IMG_6175I found this iron dragon at an estate sale.  Supposedly it was a gift from an ambassador, although I suspect it may have been the ambassador of Nowhereville.  It’s so fierce, isn’t it? IMG_6176The dragon sits atop a fence in my backyard, and it’s so intimidating that even the birds won’t poop on it, and they pretty much poop on everything.

It’s the end of yet another school year, and I have to admit, this one was a tough one.  If anyone thinks raising kids gets easier as they get older, I have news for you — it does not.  Sure, you don’t have to tote around all that stuff and deal with all the equipment (diapers, stroller, swing, breast pump, high chair, monitor, blankies, binkies, tilt-a-whirls, etc.).  But the issues you may find yourself confronted with as your kids enter their teen years become so much more important and life-affecting than they didn’t get invited to so-and-so’s birthday party.  The issues that can go along with teenagers are the ones that keep you up at night, make you wonder if you’ve been a good parent, require you to take blood pressure medicine, and cause gray hairs to multiply exponentially.  But gosh, I love those kids.

Anyway, like every May, I am draggin’ (groan).  It’s hot, I’m tired, and keeping my son focused on studying for finals can be a job in and of itself.  Picking up my daughter and her dorm room full of stuff (she HAD to live on the third floor) in 90 degree heat and 90% humidity was exhausting, although we are thrilled to have her back home for the summer.  When it comes to cooking dinner, I am riding on fumes.  Inspired by my awesome dragon, I dragged my draggin’ butt in the kitchen and made Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli, a family favorite that doesn’t take a lot of time or effort.  I’ve sent it as part of a compassion meal on several occasions, and it’s always well-received.  We like to make it with cavatappi or rotini, but you can use any pasta you like.  Here’s to the end of the school year, and may the dragon of life only roast your hot dogs and never burn your buns.

Recipe type: Pasta
  • 1 lb. cavatappi or rotini
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2-3 links Italian sausage, hot or sweet
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until just al dente. Add broccoli florets to pot and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes longer, until broccoli is bright green and begins to soften. Drain pasta and broccoli well in a colander, then transfer to a large bowl.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from casings and cook until browned, breaking up with a spoon. Remove sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add sausage to pasta.
  3. Add olive oil to pasta and stir to combine all ingredients. Stir in Parmesan cheese, reserving 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top. Add crushed red pepper as desired, and season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Sprinkle with reserved Parmesan cheese and serve.



Slap happy over cavatappi


Rotini works too, but it’s not as much fun to say as cavatappi


  1. You make me want to rush out and buy some cavatappi right now!! Sounds delicious.

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