Pasta with Sausage and Chickpeas ~

I can’t believe it took me til Berkeley was 4 months old, but I finally found the time to cook. I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that seem quick to make, and during December we had a nanny and I was working from home- I really had no excuse. Still, I only found time to make an actual dinner ONE night. Pathetic.

Pasta with Sausage and Chickpeas ~

Honestly, it wasn’t that I didn’t have time to cook, it was that I didn’t have time to pick a recipe, grocery shop AND cook. I need to get my act together, which is going to be really hard now that I’m back at work officially (as of Monday) and I leave at 7:30am and don’t get home til almost 7pm. Any tips? I’m thinking that during the weekend I might need to send Nate to the grocery store and then put him on baby duty while I pump out a couple meals we can eat all week long. This will take some planning though, and I’m not sure if I have it in me yet.

Pasta with Sausage and Chickpeas 3 ~

Most likely I’ll be cooking more meals than I show on here. Taking photos of your meal when you have limited time doesn’t really make sense. Plus, I don’t have my photo lights set up and am a little out of practice now, so forgive my poor photos. 

For a little baby update:

Berkeley 4 month ~

Berkeley has officially been on this earth for a whole 4 months, and it’s really quite hard to believe. He’s SO smiley. He smiles for Nate more than for me, which makes me a little sad, but I think it’s just because I’m more of the “provider” and he’s more of the “entertainer.” That’s not to say he doesn’t smile for me at all, but Nate can always get him to grin. He smiles a lot for the nanny, Nora, too…he loves her which makes me very happy.


He’s also been “talking” a ton. It’s super cute when I’m feeding him and all of a sudden he’ll stop, look at me and just blabber on about something with a furrowed brow. He’s probably complaining about the nasty formula and asking when he can get some of that tasty breastmilk again. He’s been having some tummy issues so we’re trying a completely broken down formula (and a very $$$ one!) and it’s really seemed to help. I’m still breastfeeding him in the middle of the night though because it’s just easier. He’s been really fussing during that time though so it might have to end soon :(

Berkeley football hat ~

Berkeley is also reaching for and grabbing things now! Shirts, hair, you name it…don’t put it too close or it will end up in his mouth. For a couple weeks he was sucking on his fist non-stop, but he seems to have forgotten about that lately. I still think he might become a thumb-sucker, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

He doesn’t spend a ton of time on his playmat on either his back or tummy because he has reflux…right after he eats we like to keep him mainly upright so he doesn’t spit up too much. Towards the end of that time before he naps, we’ll put him on his back. He only gets tummy time if he wakes up from a nap early and isn’t ready to eat yet. 

Berkeley Christmas PJs ~

He wiggles and kicks a ton when he’s down but hasn’t rolled over yet. BUT…the other day during nap time he was squirming a ton in his swaddle and next thing I knew, he was face down in the crib! Luckily he has great neck strength and was able to lift his head up. I flipped him and put him back and he did it again! You’re not supposed to keep swaddling after that but he hasn’t done it since…it’s been keeping me up at night though because I’m so afraid he’ll do it during the night. I totally wanna ditch the swaddle but I’m so worried he won’t be able to sleep at all without it since his startle reflex is still pretty strong. If he starts flipping over regularly, i’ll obviously have no choice.

We also conquered a few milestones that I was fearing- our first long (2-3 hr) car ride, the first time I got sick and had to still take care of a baby, and Berkeley’s first cold. I managed to make it through all of them just fine. We headed down to my mother-in-laws for Christmas. We fed him his nighttime bottle and then hit the road during his bed time and he slept the whole way. Then we just moved him to his crib when we got there and he didn’t even wake up.

Santa Berk ~

I got the worst cold while there and I feel bad because I’m totally the one who got Berkeley sick. I couldn’t help it because I had to blow my nose all day long, including while I was feeding him. I think if he had been breastfeeding instead of getting formula, he might have escaped getting sick. He was such a little trooper though, even when he was a snotty, congested mess. He got this nasty cough and runny nose but all through it he was still in a good mood! I should be very thankful and hope that this means he’s a very easygoing baby (now that he got his 2 months of colic out of the way). He did have a little more trouble sleeping though so I’m definitely feeling exhausted right now. I’m crossing my fingers because last night he seemed to have slept a little better.

Also now that I’m back at work, we’re figuring out the best way to do a morning routine. The problem is that he fusses in the morning so I put him in bed with me so we can both get a extra couple hours of sleep…but now I have to get up early to start getting ready for work and it’s hard not to wake him up by mistake. He stays asleep when I get out of bed but is up within 5 min since he doesn’t feel me next to him anymore. I’m not sure how to solve this. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. As of last night he slept the second half of his night (after his feeding) without fussing! I felt much better rested in the morning.

Santa Berk ~


Pasta with Sausage and Chickpeas
A healthy and quick weeknight meal
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  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, chopped
  3. 1 pound fresh hot Italian sausage, casings removed (can use turkey sausage)
  4. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  5. 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  6. 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  7. 16 ounces small dried pasta (such as malloreddus or orecchiette)
  8. Kosher salt
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  10. Finely grated Parmesan and lemon zest (for serving)
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste to skillet and cook, stirring, until paste darkens, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 15-20 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  4. Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce. Cook, stirring and adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve pasta topped with parsley, if using, Parmesan, and lemon zest.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

I just got back from visiting Nate in California again yesterday. It was another great, but too short, trip. I have to say that the weather out in LA is not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I can’t believe it gets as cold as it does! I guess I could live out there if I had to…let’s hope Nate finds something in the job department soon.

I got to see my uncle’s new puppy…she’s so tiny!!!

photo (8)

And I got to see one of my best friends, and bridesmaid, Barrie. Nate and I met her at the LACMA where there’s this really cool lamppost sculpture.

photo (9)

Anyway, since Nate’s been gone, I haven’t done that much cooking. I would cook a small amount but I just don’t like spending all that time and effort on a meal that will only last a day or two. So instead I only know how to make large quantities, but with only me eating it I can’t be doing that very often.

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

So I’ve been forced to go back to some recipes I made but never posted. The photos aren’t great because I rushed to take them so we could dig in. I actually made this meal during the 4th of July weekend! But actually, I think this makes a great meal in any season :)

I don’t know why I never posted it, since it’s totally delicious. I guess it’s kind of similar to a couple other pastas i have on my blog already, but honestly this type of garlicky sauce with sausage is my favorite kind. I got this from my mom’s recipe box, but I think it’s from Gourmet or Bon Appetit or something.

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

I promise I’ll cook up something new for you soon. I actually had high hopes for an oreo bundt cake I baked up while out in CA, but it didn’t come out as pretty as I thought it would. It was tasty, but nothing special in the chocolate cake department.

You guys looking for me to make any particular types of recipes?

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

Penne with Broccoli Rabe

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Serves 5-7


1 lb penne
3/4 pound raw italian turkey sausage
2 bunches broccoli rabe (rappini)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp capers
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 grated parmesan plus more to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Cook penne in salted water.

While penne cooks, cut stems off broccoli rape. Cut remaining stalks and leaves into 1″ pieces.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet. Remove sausage from casings and cook, breaking up with wooden spoon until no longer pink.

Remove sausage from pan. Add another tablespoon oil and garlic. Saute garlic until golden.

Add broccoli rape, capers and white wine. Saute until leaves wilted and stalks are tender, 5 min. Season with salt and pepper.

When penne is al dente, drain and put in bowl. Add broccoli rape and cheese. Toss and serve with more cheese.

Nate has told me before that the dinner he always looked forward to his mom making when he was growing up was pasta with sausage and tomato sauce, with broccoli and garlic bread. So when his 30th birthday was fast approaching, I knew this is the meal I would make for him.

However, when we were down at the shore visiting my parents the weekend before his bday, my mom made a delicious red sauce, and being that Nate’s bday was only a couple days later, I asked him for his next choice.

He told me his second favorite pasta sauce is a light garlic sauce. I immediately thought of a sausage and broccoli rabe combo…but Nate insisted on broccoli. And I’m not one to argue with the Birthday Boy.

*As some readers have pointed out, this sauce wasn’t actually a garlic sauce, but when I set out to make the recipe I thought it was. The sausage and chicken broth impart a seasoned/salty flavor that tastes a lot like a light garlic sauce but without all the oil. And if you really wanted, you’re more than welcome to add garlic!

I knew I wouldn’t have much time to cook when I got home from work, so I did all my market shopping the day before. It’s not like me to do this, but I bought some premade garlic bread…you know the one that comes in foil that you put right in the oven? It made my life a whole lot easier. This really came together super quickly and is perfect for dinner on a birthday, or any day of the year!

Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli
Adapted from Gourmet (3/06)

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Makes 4-6 servings


cooking spray
1 lb italian turkey or pork sausage, casings discarded and sausage crumbled
1/2 lb broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
3/4 lb dried pasta (whatever shape you desire)
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving

Spray a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water. When pasta is al-dente, remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add broccoli to the pasta water and blanch, 1 min.  Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain broccoli in a colander.

Add broccoli to sausage in skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 1-2 min. Add broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to skillet, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water if desired.

Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side.

Comfort food is such a wonderful idea. Food that seeks to elicit memories of times when you were young, happy, and carefree.  Or maybe just food that warms you up after a cold winter day. I think risotto falls into the latter category since I don’t remember my mom making it all that often when I was a kid.

Unfortunately, try as you might, comfort food doesn’t always make you comfortable.

Case in point: Nate threw his back out a few weeks ago. I felt so helpless in this situation. I pride myself on being a great girlfriend and love taking care of people, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to ease his pain. I catered to his every whim (when I was home), bringing him food and water, but nothing could really make him feel better except time.

So, I did the next best thing that I knew how: I cooked.

I wanted to make something easy for him to eat, but delicious. This satisfied on both accounts. And I think it may have made him forget about his back for at least the first few bites 😉

Sausage and Mushroom Risotto
From Bon Appetit (8/01)

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Makes 8 1st course servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sweet sausage, casings removed, crumbled into 1/2-in pieces (I used turkey sausage)
8 oz. portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out, caps diced
10 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, diced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups Madeira (or Sherry)
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arborio rice or other medium grain rice (about 13 oz)
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over med-hi heat. Add sausage and saute until beginning to brown, about 3 min. Add all mushrooms, thyme and oregano and suate until mushrooms are tender, about 10 min.

Add 1/2 cup Madeira; boil until almost absorbed, about 1 min. Set aside.

Bring stock to simmer in large saucepan; remove from heat and cover to keep hot.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over med-hi heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 5 min.

Add rice; stir 2 min. Add remaining 1 cup Madeira; simmer until absorbed, about 2 min. Add 1 cup hot stock; simmer until almost absorbed, stirring often, about 3 min.

Continue to cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more stock by cupfuls, stirring often and allowing most stock to be absorbed before adding more, about 25 min.

Stir in sausage mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Pass cheese separately.

I’ve been so busy these days. Between deadlines at work, apartment hunting (in NYC it’s an expensive pain in the butt), trying to keep up with my blog, getting a little exercise and making dinner semi-regularly, I barely have time to think!

It’s times like these that it’s good to have a collection of recipes on hand that are quick, don’t take many ingredients, are fairly healthy and taste really good. Among my hoard of recipes, I found one for a Potato Crusted Sausage Quiche.

The crust on quiche is usually the most fattening part, so I liked the fact that this used potatoes instead. Potatoes are fairly high calorie for a vegetable (because they’re a starch), but in comparison to a butter-filled pastry dough, I knew it would result in a fraction of the calories that the typical crust would be. Plus, the idea of a crispy potato crust sounded pretty yummy.

The potatoes on the sides came out looking really pretty, and they got nice and brown and crispy. The ones on the bottom of the quiche tasted really good as well, but they don’t crisp up like the sides. It was definitely a nice variation on a typical quiche.

I put sausage, scallions and cheese in mine, but other meats/veggies would work just as well! I used precooked chicken sausage so all I had to do was chop it up. Easy peasy.

Make this for dinner this week and you can thank me later for the extra time you save to catch up on your DVR 😉

Potato-Crusted Sausage Quiche

Adapted from a recipe I found in my collection, but I don’t know where it’s from

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Serves 4-6

5 large eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp tabasco
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or more if desired)
2 precooked turkey/chicken sausage links (about 6 oz),diced (I used Italian flavor but any would be delicious)
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, or enough to cover bottom and sides of dish

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine eggs, ricotta, flour, pepper and tabasco in a large bowl. Whisp to mix well.
Stir in cheese, sausage, and scallions. Set aside.
Coat a 9″ deep dish pie pan with cookin spray.
Slice unpeeled potatoes 1/4″ thick.
Arrange potato slices in single layer over bottom and sides of pan. You don’t have to cover every inch of the bottom but I actually cut some slices into pieces to have more full coverage on the bottom.
Pour egg mixture into crust.
Bake uncovered for 45 min or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 5 min before cutting. This step is important! It will be firmer and easier to slice cleanly after cooling.