Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Posts tagged ‘pasta’

Turkey Sausage Pasta Bake (easy, peesy!)


Quick & Easy Pasta Bake

You are right, this does look delicious.

Lucky for you, it’s easy to make and we’re going to tell you how. We didn’t follow a recipe on this one, it’s straight out of the dReJ Original Recipe book. But it’s really just a healthy version of your standard pasta bake – so feel free to change up the ingredients to reflect your preferences.

What you’ll need:

Turkey or Chicken Sausage (we used hot Italian turkey sausages that they stock fresh in our grocery meat department). They usually come with about 5 links in a package.

1 package spinach (we thawed out a package of frozen spinach because it’s cheaper than fresh!)
1 small container (15 oz) of Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
4 servings of a whole wheat pasta noodle (we went with rotini)
1.5 cups (you can do more or less depending on your preferences ) 2% skim shredded Mozzarella cheese
Seasonings (we went with Salt & Pepper + some Italian ones like oregano, parsley, etc.

3/4 – 1 cup Low Sodium or Low Calorie Marinara Sauce – pick one that is not loaded with sodium, fat and sugar! Check your label!

What to do with all that stuff:

Cook up your sausages – you can do this on the stove or grill them, use your George Foreman, etc. Once they are cooked, slice them into thin bite size pieces.
Cook your pasta and drain, add the marina sauce and stir until coated.

Meanwhile, put the spinach (make sure you’ve drained it so it’s not wet if thawing), ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the shredded cheese and seasonings into a large bowl and mix it up. It will be a little hard to stir, but you want it to be pretty mixed up. Once you have accomplished that, add the sausage (a little at a time) until everything is mixed together.

Pull out a casserole dish (something that is 9×13 will work – but you can work with whatever you have) and spread the pasta/marinara into the casserole dish evenly. Spoon the spinach mixture on top. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese on top and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 375 or until it’s nice a bubbly.

We used a pretty big casserole dish, so when we cut it up, we actually had 2 thin layers. So when I put in our to-go containers for lunch, it sort of felt like lasagna because I stacked it. If you have a smaller casserole dish – you may end up with just one thick serving and that’s okay, too.

It all goes down the same way, anyway – right?

If you plan to bring this to work and heat up later, I recommend adding a tiny bit of water to the dish prior to microwaving it. It just helps everything stay good texture wise.

This meal was super easy to make, and took maybe a half hour total. You can make this dish healthier by using less cheese and leaner cuts of meat – or you can add on the  calories by doing the opposite. But since this is a healthy, cheap & delicious website, I won’t be encouraging that!


Weekly Review: Dec. 6-10

Here’s our quick snapshot for our meals last week, as usual – click on the posts below for more details!

Salmon (or Shrimp) Eggplant Curry: (Sounds fancy, but really easy to cook!)

Hot Chile Grilled Cheese: w/tomato soup (don’t worry – this one is NOT super spicy)

Garlicky Shrimp and Vegetable Pasta: (Super fast and easy to make!)

(dReJ Concoction) Rj’s Enchiladas: You’ll have to click on the actual post for details since this one is home-made!

Hope you enjoy – the one great thing about all of the meals this week was the easy factor. Nothing was overly complex, and with the exception of the cooking time for the Enchiladas – you should be ready to eat any of these meals in 30-35 minutes!


Dre & RJ


Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables

Quick Link:

Great to bring to work and reheat!

4 servings, about 2 cups each

Active Time: 30 minutes


  • 6 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti (remember you can use whatever pasta you have on hand – it doesn’t matter!)
  • 12 ounces peeled and deveined raw shrimp cut into 1-inch pieces (we just left them as is after the peeling/cleaning – didn’t cut them up)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (we just used regular old salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

dReJsays: This has got to be one of the most simple recipes to make. It’s really quick – and honestly, there are so many options to change things out if you don’t like something. Trade the asparagus for green beans, trade the red pepper for a green or yellow, or something more spicy like poblano. Use whatever type of pasta you have. These are all easy ways to change it up, use what you have in the kitchen, and still have a great healthy meal. Obviously, if you add things like CHEESE and sausage that would make it not so healthy. So be sure your trade outs are similar in nutritional values!


Week in Review: Nov. 29 – Dec 3

This week, we have options that are easily changed in case you don’t eat a certain meat. So for the Tex Mex Pork – you could easily sub steak or chicken. For the Pasta, we used chicken sausage – but you could use any type of sausage, same thing in the casserole! So have fun with it, and make it your own. We’ll have details and pics up later – but for those wondering “What’s for Dinner?” – here you go!

Tex Mex Pork: (Rating: This was delicious! A definite favorite for both Dre and RJ)

Sausage, Tomato and Arugula Fettuccine: (Very tasty, but we didn’t use enough pasta, so the meal wasn’t the right portion, so be sure to not skimp on the pasta in order to ensure a full belly)

Chicken , Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms with Marsala Wine: (Can’t go wrong with a chicken and veggie medley – we do suggest having a side to go with this meal as it is NOT served with pasta or rice!)

Sausage and Bean Casserole: (we used a spicy chicken sausage to heat this casserole up – very good, and easy to reheat!).


Fresh Tomato, Sausage and Pecorino Pasta

Quick Link:

Bring on the delicious pasta!

dReJ Say: Again – we are losers and didn’t take pics of this meal, but it really did look like the pic above as featured in Cooking Light. Honestly, it was hard to stop eating this meal long enough to take a picture – that’s how delicious it was.

Perfect meal to make ahead and reheat at work or later for dinner. Just be sure to add a few drops of water before you reheat in the microwave to keep it tasting good and not overcooked.


Feta Shrimp Skillet

Yummy with a side salad

This one is from Taste of Home which is a magazine we ordered for my sister in law last year and we got an online subscription as a result. Unfortunately, that means giving you the link won’t work unless you have a membership there. So if you DO…here’s the link:–Shrimp-Skillet-for-Two

If you don’t here is the full scoop:2 Servings Prep: 20 min. Cook: 20 min.


  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons white wine, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese


  • In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes, wine if desired, oregano, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. (more…)

Roasted Pepper and Herb Pasta with Shrimp

We failed to take a picture of ours this week, so here's what it looks like from Cooking Light!

Here’s the link to the recipe from Cooking Light:

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups shrimp and pasta mixture and 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese)


  • red green bell peppers
  • 8  ounces  uncooked fettuccine (or whatever pasta you have on hand would work)
  • 2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  unsalted butter (okay, we just use our regular butter here)
  • 1  cup  finely chopped onion
  • 1  tablespoon  minced garlic
  • 1/2  pound  peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 1/4  cup  fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  chopped fresh sage
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1  teaspoon  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons  shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

dReJ Tip: This is another one of those recipes that ask you to do something weird with the peppers. Remember from week one’s post – you can imitate “roasting” just on the stove top. This one says “broil” but you can do the same thing on the stove top. So take your pick and if you want specifics, check out our week one food blog.


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