Friday, April 8, 2011

Set it & Forget it

Hellloooo readers!

Happy fuh-reaky Friday!!! We made it!! :) Ahh that felt good.

Hope you all had a great day yesterday. Thursdays are the best.

I took a day off from working out because my body was feeling hella sore after 4 days in a row of intense activity. It felt verrrry good to rest.

So since it's friiiday, friiiday, gettin down on friiiday -- I am going to share another weekend night-in recipe with you.


This recipe is made in the best $10 investment I have ever made, the CROCK POT! We picked up our crockpot at Macy's as kind of an "afterthought" before we moved in together, and I am so glad we did.  Sometimes the best purchases are the ones you almost didn't make!

A couple of weeks back, I was sneaking a peek in our freezer, and I noticed we had an insane amount of my favorite Jennie-O turkey sausage.  When I make my healthy-ish pizza, I usually only use 2 or 3 linkies, and the rest get frozen. I must be making a lot of pizza lately, because there was about 2 pounds of the good stuff in the ice box.

So I did some googling, and came across this recipe. I always change things up a little bit, so here is my version...

Jessica's Crock Pot Italian Sausage & Peppers


2 lbs of turkey sausage, casings removed {I recommend 1 pound of Jennie-O Sweet Turkey Sausage and 1 pound of Jennie-O Spicy Turkey Sausage}
3 Bell Peppers, chopped up into small pieces {your choice on the colors}
2 yellow onions, chopped {I use the minced onion you can find in the spice aisle and some onion powder, because I like the onion flavor, but my eyes hurt REALLY bad when I chop up whole onions}
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes -- I was SO excited to finally find fire-roasted diced tomatoes that were no salt added!! {Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes No Salt Added}

1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic, minced {you all know I use the kind in a jar} 
1/2 cup of dry red wine {yessss!}
2 tsp dried basil 
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste 


Step #1: After you have removed the turkey sausage from the casings, brown it up in a large skillet (sprayed with some PAM), until it is fully cooked.  NOTE: for this recipe, I do not "grind" the sausage up all the way. Instead, I leave it a little more chunky, so it kind of resembles mini meatballs. 

Step #2: While your sausage is cooking, layer 1/2 of the onions in the bottom of your crockpot, followed by 1/2 of your chopped peppers. 

Step #3: Once the sausage is cooked, add all of it to the pot. 

Step #4: Add the bay leaves and garlic. 

Step #5: Add the rest of the onion and peppers. 

Step #6: In a small bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, basil, and oregano.  Stir until well mixed. 

Step #7: Pour the tomato mixture on top of everything in the crock pot.

Step #8: Add a dash or two of salt & pepper to the top, to taste. 

Step #9: Cover the mixture with the lid and turn the crock pot onto "low" heat. 

Step #10: Now that you've set it, you can forget it! :) Let it cook on low for about 6 hours  (I do leave it for longer sometimes, and it does just fine). 

Be good crock pot! I'll cya later! :) 

Step #11: About 20 to 30 minutes before serving, turn the pot off to cool down. While you're letting it cool, you can cook up some whole wheat pasta of your choice (I like fettuccine).  Whatever floats your boat. 

Step #12: Spoon a reasonable amount of the pasta into bowls, and layer your sausage & peppers on top.  

This dish is great sprinkled with a little grated Parmesan cheese! 

Hearty, healthy goodness! 

Step #13: Settle down to enjoy @ your dinner table, or, if you don't have one, with a comfy blanket on the floor, like me: 

Blanket courtesy of Justin's amazingly talented and crafty sisters, Tayler & Dani! 
This is how I eat almost all my meals, I'm so fancy! :) 

I hope you guys get a chance to make this meal sometime soon. Try it on a rainy April day, it will instantly warm your spirits! 

If you'd like to sip on some vino with your meal (whyyy not?!) try another favorite of mine: 

Theory & Guy's Fat Badname Shiraz! What a name, huh? This stuff is really really good. And it's usually less than $10 per bottle. I could drink to that! ;) 

Since procrastination is the killer of weekends (at least in my current world), I will be spending a lot of mine writing a paper. Blahhhh. 

Hopefully, you all have many more fun things planned for your weekend, or just plan to relax and recharge for another great week! 

Before I go, I have to give a big KICK SOME BOOTY shout out to my best friend Ashley & her fiance Tyler who are running their first full marathon this weekend in St. Louis!! If you listen really hard, you will hear us cheering all the way from Chi-town! 

See you all Monday with a dose of happiness and *hopefully* a finished paper! 




  1. Thank you!! :) As of now, no more rain in the forecast! Just some wind but we are up for the challenge!!

  2. ps: That recipe looks amazing!

  3. Good luck Ash!!

    I'll be finishing up my move this weekend - if anyone wants free beer and/or wine, come stop by!!! :)