Quick Meal: Creamy Angel Hair with Sausage and Spinach

My hubby has been asking me for YEARS to take pictures of the meals I make.    Tonight’s supper was yummy enough that I actually did!   Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the big beautiful platter of pasta.  I had to take a picture of the little leftover portion.   There was not much for leftovers either.   Very quick to prepare, so great for a week day meal.

Creamy Angel Hair with Sausage And Spinach

14 oz. package smoked kielbasa
1/2 large chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cans of chicken broth
8 oz. angel hair pasta, broken in 1/2
9 oz. package baby spinach
1/3 cup whipping cream
5 oz. of shredded Parmesan Cheese (the kind in the dairy section, not the green jar stuff!)

Slice kielbasa into 1 inch pieces.  Sauté kielbasa, onion, garlic and oil in a large soup pot until vegetables are opaque.  Add broth and 1/4 cup water; bring to a boil.  Add pasta; cook for 3 minutes.  Add Spinach; cook about 1 minute.  Stir in cream and parmesan cheese.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

I served this with Garlic Bread and Prince Edward Vegetable Medley.

Happy Cooking


Menu Plan Monday: May 27th Edition


Menu Plan Monday May 25th – June 9th

Saturday- 25th  – Leftover Chicken Salad, Chinese Salad, Fruit

Sunday – 26th – Balsamic Pork Chops – Carrots and Roasted Asparagus (Emeals 482)

Monday – 27th – (6:30 Soccer) – English Tuna Melts Crispy Baked Fried (Emeals -482) (make salad for tomorrow)

Tuesday – 28th – (6:30 School Play) –  Layered Salad and Baked Potatoes (Emeals -482)

Wednesday- 29th – (7:30 Game) – Fish Tenders and Waffle Fries with Dip

Thursday – 30th – Creamy Angel Hair with Sausage and Spinach (Emeals -483)

Friday – 31st – (6:15 Game @ Maple Grove) – Sub Sandwiches in the Fridges to Grab and Go/ Chips

Saturday – June 1st (10:30 & 6:00 Game) – Chicken and Rice Bake/ Apple Cheese Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette (Emeals -481)

Sunday – 2nd -( 11:45 Game @ Maple Grove) Fried Chicken Thighs/ Mac and Cheese/Corn

Monday – 3rd – (6:30 Game) – BLT’s and Chips  (Emeals -483)

Tuesday – 4th – (6:30 Soccer) – Easiest Chicken Pot Pie (Emeals -483)

Wednesday – 5th – (6:30 Game @ Woodbury) Baked Deli Sandwiches/ Chips (Emeals -481)

Thursday – 6th – (Last Day of School) Chicken Fajitas – Chocolate Dipped S’mores Sandwiches (Healthy Lunch – 479)

Friday – 7th – Grill Hot Dogs/ Pasta Salad

Saturday – 8th – (Joyful Noise) – LEFTOVERS or Ramen



Lunches     Chickpea and Tomato Salad Pita/ Pretzels/Cantaloupe (Healthy Lunch 478) 

Pesto Tortellini and Fruit 

Ham and Broccoli Mac and Cheese (Healthy Lunch -482)


Dessert – White Chocolate Almond Butter Cookie Bars (Healthy Lunch 477)


Recipe to try:


BLT Macaroni Salad – ♥ ♥ 
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chili sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups elbow macaroni, cooked
1/2 cup tomato, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
3 cups lettuce, shredded
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Directions: 1. In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients; mix well. 2. Add the macaroni, tomato and onions; toss to coat. 3. Cover and refrigerate. 4. Just before serving, add lettuce and bacon; toss to coat




For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. and participate in Menu Plan Monday. More menu planning fun can be found at The Organised Housewife. 



Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!


Happy Cooking!!






Menu Plan Monday: May 20th Edition


Menu Plan Monday May 18th -26th



Saturday – 18th – (Soccer Tournament)  Rotisserie Chicken, Stove Top and Garlic Oregano Zucchini (Simple & Deli pg 176)

Sunday – 19th – Dijon Herb Pork Chops, Roasted Carrots (Fresh 20, May 3rd) (Didn’t Make)

Monday – 20th (Soccer Game @ 6:00) – Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles – Corn and Dinner Rolls (Emeals 482) – brown extra meat for Tacos on Wednesday.

Tuesday – 21st – Culvers Fundraiser

Wednesday – 22nd (Soccer Game at 7:15) Beef Tacos/ Red Beans and Rice (Emeals 482)

Thursday – 23rd (Book Group @ our house) – Chicken and Seafood Salad – Chinese Cabbage Salad – Veggie/Dip – Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake

Friday – Fish Tenders and Waffle Fries (Didn’t Make)

Saturday – Balsamic Pork Chops – Carrots and Roasted Asparagus (Emeals 482)

Sunday – Fried Chicken Thighs/ Mac and Cheese/Corn



Lunches     Chickpea and Tomato Salad Pita/ Pretzels/Cantaloupe (Healthy Lunch 478)


Dessert – White Chocolate Almond Butter Cookie Bars (Healthy Lunch 477)


For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. and participate in Menu Plan Monday. More menu planning fun can be found at The Organised Housewife. 


Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!


Happy Cooking!!



FPU: Jen’s Little Secret….

We all have our struggles, it is true.   While I might be great at budgeting money and living a frugal lifestyle,  my secret is that I am not good at denying my children ANYTHING!!  I struggle daily on what my heart and my head tell me.  My heart tells me that my boys are my life and I would do and give them anything!  My head tells me that I have to stop doing this and have my son earn his money to buy what he wants.  How else is he ever going to know how to do this as an adult??  As my parents might have said, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”


While I am not extravagant in what I give my child, I know I am missing the mark on utilizing these teaching opportunities.  And we all know I am still going to give him things, but maybe a little less   I will share with you some examples from the last week and see if you can relate.   


1.  It is starting to warm up in MN and we hear the icecream truck coming down the street.  Don’t ask me why, but this guy *knows to park in front of our house!   Tommy goes running to his “Spend” envelope and finds he only has 1 dollar.   He asks me for a dollar and of course I hand one over to him.   Hubby reminds me about how our son needs to do his chores and he would have plenty of money for the ice cream truck.   


2.  I am dropping off my son at school and the school book fair is set up.  Our little guy informs me that his class gets to go shopping today and he needs some money.   I did think twice about it this time….but in the end, I couldn’t say no.   I gave Tommy some of my fun money, which is where a majority of my fun money goes.  I am always spending it on the kids or some other gift, etc.


3.  Hubby and I are packing our son to go to an overnight trip with his school to an environmental camp.   The packing list says to bring some money for the camp store and a treat on the way home.  Hubby, because he is MUCH better than I am at this, asks our son if he has any money in his spend envelope.  Well, the answer is “no” of course.   I of course plead my son’s case, he can’t be the only child without some funds on the trip.  Hubby opens his wallet and give our boy $10 from his own fun money, because as terrible as I am at giving my sons anything they want…..my hubby is that way with me….he loves me.


As I am typing up these examples, I think to myself what harm would have been done to Tommy if I had said “No”??   No to ice cream truck….he would have had a bowl of the ice cream from in our freezer.  No to the book fair….he would have read his library book or one on his shelf from previous book fairs.   No to spending money for the trip…..he would have still had a great time and made wonderful memories with his class and learned that doing his chores would have given him money to spend, but memories and fun don’t need to cost anything.


Dave Ramsey says that personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior and for me this problem is 90% psychological.   I grew up the youngest of 5 children and wasn’t the richest kid in school.  I would cringe when the teachers would ask, what did you get for Christmas and my classmates would have this long list and I would say my one thing.  While my hubby and I budget for Christmas, you can bet my children get more than one present.  I just grew up knowing that my family didn’t have the things others did.  No trip to Disney world but we always went on a family vacation every summer. My parents seemed content and didn’t seem to worry about the need to keep up with the “Jones”.


Looking back at that as an adult, I have a totally different take on it.  While the embarrassment stayed with me, I learned some very valuable lessons from my parents.   My parents didn’t have a extravagant home, but they never refinanced and owned their home while I was at home.  I remember my parents making the last payment on the house after the man they had a contract for deed with passed away.  At Christmas, while I might not have had numerous gifts, the one gift I wanted was always under the tree and I felt loved.  To this day, I still can remember the joy of my “Baby Alive” I received when I was little and the clock radio I received as a teen.  And of course, my best memory is of the puppy my parents got me, Chico.   Never mind that I drove them nuts acting like a dog so they would get me a dog.  These gifts meant so much to me.   My parents knew that and always did their best to make sure I felt loved.


I don’t recall my parents using a credit card much in my life and they paid cash for most things.  My dad bought his vehicles and boats with cash and he still does today.   We bought items at Garage Sales and my mother sewed.  We always had a garden to grow and preserve our harvest for the winter.  We would even go to the colony to get more produce to meet our needs.  So was I affected by my parents saying “no “to me….yes, I learned to appreciate what I had, work hard, garden, sew, cook, save money and be frugal.  I am so thankful for that today!   My mom is amazing and taught me so much!


I am realizing while writing this what a disservice I am doing to my son by not saying “No” sometimes.   I learned a lot from my experiences with money as a child.  As a parent it is my job to provide for my child, but also to teach him about life, which includes how to handle money.   This is my job and I need to take is seriously.  It is better if he makes a $10 mistake now than a $10,000 as an adult.   


I have had a discussion with my son about how he will need to do his chores to have spending money.   That Mom will not be giving her money to him when he wants it .  We have a list of chores on the side of the fridge and he receives $1 for each completed.  Most weeks, we only can give him $1 or $2 for chores completed.   He could easily earn $10 a week, if he did his chores.   Time to teach the value of money and hard work!   It is my job as a parent to prepare my children for the real world, just as my parents did.   The lessons we teach our children now about how to save, give and spend will lay the foundation for their financial future as an adult.  This will be very hard for me and I am sure I will slip up, but I am going to give it my best!




Jen C



Summer, Soccer and Avoiding the Golden Arches


Summer is nearly here, I hope!  It is hard to tell in Minnesota.  But summer means crazy schedules and the desire to spend as much time as possible outside.  Summer in Minnesota is too short to miss a single nice day.   We have one son left at home, but we are super busy with his soccer schedule.  Those of you with more than one child in sports….I don’t know how you do it!  With hectic schedules it is harder to eat at home….but it is possible to avoid those quick drive through meals with a little planning! 

Planning is the key to most of our success in this pursuit of becoming debt free.   If you want to save time and money, menu plan!   How do you menu plan when you have to be at soccer practice three nights a week at 6:30 and Mom doesn’t even get home from work until 5:30 or 5:45??   Planning, planning and more planning is the answer.  On soccer nights we plan easy meals that can be made ahead, which saves us time and money and a million calories!!  Supper is ready and in the fridge just waiting for us. 

We look at what evening we will be home during the week and then make a few nights meals that evening.  A few weeks ago on a Monday evening, Jen made two additional meals in addition to our evening meal.  She made Beef Enchiladas and Chicken Salad for Tuesday and Wednesday night meals.  Jen makes the enchiladas to the point of going in the oven, then puts them in the fridge with the heating direction on them.  Then we can call home and have who ever is home put supper in the oven and it is ready when we arrive at home! 

Beef Enchiladas ready for the oven!

Chicken Salad can be made ahead!  Cut up some fruit and have a bag of Sunchips and croissants on hand and supper is ready in a matter of minutes!  Plus this meal is healthier than McDonalds and cost less as well.

Other meal ideas that can be made ahead – most sandwiches, such as ham spread, seafood salad and Summer Sub Sandwiches – crockpot meals and Pasta Salads.  Jen recently subscribed to the Emeals Healthy Lunch Menu Plan, which makes for great make ahead quick meals on very busy nights!  We can even grab the meals out of the fridge and eat them on the way to practice, if needed. 

We hope this post gets you thinking of how you can spend a little time each week to plan your meals and avoid the golden arches this summer!   It is great to pack a lunch to take with you on an outing as well.   Lunch always tastes so much better outside at a park!!  Of course we occasionally have a meal at the Golden Arches, but when we do it is a real treat.   Just remember you can make your own healthy food fast with a little planning.


Happy Budgeting!!

Paul and Jen 
Faithfully Living Below Our Means!



Other Articles in our FPU Series:

Financial Peace University
Our FPU Story: That was then…..This is now
FPU: Leap of Faith Budgeting…Time to Make a Plan
FPU: Inside Our Weekly Budget Meeting
FPU: Sink Your Debt with a Sinking Fund
Groceries: Cut the Dance and Start to Wiggle!


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Menu Plan Monday: May 6th Edition


Menu Plan Monday
May 4th – 19th

Saturday – 4th – Pizza

Sunday – 5th – Chinese Pork Roast (crock 6 hours) , Steamed Rice and Broccoli (EMeals 475)

Monday – 6th – (Soccer) Great Gravy Chicken/ Egg Noodles/ Peas  (EMeals 480)

Tuesday – 7th – Turkey Sausage Spaghetti/ Salad/ Garlic Bread  (EMeals 479)

Wednesday – 8th – (soccer) Chicken Broccoli Rice and Salad

Chicken Broccoli and Rice (quick meal) Double Recipe for our family – Salad

2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups water
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups Broccoli (I use frozen, straight out of the freezer)
2 cups Instant Rice

In a large skillet, make sure that you chicken is warm and put aside in a bowl. Then mix water and soup together and bring to a boil (now is when you add any seasonings). Turn down and mix in all ingredients remaining. Cover and cook on medium/low for 5 minutes. If you are using frozen broccoli it will take up to another 5 minutes.

Thursday – 9th – (School Program) Ham Salad Pita Sandwiches – Apple Slices (Healthy Lunch 479)

Friday – 10th – Italian Meatball Calzones – Salad  (EMeals 480)

Saturday – 11th – Creamy Pork Chops and Potatoes (EMeals 480)

Sunday – 12th – Mexican Sausage Bake (Make Night Before) (EMeals 480)

Monday – 13th – Culver’s Fundriasing Night

Tuesday – 14th  – (Late Mtg) Turkey/Cheddar Hawaiian Rolls and Fruit Salad  (Healthy Lunch 479)

Wednesday -15th – Crab Salad Croissants (Simple & Delicious Cookbook -63) Strawberry Spinach Salad (SImple & D pg 183)

Thursday – 16th – (Late Meeting) Scallop Pesto Pasta  (Simple & Delicious Cookbook -21)

Friday – 17th – Garlic Chicken Pizza x 2  Broccoli with Ranch (Emeals 479)

Saturday – 18th –  Rotisserie Chicken, Stove Top and Garlic Oregano Zucchini (Simple & Deli pg 176)

Sunday – 19th – Dijon Herb Pork Chops, Roasted Carrots (Fresh 20, May 3rd)


Turkey, Avocado and Bacon Roll-ups/ Fruit/ String Cheese (Healthy Lunch 478)
Tortellini Salad with Ham and Peas / Grapes (Healthy Lunch 477)
Chickpea and Tomato Salad Pita/ Pretzels/Cantaloupe (Healthy Lunch 478)

Dessert – White Chocolate Almond Butter Cookie Bars (Healthy Lunch 477)


For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. and participate in Menu Plan Monday. More menu planning fun can be found at The Organised Housewife.


Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!

Happy Cooking!!









Recipes to Try:
Desserts – Better than Mounds Bar

Amish Broccoli Salad
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Combine the chopped broccoli and cauliflower in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, and salt to make a creamy dressing. Add the dressing to the broccoli–cauliflower mix, stirring to evenly coat the vegetables. Stir in the bacon and the cheese, reserving a small amount to sprinkle on top of the salad just before serving.



Spring in Minnesota……

I had such hope that spring was on it’s way to Minnesota.  This is our view this morning….I hope we didn’t miss Spring under all this snow!  I certainly could use a few more sneak peaks at Spring! 


April 23rd in Minnesota

The weather is suppose to warm up this weekend so I hope the snow melts quickly, but not too quickly, flooding won’t be much fun either.   I am heading to Northern Minnesota for the weekend, which I think will have even more snow.  The City of Duluth has had over 50 inches of snow in April so far. 

I have a feeling my time in Duluth will include alot of hotel time and room services!  I am sure the snow on Lake Superior will look lovely through the window from under my heating blanket 

Wishing you all a wonderful Spring Day!  If you happen to see Minnesota’s Spring….please send it to my house!!  I want to start planning my garden.

Happy Spring!!