Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Recipe: Pepperonata with Penne and sausage

OK, this is a homeschooling blog, so you're saying "Why is she posting a recipe?" WELL....for one thing, homeschoolers (or at least the ones I know....) often find themselves at 4 in the afternoon saying "Oh, what am I going to make for dinner?" And this, 4pm thought, is the FIRST time they've thought of it all day. D'oh.

So, this recipe is GREAT for homeschoolers, because it seriously takes 20 minutes.


I have made this recipe a half dozen times in the last year, and I LOVE it. Yesterday, I was excited ALL day knowing that this was what's for dinner. Another bonus? It's got peppers in it. My kids don't like peppers...or so they would tell you, but they eat this up like there is no tomorrow.

Another tip? When I make it, I dice up twice as much peppers as a I need, and freeze half. Next time I make it, I won't have to dice peppers at all.

This is from a book, I can't take any credit for the inception of this phenomena. My fabulous mother-in-law gave me a book called "Desperation Dinners: Home Cooked Meals for Frantic Families in 20 Minutes Flat"....she brought this to me when she came just before Four was born. Think she had an idea of what life would be like "after?" She is a mother of 5 after all.

Anyway, on to the recipe:

2 cups penne (I use whole wheat)
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 links Italian sausage (3/4-1lb total)
1 large onion
1 medium green, red, and yellow pepper
1 can diced or whole tomatoes (I've only ever used diced)
2 tbls light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tbls balsalmic or red wine vinegar (I've only ever used balsalmic)
4 bay leaves (I've made it with and w/out, I would say these are optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Grated parm cheese (optional)

1. Place the penne in 2 1/2 quarts of already boiling unsalted water, cook until tender (11-13 minutes)
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in an extra-deep 12 inch nonstick skillet that has a lid. Pierce the sausages several times with a fork and add them to the skillet. (I personally cut the links up into large pieces instead of leaving them whole..but that's personal preference.) Let brown, turning the links occasionally while peeling and slicing the onion. Add the onion to the pan as you slice, seperating it into strips. (Again, out of personal preference, I dice the onion, and also the peppers....the smaller the pieces the less likely my kids are to ask questions LOL.)
3. Seed the peppers and cut into long strips about 1/2 inch wide. Add them to the skillet, stir, cover the skillet and raise the heat to high. Keeping the skillet covered as much as possible, add the tomatoes with their juice, the brown sugar, vinegar, bay leaves and basil. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil.
4. Lower the heat to medium-high and boil until the sausage is no longer pink in the middle and the veges are tender but not mush, about 7 minutes, uncovering to stir occasionally.
5. Drain the penne and place some of each on each serving plate. Season the sausage mixture with salt and black pepper and top each pasta portion with some of the sauce, making sure to discared the bay leaves. (Another variation, I drain the penne and then add it to the skillet with the sauce.)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Catch Up!

So, it's been eternity and a day.

This is going to be my catch up post. :-)

ABC Book project: I'm taking photos of big colored in letters along with real life items that start with that letter and putting them in a 3 ring photo album for Three to use as we're learning the alphabet. So far the project has been a lot of fun for myself, AND One and Two who like coming up with more things that go with each letter. Here are a couple examples:

G is for Goldfish, and B is for blocks.

Snow angel:

Valentines Day craft:

Putting the tissue paper on the contact paper for the above craft.

"Working like Daddy." (notice he is well prepared...snack right there on the tray)

A "pigit" (picnic)

Three recently celebrated his 3rd birthday, in honor of such a wonderous event Mother Nature gave Three a double rainbow for his birthday.

This was a birthday craft. It was a large candle. He painted the paper for the candle, then I cut a flame shape from contact paper and he sprinkled glitter on the sticky side. Then I sealed it shut and we glued it to the back of the candle.

Look forward:
I have put together a unit on Dental Health for this coming week. Three is now asking every day to "do school," and I've been doing a better job of getting things together. :) We are seeing the dentist for a cleaning (Three's 2nd visit, and his first visit where I won't be going back with him) in a couple weeks so we're going to go over all that sort of stuff again. He did phenomenal at his first visit, but we had talked about it A LOT, so I'm hoping. Ohh, and I'll be taking our Letter D to the dentist and get him to pose with it for our ABC book. Lucky me, our Dentist's name is "Dr. Don" so he's a 3 for one shot (Doctor, Don, Dentist!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weeks Work

Week of August 17:

This is a toy called "Pyramis" made by Haba. The blocks have holes in them, and there are cylinders that fit into each hole, so they all nestle into each other. It's very neat. Three doesn't quite "get it" yet, but he enjoys working with it and exploring different ways to fit them together.

Another idea from No Time For Flash Cards (seriously, I love that site!). Three is not a fan of getting his hands messy, so actually getting him to fingerpaint was tough. Although, since then he has asked repeatedly to finger paint, so that's progress!

I was nursing Four, and working with One on her schoolwork when Three painted the fish (using a rolling pin covered in bubble wrap for a neat texture). Daddy and Two were helping. So, I didn't get a picture of the actual painting, but here are the painted fish, and some I had already cut out.

And, the final product:

This is a Hide-N-Seek box I made (see previous posts) after seeing the idea on Totally Tots (a new site I love! New to me that is). Let me just tell you all that Three LOVED LOVED LOVED this...it was by far his favorite thing this week, and he has played with it over and over.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The Mom Buzz and One Step Ahead are doing a great giveaway of a Sit n Stand Elite Stroller!


Entry is easy! Visit The Mom Buzz today. :)

Projects for New Works to come

I've been perusing blogs this week during my free moments on the computer (which are far to few these days!), as well as combing through a book my MIL (Mother-In-Law) bought for me when she was here when Four was born, called "The Toddler Busy Book."
The laminated sheet that you see has a couple different projects on it. The small pieces of paper you see are something called "Find the Oddball." Each strip has 3 of the same stickers or drawings on it, and one "oddball." The two larger pictures are for our vocabulary building/sorting/pre-reading set. We often discuss what the object in the pictures are, and we are moving into sorting them into groups, and then we will move into laying them out left to right, top to bottom as a pre-reading skill. I have a fairly large set of these cards, and I'm almost constantly making more. Anytime I have a spare spot on a laminating sheet I throw a few on there. :)
The ziploc bag has 3 different kinds of pasta in it, for a pasta sort game. I will give him the pasta in a larger bowl, with 3 small glass bowls to sort the different pasta in to.
The cube you see that has a red top is 2 milk carton bottoms put together to form a cube. We are going to cover each side with a different color. This will the base for several different games. First game being obvious, colors! We will toss the cube and whatever color lands on top we will find something of that color in the house. Second game, I will tape shapes to the sides, as well as an outline of the shape on the floor. We will toss the cube and whatever shape it lands on everyone will run to and try to stand inside of! Third game, numbers. Fourth game, alphabet. You get the idea, right? :) Another idea from the book.
Lastly, the clear container that is half filled with oatmeal. This is an idea from Totally Tots called Hide-N-Seek bowls. The oatmeal was a suggestion found in the comments section. I had some extra oatmeal that I had for reindeer food back in December so I grabbed it and made this easy activity. I think he'll like it, and someday in the future I'll change it to beans, then maybe pasta, then maybe rice to keep the activity new.

Other Works from this Week

This is just a gratuitous photo of Three and Four. :)

Pre-Writing skills practice:

Sorting shapes (these are just shapes cut from cardboard):

Then we glued those shapes to a piece of paper, I had intended for Three to paint the shapes with watercolors after he glued them on, but he wanted to go outside instead.

The finished (unpainted) project:

These are actually in reverse order of the way I intended for them to post....but I don't have the time right now to go back and correct them. Sorry! Finished caterpillars...(excuse Three's messy face!) This craft idea is also from No Time for Flash Cards.

Adding googly eyes is serious business:

First time I let him use liquid glue...it went better than I anticipated.

Painting the egg carton:

This is a pizza craft that was One's idea. They each decorated a pizza, then put them on the "fridger". In order from left to right, One, Three, and Two.

Three also put poker chips into a container. He enjoyed it. It was an empty crunchies (Gerber) container with a slit cut in the lid. I have also used it with pom-poms, and fake coins. He enjoyed all 3. I didn't get any pictures of it though. We also played "Memory", he had a really good time with it until Four began screaming and made it virtually impossible to concentrate.


Here is the finished project (see last post for link with directions):

Three was not entirely sure he liked the feeling of the shaving cream on his hands. This didn't suprise me, as he is not a "messy" boy. He must have asked 10 times for a napkin before I finally just let him clean it off! LOL

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