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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. 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. Some of our favorite quick, fast weeknight meals are hearty sandwiches, like reubans or french dips. I often forget about them as a choice though in favor of more complicated things. Good reminder to simplify the menu-hard to do as a food blogger!

    Katies last blog post..Pantry Challenge: Spaghetti and Meatballs

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. We love putting sausage and peppers into hoagie buns. My favorites are the gourmet chicken sausages available- delicious and healthier!

  6. Great to put some systems in place before the baby comes. New Year’s Day is such an optimistic time, when all resolutions seem possible. Happy holidays!

    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)s last blog post..Marshmallow Fluff (Recipe: Rhode Island hot chocolate, with faux fluff)

  7. The winter is always a favorite time of sausages in my household, and I LOVE sausage with peppers, especially in a sandwich or over pasta!

    Great recipe!

    Brittanys last blog post..Another one for the books.

  8. Simple is good, Kristen! You just reminded me that my kiddos usually like Italian sausage, I should put that on my shopping list! Happy 2009 to you and your family, I’m sure you’ll be ready and organized once your baby girl is born. :)

    LyBs last blog post..Tuesdays With Dorie – Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

  9. My brother has four kids, I don’t know how he does it.
    Simplify sounds like a good idea.
    Hope you have a happy and healthy 2009!

    peabodys last blog post..Snow Days….

  10. 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

  11. Love your idea to simplify now. It’s a great habit to get into (especially getting the kids involved before the new baby arrives). I hope 2009 brings you and your family everything you’re wishing for!

    Sandies last blog post..Wednesday InnSider: Sunrise and Comfort at the Blue Heron Inn (Recipes: Southern Spicy Gingerbread Cake & So Light Buttermilk Pancakes)

  12. I feel like I need to simplify and I only have 1! Hang in there! You are so blessed. Watching you and the other great moms makes me wish I’d started my family earlier.

    Annas last blog post..Pumpkin Harvest Bread

  13. 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

  14. Ah yes, give me the simple life!!! I’m there.
    Happy New Year to you and yours and many many thanks for all the hard work you’ve done in getting people together. Great job in 2008 and looking forward to a spectacular 2009.

    gizs last blog post..HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! – BLOGGERAID FORGES FORWARD IN 2009

  15. 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

  16. Happy New Year! Here’s to a fabulous year filled with wonderful adventures and special blessings!

  17. Sausage and peppers are great, so are simple recipes! Have a wonderful year!

    Lyndas last blog post..Honey- Wheat Muffins

  18. 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!

  19. Yum. One of my favorite dishes. Make sure the saisages are nitrate/nitrite free.

    Amandas last blog post..Weekly Menu, December 29th

  20. 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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