A Year for Simplicity (and Italian Sausage and Peppers)

Let’s get the big stuff out of the way here real quick. The winner of the wonderful gift basket of goodies from Pillsbury is…. Jenifer from the very funny blog, Nutcase101. Out of 79 comments, the Random Number Generator came up with comment number 18, which belonged to Jenifer. I hope you enjoy the basket, Jenifer, and thanks to Pillsbury for the generous giveaway!

I’ve been thinking about how life is going to be with four kids. It seems as if the people I know who have more than three kids either live in complete chaos, but really make it work for them or they are totally organized. I’d be dreaming to think that I am going to turn into Martha Stewart by the time May rolls around, but I do think I have a few months to get some good systems back into place. I want to get on top of my menu planning, scheduling, cleaning, freelance writing, hobbying, etc. I think the best way to live, especially with kids, is as simply as possible. No – this doesn’t mean we are giving up toilet paper and completely clearing our house out, but I do want to do some major de-cluttering, restructuring and planning.  If I am going to be the best “Mom-in-Chief” of my household, as Michelle Obama likes to call it, then I need to simplify and stick to it.

One way I like to simplify my menus every week is to throw in a few meals that I know I can whip up quickly. There are some nights where eating out just seems easier than cooking, but if you have a few “quick” meals scheduled for your week, you will be less likely to be tempted by the thought of eating out. Two food items that I know I can always turn to for a dinner time quick fix are shrimp and Italian sausage. Shrimp and Italian sausage thaw super quick (which to me is important because I am constantly forgetting to take the meat out of the freezer to thaw out) and cook quickly, don’t require a lot of extra ingredients to make a meal out of them, and it shakes up your weekly menu a bit with something besides the typical beef or chicken.

As I begin my goal planning for the next year (which is something I am getting my kiddos involved in too and encourage you to do the same) you’ll hopefully be seeing a lot more planned out meals on a weekly basis from me. You can bet that in that rotation you will begin seeing a great deal of things that can be put on the table fairly quickly. I’m going back to basics in order to begin my journey to simplicity.

I adapted this Italian Sausage and Peppers recipe from the Taste of Home website. Talk about simple and delicious… the recipe fits my new plan perfectly!

Italian Sausage and Peppers (adapted from Taste of Home)

45 min | 15 min prep


  1. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring, occasionally. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Hungry for more simple meals featuring Italian Sausage? Check out what these food bloggers are cooking up:

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  1. Candes says

    Simplify sounds so nice. Come Jan 2009 I will be a SAHM for the first time to my two boys. I like the idea of simplifying meals.

    I always think I have to come up with something elaborate and feel guilty for the simple meals I pull together.

  2. Kyle says

    You’ll be great. I jumped from 2 to 4 (yes, twins!) and sure it was crazy at first, but we make it work. No, my wife and I do not have military-like organization or systems in place (it fascinates and scares me at the same time to see families who do). I like to think of life with 4 kids as seeing beauty in the chaos and craziness, kind of like the big top finale in the circus with all the horses, monkeys, elephants, clowns and trapeze artists performing at the same time, all the time.

    Ok, so I’m being a bit sarcastic. What I’ve realized is that soon enough they’ll all be grown and gone from our home, so the little potential daily annoyances don’t bother me so much anymore.

    And, you’re right on target. Simplification and implementing some small systems will help a lot! Good luck and enjoy!

  3. says

    Congrats to the winner!

    I love how you are trying to get things simplified before your new baby gets here. I really need to add that to my list of things to do for 2009, and I only have 2 little guys! Meal planning is definitely on my list. Your recipe sounds wonderful… you know I love a quick and easy recipe on a weeknight!

    Happy New Year!

    Patsyks last blog post..Hanukkah Latkes

  4. says

    I’m the oldest of 4 kids and we grew up in inspired chaos. My mom is no Martha Stewart, but she’s very loving and that’s the important part 😉 Getting the kids involved in planning sounds good! I see how this recipe fits into your plan. It certainly looks hearty, yummy and simple to make. May your 2009 be full of joy!

    Hopies last blog post..Vegetable Curry With Coconut Milk

  5. says

    I, too, have dreamed of magically turning into Martha. It hasn’t happened yet. The next best thing is doing menu planning, and then having great back-up recipes like this to fall back on when you forget to menu plan.

    Best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

    Lynns last blog post..The Quest Continues

  6. says

    Getting organized in the kitchen and planning meals more? GREAT goal for the new year and one that I really want to try for myself—not only does it make life easier in general, but it’s easier on my budget I find…and leads to less snacking and grazing as well. Thanks for putting such a terrific resolution into words!

    Thanks also for stopping by my blog and for your kind words. May 2009 bring all you desire and more :)

    Anne @ The City Sages last blog post..A New Year’s Meditation

  7. says

    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons bring
    the best to you and yours!

  8. says

    You know, you’re right – sausage and shrimp really are great to have on hand for quick midweek meals. I need to remember those! One of my many resolutions is to do a better job at menu planning. Sausage and peppers sounds so homey and great!

    PaniniKathys last blog post..5 Money-Saving Panini Tips


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