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Sausage & Tortellini Soup

It’s that time of the year… turkey, ham, cake, pie and trying to figure out what to get the wife for Christmas. I think this year’s presents will be a home run. I mean after last year’s fiasco which included gifts such as a book she already read, a hair dryer and Toe Tunes I can only go up from there. If you can keep a secret I will let you all in on what she is getting this year. Are you sitting down? Great it’s a… you know after thinking about it I’m going to take it back and start over. I’m fairly sure she already has a snow shovel and a Bacon Bath Kit.

This recipe for sausage and tortellini soup is so much easier than trying to figure out what to get your significant other for the holidays. I used dry tortellini for this soup but you can (and should) use frozen or fresh if you have the time. I don’t because I’m too busy returning gifts that I thought at the time were a good idea such as the Chatty Patty and the Potty Putter for Landon.

Sausage & Tortellini Soup


  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 celery rib diced
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1 tsp crushed red chilis
  • 8 oz tortellini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • S&P to taste


  1. In a Dutch oven brown sausage. Remove sausage once browned and drain.

  2. Heat Dutch oven to medium and add olive oil. Once oil is heated add carrots, onions and celery for 5 minutes

  3. Add garlic and crushed red chilis and cook for another minute

  4. Add Italian seasoning, chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and sausage and bring to a boil

  5. Reduce and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on

  6. Add tortellini and cook for another 10 minutes. Once tortellini is cooked turn off the heat and add spinach and mix.

  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan 

This is a hearty soup that will please any of the pickiest eaters. As for me…I’m off to the store to try to figure out this gift issue I have. Thanks for stopping by Life44…Live, laugh, love & learn.

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If you liked this post, take a look at this recipe for Bacon Cannoli


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Red Beans & Rice

A few years ago I was able to go to New Orleans for a quick visit. My goal… taste as many iconic New Orleans foods. I had it all or at least as much as I could eat. Po Boys, beignets, oysters, jambalaya, gumbo and red beans and rice were on my list and I was not disappointed. If you ever have the chance to visit, I highly recommend it. Not just for the food but the sites. There really is something for everyone there. I was going through some old photos on my phone and I saw the pictures from New Orleans and immediately I began craving red beans and rice. Such a simple dish but so difficult to truly replicate. I am not going to say I nailed down the best red beans and rice dinner, but this is pretty darn good.
Holy Trinity
The French have mirepoix which is a base of onion, celery and carrots. The Cajuns have the holy trinity which includes onion, celery and bell peppers. The holy trinity is the base for a lot of Cajun cooking and a key component in red beans and rice. One thing you need to do towards the end of cooking the red beans is mash/blend a cup of the beans to help thicken it. You can use a fork to mash them or an immersion blender. I love the one below. It cleans up quickly and works like a charm.

Red Beans & Rice


  • 16 oz dried red beans presoaked overnight
  • 1 lb Andouille sausage sliced in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 cups water
  • cooked white rice


  1. Heat bacon fat (or oil) over medium heat in a dutch oven. Brown the sausage until crispy then add onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

  2. Add cayenne, pepper, sage, salt, red pepper and bay leaves. Add presoaked beans and cover with about 2 inches of water (approximately 6 cups). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover for about 2 hours

  3. A few minutes before serving remove 1 cup of beans and mash with a fork. Return beans to pot and simmer for 10 minutes adjusting seasoning to your preference. Before serving remove bay leaves

  4. Serve over rice and enjoy.

This red beans and rice recipe can be tailored to your tastes. I really like it spicy and I added a dash or five of Tabasco sauce. Just remember to taste, taste and taste. Adjust to how you like it. Other than that bone apple t. Hey that’s how my son loves to pronounce Bon Appetit. I actually like it. I hope you enjoyed this classic New Orleans Monday dinner. I know my family did. There wasn’t a bean to be found after the teenagers got to it. Thanks for stopping by Life44…Live, laugh, love & learn. Help support our site! As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
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Smoky Polenta with Sausage and Sunday Gravy


I’m not Italian.  I’m Polish, but I love the cuisine from Italy. I really don’t know how authentic this is but wholly crap this Smoky Polenta with Sausage and Sunday Gravy tastes so good. Let’s get started…

We will need the following

  • 1 cup of polenta (corn meal)
  • 5 Italian Sausage links
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • one small can of tomato paste
  • one can of whole tomatoes
  • garlic
  • liquid smoke
  • butter
  • chicken stock (4 cups)
  • red chili flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Parsley
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • Garlic
  • one small onion, diced

Let’s first begin with the sausage and 1/4 cup of water. Place on medium/high heat in a sauté pan until brown (8-10 minutes). Add the onion and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté for 3 more minutes. Crush the canned tomatoes by hand. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 1 hour.

For the polenta…….4 cups chicken broth (homemade is best) to one cup polenta. Bring broth to a boil then add polenta… Stir for approximately 30 minutes. Add a tbs butter and a tbs of liquid smoke. Cook for 5 more minutes.

To serve, place a heaping spoonful of polenta, add gravy, sliced sausage, shredded cheese, and parsley and enjoy.