10-Minute Meal: Chicken Sausage in Creamy Pasta Sauce
On those dreaded days when you're home late, too tired (or poor) to stop for "take-out," and in need of a dish that will feed your family well, having a package of chicken (or turkey) sausage stashed in the refrigerator is a real meal saver. The sausages usually cost less than $6 a package, and I find them for considerably less at Aldi and Lidl. Precooked, the sausages need to be heated, but they don't require much time in the skillet. Yes, the sausages are "processed meat," but they aren't too horrendously bad for you. Generally, the chicken and turkey sausages are much lower in fat than pork or beef versions. Just keep in mind that the chicken and turkey sausages do have a fair amount of salt in them, so you won't need to add much, if any, salt to your finished dish. The recipe I'm offering below is simple, takes about 10 minutes, and is quite good. It's full of Italian flavor, and the sauce provides a rich and creamy topping for the pasta of your choice. Sprinkled with a bit of Parmesan or Italian cheese blend, the dish is a rescue meal for your harried days.
Chicken Sausage in Creamy Pasta Sauce -- Serves 2-4
1 teaspoon of canola oil
1/2 a medium onion, chopped (1/4-1/2 cup)
1 12-16 ounce package of pre-cooked Italian chicken or turkey sausages
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 8-ounce package of reduced fat cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese or Italian blend cheese
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet or chef's pan and add the onion and chicken sausages to the pan. Saute both for about 5 minutes until the onions soften and the sausages brown a bit. Add the dried basil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and crushed tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the mixture cook a few minutes. Stir in the cream cheese, blending it into the sauce well. Turn off the heat, add salt and pepper to your taste, and sprinkle the top of the sausages with the shredded cheese. Serve the sausages and sauce atop the pasta of your choice, or try it with polenta or even grits. Yum, yum.