Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

by Cate on September 24, 2009

Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

Tonight was one of those nights that screamed for take-out.  Nick had soccer practice after work, and then I had a meeting at school fifteen minutes after soccer practice ended.  Madeline slept right up until we headed out the door, so you know it would have been the perfect night for take-out.  I find I rely on take-out more when I don’t plan ahead.  When you don’t have a plan, it’s too tempting to take the easy way out, you know?  But knowing the schedule was a little challenging tonight, I tried to plan ahead.

First, dinner had to be simple.  And something I could take on the road.  Nick and I ate while Madeline was finishing her nap.  As soon as she woke up, we headed out the door, with a container of dinner for her in tow.  Once we got there, I pulled my favorite picnic blanket out of the car, and Madeline and I set up camp near the edge of the field.  Because dinner was a no-mess, easy to eat meal, it was perfect for her to eat while there.

Dinner at Dusk

So what was dinner? Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli, a new recipe I found in the September issue of Real Simple magazine. Both kids love pasta, and Madeline loves sausages of any kind and broccoli, so with the protein, carb and vegetable in an all-encompassing meal, it was well-rounded and kid-approved. The only “sauce” for the pasta is the water that the broccoli cooks in, so even though Nick carefully ate around the broccoli, I’ve got to think that there was a little bit of extra goodness in the sauce he was eating.

Is it a wow? No. But it is a filling, tasty, perfect meal for when your weeknights are crazy and you’re grabbing a bite to eat on the run.  It will definitely go into rotation here.  You’ll avoid the drive-thru lane and serve up something you can feel good about. And just as important, you can eat while watching your brother play soccer.

Watching Nick Play

Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli
Recipe courtesy of Real Simple, September 2009

  • 12 ounces rigatoni (about 4-1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 6 ounces fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets and stems sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and 1¼ cups water and simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Toss the pasta with the sausage mixture and any remaining liquid and the Parmesan.
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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne September 25, 2009 at 6:16 am

You are a soccer mom now! Excellent. This is a great pasta dish. I love chicken sausage because of all of the flavor variety, and it pairs really well with broccoli. Real Simple usually has fabulous go-to recipes. Isn’t it nice to find a quick and easy meal that you can feel good about (rather than take-out which doesn’t always have that effect)?

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Cate September 25, 2009 at 8:04 am

lol oh yeah, I’m a soccer mom from way back. Nick’s been playing 2 seasons a year for 4 years now. Now the eating on the field thing? That’s a new challenge. Naptime will do that to ya! This meal was perfect for it tho. :)

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Sarah Caron September 25, 2009 at 9:54 am

Great colors in the photos!

I really need to invest in a good blanket for soccer practice. We always end up sitting on the grass (which doesn’t really bother me).

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Kris #40 September 25, 2009 at 10:20 am

Looks good! For my family I’d have to minus the broccoli.

For 15 years we’ve done “drive thru” way too much with football. Usually I’m walking in the door and it’s time to turn around and leave. This is when I usually pull out the crockpot and go to several favorites that we have.

I also did some cook aheads for this week. Sunday I made a batch of taco meat and with the other half of the ground beef made mini cheese stuffed meatloafs in cupcake tins. So all I had to prepare was a side.

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Michele September 25, 2009 at 10:21 am

I’m impressed that your daughter eats this! I love meals like this. It looks delicious!

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Debbie September 25, 2009 at 11:10 am

Things work out so much better when there is meal planning. I need to remember that for myself! What a great meal to have on the go…..great idea and it looks delicious!

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Patsy September 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Looks like a great weeknight meal! I’m on a search for anything filling, quick and easy to feed my boys before we head off to our various activities this fall. Planning is key though.

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Megan September 25, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I’m like that too… if there’s no plan, it’s way too easy to resort to takeout. It’s always nice to have a few not-so-painstaking recipes like this one to turn to. It looks really tasty.

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lisaiscooking September 25, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Sounds like a great meal, and this includes two of my favorites with broccoli and chicken sausage.

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peabody September 26, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Looks so colorful and yummy.

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April Marie (Girl Japan) September 27, 2009 at 6:25 am

This looks like a meal I could have anytime, like Megan said, it is way to easy to resort to takeout.. although it looks decadent.

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Nate September 27, 2009 at 11:17 am

Great that you made your own fast (and good) food instead of resorting to the “easy (but bad) way out”.

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katie September 27, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Even without kids this looks wonderful – and we (the no kids group) like fast easy meals, too – thanks ;-))

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Jen September 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm

I love your blog, your pictures, your recipes…awesome! stuff I love to eat!! :)

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maris September 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Looks delicious! And Madeline is getting cuter and cuter, she’s starting to look a little bit like Nick. Why do we never get any pictures of their mom? :-P

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Cate October 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

Maris – gotta have some mystery. ;)

Jen – thank you!!

Katie – absolutely! perfect for anyone that wants a fast meal on the go that they can feel good about.

Nate – for me, it’s all about the plan.

April Marie – filling, nutritious, quick, and even better, uses ingredients you likely have on hand. Doesn’t get better than that.

Peabody – perfect dish for eating with your eyes first. :)

Lisaiscooking – I used the chicken with apple sausage from Trader Joes for this one – love that stuff.

Megan – exactly. If I don’t know what I’m making when I walk into the kitchen, it can be decidedly more painful a process than it needs to be.

Patsy – perfect for picky eaters since you can swap out what someone doesn’t like. :)

Debbie – thank you!

Michele – oh there isn’t much Madeline doesn’t it … so far. ;)

Kris – the cheese-stuffed meatloaves sound perfect – yum!

Sarah – These are the picnic blankets we use – soft and waterproof and big — perfect!

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