experimenting with a new recipe (aka trying to find a cooler way to cook in this inferno we call july!)

although her toothy smile and her irritating habit of occasionally turning on a thick italian accent annoy me, i generally like the food that giada de laurentis prepares on her cooking show "giada at home." the woman adds cheese to everything, therefore she has won my heart. so, i saw this recipe on her show the other day and decided to try it with a few mendy-alterations. the recipe is for butternut squash penne.
i had sweet potato on hand, so i decided to substitute it for the butternut squash which is not in season during summer. i also decided it was entirely TOO SCORCHING to crank my poor oven in my tiny kitchen in my small (albeit quaint) house up to 450 degrees for 45-50 minutes to roast the potato and onions. i don't like to use the oven in summer if i don't have to as it damn near heats the entire house! in the winter, this is a perk, but right now it only makes me want to toss the whole idea of cooking at home out the window and instead call a favored restaurant for take out! so i thought to myself why not use the grill instead? and so i did. or rather, kirk did. i also decided to add some turkey sausage to the dish because it sounded good to me.
so here's what i used in the order of appearance:
*those turkey sausages look a bit disgusting, don't they?

in a foil packet for the grill:
chopped onions
cubed sweet potato
olive oil
whole wheat penne pasta
chopped turkey sausage (kroger brand)

add to pasta after draining all but about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water:
soft goat cheese (add to the pasta while still hot and stir until creamy)
chopped fresh basil
add the heated turkey sausage and the contents of the grill packet
shaved parmesan
being an experiment of sorts, a few mishaps are bound to happen. for example, i had the grill set at too high of a heat and ended up having to cut the burnty ends off of some of the sweet potato. this resulted in far less sweet potato than i would have liked in the dish. also, i could do with or without the turkey sausage. since this was our entire meal, i'm glad we had a little more substance to the recipe, but i do think that this addition distracted from some of the great flavors of the original dish.
ok, i think i may veer away from food posts for a while. i might do a series of posts featuring different rooms in our house and some of the project ideas we have for those rooms. kirk and i have a hard time making decisions about which projects to do, which ones to abandon, and how BIG to make each project. anyone relate to that? really, there's any number of improvements, renovations, and alterations one could make to one's home, but we cannot do them all. so maybe i'll get some tips or advice from some of you with this next series of posts!

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