Turkey Sausage Pasta Sauce, Low Points

I did not grow up eating sausage, and the first time I ate Italian Sausage as an adult I did not like it. Trial and error taught me that I don’t like fennel seed.

When I started Weight Watchers (now called simply WW), one of the members @dhallakx7 made a cookbook of low point recipes. This means they are lower in fats and sugars and higher in protein. He made a low fat sausage by using ground turkey instead of pork. I took his recipe a step further by using ground turkey breast (zero points on WW Freestyle) and of course I left out the fennel seed. I made a few other small changes…

I added my turkey “sausage” to a pasta sauce and it’s delicious! Here’s how you can make this low point recipe at home:

ground turkey sausageSausage Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 TB plan, fat free Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 TB beef broth
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Sausage Instructions:

  • Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add turkey.
  • Stir together all the other ingredients.
  • As turkey begins to cook (it will turn from pink to white) stir in all other ingredients.
  • Continue cooking and stirring, breaking up the meat with a spatula as you go.

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes (mine were stewed in Italian spices)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can canned tomato sauce (mine was no salt added)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Your homemade turkey sausage
  • Red wine, optional

pasta with sausage sauceSauce Instructions:

  • In the large skillet from the sausage, heat olive oil, garlic and onion over medium heat approx. five minutes.
  • Pour in tomatoes and tomato sauce. Mix in salt, ground black pepper, basil, oregano, bay leaf and cooked sausage. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove bay leaf from sauce before serving. If you have the points available, stir in about 2 oz. red wine. I used pinot noir.
  • Spoon cooked sauce over hot pasta (sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese if you have the points available) and enjoy!

Rock of Ages now in Tampa

The 10th Anniversary tour of the ’80s rock show “Rock of Ages” is playing June 11 – 15, 2019, at the Straz Center in Tampa, Florida. You may have seen the movie with Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise, but the Broadway show came first! It’s a boy meets girl story that takes place on L.A.’s Sunset Strip in the late ’80s and is sprinkled with ’80s rock tunes and ballads you’ll want to sing along with from your seat.

I love that the show doesn’t take itself seriously, it ain’t nothing but a good time. Bands featured include Whitesnake, Pat Benatar, Poison, Journey, Starship and REO Speedwagon – among others. The story is light, humorous and shallow, and it’s OK to sing and clap along. You may find jazz hands are encouraged. It’s not quite as boisterous as a rock concert – this is the Straz after all – but most of the audience is over 45 anyway, so they have some decorum.

This is a restaging of the show, so if you have seen it before don’t expect the same production. The set is multi-leveled, and concert road boxes are used in fun ways – making rooms pop up out of nowhere. And then there’s the bathroom scene…

Feel free to come in costume or your old Bon Jovi concert T-Shirt with a leather mini skirt. There’s a lot of 80s cosplay going on in the audience.

The singing in this production is fantastic! Every side character seems to be able to belt to the hills. I was especially astonished by the voice on Kristina Walz as Regina and the hysterical performance by Sam Harvey.

Sam Harvey as Stacee Jaxx i Rock of ages, tampa, Florida
He’s a cowboy, on a steel horse he rides…

My only warnings for you are that there is adult language and strobe lights – but, like, whatever. The only thing I would have changed was Sherrie’s wig.

And because I know you want it, here’s a video montage of the show so you can see and hear for yourself:

Get your tickets today! Prices start at $25.

Are YOU ready to rock??!

Thank you Straz Center and Tampa Bay Bloggers for #hosting me at this show. I received 2 free tickets in exchange for my opinion.

“Come From Away” now in Tampa, Florida

Thanks to a wonderful partnership between the Tampa Bay Bloggers and the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, I receive two free tickets to see “Come From Away.” All opinions are my own.

Raffi and Brian at Straz Center

Last night my husband and I enjoyed watching the opening night of “Come From Away” in Tampa, Florida. The show opened on Broadway in March 2017 and has been performing to standing-room-only audiences. The North American tour of Broadway’s Come From Away started in October 2018. The heartwarming production is full of true stories and human emotion.

“Come From Away” is a musical about events immediately following 9/11. Many planes in flight were diverted for safety purposes to a small town in the province of Newfoundland, Canada. Thousands of people nearly doubled the population of the town, and while scared and confused needed places to eat, sleep, mourn, etc.

Map of USA and Newfoundland

I first heard of the show last year when the Straz Center had a preview night of their upcoming Broadway season. We were lucky enough to be treated to a song from the show sung from the perspective of Beverly Bass, an American Airlines Pilot who really lived through these moments. Beverly was the third female pilot hired by a major commercial airline in American history. She was the captain of the first all-female crew in aviation history. Not only did we witness a spectacular Broadway rendition of the song, but Beverly Bass actually came on stage and introduced herself and the show. When she was asked to divert her landing to Gander, Newfoundland – she didn’t know why. She wasn’t watching TV footage of the Twin Towers like many of us, she was busy flying a plane full of people from Paris to Texas.

Come from away cast singing

The show focuses on stories like these – the people who were stranded and the compassion (and sometimes lack thereof) shown to them. It has simple sets of mis-matched chairs and tables you might find in a thrift store, fast-paced music with some Irish rock influences, and a cast of average, middle-aged people who might live right next door to you.

I love that the show started with the number “Welcome to the Rock.” (The rock being their island.) It was upbeat and catchy and apropos to greet audiences with the actual word WELCOME. I liked the particular verbiage, such as calling the thousands of passengers “plane people” and the locals “islanders.” I laughed and cried and danced in my seat (and on my feet during the curtain call.)

This show is 100 minutes with no intermission. It is recommended for ages 10 and older. At the 71st Tony Awards, it was nominated for 7 awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actress in a Musical, ultimately winning for Best Direction of a Musical for Christopher Ashley. 

It is only showing in Tampa through June 9, 2019! Get your tickets here. Watch a quick montage here.

View more photos on the show’s Facebook page here.

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