Penne with sausage and broccoli rabe

One of the cool parts about having a modified tiny house is that all of my furniture is really easy to move. I can move almost everything in the house by myself. I took advantage of this today when I relocated our island so I could watch tv while cooking. Full House is so much fun! I think I’m in season 4 now.

I love pasta dishes, I mean really, really, love pasta dishes. My favorite lately have been ones I’ve made using fresh, homemade pasta. Unfortunately (fortunately?), I had a full and busy week this week so I did not make pasta. I bought pasta and it worked nicely.

This meal was incredibly simple, AND I got to cook with broccoli rabe! This was my first time purchasing and cooking with broccoli rabe! So much fun to try new things!

I doubled the garlic, I know you’re shocked! 🙂  

Above you’ll see one of the optional components- the red pepper flakes, that I affectionately call “pizza pepper flakes.” I decided to add these- good choice (sometimes I “make good choices”). It only gave the dish a touch of zing, and we all need a touch of zing in our lives!

I loved the garlic-y bread crumbs (panko and sautéd garlic)


Chicken Sausage Penne:

  • Broccoli rabe (also called rapini; sub broccoli florets) – 6 oz, chopped (I don’t think I used enough because it was 6 oz with the stems and I cut most of the stem off and it cooked down substantially)
  • Garlic – 1 cloves, chopped (I used 2)
  • Sausage, chicken (preferably pre-cooked; sub any variety sausage) – 1/2 lb, casings removed (if applicable) and sliced (I used 1 lb)
  • Pasta, penne – 5 oz
  • Butter – 1/2 Tbsp (I subbed non dairy butter, but oil would have worked as well)
  • Panko breadcrumbs – 1/4 cup
  • Oil, cooking – 1/2 Tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) – 1/8 tsp
  • Lemons – 1/4, zest of

*This recipe is part of the paid subscription service on the Cook Smarts website.

Honey Citrus Salmon with Radicchio, Fennel and Orange Salad

The sub title to this post is: someday I’ll have a gas stove top cooking surface and an oven that properly heats/regulates temperature. I now have a thermometer in the oven, but the oven is so temperamental it really makes cooking an extra sensitive adventure.

Another alternate title, Cook Smarts adventures, Week 3, Meal 1.

One of my favorite parts about this meal is that it made going to the grocery store a lot of fun! A)I’ve only purchased fennel seeds and had to google an image of a whole fennel. And B) I had no idea what a radicchio looked like either! Also, this recipe required a trip to two grocery stores due to a non existent supply of mint and radicchio at our normal Kroger stop. New discoveries at the grocery store: win!

Apparently, this is a fennel:

It has a sweet flavor but it’s not sugary. The recipe called for much less than I chopped up, but it was so good, I’d use that much again in the future. I probably needed to do something better about that center piece and it would have been better if I’d broken up the pieces better. All in all, this was a fun and tasty try. They mention that there are things you can do with the long stringy green pieces, but today I was already experimenting enough as it is, maybe that’ll be part of next round’s adventure.

This is a radicchio:

You treat it like a cabbage, you chop it like cabbage, it looks like a cabbage but the color is richer (I think), more of a mauve hue than a red cabbage. Also, it is incredibly bitter. So bitter, we couldn’t eat it. The recipe indicated that you could sub in red cabbage or baby spinach. I think next time I make this dish, I would prefer spinach.


Had I subbed spinach or anything-but-radicchio, this salad would have been awesome. I liked the orange marmalade dressing, the fennel, the beans and the oranges, I did not like the radicchio.

Remember my persnickety oven? Well, I over cooked the salmon. Oh well, it was still mostly edible. Personally, I thought this meal looked a lot better than it turned out, but that’s my own critique on the meal. Also, even with the results, it was still a lot of fun to try this new recipe. I enjoyed the challenge, the hunt in the grocery stores and trying new dishes! If the salmon were properly cooked, and the spinach replaced the radicchio, I think I would have given this meal an A!



Honey Citrus Dressing:

  • Orange marmalade (sub any orange or yellow jam) – 1/8 cup
  • Lemons – 1/4, zest and juice of
  • Soy sauce – 1 tsp
  • Mustard, Dijon – 1/2 tsp

Honey Citrus Salmon:

  • Salmon – 1/2 lb
  • Honey – 1/2 Tbsp
  • Homemade honey citrus dressing (ingredients listed separately) – ~1/8 cup

Radicchio, Fennel and Orange Salad:

  • Fennel bulb, small – 1/4, thinly sliced
  • Radicchio (sub red cabbage or baby spinach) – 1 cups, chopped
  • Oranges – 1, segments
  • Mint, fresh – 5 leaves, torn
  • Beans, cannellini or butter (14 oz / 397 g can) – 1/2 can, drained and rinsed
  • Homemade honey citrus dressing (ingredients listed separately) – ~1/8 cup
  • Oil, olive – 1 Tbsp

Week 2, Meal 4, Breakfast Burritos with spinach and tomato salad

Breakfast Burritos

We actually ate these for breakfast! We had so much food this week because we changed our plan from eating the meals as dinner and the following day’s lunch to eating the meals for dinner two nights in a row. This meant Friday night we were eating the leftover skillet chicken! Yum! So Saturday morning I made these burritos and a salad for breakfast! We ended up snacking on the salad all day.
  Sautéing onions! Yum! Also, I didn’t read the directions correctly and left more green pieces mixed in so some of those pieces charred a bit. Oops!

Scrambling eggs- yum!  

We added some of the pieces of tomato meant for the salad to our burritos. And it was very good!

4 servings
Breakfast Burrito with Black Beans:
Green onions – 4 stalks, chopped
Cheese (opt) – 2 oz, grated (Like cheddar, Jack, or colby)
Eggs – 6
Sour cream (opt) – 1 Tbsp + more for serving
Black beans (14 oz / 397 g can) – 1 can, rinsed and drained
Cooking oil – 1 1/2 Tbsp
Salsa – 1/2 cup
Leftover roasted potatoes – 2 cups
Tortillas, burrito-sized – 4 (Try some fun flavors like spinach or sundried tomato if your store carries it)

Spinach and Tomato Salad:
Roma tomatoes – 2 , chopped
Baby spinach – 4 oz
Paprika – 1/4 tsp
Red wine vinegar – 1 1/2 Tbsp
Brown sugar – 1/2 tsp
Cooking oil – 3 Tbsp (like grapeseed, vegetable, or avocado)

Week 2, Meal 3, Skillet Chicken with Chard and salsa over roasted potatoes

Skillet Chicken with Chard and roasted potatoes 

And in other news, I signed up for a three month subscription, so more incredible meals heading our way!


This was my first time cooking with rainbow chard. It’s so bright and cheerful. I love the colors in this meal! I was shocked in the grocery store by how much the recipe indicated I should buy. Turns out they were right, it does cook down substantially!

I subbed red potatoes for the dish, because I like them better than white. Probably I would sub in purple potatoes when I make this again for an extra pop of color. Because, why not! I wasn’t thrilled with the flavor of these potatoes. I only lightly salted them, so that was probably part of it. I like how they teach you to roast the vegetables. Our oven is just so temperamental that several pieces charred a bit more than intended. Oh well. Win some, lose some!


4 servings 

Roasted Potatoes with Paprika:
Baby or new potatoes – 1 1/2 lbs, quartered
Olive oil – 2 Tbsp
Paprika – 1 tsp
Ketchup or hot sauce – for serving

Skillet Chicken with Chard:
Chicken thighs, boneless & skinless – 1 1/2 lbs (Feel free to use breasts if you prefer white meat)
Garlic powder – 1 tsp
Garlic – 3 cloves, minced
Chard – 2 bunches, leaves torn, stems chopped into 1/2″ pieces (Pick your favorite color chard. 2 bunches may seem like a lot, but it will cook down so much)
Cooking oil – 1 1/2 Tbsp + 1 1/2 Tbsp
Salsa – 1/2 cup
Lime – 1/2, juice of
Sour cream (opt) – 1/4 cup

Week 2, Meal 2, Classic Tacos! with lettuce and avocado salad

Classic Tacos! with lettuce and avocado salad

This was my 5th solo Cook Smarts meal. We learned several things from making this recipe. I made this meal Wednesday evening.

  1. Multitasking in the kitchen is mostly a good idea. And what I mean by that is, I misunderstood how to season the ground beef. So what I’m saying is, multi-task with caution.

2. Tomato paste in a tube that allows refrigeration/storage = win.

3. Mixing in all the ingredients to the pan ahead of time and cooking them with the meat, reduces assembly time which means you get to eat faster. Win.

4. Definitely remove the seeds from the tomatoes to make “crushed tomatoes” at home.

5. We definitely want to subscribe to Cook Smarts for 3 months! I’ll be setting that up this weekend! Yay!

6. The avocado salad was incredible!

7. Neither the seasoning mix I’ve made from the Good Eats cookbook, the other one I tried,  or this recipe are quite right, yet. Although, to be fair I didn’t season this round properly so maybe that’s on me.

8. Following the directions on the box of taco shells + our oven = burnt shells. Burnt corn taco shells = ew, seriously, ew.


9. Next week in our cooking adventures I’ll be changing the serving sizes to two, we don’t quite have the containers to easily send leftovers for lunch in a manner that keeps them palatable. So we’ve been using leftovers for the following night’s dinner instead. As I’ve been having fun cooking new dishes we’re going to reduce leftovers and do something different for lunches..

4 servings

Taco Night:
Lean ground beef – 1 lb
Coriander – 3/4 tsp
Cumin – 1/2 tsp
Paprika – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Chili powder – 1/4 tsp
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Jalapenos – 2, diced
Onions – 1, diced
Iceberg bibb lettuce – 1/4 head, sliced
Cheese (opt) – 2 oz, grated (Like cheddar, Monterey, Colby)
Cooking oil – 2 Tbsp
Crushed tomatoes – 3/4 cup
Tomato paste – 1 Tbsp
Lime – 1/2, sliced into wedges
Taco shells – 8 (Use smaller tortillas if you prefer)
Sour cream (opt) – 1/2 cup
Salsa – 1/2 cup (Pick a tub of your favorite salsa.)

Iceberg Bibb Lettuce and Avocado Salad:
Iceberg bib lettuce – 1/4 head, sliced
Avocado – 1, cubed
Paprika – 1/4 tsp
Red wine vinegar – 1 1/2 Tbsp
Brown sugar – 1/2 tsp
Cooking oil – 3 Tbsp (like grapeseed, vegetable, or avocado)

*At their request I’m only including information that is part of their free content in my posts: ingredients list*