Introducing…Make-it-work Monday

When I started this blog I was a free-spirited college student living 5 minutes from home with nothing to do on the weekends but spend hours in my parents’ kitchen, creating magic out of all their flour and butter. I would sometimes spend an entire Saturday making 4 different creations with complicated steps and new techniques.

Oh, to be young again! My own grow-up kitchen is just as busy, and I’m still known to spend quite a few hours there on the weekends. The difference is that I am now in charge of actually feeding two humans and a little cat, so I can’t waste time on frivolities! Dinner’s gotta get on that table! And hopefully it should have some nutritional value beyond chocolate.

Disclaimer: I have the best human to cook for in the world. He will quite literally eat anything I put in front of him, with a smile and a thank you, and then do the dishes.

Second Disclaimer: I still waste time on frivolities. I can’t stop. I love dessert and I love kitchen adventures.

Anyways, I have been learning a lot about cooking real food over the past few years, and I think it’s time to bring that to this blog. So I am going to attempt a weekly series called Make-it-work Mondays, where I write a quickie blog post about getting a yummy, nutritious meal out on the table. I will focus on meals that can either be made ahead, or can be made in 30-45 minutes on a busy weeknight. No guarantee of glamour, or of perfection.

In case you missed the reference, “make it work” is a reference to the fabulous Tim Gunn, who always tells the contestants on the reality fashion design show Project Runway that no matter what, they have to make it work and send SOMETHING down that runway.

Cut to my kitchen. The garlic has burned. I’m out of rosemary. I forgot to thaw the chicken. I have make-it-work moments every day in my kitchen.

So for the first Make-it-work Monday, I bring you Creamy Tomato Tortellini with Sausage and Spinach. Oh gosh. That is SO not a glamorous name. But it sure was yummy, and so easy to make! I also, in true make-it-work fashion, barely had time to take pictures before we had gobbled it up. You could seriously play with this recipe – change or add more veggies, alter the ratio of tomato to creamy, whatever floats your boat. Just MAKE IT WORK!

Creamy Tomato Tortellini with Sausage and Spinach
inspired by Everyday Reading


16 oz bag of frozen tri-color tortellini
4-6 sweet italian sausage links
2 cloves garlic, peel still on
about half a jar of tomato sauce
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (original recipe uses half and half – but this is a GREAT tangy sub) several handfuls of baby spinach
handful slow roasted tomatoes**
**On the weekend, I slice up a large handful or two of cherry/grape tomatoes, toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of basil and roast them in a 250 degree oven for a few hours until they burst and wrinkle. They give a really nice pop of tart tomato taste. If you don’t have time, you could substitute jarred sun-dried tomatoes or even roasted red peppers.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the sausages out on a rimmed baking tray and also toss the two garlic cloves (peel still on) on the tray too. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the sausages halfway through, or until sausages are no longer pink when you cut into the middle. Let cool 5 minutes or so, and then slice into half circles (bite size pieces). I actually made these ahead too and stored them (whole) in the fridge for up to a day before slicing and adding to meal.  Also slice off one end of the garlic cloves and squeeze out the yummy roasted insides. Use a knife to roughly chop/mash it up.

Meanwhile, cook the tortellini according to the package. Save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce. Drain in colander and set aside.

Swirl a little olive oil in a large frying pan and add the sausage slices, garlic mash, and roasted tomatoes. Add in the tomato sauce, and then slowly stir in the greek yogurt. Add in the tortellini and spinach (pull off any large stems or tear any huge pieces) all at once. Add in the pasta water a little at a time until the sauce seems to be the right consistency – not too thick, not too watery. If it gets to watery, just let it cook a few minutes. Stir and cook until spinach wilts. Serve sprinkled with parmesan or just plain!


2 Comments to “Introducing…Make-it-work Monday”

  1. I’m going to try that…Im sure Eric will love it with the sausage in it….Nice work Katie

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