Special thanks to Sprouts Farmers Market for sponsoring this Chicken Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta Bake recipe and the opportunity for one lucky winner to receive a $25 gift card to Sprouts!
It’s officially pumpkin season folks! Yes, even though it’s still hitting the triple digits here in Northern California the nights are a bit chillier and pretty soon the A/C will be turned off for quite a few months. Pumpkin flavored everything is literally everywhere, even here in my kitchen. My lovely friends over at Sprouts Farmers Market sent over a big box full of pumpkin products – which is just a small sampling of what can now be found in their store. Of course, I was inspired to create something with everything in the box!
There’s Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips, Pumpkin Iced Cookies, Organic Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cider, Pumpkin Pasta Sauce, Old Fashioned Pumpkin Snaps, Cranberry Pumpkin Crisps, Maple Pumpkin Butter and Pumpkin Pie Lip Balm! Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere!
Of course, I had to taste test a few things. Since I’m a salty snacker I was immediately interested in those Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips. I mean, chips and dips are my absolute favorite, but this got me a bit inspired. I made a little trip out to Sprouts to grab a few additional items to create what I had in my mind, which was snacks. Pumpkin themed snacks in the form of an appetizer platter to serve my family while I prepare dinner. You could also use this for any type of get together in the Fall season, but during the week my family is famished when they get home – and they will snack on whatever is in sight. So I find that preparing some little snacks for them to chew on while I prepare dinner helps them not completely ruin their appetite.
Once at Sprouts I also noticed there was a Pumpkin Spice Salsa available, and I just had to get it to go with the Pumpkin Seed Chips. The chips are seasoned with sea salt and you can actually see the little pumpkin seeds in every chip. They’re very tasty and not overly salty or too crunchy and they went absolutely perfectly with the Pumpkin Spice Salsa. The salsa is delicious and the flavor is just a little deeper and richer than a normal salsa, you can taste those pumpkin spices in there, it elevates the flavor.
I was also very excited to try the Maple Pumpkin Butter and it didn’t disappoint. It’s very delicious, perfect for morning toast or bagels, or on anything really. It would probably have been amazing on those pumpkin bagels I spotted at Sprouts, but instead I purchased a little bag of Multigrain Bruschetta Bread Slices. This was perfect to serve with the Maple Pumpkin Butter on my little appetizer platter. Mr. Harris is not a pumpkin fan but I somehow coerced him to try this and he was hooked, it’s that delicious!
For this appetizer platter, a handful of each item was all that was needed. I did pick up the Sprouts Brand Original Flavor Hummus and some veggies to serve to round out this appetizer platter with some color and fresh choices as well. I have to say it was a hit, the littlest boys loved those Pumpkin Iced Cookies, I loved the Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips with the Pumpkin Spice Salsa, and Mr. Harris loved the Maple Pumpkin Butter. The appetizer platter was empty before dinner was even ready. I do have a big family so I don’t recommend this much food if it’s just 2-3 people, but it was perfect for my family of seven!
In addition to the finger foods I also used the Organic Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cider to create some warm drinks. I simply added a little caramel sauce to the inside of the glasses and heated up the cider in a pot. Once ready, I poured it into each glass and served it warm. It was delightful and something I’m sure to drink all pumpkin season long!
Now for the dinner I knew I wanted to make something with that pumpkin pasta sauce. The sauce already has a lot of flavors going on, it’s tasty with a hint of tomato and carrots with a gorgeous bright orange color. I picked up some roasted chicken sausage and some shells to create my pumpkin pasta bake, I already had some cheese and spices at home to complete the rest of the meal. Super easy and simple, perfect for busy weeknights. I also didn’t add much else to the pasta bake because the chicken sausage was really tasty and even had a bit of spice to the flavor thanks to the onion and peppers in the sausage.
Chicken Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta Bake Ingredients:
- 1 jar Sprouts Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- 1 package Sprouts Shells Pasta, cooked al dente
- 1 Package Sprouts Old Tyme Butcher Shop Roasted Chicken Sausage
- non-stick cooking spray (I used olive oil)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cup of your favorite melty cheese (I used a mix of Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack and Mozzarella)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs (recipe below)
Toasted Bread Crumbs Ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
Begin with toasting the bread crumbs. In a small pan, add the olive oil and butter and heat until melted. Add the panko bread crumbs and garlic, cooking over medium-low heat (and stirring often) until golden. Remove from pan, toss with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning and set aside. I usually do this step way ahead of time, since I like to have these crumbs readily available for various meals. I make it every so often to have on hand and add to dishes I like.
Begin by cutting the sausage in half length-wise, then slicing into bite sized pieces. Spray the skillet with cooking spray, then add the sausage. Cook over medium heat until the sausage is browned.
Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture over the pasta, then top it with the other half of the pasta. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, then sprinkle the dried parsley on top. Pop in the preheated oven, setting your timer for 15 minutes (just until cheese melts).
Have a favorite from above in mind? Enter to win this giveaway for a $25 Sprouts Farmers Market so you can pick up some of your favorite pumpkin products!
Here’s how to enter:
Prize: One (1) $25 gift card to Sprouts Farmers Market.
Giveaway runs through the evening of October 9th.
Eligibility: Winners are limited to the continental United States and must be 18 years of age or older. See full contest rules in the rafflecopter form. You will be notified via the email you used in the rafflecopter form if you win, and you will have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
Enter using the rafflecopter form below. You can sign into the form with Facebook, or you can use your name and email address. Good luck!