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Gnocchi with prosciutto and peas

These days, I’m starting to understand the appeal of meals that can be made quickly. I still love to cook, but I don’t get the same thrill out of making some elaborate dish that takes 2 hours to put together as I used to. For a special occasion it’s still totally fine to put in the extra time and effort to make something special, but for regular weekly dinners I really just want to spend the least amount of time possible without sacrificing quality.

I’m learning that sometimes if I spend a little extra time on the weekend to prep something that takes a while, I can then reap the rewards of that time investment during the week when I’m trying to put dinner together quickly. Just last weekend I roasted 5 turkey filets and shredded them up to use throughout the week. Some of it was immediately used in the turkey and mushroom bake that I made and the rest was frozen for later.

Yesterday, I did the same thing by making a huge batch of gnocchi using this recipe. I did boil the potatoes though rather than roasting them as the recipe recommended, also in an effort to save time. With about an hour or so of total work, I had not only enough gnocchi for dinner last night, but also this whole tray of it to freeze for another time.

gnocchi for freezing

That’ll make at least 2 more future dinners!

So here’s what I used it for last night. I made a spicy tomato sauce with sizzled prosciutto and fresh green peas.

ingredients for gnocchi dinner

I started by heating up some olive oil and red chili flakes in a pan to let the spices infuse in the oil.

chili flakes in oil

Then I cut up 3 slices of prosciutto into thin strips and sauteed them in the oil until just barely crispy. I topped it off with half a jar of tomato basil pasta sauce and set it aside while a pot of water was heating up to boil.

sauce with prosciutto

The gnocchi and frozen peas went into the boiling water and were drained as soon as they had all floated to the surface, indicating that they were done. Those got tossed into the spicy sauce and served with freshly grated parmesan on top.

toss gnocchi and peas in the sauce

gnocchi dinner close up

gnocchi with parmesan

The whole thing took less than 20 minutes to put together because of the gnocchi being made ahead of time.

Gnocchi with prosciutto and peas

A quick meal of fluffy gnocchi in a spicy tomato sauce with prosciutto and peas.

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 servings


  • 2 portions prepared gnocchi
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 slices prosciutto
  • 1 cup or so of tomato sauce
  • a hefty pinch of red chili flakes
  • olive oil for sauteing
  • fresh grated parmesan

Cooking Directions

  1. In a pan, heat olive oil and red chili flakes on medium heat.
  2. Slice prosciutto into thin strips and saute in oil until barely crispy.
  3. Add tomato sauce and stir to combine.
  4. Boil gnocchi and peas until they float to the surface, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and add to sauce.
  5. Grate over fresh parmesan cheese and serve.

I love it when dinner takes almost no time at all but tastes like I spent ages on it. By investing the time in making a special component upfront, you can have the same experience of a special dinner in much less time.

Is there anything you like to make in bulk or ahead of time to save you time later?


Turkey mushroom bake

Ah! It feels good to blog again! I really think I’m inspired to keep on a schedule now.

I’m so glad to be able to focus my attentions on other things again. I’ve been so focused on the move and some other stuff going on in our lives for so long now that I couldn’t even bring myself to cook anything new. Seriously, we’ve been surviving on the same few dishes for months. It was definitely time to try something new.

I made this awesome turkey mushroom bake a couple nights ago that I’ve just got to share with you because it is so delicious!

turkey mushroom bake

Turkey Mushroom Bake

A filling pasta bake with turkey and peas in a thick onion and mushroom gravy.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 2 turkey breast filets
  • half a box of dried penne pasta
  • approx. 1 cup frozen peas
  • approx. 2 cups crimini mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • olive oil, salt, and pepper as needed
  • parmesan for grating over top

Cooking Directions

  1. Roast the turkey coated in olive oil on a foil-lined baking sheet for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. When turkey is cool enough to handle, shred with hands or a fork into small pieces.
  2. Boil pasta and peas together until done and drain.
  3. In a large non-stick pan, saute onions in butter until translucent then add garlic and mushrooms. Cook until softened.
  4. Sprinkle over flour and stir in until it makes a thick paste with the onions and mushrooms. Add in vegetable stock and stir until the flour paste in smoothly incorporated. Stir in sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Fill a 9x13 baking dish with the pasta, peas, and shredded turkey. Pour over the mushroom sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Grate over parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

One way I’ve made this recipe quicker is to roast the turkey ahead of time. I like to buy a huge full turkey breast and cut it into 6 filets, then roast them all or save a few for dinners throughout the week. Then I can shred up all the roasted turkey and either freeze it or use it in other dishes. It really doesn’t take a lot of effort up front but saves me lots of time later when I have delicious roasted turkey on hand to use whenever I need.

I’ve also been getting ready for fall, which for me means a freezer full of pumpkin puree. I roasted this little organic pumpkin and I’m going to roast the seeds in a day or two as well. The big one will be a jack-o-lantern since we’ll undoubtedly get trick-or-treaters this year. :)

organic pumpkin for roasting

It’s getting really cold here too, almost time to turn on the heat. I’ve been trying to put that off as long as possible to save us some money, so the cats are having to find creative ways to keep themselves warm….like by falling asleep in the warm clean laundry.

cats in the hamper



I’m just going to end up covered in their fur anyway, might as well save myself a step and apply the fur directly to the clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. It’s easier that way. 😉

This weekends project: Finish sweeping out the basement and possibly even mop it, then bring down all the stuff we intend to store in it so that we can actually use that second bedroom for something. Yoga studio? I think so.

Where is the strangest place you’ve found your pet asleep?


Packing it up

Not a whole lot of exciting stuff going on here lately.

I’ve kind of been in a bad habit of slacking off a lot. Not out of laziness, but rather because my mind is so consumed with thoughts of moving that I feel somewhat frantic even though I’m not. This constant busy feeling has kept me from tackling other projects because I feel like I don’t have time for them, but I absolutely do!

I’ve started slowly packing, trying to get a little done without forcing us into living out of half-packed boxes for this last month that we’re here.

First packed boxes Packing fragile stuff

I did manage to use up a few of those beautiful tomatoes we were given in a delicious tomato vegetable soup. It was so bright and flavorful with those perfectly juicy tomatoes in it.

Tomato vegetable soup Liam sniffing tomato vegetable soup

And this past weekend Jeff and I snuck out for a little date at a new restaurant in Decatur called No. 246. It’s an Italian-inspired menu focusing on pastas, pizza, and lots of small plates for sharing.

Highlights of the meal were the toasts with 3 spreads: cannelini bean, pork rillettes, and lemon ricotta with pickled mushrooms…

Toasts at No. 246

Then, a tasty charcuterie pairing of coppa ham and a semi-soft cheese called Moses Sleeping, paired with a plum jam.

Charcuterie at No. 246Coppa and Moses Sleeping at No. 246

And a spicy garganelle pasta with braised rabbit and broccoli rabe.

Rabbit garganelle at No. 246

We also had delicious cocktails and a chocolate tart with sea salt and olive oil.

Old Pal cocktail at No. 246Saffy Darling cocktail at No.246Chocolate tart with sea salt and olive oil

I almost never order chocolate desserts. I do like chocolate, but I don’t swoon over it like so many women do. I always prefer creamy desserts or warm fruit crisps, but something was telling me to go for the chocolate tart and I’m glad I did. It was so rich and the fruity olive oil really did add something wonderful to it.

All in all though, we were not in love with No. 246. It was much too expensive for the quantity of food we received and though this may sound like a weird complaint, the acoustics in there were terrible! It was so uncomfortably loud that Jeff and I could barely speak to each other and had to yell our orders to our waiter. Not exactly the kind of atmosphere I like to eat in. Also, the bread was painful to eat. It was so crunchy and hard, like eating shards of broken glass. And as you can see above, we had a lot of it to crunch through. :( Anyway, I’m glad we tried it.

Now, back to packing!