Chicken Sausage & Veggie Sauce Spaghetti Meal

Hi everyone! It’s about time I finally got my “weekly recipe” post up for you! Since I knew I was not going to be around on Sunday night because of Danielle’s study abroad event, I spent a few hours of my Sunday afternoon food prepping, cooking and baking. Miranda Lambert Pandora station cranking, sunshine streaming through the windows, delicious smelling food cooking/baking… the only thing missing was a big ol’ glass of Chardonnay!

Anyway, where was I? Oh, that’s right… talking about my dinner with all of you (I get so sidetracked when I talk about wine;) ). While flipping through this month’s Cooking Light magazine, as well as some blogs, I came across an add for Al Fresco Chicken Sausages. I mentioned it to Danielle and she was totally on board for a meal with chicken sausage. Perfect! The only unfortunate thing, was that they were not on sale at the grocery store and I was not about to spend $6 on 4 sausage links. I almost scrapped the whole meal idea until I saw the Nature’s Promise brand of uncooked chicken sausage links- 5 for about $5 was still not a “deal” by any means, but it was better! Note: if you do not like chicken sausage, feel free to substitute for regular sausage or chicken breast or something else of the like!

As far as the sauce, as much as I would love to make homemade sauce from scratch, it’s just so much easier to buy a jar of it (or, take some from my parents when they make a big batch!).  However, if I am making a pasta and sauce meal, I will always “doctor up” the jar sauce. What I mean by this, is that I cut up veggies and sautee them in wine and garlic and then add the jar sauce to those veggies and let everything simmer on the stove for a couple of hours. This gives the sauce some extra texture and flavor without requiring you to slave over the stove for hours.

chicken sausage

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup summer squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Couple splashes of white wine (optional)
  • Dash of salt, pepper, oregano, basil and italian seasoning (probably about 1/4 tsp. of each)
  • 2 cups of jar sauce
  • 2 servings of whole wheat spaghetti (or any other pasta/spaghetti of your choice)
  • sprinkle of parmesan cheese

1. Chop up your veggies. I did measure this time (go me!), but feel free to use these just as a guide pending on whether you like more or less veggies in your sauce. Add a little bit of EVOO to a pot, add the onions & minced garlic.  After a few minutes, add the rest of the veggies, herbs/seasoning and wine.  003

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0042. Let the veggies sautee for about 5 minutes until they just start to soften. Add in 2 cups of sauce. I used Prego since that was on sale this week:) Mix everything together and reduce the heat to a simmer level.

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3. While the veggie and sauce mixture is cooking, it’s time to start the sausage. I only used 3 links because I didn’t want to waste any (I froze the other two and have plans on making some type of chicken sausage sub in the near future:) ).

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All I did was brown these up and *mostly* cook them. I say mostly, because I had plans of cutting them up and placing them to finish cooking IN the veggie and sauce mixture.

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4. Let the sausage, veggies and sauce simmer for as long as you desire- mine ended up simmering for about an hour before I added the sausage and about 45 minutes after I added the sausage, but you don’t have to wait that long.

5. When you’re about 15 minutes from “dinner time,” cook your spaghetti according to the back of the package.

Place spaghetti in a bowl and top with the sauce/veggie/sausage mixture. Add parmesan cheese if you wish (note: I added goat cheese because I love it so much!).

005Questions for you: Do you make your own sauce? What’s your favorite pasta meal?

Weekly Workouts and a WFH Workout

Can you believe another week has already passed? Luckily, since most of my coworkers are in San Diego for a conference, I have the luxury of WFH (working from home) for a good part of the week.  And, to make this week even better, we have Friday off!! I do have to teach at night and on Saturday, so I can’t head up to Maine as early as I’d like, but still… having a week day totally “off” from my real job is awesome.

How did all of you do with your workouts last week? Here’s how I did:

  • Monday- 4.5 Mile Treadmill Run & taught Dynamax
  • Tuesday- “Mommy’s Moves” filming with Jess and walked about 2.5 miles for my commute
  • Wednesday- 22 minutes on the elliptical and then taught this workout.
  • Thursday- did some upper body strength training (drop sets) and then taught Cardio Kickboxing
  • Friday- ran 2 miles on the treadmill before teaching another stations workout. I didn’t do the same moves as I did in the workout I linked, but I’ll post what we did soon!
  • Saturday- Cleaned the apartment (sweeping and vacuuming is hard when you have multiple floors!) and then went to a Barre class at C2 Pilates (that post will be up soon!)
  • Sunday- Went for a long walk, which was JUST what I needed.

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Workouts for this week:

  • Monday (today)- I have extra free time today since I am not commuting to and from work, so I am doing my “WFH” Workout:

WFH workoutAnd I’ll do some cardio and maybe some weights before I teach Dynamax.

  • Tuesday-Jess and I have to film again since the first video was blurry:(
  • Wednesday- Cardio & teaching UXF Burn
  • Thursday- NEW schedule for Thursdays: Teaching TBC at 5:30 at Central Square which is immediately followed by teaching my kickboxing class… a great double session (Athena it’s kind of like your Tuesday Two-A-Day at the Y! I hope I can get a good following like you and Liz!)
  • Friday- Since I have the day off, I am going to try to get to a class at one of the BSC’s. I’m teaching UXF Burn at 5:30 in Allston (I am not supposed to do these workouts, so don’t worry- I’m not doing back-to-back two-a-days!)
  • Saturday- Teaching Cardio Kickboxing at the YMCA!!
  • Sunday- Probably a walk with mom after Easter Brunch!

Questions for you: What do your workouts look like this week? Do you get to have Friday off for Good Friday?

Feeling Greek

Good morning and happy Monday! Did everyone have a nice weekend? I think we last left off with me sharing our girls night, right? So fun! After publishing that post yesterday, I got very busy with my “Sunday things,” including a Target run, cooking, baking and going for a nice walk.

017How nice was the weather yesterday?! I couldn’t get over it! And I’ll tell ya, gabbing with mom for 30 minutes of my walk definitely helped to pass the time- thanks mom:)

Feeling Greek

With a name like Monique Gagnon, you might be wondering how on earth I could ever feel Greek, right?  Well, last night my sister was invited to her study abroad program’s 50th anniversary at Vlora Restaurant which is on Boylston Street in the Back Bay, and she invited me to join her.  We dined there a few years ago for Danielle’s birthday because she was missing Greek food (she studied abroad in Athens, Greece in the fall of 2009) and have always wanted to go back, so I obviously jumped at the opportunity!

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026As soon as we walked in, they showed us where to go and gave us the tip to order the Sangria- twist my arm- I LOVE sangria!

021My intentions going into this were to have a couple of apps and then save myself to have dinner at home since I had made a delicious looking veggie sauce and chicken sausage (recipe to come soon!), but after chatting (so nice to meet you, Rebecca) and enjoying some adult beverages, I decided that I should probably just make myself a plate. I mean, I love the food there so my meal at home could definitely wait!

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I had a chicken skewer, some grilled veggies, an Arancini ball (total splurge, but so worth it!), tomato and feta skewers and some goat cheese/honey mixture.  Not pictured were the watermelon and feta bites- holy yum! The most refreshing little treat! Definitely check out their menu because if you like Greek/Mediterranean food, it’s totally drool-worthy!

We got home just after 8:30, meaning we were able to catch Revenge! Anyone else following that? Anyone else think that it’s getting a little twisted now?

Social Media

Are you guys following and “liking” me? If you are- thank you!!! If not, check me out:)

Instagram- @burpeestobubbly

Twitter- @burpeestobubbly

Facebook- facebook.com/burpeestobubbly

I hope everyone has a great Monday! I am working from home which always makes Monday seem a little better. I plan on getting my own workout in this morning/today and then teaching Dynamax at the YMCA.

Questions for you: Are you a fan of Greek food? What’s your favorite non-American style food? Do anything share-worthy over the weekend? I love to hear from you!

Girls Night!

Good morning, everyone! Going into the weekend, I had anticipated that I would wake up today feeling like I had had too much to drink. Lucky for me, last night ended up being much more laid back than I had thought and we were all home and in bed by 11:15!

For those of you who do not know me on a personal level, I live with my sister and our long-time friend from home, Amy. Only 2 miles down the road, lives our other long time friend from home, Rachel (she lives with her husband, but Rachel and I were roommates for the first 3+ years that I lived in Brighton). Sara is the last piece of the “Shapleigh Girls” puzzle, but she lives in NH with her husband (she is expecting a little baby boy on May 30th and we are all SOOO excited!!). Here’s all of us together at Rachel’s bridal shower back in December of 2011:

IMG_0893(From L to R: my sister, Danielle, our roommate, Amy, Sara- who is Amy’s sister- me, and Rachel)

Anyway, Danielle, Amy, Rachel and I try to get together for a “girls night” every month or every month and a half.  We all have very busy lives, so it’s nice to get a night on the calendar where we all go out and catch up for hours!  It’s always fun to figure out what restaurant we are going to go to, as well.

For Danielle and Amy’s birthdays back in December, we went to Sip which was amazing. The wine options and food options and prices were on spot and perfect for our ideal night: order lots of different apps to share and keep the wine coming!

SipLast month (I think?) we went to Gem which is in the downtown crossing area of the city. Amy randomly found this restaurant on a Groupon offer and we LOVED everything about it. The atmosphere and the service and the food were all perfect… and of course, the company was even better. I always feel bad for the people around us because we are SO loud and talk so much. Whoops! This was a super fun night because we went out to Brahmin after.

rachel and me

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shap girls 2Last night, we ended up going to Scollay Square, which is on Beacon Street.

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We had to wait a little bit for our table to be ready, so we grabbed a drink at the bar.

002Shortly after we got our drinks, our table was ready. In typical Shapleigh Girl fashion, we got a bunch of different things to share.  As we finished one item, we would put in an order for something else. I like doing this because it’s so easy to over order when eating out.  By taking it slow and enjoying the things we order in a spaced out time frame, we can gauge our hunger and stop when we are pleasantly satisfied.

We started with the oven-roasted goat cheese and the guacamole (sorry for the dark photo’s…my iphone didn’t like the lighting in the restaurant).

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003Both of these were delicious, but I have to say that the oven-roasted goat cheese was out of this world!! We were just talking about how we needed to try to re-create that in our own home ASAP.

Next up was a Grilled Pear Salad with Chicken

005Our final course was a hamburger (so random), which I failed to get a photo of.  Overall, the food was really good, although we all agreed that it wasn’t our favorite restaurant that we’ve been to.

Post dinner, we decided to grab a quick drink at Mooo, which was right next door. Anyone ever been? It’s a bit on the swanky/upscale end of Boston restaurants, but definitely a fun place to grab a drink!

As you can see, these girls are my everything! We always miss Sara, but when we are all home in Maine together, it’s like nothing has changed. The best part, is that our moms are best friends, too. I mean, look how fun these two are!

IMG_0949(Christine, on the left, is Sara and Amy’s mom, and our mom is on the right)

We are all so lucky that we have remained such good friends for SO long. We were telling the waitress this last night because she was totally getting a kick out of how we were ordering and how much we talked and finished each other’s sentences. What can we say? We are besties!

Questions for you: Do you have any friends like this? Do you try to do a “girls night” every month or two? Any good restaurants to add to our lineup?

I am not sure what the rest of the day entails, but I am hoping some type of physical activity (probably keeping it light since today is supposed to be an active rest day) along with a Target trip and a Sunday meal! Also, my sister studied abroad in Greece at CYA and they are having a get together in Boston tonight, so I told her that I’d join her. Looking forward to it!

Saturday’ing…

Just wanted to check in and say hi! Hope everyone is having a great Saturday.  I will fill you in on my time at C2 Pilates tomorrow… I am not sure I’ll be able to move without severe pain- I can’t wait.  Anyway, here’s a sneak peek into my Saturday!

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How is your Saturday? Do Share!

Gotta jet… Dinner out with the ladies:)