In The Spirit

Happy end to your Monday!

My day was busy today – lots of stuff to do and not enough time, but I at least got the most important things finished before 5.

I made a little snack plate around 4 today to hold me over until dinner.


I knew dinner wouldn’t be very long after Nick got home, so I didn’t want too big of a snack – this little plate was perfect.


Some celery, TJ’s hummus, and these Toasted Asiago Kashi crackers I found this weekend. I’d never seen this flavor before – they were really good, especially dipped in the hummus.

As soon as it hit 5, I turned off my computer, started a load of laundry and got working on dinner.

I’m not sure how it happened, but I created a pretty good dish tonight!


 Creamy Chicken Sausage Cacciatore


I looked up some basic cacciatore recipes and ended up making a whole new spin on it!

  • 2 Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausages
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 lb. frozen peppers and onions
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp sherry
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz. whole wheat pasta
  1. Dice chicken sausages and crisp up in a bit of olive oil. Add in mushrooms to pan.
  2. Once mushrooms are cooked, take mushrooms and sausage out of pan.
  3. Add 1 tsp oil and add in onions and peppers.
  4. Let cook until softened and add in garlic, broth, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and add in seasonings. mushrooms, and sausage.
  6. Stir in sherry, balsamic, and ricotta and let simmer 5-10 minutes.
  7. Serve with whole wheat pasta.


I loved the little bit of creaminess from the ricotta and the mix of balsamic + sherry in the sauce gave it such a deep flavor – like it had been cooking all day!

This weekend, I finally bought more of my favorite tomato paste –


This really is the most clever idea ever: tomato paste in a tube.

You know how most recipes only call for 1 Tbsp? This solves having to buy cans of it and freezing it or forgetting about the extra and having to toss it later. You just use what you and keep the tube in the fridge – easy!


Nick and I are watching ELF right now, and it never fails to make me laugh and get me excited about the holidays  :)

I’ve got to put the sheets on the bed and get back to the movie!



  1. Tomato paste in a tube? I love that! I needed some yesterday (just one tablespoon) and didn’t feel like opening a can, so I omitted it. Where did you get this?

  2. WOW that pasta sounds good! especially for off the top of your head!! it beats my poor college oat dinners!

  3. Enjoy the rest of the film! :)

  4. This looks great!!! Those tomato paste in a tube things have saved me so many times… usually I only need a little, not a whole can!

  5. I’m watching Elf and my sheets are in the dryer too! hehe!! have a great evening! :)

  6. if Elf doesn’t put you in the holiday mood, nothing will! best movie ever :)

  7. It always amazes me how these simple throw it together dinners come out so tasty!

    I was just thinking how much I love that movie. I was thinking about saving it for this weekend. :)

    I am just catching up on your past few days. For some reason, you didn’t update in my new layout and I was just sitting here thinking I haven’t heard from you in awhile. And then I realized you wern’t in my reader! :) Totally fixed that. ;)

  8. Elf is one of my favorite holiday movies! It’s going to be that movie that I show my kids and my grandchildren – such a great film for the holidays :)

  9. That cacciatore looks delicious! I love tomato paste in a tube too. I never use a whole can. Elf always puts me in Christmas mode too… about to decorate the tree now!

  10. tomato paste in a tube is a genius product. why didn’t they think of it sooner?

  11. I was wanting tomato paste in a tube ALL SUMMER.

  12. that is genius! in a tube! they actually do that for condensed milk in australia…but that’s because people put it on their sandwiches with jam. yeah…

  13. I must find that tomato paste! I hate having to throw out the stuff when it goes bad.

    I love elf. Hunni has been very Buddy-ish this year so I want to get it on Netflix so we can watch it on Chrismtas eve.

  14. GENIUS! tomato paste in a tube :) ooh i love that! hahah

  15. love the tube tomato paste….seriously a great problem solver.

    ahh elf. we watched a few nights back. great movie!

  16. I’ve seen Rachel Ray use it for years! Where did you find it?

  17. OMG, I need to make this pasta!! Thanks for the recipe! It looks awesome.

    I also need to find tomato paste in a tube!!

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