pasta with sausage & broccolini

This recipe’s a great way to sneak in some green powerhouses in the form of broccolini (rapini) and spinach. My kids are ok with spinach and broccoli. Surprisingly even the roasted red peppers only occasionally get picked out. Must be the chunks of sausage that keeps them going. It’s so tasty that you don’t need to add any other spices or sauces to the pasta.

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Ingredients:

1 box/bag rotini pasta (traps all the green goodness in)
5-6 fresh mild Italian sausages (squeezed out of casings)
1 head broccolini/rapini
Small bunch baby spinach
1 jar roasted red peppers, sliced
Monterey Jack cheese or any white cheese you have on hand
Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bring a large salted pot of water to boil. Add rotini, cook until al dente. Dip a cup into your pasta water before draining and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook crumbled sausage in pan. Add broccolini and spinach and cook 5 minutes.

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Toss your pasta with about half a cup of reserved pasta water, add shredded cheese and stir to melt. Sometimes I use Monterey Jack, sometimes I use 4-5 triangles Laughing Cow cheese as I always have those on hand. Mix in sausage and greens mixture, add roasted red peppers and juice from the jar. Stir well. If your pasta is a bit dry you can add more pasta water. Top with Parmesan cheese before serving. I make enough of this to feed my family dinner and lunch the next day. They seriously can’t get enough of it.

Serves 6 hungry folks (with leftovers for next day)

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teddy mars cars

I’ve made these adorable little Mars bar cars a few times now and they’re always a hit with young and old alike (old like them more for the look – taste-wise it’s a bit of a mishmash smorgasbord of candy and an assault on the sweet buds). But sometimes you’ve got to forget about sugar and reward the kids for their hard work at school all year (I just made this for my son’s kindergarten graduation) or as a special treat at their birthday party. And trust me, one goes a long way.

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NEEDED:

25 teddy grahams, sawed in half just above waist
25 mini Mars bars, refrigerated
100 Smarties
Chocolate frosting, refrigerated

DIRECTIONS:

Refrigerate the mini Mars bars for at least an hour (or stick in freezer for 15-20 mins). Having them cold makes it easier to cut a slit into the middle of the top of the candy bar without too much cracking down the sides. Use a sharp, serrated knife for this and pull out just a bit of the caramel and chocolate to make enough room for the upper body of the teddy graham cookie. Note: not all teddy grahams are created equal. It’s worth seeking out the smaller kind (maybe check at your local bulk store) as the smaller the bear, the nicer they will fit their plump bodies into the car. It’s easiest to do this this as a bit of an assembly line – i.e. first cut out the Mars bars and cut the teddy grahams in half. Once all your cars have a driver, put a dab of chocolate frosting on four sides and then stick on your Smarties wheels. Keep them level to the bottom of the candy bar so the wheels don’t slide off. You shouldn’t have any trouble keeping the wheels to stick – just give it an hour to set and you’re good to go.

I like to display this on black cardstock so it looks like a road and normally dress it up with a couple of the kids’ play traffic signs.

Note: I’ve made these leaving the bears intact and also cutting the the bears in half – it’s a tiny bit more work but it’s definitely easier inserting half a bear rather than the whole thing into a tiny Mars bar. Just FYI. Hope your kiddos enjoy as much as mine do!

Makes 25 cars

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blueberry-banana smoothie with dates

Dates add an incredibly luscious sweetness when added to smoothies. The sweetest of fruits, they taste sort of like toffee and are loaded with fibre. Be sure to blend well as it takes a slight bit more effort to properly puree/disguise them.

blueberry-banana smoothie with dates

Ingredients:

1 banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup plain yogort
1/4 cup vanilla or regular soy milk
8-10 dates, halved

Directions:

Add ingredients to blender or magic bullet, then puree finely.

Serves 2.