Parmesan Penne with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

Last Updated on April 5, 2016 by smartkitchenpicks

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One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 was to be better about budgeting out my grocery money and being smarter about spending. Since I’m a food blogger, I tend to spend a good amount of moolah on ingredients and kitchen gadgets. I also happen to be a college student, so the two don’t often go together all that well in the finance department. Sure, I would love to buy some of that organic almond butter, but the $15 price tag has got me seeing red! I’ve been much more conscious lately about writing out shopping lists and only buying what I have written down, but I also don’t want to sacrifice flavor or health in the name of saving a few extra pennies. It’s recipes like this Parmesan Penne with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli that help me find that perfect balance between cost, taste, and health that makes this girl one happy student!

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I think there’s one food that most people can agree on is universally delicious: pasta. There’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of al dente noodles that’s mixed with fresh ingredients and covered with a healthy dose of cheese (because really, can you ever have too much of the good stuff?). This fits right into that bill and I’ve been making this dish at least once a week for the last month ever since my housemate Darinne inspired me to create something similar to the dinner she makes. I swear, I can smell her sausage cooking from a mile away and every time I came into the house or walked downstairs to the kitchen, I couldn’t help but steal a few bites from her pan. So really, it was only a matter of time till I whipped up a batch!

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This recipe is all too perfect for those of us with busy lives. I’m an extremely productive person (crossing things off lists is one of my favorite hobbies, and no, I’m not joking), so by the time dinner rolls around, I’m usually starving and entering the “hangry” mode in which it’s a bit dangerous to be around me. I don’t know if it’s just me, but being hungry makes me quite an unpleasant person and, the longer it takes for my food to cook, the more unpleasant I get. It’s almost as if I created this recipe for the well-being of those who have to be around me haha! I can whip this up in less than 30 minutes flat, with much of that time being taken up by simply waiting for the water to boil and my pasta to cook. I big shortcut that I’m a HUGE fan of is buying frozen broccoli or the kind that comes in microwavable bags to help speed up the cooking process. If you aren’t a fan of that route, you can always throw in some broccoli into the pasta water as the pasta is cooking, then strain everything out together. I have the routine down to a T. Heat the water, pour in the pasta, microwave the broccoli, pan fry the sausage, mix everything together, and top with copious amount of parmesan cheese. I must admit, the last step has to be my favorite!

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The combination of salty, flavorful sausage, perfectly crunchy broccoli, garlic, and cheese makes for the perfect weeknight dinner and I’ve found it especially satisfying after the long runs I’ve been doing to train for my half marathon. My body craves carbs and salt, so all I can think of is stuffing more of this pasta in my face!

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

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