEX, picked up the first one I could find, and bought it. This is not my normal style. I like to read reviews and compare prices but I was tired and hot and my arms were burning from holding a wiggling 25 pound toddler for hours. Honestly, I didn’t even know what an Instant Pot was or how the worked. (Eekkkk!) But I watched a short video about how to get started, with the sound on as loud as it would go so I could hear it over the screaming toddler in my burning arms, and got started.

I’ve since fallen in love with The Pot. I have found that chicken comes out much juicier and tender than when cooked in a crock pot. I love that I can forget to take out meat and throw frozen anything into it 30 minutes before dinner time. I also like that I can saute. But, none of that is what this post is actually about. It’s about the hamburger helper!

This is a super simple but tasty recipe. My husband calls it “the hamburger helper that actually tastes good.” It’s versatile in that you can change the pasta, meat, or cheese, and it will still be good. Here’s what I usually do:


  • 1.5lb ground beef
  • 2 cups broth (whatever kind you have on hand)
  • 8 oz whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1tbsp onion powder
  • 1lb shell macaroni
  • 16oz decent quality cheddar cheese, shredded

How to:

  1. Saute the ground beef.
  2. Once it’s browned, turn off instant pot and pour in broth, milk, seasonings, and macaroni. Mix it together a little. The liquid should cover the majority of beef and macaroni. If it’s too low, the macaroni won’t cook all the way so add a little more broth or milk.
  3. Put the top on the pot. Set to manual for 4 minutes.
  4. When the 4 minutes is up, do a quick release.
  5. Once all the pressure is released, open the lid and stir in the cheese.
  6. Enjoy!


1. I’ve used penne and elbow macaroni. Both are good but as a family we have decided that shells are our favorite.

2. I’ve also used heavy cream instead of milk – still turns out great.

3. I used Kraft cheddar one time because I had some leftover from another meal I made and it did not turn out very well. I recommend Tillamook or something else that has flavor. It makes a world of difference!

4. I usually have chicken or vegetable broth on hand. Both work well. You can use beef broth too. I imagine water would work just fine too but I would at least triple the seasonings.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family. Let me know what you think!