Clean and Creamy Sausage and Kale Pasta
I literally threw this meal together late one night after coming home from church. I had overcome the temptation to swing through the McDonalds drive-thru and instead make a healthy, clean dinner with whatever ingredients I happen to have in the fridge and pantry. This turned out better than I expected and will be a keeper in our household.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Fix Portions: 1 yellow, 1 green, ½ red, ⅓ blue
- ½ box whole wheat or whole grain pasta (I recommend a thicker noodle. I used ziti becuse thatst what I had in my fridge)
- 2 links lean turkey or chicken sausage (I prefer hot, but you can use sweet sausage too. I recommend Target "Simply Balanced" brand hot Italian chicken sausage)
- 1½ green containers baby portobella mushrooms
- ½ green container sundried tomatoes (tip: buy the ones that come in the zipper bag, not the kind in a jar soaking in oil...I found these in the produce section)
- 1½ green containers kale
- 1½ green container spinach leaves
- ½ cup shredded italian blend cheese (I used sargento; kraft has a nice one too; or you could grate your own parmesan and mozzarella alternatively)
- 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup organic milk (I used 2% because that's what I had in the fridge for my daughter)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions (Important: right before draining the noodles, save a ladel-full of hot, starchy cooking water-you will need that later for the sauce!)
- In a skillet, saute all vegetables. Season with pepper, garlic and onion powder, and italian seasoning. Once tender, remove from pan, and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Remove the sausage from its casings and brown the meat in the skillet. Once cooked, remove from pan and drain any excess grease from the meat
- In the same skillet, add the flour to the pan drippings and whisk to form a roux. Note: you may need to add a teaspoon or so of EVOO depending on how much pan drippings you have
- Gradually stir in milk and followed by the reserved starchy cooking water
- Reduce heat, stirring slowly, and allow sauce to thicken.
- Stir in shredded cheese using a figure-8 motion until the cheese dissolves into the sauce
- Adjust sauce seasonings to taste, adding in garlic and onion powder and pepper to taste. Also, if the sauce gets too thick and pasty, add more milk or cooking water- you want this to have an nice creamy consistency
- Add the noodles, sausage, and vegetables to the sauce and stir to coat evenly.
- Use your green container (or 1 cup measuring cup) to portion out each serving. Enjoy!
- If you’re not a fan of sausage, try this with diced chicken breast or even lean ground turkey (seasoned with garlic and onion powder, italian seasoning, and a little red pepper flake)