Farfalle with Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce & Pan Seared Chicken Sausage

easy pasta dinners, garlic cream sauce

Now that I’m more intent on picking whole ingredients, shopping organic, and staying away from likely-GMO products, going to the grocery store takes longer and requires more focus.

I happen to be one of the few that actually enjoys food shopping – as long as I don’t have my kids in tow. Having to focus and slowly walk the isles isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it affords the time to stop and smell the roses (so to speak).

One of the benefits to slowing down while perusing the grocery isles is that I’ve noticed things that have never had a chance to catch my eye before. Like Wegmans organic chicken sausage. I’m not sure why I’ve never picked them out before now since we eat hot dogs and other sorts of sausages, but in my haste I must have just overlooked them.

Well, I’m here to tell you – they’re worth the stop.

chicken sausage pasta, farfalle, easy pasta recipe, garlic cream sauce

Right? Onward to the meal!

These organic chicken sausages (Spinach and Garlic with Asiago) were seared in a hot pan with olive oil and butter for about 10 minutes, and then I let them drain on a paper towel while I made the cream sauce for the farfalle.

garlic cream sauce, farfalle, chicken sausage pasta, easy pasta meals

I sauteed garlic, green onions, mushrooms, fresh chopped spinach and salt in olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Then I added a little flour to make a roux, followed by milk and chicken broth. Once the mixture got thick and bubbly, I threw in a handful of freshly grated Parmesan and stirred until it was nice and creamy.

garlic parmesan chicken sausage farfalle 3

Once the farfalle was finished cooking to al dente, I tossed it in the garlic cream sauce, and then sliced the sausages and added them too. Another sprinkling of green onions and some fresh basil finished the pasta off!

Farfalle with Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce & Pan Seared Chicken Sausage
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This easy pasta dish works well for a busy weeknight meal and goes great with a loaf of crusty bread!
Serves: 4
  • ½ pound farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • ¼ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, rough chopped
  • 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • ⅛ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ⅛ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 6 Wegmans organic chicken sausages {spinach & garlic with asiago}, pan seared and sliced
  1. Set a large pot of water with 2 tablespoons of sea salt to boil over high heat.
  2. Warm the olive oil and butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Once the butter has melted, add half the onions, the garlic and the mushrooms to the skillet, and saute them for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the spinach and the salt, and continue sauteing until the spinach has wilted - about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the farfalle to the boiling water in the large pot, and cook to al dente.
  6. Meanwhile, stir the flour into the spinach mixture in the skillet (it will look a little pasty) and the continue to saute it for another minute to get the floury taste cooked out.
  7. Pour the chicken broth and the milk into the skillet, stirring the mixture to combine. Bring it to a boil, and continue to stir the sauce until it's thickened and bubbly. Add the Parmesan, and stir until it's melted - 1 minute more.
  8. Once the pasta is al dente (about 9 minutes), drain it and then add it to the sauce, tossing to coat the pasta.
  9. Add the sausage, remaining onions and the basil, and give it one last toss.
Note: I have no affiliation with Wegmans, and this is not a sponsored post of any kind. They just happen to be one of my local grocery stores, and I really like their organic chicken sausage!

Seared Salt & Pepper Shrimp over Thin Spaghetti with a Mushroom & Garlic Cream Sauce

This title might win in “the longest recipe title ever conceived by anyone anywhere” category. But, really, I’m not sure how else to explain this simple recipe I made a couple of months ago. That’s exactly what’s pictured – except I should have also added and fresh tomato & basil to the title, IF I were truly trying to be exact about things. Because, you know, there’s fresh tomato and basil sprinkled right on top. Captain Obvious am I.

So, I originally posted an Instagrammed shot of this recipe on my Facebook page back in May. MAY. After posting it, I had several requests for the recipe, to which I replied, “Don’t worry! I’ll be putting it up on the blog soon!”

Except that never happened, and the recipe has been in my head ever since. Well, until now!

Seared Salt & Pepper Shrimp


Thin Spaghetti

with a

Mushroom Garlic Cream Sauce

topped with

Fresh Tomato & Basil


shrimp pasta, shrimp pasta recipes, cream sauce for pasta, how to cook shrimp

Seared Salt & Pepper Shrimp over Thin Spaghetti with a Mushroom & Garlic Cream Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This shrimp pasta dish is perfect for a quick weeknight meal when you only have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. Goes great with a crusty loaf of Italian bread!
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian American
Serves: 4 to 6
  • ½ box thin spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ stick salted butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 bag jumbo frozen raw shrimp, thawed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  1. Add the two tablespoons of salt to a large pot of water and set it to boil over high heat.
  2. Use sea salt and pepper to season one side of the shrimp.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
  4. Place the shrimp, seasoned side down, into the skillet and cook them for 3 minutes on that side.
  5. Season the other side, and then flip the shrimp and continue cooking them for 2 more minutes. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set them aside.
  6. Add the pasta to the boiling pot of salted water; cook it until it's al dente - about 7 minutes.
  7. While the pasta's cooking, add the butter to the same skillet the shrimp were seared in.
  8. Add the mushrooms to the skillet once the butter's melted and foamy, and saute them until they start to get brown and softened.
  9. Add the garlic and continue cooking the mushrooms for another 2 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle the flour on top of the mushrooms, and use a wooden spoon to stir them occasionally for about a minute. (The mixture should look thick and clumpy - this is normal.)
  11. Pour the milk into the skillet all at once, continuing to stir every minute or so.
  12. Bring the sauce to a boil, and continue cooking until it's thick and bubbly.
  13. Once it's al dente, add the pasta to the sauce skillet, along with ¼ cup of pasta water.
  14. Use tongs to toss the pasta until it's well coated with the sauce.
  15. Add the shrimp back into the skillet and continue tossing the pasta for another minute.
  16. Serve the pasta and shrimp with a sprinkle of fresh basil and tomato.

Summer Couscous Salad

how to make couscous salad, couscous, mediterranean couscous

I have few Food Network chefs I’d call my faves, my go-to recipe crafters. Of the bunch, those I keep coming back to have simple, easy-to-follow, flavor-rich recipes that aren’t fussy and overwhelming. They fit in with our family’s busy lifestyle, and typically don’t use off the wall ingredients that require an extra trip to the grocery store.

These are the chefs that top my list:

  1. Alton Brown – His matter-of-fact way to talking about food and recipes are one big reason I have a passion for cooking myself. Love him!
  2. Ina Garten – No one makes you want to live in the Hamptons more than her. Her easy-going manner is catchy, and her recipes (while seemingly fancy) are always simple to pull together.
  3. Alex Guarnaschelli – No frills, sensible ingredients and perfect seasoning. Love it.
  4. Tyler Florence – I might appreciate the sage green subway tile in his studio kitchen just as much as his cooking style!
  5. Giada De Laurentiis – Her recipes, both classic recipes and those she’s given an Italian twist, are many of my go-to’s!

And speaking of Giada, I’ve been making a version of her Mediterranean Salad for a couple of years now. I’ve made this summer couscous salad vegetarian, I’ve used pomegranate arils in place of dried cranberries, and just the other day I substituted lime zest and lime juice for the lemon zest and juice.

Summer Couscous Salad

inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Mediterranean Salad

Summer Couscous Salad

Serves 6
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 16 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 16 minutes


  • 1 box Israeli couscous
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 limes (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • lime juice (additional if you don't get enough fresh-squeezed)


Easily make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth!


Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a medium saucepan and then place it over medium heat to warm for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute, followed by the couscous. Cook the couscous for 5 minutes, stirring often until it's lightly browned.
Carefully pour the chicken broth in all at once, and then add 1/8 cup of the lime juice and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and then simmer until the couscous is al dente - about 9 minutes.
Mix the cooked couscous, remaining olive oil, another 1/8 cup of lime juice, the zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl and then let it cool completely in the refrigerator.
Once cool, toss in the cranberries, almonds and herbs. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Seared Shrimp Spaghetti Marinara

It’s the time of year where heavy comfort food gets shelved just like winter sweaters get stored away for the summer. Over the next few months I’ll still make a pot of chili now and again, and the occasional rich lasagna – I mean, how could we not?

For the most part I’m ready for light, fresh dishes. Salads, grilled meats and veggies and simple, easy to prep pastas. Here’s one that takes 15 minutes, just perfect for a busy weeknight. (Quicker, even, than take-out!)

Seared Shrimp Spaghetti Marinara

Seared Shrimp over Spaghetti Marinara

Frozen, raw shrimp have been thawed, seasoned and seared while spaghetti boils in salted water.

Seared Shrimp with Spaghetti Marinara

Marinara is then poured into the skillet with the shrimp, followed by the drained spaghetti, and then everything is tossed together to coat. Serve the seared shrimp spaghetti marinara with a warmed crusty loaf of Italian bread and a delicious, crisp side salad. Yum!

Here’s the full recipe:

Seared Shrimp Spaghetti Marinara

Seared Shrimp Spaghetti Marinara

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
This seared shrimp with spaghetti in light marinara sauce is perfect for a quick weeknight meal - ready in about 15 minutes!


  • 1/2lb spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bag frozen, raw jumbo shrimp (thawed and peeled)
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 jar marinara


  • Parmesan (grated)


Set a large pot of water, plus 2-1/2 tablespoons of salt, to boil. Add the olive oil to a large skillet to warm over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
Cook the spaghetti to al dente, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile sprinkle the shrimp with the remaining salt, the pepper and basil and then place them into the preheated skillet. Season the other side with salt, pepper and basil, and let them cook for 3 minutes. Flip the shrimp, and continue cooking for 2 minutes longer. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Add the marinara to the shrimp skillet, followed by the cooked pasta and any leftover basil. Using tongs, toss the spaghetti and shrimp in the sauce until they're well coated. Serve the seared shrimp spaghetti marinara hot with Parmesan cheese for garnish.

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