Let Me Introduce the Improv-ers: Food Jaunts

Can it possibly be Thursday already?  I am just loving this series of introducing the members of the Improv Challenge.  I am getting to know so many great people.  I hope you are adding many new blogs to your reading lists.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to the Food Jaunts blog.  Filled with healthy and delicious foods like Crock Pot Asian Sticky Wings, BBQ Salmon Salad, Potato Eggplant Lasagna, Zucchini Fries, and Asian Meatloaf Muffins. Seriously, there are some mighty tempting dishes waiting for you to discover over at Food Jaunts!

Thanks so much to Kristen for letting me do a guest post for her. I joined the Improv challenge months ago but then never got a chance to participate (sorry, so sorry!). I was finishing up my MBA while working full time and life just got in the way of all the important stuff that I’d rather be doing – you know, like participating in fun food improv’s! Needless to say, I can’t wait til September’s Challenge.

Sausage and Fresh Tomato Pasta

I run a blog called Food Jaunts – Recipes with a Healthy Twist, ( http://foodjaunts.com ) but never fear, no bland rice cakes here! My motto is that healthy food should still be tasty or else you’ll never get people to eat it and more importantly, my husband and I won’t want to eat it.

As part of this goal, I’m also part of a weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) and talk about serious improvisation – I never know what I’m going to get as part of my produce share and my entire weekly meal plan is built around whatever I find in that box.

I live in Ohio, so there’s a decent amount of family run farms around, Amish or otherwise, and we’re right about at the end of tomato season. Which basically means I’ve been greedily enjoying every last tomato that’s been coming my way recently (and also desperately trying to figure out what to do with said tomatoes week after week!)

Tomatoes to tomato sauce, not exactly earth shatteringly creative, but for this sauce you can skip peeling the tomatoes and a happy moment will be felt by all. Or at least by me, because for whatever reason I despise peeling tomatoes and the extra step of boiling water, cutting x’s, blah blah blah for it.

I know Kristen doesn’t eat gluten (my little brother actually has Celiac’s) so for those gluten intolerant out there, just sub in your favorite gluten-free noodles. Here I’ve used whole wheat but it’s an easy switch and for the rest of the recipe you’re pretty much home free (although I’d double check your sausage and the brand of tomato paste you use to be extra safe).

Sausage and Fresh Tomato Pasta


Sausage and Fresh Tomato Pasta
  • 4 oz uncooked short pasta (either whole wheat or gluten free)
  • 1 Tbsp reserved pasta water
  • 4 oz (1 link) sweet or hot Italian sausage
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 6 TBSP fresh shredded Parmesan, divided
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  1. Cook pasta according to pasta directions, reserving 1 Tbsp cooking water.
  2. Remove casing from sausage.
  3. While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat.
  4. Add sausage to pan, sprinkle with ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning and ¼ tsp crushed red pepper and sauté until done and no pink remains.
  5. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  6. Heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil in same pan.
  7. Add onion and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  8. Add in garlic, and sauté another minute or two.
  9. Add in mushrooms and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until softened.
  10. Add in reserved sausage, tomato paste, remaining Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, and continue to cook another minute until well combined.
  11. Stir in fresh tomatoes, baby spinach and reserved 1 Tbsp pasta water and cook another two to 4 minutes or until tomatoes have broken down slightly and spinach is fully wilted.
  12. Remove pan from heat; add cooked pasta and 4 Tbsp Parmesan to skillet and toss until pasta and vegetables are combined.
  13. Top servings with remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan and thinly sliced basil. Serve and enjoy!
Approximate Nutritional Info Per Serving: 325 calories and 15g of fat


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