Cookbook: The Book Club Cook Book (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Recipe Name: Italian Sausage and Peppers (inspired by Mystic River)
- 2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage or a mixture
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into large pieces
- 3 bell peppers (1 each red, green, and yellow), sliced into thin strips
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce and 1 pound angel-hair pasta
The Book Club Cook Book pairs recipes (often multiple) with a large list of bestselling titles that would be perfect for a book club. We received this cookbook as a wedding gift, but so far had only made one recipe from it: Bee Season’s Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies (both the book and the treat were enjoyable). Don’t worry, we’ve read many other books and eaten many other foods since then; we just haven’t pulled anything else specifically from this cookbook.
Where we often run into trouble is the selection process. We could go with a recipe from a book we’ve read before, but shouldn’t we push ourselves to read something new? Then we spend forever researching the long list of books and debating what we want to read. What genre? What author? Should we try something we normally wouldn’t read? What would we both enjoy? Decision paralysis is real in this household. Once we narrow down our book list, we look at the recipes and then have to ask ourselves what are we actually craving. Of course, we usually plan to make the recipe once the book is done, so we’re really trying to figure out what we might want to eat in a week or two. We’re not soothsayers. How are we supposed to know what future Chaos and Confetti want? Impossible!
Round and round we go until eventually, the cookbook goes back on the shelf. We end up eating something else and reading whatever we have on hand, telling ourselves we’ll get back to the cookbook at a later date.
Having decided to use The Book Club Cook Book for this month’s cooking blog post, the cycle began itself anew. This time however, we pushed through and actually made a decision. Or, Chaos made a decision and Confetti agreed after deciding the process of picking was taking too long.
The premise of Mystic River sounded interesting and Chaos remembered an early 2000s movie existing that might be worth checking out down the line. The cookbook came with three recipes, but we went with Italian Sausage and Peppers because we both like a little spice and Chaos loves bell peppers. The goal was set and now we were off!
Step 1: Read the book! Step 2: Realize we took so long to make a decision that we wouldn’t have time to finish the book before actually needing to make the recipe. Step 3: Commit to finishing the book before the end of the month, especially since we enjoyed what we got through so far. Step 4: Get our prep on!
The gathering of ingredients went smoothly, without any fanfare. However, we did make a few alterations to the recipe. First, we removed the onion because while Confetti loves onion, Chaos is a baby about how much he dislikes it. If you ever find yourself in a fight with him, throw an onion his way and watch him run away crying.
We also used penne pasta instead of angel-hair because we both prefer penne. Simple as that.
The only other change made was that instead of using Italian sausage links, we went with ground Italian sausage. That’s what Chaos brought home, so that’s what we used.
Not wanting to complete any task on easy mode, we upped the ante by preparing two meals at once. Though tag teaming our cooking endeavors, Chaos took the lead on the Italian Sausage and Pepper meal, while Confetti went about preparing strawberries, oatmeal, and egg salad for our son, Yeti who recently began eating solids. Yeti watched, sitting in his activity center and throwing his empty bowl at us again and again, like a head chef who needed those entrees done twenty minutes ago.
This meal was a lot harder to mess up than last month’s. While sausages cooked, peppers and garlic were sliced and crushed. Everything went very smoothly. The hardest part was making sure we optimized our use of stove burners as we rotated between cooking sausage, the peppers, pasta, oatmeal, and eggs. We performed like carefully choreographed dancers who forgot their movies but still winged it to success.
Chaos’ Thoughts on Taste:
I was very happy with this meal and not just because it was simple. The spice level was great, and it’s hard to dislike pasta, meat, and peppers. There was enough made for leftovers tomorrow and I’m already looking forward to eating it again.
Confetti’s Thoughts on Taste:
I thought the meal turned out great! I love spicy food and it paired perfectly with the pasta. I would have liked to have made the marinara sauce recipe, but alas – just not enough time! Leftovers were an extra nice bonus – love not having to figure out what’s for dinner multiple days in a row, especially now that Yeti also requires meal planning.
Yeti’s Thoughts on Taste:
Mother and father tried feeding me an assortment of foods with mixed results. The strawberries were great and the oatmeal was meh, but eggs are their worst idea yet. Hopefully, they don’t try spreading this egg-eating thing to others because they’ll be humiliating themselves as others also see the follies of their ways. Dad did sneak me some of the Italian Sausage though and yum! I love meat and despite my parents’ concern over the spices, I had no problems with them. After the first bite, I was asking for more.