budget meals: pasta with roasted broccoli + chicken sausage

budget meals: pasta with roasted broccoli + chicken sausage | The Clever Carrot

We’re moving to a new house!

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we are. We’ve been looking for a long time, and the fact that it’s finally coming together is surreal. The papers are signed, inspections complete, and now all we have to do is wait for our closing date sometime next month. I will post some pics as soon as we’re moved in and settled. It has a cute little garden too.

All excitement aside, moving to a new house is pretty darn scary, actually. I feel like $$$ is literally flying out the window! I may not have control over every financial aspect in my life, but I do have control over what I eat. For me, the hardest part is planning ahead and getting creative with what I have. Sometimes you just want to be lazy… and being lazy can get costly. I am a firm believer that you can still eat healthy, tasty food on a budget.

Here are a couple of things that I do when shopping on a shoestring:

budget meals: pasta with roasted broccoli + chicken sausage | The Clever Carrot

Buy seasonal produce: Supporting your local farmer’s market (or growing it yourself) is very budget friendly. The overall abundance allows the farmer to keep their prices low. You know those giant heads of lettuce for only $1? That’s what I’m talking about. Classic supply and demand. Speaking of giant, when I work with broccoli I like to use the whole thing, including the stalk. If you peel away the outer skin, the stalks will become sweet and tender when roasted. Utilizing the stalk will not only prevent waste, but it will bulk up your meal too.

Support your butcher: We have access to several great butchers in our area. Most of them are in the form of Italian specialty stores and I buy from them about 90% of the time. The quality is good. The prices are low. The meat is fresh. I find that butchers exude an infectious passion about what they do and are always more than willing to answer any of my questions. When you buy from an actual person, you can ask things like hey- where does your chicken come from? What’s in your sausage? Can you grind that fresh for me? These personal relationships are far more valuable than dollar signs could ever be. But at $3.99/lb. for homemade sausage- that’s a total steal!

Plus, they give my kids sprinkle cookies when they start to wreak havoc in their store ;)

budget meals: pasta with roasted broccoli + chicken sausage | The Clever Carrot

Buy in bulk: This can be hit or miss sometimes, but generally speaking I buy most of my dried goods in bulk. This includes, rice, beans, oats, dried fruit, grains, nuts etc. My local Costco sells a variety pack (8) of organic, non-GMO pasta that comes out to only $1 a box. That’s a great price, especially for organic. So we stock up on this whenever we can.

budget meals: pasta with roasted broccoli + chicken sausage | The Clever Carrot

With a little bit of planning, I try to incorporate these money saving strategies into my game plan whenever possible. I’ve renewed my farm share again this year, and lately I’ve been making bi-monthly trips to the butcher to stock up. Perhaps I will even grow something in the new garden? Probably not. And by the way, this meal comes out to about $3 per serving for a family of four. Not bad for a budget meal, right? (and my kids don’t even eat half the time-ha!) I guess we’re going to be eating a lot of this for the next couple of weeks. Works for me.

Do you have any budget friendly recipes + tips that you’d like to share? I’m all ears.

Tips:

  • For this recipe, I use an Italian-style chicken sausage with fennel and parsley. This can be difficult to find sometimes as the pork variety is more common. You can create the same flavors with regular chicken sausage; simply add some bashed up, toasted fennel seeds to the broccoli before roasting (instructions below). This will give it that Italian-style taste.
  • Read your labels. Most packaged brands of sausage will contain corn syrup, MSG and other additives. You can avoid this by purchasing your meat from a reputable source so that you know exactly what’s in your product. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
  • Whenever I make pasta with ‘stuff’ in it, I usually double up on the protein and vegetables with hopes that everyone will fill up on that first. It’s always balancing act with white flour (not everyone wants to eat quinoa bowls with greens every night!) You can also substitute with whole wheat pasta or a gluten-free option.
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budget meals: pasta with roasted broccoli + chicken sausage
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. fusili pasta
  • 1 lb. good quality chicken sausage, Italian-style*
  • 10 c. of broccoli, including the stalk (about 2 bunches)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 lemons (1 zested)
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • parmesan cheese, to taste
* I use an Italian-style chicken sausage with fennel and parsley. This can be difficult to find sometimes as the pork variety is more common. To create the same flavors with regular chicken sausage, add 2 tbsp. toasted fennel seeds to a mortar + pestal. Bash it up with some salt until coarse. Sprinkle over the broccoli before roasting. This will give it that Italian-style taste.
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F. Grab 2 rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet (with a lid), warm 1 tsp. of olive oil over moderate heat. Add the sausage with a small splash of water. Place the lid on and cook for about 10 minutes. Using tongs, flip the sausage over and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so, covered. At this point, the sausage should be cooked through in the center. Now, remove the lid and cook until all of the moisture has evaporated and the sausage is a deep, golden brown. Transfer to a cutting board to rest for about 5 minutes. Slice into bite-sized pieces and set aside (don't pick!).
  3. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking liquid before draining. *See note below.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the broccoli crown into florets. For the stalk, remove about 1-inch off the base and discard. Peel away the fiberous outer skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut into 2-inch sticks, about the same width as the pasta.
  5. Add all of the broccoli to a large bowl.
  6. Finely mince the garlic, or grate it using a microplane (or garlic press).
  7. Add the garlic to the broccoli and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to coat.
  8. Tip the broccoli out onto the prepared baking trays. Roast for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  9. When the pasta is ready, drain and then add back to the pot.
  10. Zest 1 lemon directly over the pasta. Cut that same lemon in half and add all of the juice to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil and add about ½ cup of the reserved pasta water; stir well. Add more water if it seems a bit dry.
  11. Add the roasted broccoli and sausage.
  12. Taste the pasta and add extra lemon juice, olive oil, and salt + pepper if necessary.
  13. Garnish with parmesan cheese to taste.
Notes
* Cooking the pasta with only 2 quarts of water will make the liquid extra starchy, which is what you want to create a silky sauce.

Comments

  1. says

    I love moving into new houses! It’s such an exciting new phase and marks a new chapter in life! Congrats on your new home, and I love all your photos!! Thanks for being an inspiration.

    love,
    felicia

    • Emilie says

      Felicia you are so sweet! Thank you so much- we’re super excited! I always appreciate when you stop by and it makes me incredibly happy that this little space can be a source of inspiration :) xx

    • Emilie says

      Our butchers are fantastic. We are so lucky to live in an area with access to such quality products. It makes you feel good about what you’re eating and who you are supporting. Glad to give them our business any day! Thanks Pam!

  2. says

    Congratulations on your new home! and a new garden to boot, lucky you! This dish looks wonderful love the fact that you load up on the veggies and protein.

    • Emilie says

      Hi Cheri! I do this a lot with pasta… I find that it’s easier to digest and a good way to keep my kids interested in what they’re eating. Give them some pasta and they might eat their broccoli (it’s always a battle)! This dish is also really yummy cold or at room temp. the next day for lunch. Enjoy! :)

  3. says

    Congratulations on the move…so much fun…yet so much work! I can’t wait to see some pictures :) Is this new home any closer to NJ? I’m dreaming about some bread/egg swaps ;) I definitely understand that need for some budget friendly meals and this one looks delicious…beautiful dish!

    • Emilie says

      Don’t even… for every box that gets packed, a new one gets unpacked! Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And then they climb all over everything. Unfortunately, the new house is in the total opposite direction as you, but one day we will make the trek! Could you even imagine if we were neighbors? Jam, eggs, sourdough- oh, my! xo

  4. says

    New house! How exciting! Great post with great tips, thanks Em. I sometimes think that, paradoxically, when we’re ON a tight budget, we eat BETTER than we do when we’re flush. We find we go out less, think more about sourcing produce, and get creative to prevent waste. Just as you have! :)

    • Emilie says

      Thanks Celia! It’s so true… tight budgets force you to really think. I always tell myself, hey the less we spend on overpriced food the more we have for wine and chocolate. I mean c’mon, those are the true necessities if you ask me :)

  5. says

    Ohh congratulations Em!!!! So glad for you and the family, finding the right place is ridiculously hard. Aaron and I are renting at the moment but we do intend to move in the next year or so. The idea of committing to a ‘mortgage’ is quite terrifying but it’s absolutely worth it in terms of stability and ownership – having something that’s entirely ‘your own’ to play around with and personalize is so wonderful (particularly when you have a garden, yay!). Good luck with the final steps, the physical aspects of the move and the unavoidable financial commitments. Love this healthy budget recipe and your tips! I already know my local butcher and grocer, it’s such a great experience to know that you’re investing into the local economy whilst also saving money xxx

  6. says

    Congratulations on your new home Emilie! How exciting! And I love the recipe – a variation of this is a regular meal in the rotation at my house…always with chicken sausage, and Costco organic non-GMO pasta, too!

  7. says

    Oh my, but what terrific news! Congratulations on your new home. You must be thrilled. I hear you about the $$$ flying out the window, however. A friend once told me “Adri, buying a new house is like burning thousand dollar bills.” The good news once it is all done and dusted, you will have the home of your dreams, AND you will be able to eat well and smart! Best of luck to you, and this dish sounds wonderful. It is the kind of simple, tasty food that I find particularly satisfying.

  8. says

    First off, congratulations on your new home! I can well imagine the excitement and relief of finding a place after looking for a long time (let me count the ways I can relate…). There is so much anxiety involved with the process and when things don’t work out, it can be very disheartening too, so this is great news all around. Bet your boys are feeling the joy too – so much fun! I love how you’ve combined this life theme with budget conscious shopping and cooking. Great tips that also support sustainable living.

    • Emilie says

      Thank you Kelly!!! You’re right- the anxiety of this whole process was definitely hard to get through. Speaking of process, the amount of paperwork and back and forth admin is just insane! They want your whole life in a neat little PDF file. I shouldn’t complain though, because this is probably nothing compared to the move that you did! And you have a dog too!! But in the next couple of weeks, we will be in and settled. Can’t wait ;)

  9. Whitney says

    I had this recipe pinned for a bit and decided to try it tonight! We ran across some basil chicken sausages when we went grocery shopping at our famers market. The meal turned out great! We used gluten free noodles. I added some italian seasonings at the end, ‘lots of parmesan and extra lemon juice. Yum! I like how you left the end open to add more if you needed. This is a keeper! Thanks!

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