Sweet Potato and Andouille Sausage Pizza

I don't like to let working nights get in the way of great home-cooked meals. Often times, I'll use my weekend to cook ahead on dinners that are easy to reheat. This weekend I had some inspiration to combine a few of my favorite Southern flavors into a colorful and delicious pizza. Cooking pizza at home is a lot easier than most people expect, especially if you use an already prepared dough or crust. But even making your own dough doesn't take too long.  And a little trick if you don't want to heat up your oven, fire up the grill! It makes for a great smoky flavor.

1 sweet potato
2 Andouille sausages
6 broccolini or baby broccoli
1/2 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (drained)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Pizza dough (homemade would be best, but to easy with preparation, I used Pillsbury's artisan refrigerated dough)
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven according to pizza dough directions. 
2. On a baking sheet, form dough into a circle or square. If desired, roll edges over to create a crust. Pre-bake dough for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
3. In a skillet, remove sausage from casing and cook until browned. Set aside.
4. Dice sweet potatoes. In the same pan, add olive oil and sweet potatoes. Cook until caramelized. Add broccolini and toss until bright green.
5. Lightly coat dough in olive oil. Spread diced tomatoes evenly.
6. Spread a thin layer of Parmesan cheese. 
7. Across the pizza, evenly distribute sausage, sweet potato, and broccolini.
8. Finish with a layer of Mozarella and Parmesan cheese. 
9. Bake pizza according to dough directions, about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Serves 4-6

Swiss Chard & Sausage Pasta

1/2 lb. pasta
1 bunch swiss chard
8 red pearl onions
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 roma tomato
3/4 cup mushrooms
2/3 lb. Italian sausage
2 tbsp olive oil
Mizithra cheese

1. Boil pasta for 6-8 minutes until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. In a skillet cook Italian sausage until lightly browned and no longer pink.
3. Rinse vegetables. Chop swiss chard, mushrooms and tomatoes into 1/4 in. pieces 
4. In a large sauce pan combine olive, garlic, swiss chard and mushrooms. Cook until swiss chard is wilted. 
5. Add pasta, tomatoes and sausage. Toss well and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
6. Serve with grated mizithra cheese.

Serves 2-3

Italian Quinoa Pilaf

1/2 lb italian sausage
8-10 asparagus spears
1/2 cup olives
1 tomato
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup onions
1 portabella mushroom
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
1 tsp garlic
Italian seasoning
3 tbsp olive oil

1. Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a rice cooker or pan and let steam for 20-25 minutes.
2. In a sauté pan, cook Italian sausage until it is no longer pink, breaking it apart as it cooks.
3. Meanwhile, dice onions, tomato, portabella, zucchini, eggplant and asparagus. Cut olives in half.
4. Add onion, zucchini, eggplant, portabella, garlic and olive oil to the sauté pan with the sausage. Sauté until vegetables are browned.
5. Add olives, tomatoes and cooked quinoa to the pan. Continue to cook for 4-5 minutes or until warmed throughout, stirring occasionally.

Serves 2-3