Pasta with Sausage and Asparagus

1 lb Italian sausage, sweet or hot, casing removed

2 cloves garlic minced

1 lb asparagus, fresh

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp butter

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb rotini, penna  or bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions

Brown  sausage in a frying pan and cook, breaking  up with a spoon.   Add minced garlic.  When sausage is completely cooked, drain fat.  Cut bottom 2” off asparagus stems (the inedible part), then cut remaining stem into 1” pieces.   Steam asparagus until tender in a separate pan. Drain.   Combine asparagus, heavy cream, butter, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and stir well. Simmer  5 – 10 minutes over medium heat.  Add hot, drained pasta to asparagus cream sauce. Add parmesan and butter. Add cooked sausage and sauté until simmering. Salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to large platter and serve with a side salad and garlic bread.  We think this dish would also be good with other green veggies such as peas, cut green beans or broccoli flowerets.  

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Ring

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup onions, finely diced
1/2 cup Buffalo sauce
2 (6 ounce) packets cooked chicken, very finely diced
2 tubes crescent rolls
1/2 cup ranch dressing (for dipping), optional
1/4 cup scallions, cilantro, or fresh herbs, finely choppeD
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, celery, onions, Buffalo sauce, and chicken. (Or, if you’d rather, mix it all together in a food processor.)  Open the tubes of crescent rolls and separate each roll into four rectangles. Lay the rectangles on a parchment lined or nonstick baking sheet to form a large circle.  Spoon chicken mixture into the center of the crescent dough ring. Fold the top of each crescent dough rectangle over the chicken filling, pressing into place to secure the dough all the way around the filling.  Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Garnish with chopped scallions, cilantro, or other herbs, if desired.

Heritage Pork Roast in Crock Pot

1/2 cup apple juice or 1/2 cup apple cider
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
3 medium onions, sliced and separated into rings
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 (2 lb) center cut pork roast, trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 fresh sage leaves, snipped or 1/8 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Pour the apple juice into the crock pot.  Then layer the sweet potatoes, onions and apples in the crock pot.  In a nonstick skillet, brown the pork on all sides over medium-high heat.  Place the pork on top of the potato and apple slices.  Brush the mustard over the roast and sprinkle the roast with the pepper and sage.  Cover and cook on LOW until the roast is done and registers 165°F (73.9°C) on a quick reading meat thermometer, 7 to 9 hours.  Transfer the roast to a platter and keep it warm.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple-sweet potato mixture to a bowl and keep it warm. Combine the water, sugar and cornstarch in a measuring cup. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the juices in the crock pot and cook on high, stirring often, until they thicken, 1 to 2 minutes.  Serve gravy over the roast and apple-potato mixture.