Tag Archives: feta cheese

Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes

I took it as an omen that I should try to make a pasta dish with feta cheese and tomatoes when I saw two different clips on YouTube about baked feta and tomatoes in a sauce. My version of the recipe includes spicy sausage. What can I say. My family enjoys meat. Of course this recipe can be made meatless for the enjoyment of my vegetarian friends. Either way my Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes came out a winner.

Until hubby came into my life I was never big on feta cheese. It was not a cheese I would automatically pick up at the grocery store having grown up using cheddar, Swiss, Gueryre and mozzarella cheeses. Feta just looked really bland to me so it was easy to bypass for other cheeses. I cannot say I didn’t like the taste of feta cheese because it sometimes was a topping for salads when we dined out. However, with all of the other flavors in the salad my palate must not have been sophisticated enough to distinguish its tangy taste way back when. Hubby introduced me to the delicious flavor of feta while eating at various Italian restaurants while we were dating. Now, I incorporate feta into a variety of recipes to add a level of tang and creaminess to the dish.

I think this Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes dish is quite tasty and oh so simple to make. The hardest part of prepping the recipe is browning the sausage and cooking the pasta. The feta cheese and cherry tomatoes bake together in a casserole dish with a few herbs. Once baked the tomatoes and feta are turned into a delicious creamy sauce which is tossed with the sausage and pasta. Talk about quick and easy. I can make this dish within an hour and have it on the table for my hungry crew to gobble down.

If you have pasta lovers in your house, try this recipe. They will love it!

Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

3 spicy fresh sausages with casing removed

2 pints of cherry tomatoes

1 block of Feta cheese

1 box pasta. [Prepare according to cooking instructions]

1 bag baby leaf spinach

¼ cup olive oil + 1 tbsp

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil

1 tsp Sea Salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cherry tomatoes in a casserole dish and drizzle with ¼ cup of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Toss until coated with olive oil. Make a well in the middle of the casserole dish and add the block of feta cheese. Place sprigs of thyme and rosemary around the tomatoes. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until cheese is slightly golden brown and the tomatoes are roasted.

While the feta cheese and tomatoes are baking prepare pasta according to the package. Brown the sausage and drain on a paper towel then add to a bowl along with the spinach. Toss the two together and the heat from the sausage will wilt the spinach.

Once the feta cheese and tomatoes are finished baking remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and remove the sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Mash the cheese and tomatoes with a fork then mix the two together. Add sausage and pasta to the casserole dish then gently toss everything together until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Top with a little mozzarella cheese and stick in the oven a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with a nice salad.

Beets with Arugula and Feta Cheese

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Beets are one of those vegetables people usually forget about because they are not considered “popular” at least not right now. Foods like fashion are featured as the “in” thing at different cycles in time. Remember when it was said that pork was not good for you then a while later it became the “other white meat” and was the popular thing to eat.

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I really do like beets but I also  forget about beets until summer comes and I am in salad mode. I love to have salads with dinner in the summer because there are so many beautiful fresh veggies available. I have thought about growing beets but I have not had the courage to do it yet. I have tried growing cabbage, squash and eggplant without much success so I stick to the veggies I can easily grow. Tomatoes and all kinds of peppers grow in abundance on our porch. I also grow a lot different herbs. Maybe next summer I will plant a few beets and see what happens.

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Anyway, beets have their own unique flavor and sweetness. Depending on what we are having for dinner I will pair the beets with some other veggie or lightly season the beets and eat them all by themselves. I have two favorite beet recipes. My old trusty beet salad which is similar to a basic potato salad recipe but substitutes beets for potatoes. Then there is my more recent recipe of Beets with Arugula and Feta Cheese. I have been working on more salad recipes to help shake off the winter blues and get ready for summer. In the winter I focus on hearty meals and soup but spring and summer call for lighter meals with lots of fresh veggies.

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Arugula is one of my favorite dark salad greens so I often combine it with several other ingredients to create unique dishes like my Chicken and Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce. In my Beets with Arugula and Feta Cheese recipe I mix beets, green apples and arugula which all seem to compliment each other. The sweet beets, sour granny smith apples, salty feta cheese and nutty flavored arugula satisfy all of my taste buds.

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I am getting ready for summer. How about you?

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Beets with Arugula and Feta Cheese

Ingredients:
1 bag arugula
2 cups cooked beets cut into wedges
½ cup thinly sliced green apples
½ cup feta cheese
½ cup mandarin oranges (optional)
¼ cup pecan or walnuts
¼ cup vinaigrette

Vinaigrette:
½ cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp minced garlic (optional)
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

In a medium bowl mix together white wine vinegar, seasonings Dijon mustard and garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil.

In a large bowl place arugula, beets, pecans, apples and feta cheese. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad then gently toss to coat with dressing. Taste and add more seasonings or dressing if needed.

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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I was watching a cooking show the other day that was dedicated to Mediterranean cooking which my family and I really enjoy. The seasonings used in Mediterranean cooking are a lot different from those used in southern cooking. I always like a challenge whether in cooking or elsewhere so I decided to stretch my imagination and learn how to fix a simple Mediterranean dish. The chef on this particular show made a tabbouleh salad that looked delicious but required a little more work than I like to do.

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Instead of using bulgur wheat as the grain in the salad I decided to add a new twist and use Quinoa. Quinoa has a nutty flavor and takes only a few minutes to prepare. It also helped to add an extra layer of crunch to the salad along with the cucumbers. Texture and taste are two key elements of any dish especially for salads when you are trying to have layers of flavor.

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One of the best ingredients used in Mediterranean cooking is mint. I had not cooked with mint in the past except for making iced tea. The thought of using mint in a salad was a different but welcomed experience. It was amazing how the mint and other seasonings blended so well together and lifted my taste buds to a new level.

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Mediterranean Quinoa salad is a wonderful side dish that goes well with chicken, fish or pork. So the next time you want something healthy, quick and easy to make try this salad to help spice up your meal.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

 Ingredients:

1 cup Quinoa

1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half

2 tbsp parsley chopped

2 tbsp mint chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 English cucumber chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Gazebo Room Greek marinade and salad

½ cup feta cheese

Juice from ½ lemon

Prepare Quinoa according to package instructions. Let cool.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve at room temperature.