Monday, October 20, 2014

Chicken Sausage & Tortellini

This is a typical conversation that happens somewhere between 3-7 pm, almost every single day:

"So what's for dinner?"
"I don't know."
"What's in the fridge?" (usually in reference to what type of animal proteins are thawed and ready to be cooked)
"Umm, there's some ___"
"What are we going to make with that?"
"I hadn't really planned on anything."
"Hmm, what can I make with ___ without going to the store?"

Sometimes the "without going to the store" factor works out in our favor, and other times it does not.

Today, the protein du jour happened to be some of Aidell's chicken mango sausage.  When I heard that was the thawed meat, it called to mind an old recipe I had picked up from one of the cooking demonstration stations at good ole H-E-B in Texas!  Sure enough, I still had it in my recipe box.  I pulled it out and decided I was going to sort of follow this recipe as a "skeleton" recipe and make it my own.

So, here we have it, folks!

Larena's Chicken Sausage & Tortellini

Prep time - approximately 20 minutes, makes approximately 5 servings

  • ~20 oz rainbow tortellini - cheese
  • 1 package of Aidells chicken mango sausage, sliced in ~3/4-inch thick slices, or whichever chicken sausage you prefer
  • 2 teaspoons caramelized garlic slices with the oil, or use 3 cloves of fresh sliced garlic
  • 1 Serrano pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided - 2 tbsp for cooking sausage
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 8 large basil leaves, sliced into 1/2 inch wide strips
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp King Cajun - Cajun cream sauce spice
  • Red chili flakes and/or cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions. Since you will be finishing the tortellini in a large skillet, be sure to only use the lowest cooking time listed on the package. Be sure to stir occasionally and not hard boil it too long to prevent the tortellini from bursting open.
  2. As soon as you toss the tortellini into the boiling water, put the 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (stir the tortellini!) Saute the sausage, garlic, and Serrano pepper until the sausage is lightly brown. Use some tongs to flip the sausage so both sides of the slices get a nicely browned edge. (stir the tortellini!) Cook for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Once the tortellini has finished boiling, strain it and add the tortellini to the skillet, add the remaining olive oil, and stir to distribute evenly. Add the Cajun cream spice, basil leaves, and cherry tomatoes. Stir again to distribute evenly, and then top with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Garnish with a few red chili flakes and/or cayenne pepper according to your spice preference.
Optional ingredients: fresh sliced mushrooms and/or ~1/2 lb uncooked & unshelled/deveined shrimp added at the same time you cook the sausage, garlic and Serrano pepper.

For the nutritional values of this recipe, you can log it through the My Fitness Pal application.  Just search for "Larena's Chicken & Sausage Tortellini."  Disclaimer: this nutritional value calculation is just an estimation.

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