Sometimes you need a little help from the store…

Obviously, scratch-made food is always better than store-bought, processed food. Anything home made usually tastes better and is probably better for you. In a perfect world, I would grow my own vegetables, bake my own bread, and make everything from scratch. Actually, I’m not sure if I really would, but the fact is that that’s not a realistic lifestyle for me anyway. Working full time, living in an apartment, and a busy schedule don’t always allow me to cook from scratch. Sometimes, you need a little help from the grocery store, which is why I decided to try Kraft Philly Cooking Creme (no judgement please)!

The cooking creme containers come with recipes on the back, but I decided to try my own. I made a pasta dish with a creamy sauce of sausage, asparagus, garlic and cherry tomatoes. Here’s how I made it (with a little help from the store):

What you need:

3 uncooked pork sausage links (half of a small package) – I used a mixture of spicy and sweet sausage

1 bunch of asparagus trimmed, washed, and cut into bite sized pieces (I cut them on an angle)

about 20 cherry tomatoes halved

4 cloves of garlic minced

1 package of regular button mushrooms (you can used fresh or canned mushrooms)

1 lb (or 1 box – it doesn’t have to be exact) of penne pasta

1 15 oz. tub of Kraft Philly Cooking Creme Italian Cheese & Herb flavoring

1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbsp of olive oil

cooking spray

Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water. Drain and set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking, spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the sausage and sear on all sides until the sausage is golden brown, and mostly cooked through (don’t worry if it isn’t completely done, it will finish cooking when you add it back to the pan). Remove the sausage and set aside. Discard (just pour it out) the remaining sausage drippings.

4. Add the olive oil into the same skillet you used to cook the sausage and put it back on medium heat. Add the garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the asparagus pieces, the halved cherry tomatoes, and the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are almost cooked through. Add the red pepper.

5. Slice the sausage into bite sized pieces and add the sausage and any leftover juices on the cutting board to the vegetables. Let this cook another 3-5 minutes.

6. Add half of the 15 oz. tub of the cooking creme and stir into the sausage and vegetable mixture. Cook until the creme starts to thin out.

7. Add the pasta and toss. Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top.

When I don’t have time to make dinner from scratch, Philly cooking creme is a good alternative. Even though I know it’s not homemade, it tasted pretty darn close.

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