Hearty Sausage and Potato Skillet

The worst is over. During our 3rd year of school, we have our biggest proficiency called 5 stations. 12 skills. 2 hrs. 1 optometry student sweating bullets. And now I can put it all past me!!! No retakes and no worries (until boards). Whew! I can get back to a healthy eating, sleep and gym schedule again, as well as getting back to doing some real hobbies like baking and sewing. Now it’s a steady schedule of 1 exam/week and clinic. So excited to have a life again!

And now for my return, a recipe for an easy and very fast weekday dinner! I found fingerling potatoes at the dollar store so I had to grab a few of those. They make for a good dinner side dish or breakfast side with eggs. For this recipe, though, you can really use any potato and any type of sausage you want technically. It’s the herbs that give it the flavor. I love using the fresh herbs I grow in pots, and they’re so easy to grow, too! You really just needed some good soil at Home Depot which is $8 for a huge bag (dirt is cheap…big surprise), a pot that can drain and remember to water it everyday. And even if you’re a forgetful person, you can at least grow rosemary which can live for a 1-2 days without water! Fresh herbs turn any simple dish into a hearty spectacular dish. Great way to add flavor when you’re in a rush! My boyfriend is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so this recipe is also a sneaky way to add veggies and still make it yummy! Enjoy!

italian sausage
Hearty Sausage and Potato Skillet

Servings: 4

Prep time: 20 min, Total time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cut potatoes, skin on – I used fingerling, but you can use any kind. Red potatoes would work really well
  • 1 lb mix of sweet and spicy Italian sausage (or any sausage of your choice)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • Salt/Fresh ground pepper
  • 2-3 stems of Fresh basil (optional)

Directions

1. Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and heat on med-high. Add your sausage and cook until they start to brown on all side.

2. Remove sausage and set aside.

3. Drizzle your skillet with olive oil and add in potatoes, carrots and onion. Cover and stir occasionally for 10 min.

4. When your sausage cools, slice your sausage into 1/2″ pieces.

5.  Return sausage to pan. Add in garlic, tomatoes, garlic and rosemary.

6. Cook for another 5 min or until tomatoes are cooked. Salt/pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each).

7. Serve with torn pieces of fresh basil on top. Enjoy!

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Avocado Baked Eggs

Sprouts has this once a year superb avocado sale I wait for every year….3/$1! And for once it’s not the puny ones with huge seeds! The 99 only store does have that bag of avocados for $1 but they’re the tiniest avocados I’ve ever seen and most of them were already very ripe. And yes, I know it’s weirdly strange for a person to get so excited about avocados on sale, but I can’t help it…I LOVE avocados. My future plans with my 12 avocados are for sandwiches, salads, guacamole, avocado smoothies, avocado ice cream and anything else I could think of! Recipes to come!

I woke up this morning knowing I needed a good breakfast to get me through 4 hrs of straight lecture. I had just bought the avocados yesterday, so I wanted avocados with eggs. I was on a time crunch (like every morning), so I quickly just cut open and avocado, scooped out the some of the avocado for lunch later, cracked an egg and threw it into the oven. It baked while I was getting ready, and by the time I was about to leave it was already done! It makes it very creamy, warm and buttery. You can top it off with whatever you like (bacon, green onion, cheese, ect) but I just quickly threw on pepper, salt and parsley. Who says you can’t have a quick to make delicious breakfast?

Avocado Egg

Avocado Baked Eggs

Serving: 1 Avocado/1 serving

Prep time: 5 min, Total time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt/pepper
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, green onion, parsley, thyme, salsa….options are endless! – I opted for dried parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1. Cut your avocado in half and remove the pit.

2. Scoop out about 1.5-2 Tbsp of each side of the avocado. You want enough room for the egg. Place avocado on baking sheet.

* Save the avocado for salads and sandwiches.

3. Crack and egg and put the yolk and as much of the white that can fit in one half (the bigger half if you have a bigger side) and the rest of the white in the other half.

4. Bake avocados for 25 minutes.

5. Top with anything you like! I like fresh ground pepper, salt and dried parsley on mine.

**Note: the trickiest part of this is getting the egg-filled avocado to the oven without spilling. Mine kept rolling around on the pan so I opted to just stick my hands into the oven (very unsafely) and made sure they stood up. Once you get them into the oven standing up it’s no problem though! I think using a 6 cup muffin pan would probably work best to balance the avocados. If yours spills over, just pour it back into the avocado and try again.

Honey Banana Yogurt

My days are usually pretty packed – especially in the mornings. That’s why I like to a good breakfast in the morning. Like many people, I’m usually in a rush to get out the door too, so here’s a very quick recipe to jump start a healthy morning and give you the energy you need for the day (or at least to get you there until lunch)! I like to buy a tub of greek yogurt at Costco ($4 for a huge tub!) – it lets you control the amount of sugar in your yogurt versus getting the individual serving cups. Greek yogurt is good not only to eat by itself, but it can be used for baking or made into salad dressings. Quick, healthy and yummy breakfast with items you probably already have in your kitchen!

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Honey Banana Yogurt

Servings: 1

Prep/total time: 5 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Greek Yogurt
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp honey
  • Dash of Vanilla
  • Raisins (optional)
  • Granola (optional)

Directions

Scoop yogurt into a bowl. Top it with fresh sliced banana and drizzle everything with honey and a dash of vanilla. Top with optional raisins and granola. Eat it there or take it on the go! Mix it up and enjoy!

Summer Avocado + Spinach Pesto Pasta

Happy post-Labor weekend! It was filled with beautiful beach barbecues at the Montage beach and yummy dinner parties. My boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary with a backyard dinner with our friends. Since I had a packed weekend, I picked a menu that was easy to assemble early so I could just throw things in the oven.

Dinner

My summer dinner menu:

Appetizers

Cheese Board – Italian truffle cheese, Pesto Gouda

Baked Brie with Honey and Thyme

Fresh baguette (made by my friend!)

Fruits – Green grapes and Pears

Toasted Cashews and Pistachios

Main Course

Lemon Chicken over Basmati Rice

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Avocado Pesto Pasta with Roasted summer vegetables

Dessert

Peach + Blueberry Cake a la mode with fresh vanilla ice cream

I made most of the items the day before, or they were at least easy to prepare (less than 15 min) the day of. And I pretty much always go for no-cook/bake appetizers…you don’t want your guests to get full on appetizers anyways! It turned out to be a perfect stress-less dinner party where I actually got to enjoy and drink wine. The key was making a 3-day to do list, and a time schedule on the day of so I know exactly when to start throwing things into the oven.

I made some easy flower arrangements as centerpieces, too. You can buy flowers for pretty cheap at Trader Joe’s and make your our arrangements rather than buy pre-made bouquets! I chose summer retro colors blue and red, so I had 2 mason jars filled with blue-white hydrangea with red gerber daisies tucked in between. And the main centerpiece were white calla lilies with red roses in a skinny vase.

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I had some ingredients left over so I decided to whip up a quick fresh lunch today – Avocado and spinach pesto pasta! During the dinner, I had oven roasted grape tomatoes and yellow squash for it, but I’m in a rush over the week so fresh grape tomatoes sufficed. It’s more refreshing and fast and oh so good! Did I mention it was healthy for you too?? In the end, you have a creamy pesto pasta with all the summer flavors you could ask for – creamy avocado, fresh basil and garlic, tangy lemon hints and sweet juicy tomatoes!

Fun tip: After I use my avocados, I like to save the skins because there’s usually enough left to make into an avocado face mask! Just rub the skin all over a fresh clean face!

pesto pasta

Avocado and Spinach Pesto Pasta

Servings: 2-3

Prep TIme: 15 min, Total time: 15-20 min

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of fettuccine (1/2 package) – I like to use whole wheat fettuccine, but you can really use any kind you want
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1-2 cups of Spinach
  • 1/2-1 cups of fresh Basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 small lemon or half a large lemon
  • Salt/pepper
  • Pine nuts (optional)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • Parmesan for garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Cook the pasta according to the package, saving a small cup of pasta water on the side before draining.

2. While the pasta is cooking, place your avocado, spinach, basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper into a food processor or blender. If you have pine nuts, you can add them in, too. Blend until smooth.

3. After you grain your pasta, dump your pesto sauce into the original pot. Toss in your pasta, adding in as much pasta water as you like to get a more saucy texture.

4. Toss in your fresh grape tomatoes and garnish with freshly grated pepper and parmesan. Enjoy!

Note: If you have left over sauce, you can always store it in the freezer.