Gluten Free Italian Sausage and Veggi Pasta


Many people are going gluten free for various health reasons.  My younger daughter has recently been diagnosed with both Osgood Schlatter disease and scoliosis.  She loves sports and plays soccer and volleyball.  To watch her play in pain has been a heartbreaking experience for me.  I did some research and one website said some of this could be caused by food allergies.  I don’t like to be extreme, so I just decided to eliminate some of the wheat from her diet in the hope that it might help even a little.

I made this for her before soccer practice which starts at 6:45 p.m.  This sounds like a good time to have a practice, but it can be stressful to cook and get out of the house in such a short window of time.   This pasta was easy and allowed me to make a few phone calls while I stood in front of the stove.  It was also convenient to have tucked away in the fridge for when she got home at 9:00 p.m. after the practice and was hungry again!

1 box gluten free pasta (this was made with rice)

1 package of mild Italian Sausage

2 cloves of garlic diced

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 red bell pepper cubed

1/2 cup diced white mushrooms

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1/2 Parmesan cheese grated

Fresh basil (optional)

Put pasta water onto boil and heat large skillet until hot.  Brown sausage (about 5 minutes).  Add pasta to boiling water and follow package instructions.   Add garlic and brown (do not allow to burn) with sausage.  Add wine and scrape bottom of pan as needed and allow to reduce.  Add red pepper and mushrooms and cook for 2-5 min. until soft.  Add frozen peas.  They will defrost in the warm food.  Strain pasta and add to skillet.  Fold pasta into sausage mixture while keeping stove at a consistent medium heat.  Add salt and pepper per taste and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Toss well.  Serve with more cheese if you please and a sprig of fresh basil.






Fresh & Easy Tortilla Soup

I was in Berkeley and stopped at a very famous restaurant for lunch.  I ordered their version of this soup.  I was so excited to try it and although it wasn’t awful it was certainly not excellent.

On a trip to Tahoe one winter I was stranded with my family by a pile up on the highway and we were forced to kill some time.  We ended up in a Mexican restaurant outside of Sacramento. I ordered the usual enchilada combo platter, a margarita and the tortilla soup to start.  The soup was amazing.  It had large chunks of chicken, a flavorful broth and a crunchy topping. Because of these two experiences I was intimidated to make this for a long time thinking it would be really time intensive and still not have the wonderful flavor I remembered from that night.

This is my version of what I had remembered from that evening and what I was expecting in Berkeley.  My children loved it.  I served it with tortilla chips and topped it with Monterey Jack cheese so what’s not to love?

I start with an entire chicken and make a giant pot, but it can be made with chicken breasts and broth.  However, not all broths are created equal.  In this recipe especially, the quality of the soup will depend on the broth you use.

Photo by Siena Thomas :)
Photo by Siena Thomas 🙂



1 chicken

2 lemons

1 bunch cilantro

1 red pepper, diced small

1 zucchini, diced small

1/2 onion, diced small

2 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped

1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 container of fresh cut salsa, mild

1 cup frozen white corn

Suggested toppings:

Fresh cilantro leaves

Lime Wedges

Sour cream

Monterrey Jack cheese

Tortilla chips


Wash chicken and remove chicken parts from the cavity.  Place chicken in a stockpot and cover with water.  Flavor can be added from the very beginning.  Cut lemons in half and squeeze juice into the water, then add entire lemon to the water.  Wash the cilantro and add half of the bunch.  Quarter the onion and add.  Bring water to a boil.  Lower heat and let simmer for one hour or until the chicken is falling off the bone.  Remove entire chicken from the pot to a colander in the sink and pull chicken meat off the bone and tear into small pieces.  Strain the broth thorough a colander and return the broth to the original pot.


Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a small pan and sauté the red pepper, zucchini, onion and garlic.  If you miss this step you will miss out on a layer of flavor that is necessary.  I know, because I tried it and my daughter insisted the soup had no flavor.  Add the sautéed vegetables to the pot with the remaining ingredients except the corn and bring back to a simmer.


Add the shredded chicken and yellow corn and simmer for another 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbling.  Add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings.  Serve with your favorite toppings.


Coming Soon….

Waiting, waiting, waiting… Real Food for Real People is now currently in review at Amazon.  I am savoring each moment that passes before the book goes live today.  Amazon says that it takes up to 12 hours to review the book and make it available.  I hit “publish” at 5:30 a.m. and now I wait in the same way I waited for both of my babies to be born.  My older daughter is 15 years old today and she wanted to share her birthday with the book.  My editor chose Tuesday as the day to release the book as this is an industry practice.  So here we are.  I sang happy birthday to my sweet daughter and now I sit and wait for my new baby to come into the world.  I have to say the feeling of love, awe and anticipation are not dissimilar.  I am so excited to share my work.  Will post the link when it is live!  

Blessings and love to all.