This recipe evolved as I was cooking. I had the basic idea in my mind, but I made it up as I went along. I’ve learned that some of my best recipes follow this method. An added bonus is how quickly this dish is ready to serve. From turning on the stovetop to topping with the basil, dinner was prepared in 28 minutes. That works for me on a busy weeknight!

Conecuh Sausage is processed and distributed through a South Alabama family-owned company. They offer several different varieties that can be purchased locally or online.

CHEESY CONECUH SAUSAGE PASTA

• 1 teaspoon olive oil

• 1 pound Conecuh Smoked Sausage, thinly sliced on the bias

• 1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced

• 1 green bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

• 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

• 8 ounces thin egg noodles, cooked and drained

• 2 ounces cream cheese, cubed

• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

• Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

• Fresh basil, thinly sliced

Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage and let the slices begin to brown. Add in the onion and pepper slices and, frequently stirring, cook another 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and pepper. Cook for a minute or two and then stir in the diced tomatoes. Let the tomato juice reduce by about half.

Toss in egg noodles and reduce heat to low. Stir in the cream cheese and mozzarella and allow the cheese to melt. Taste and add salt if needed.

Divide pasta onto serving plates, and top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil.

SMOKED SAUSAGE WITH KRAUT

Most of us are familiar with the classic dish kraut and weenies. You know, the one where you heat a can of kraut, chop up some hot dogs and cook it all together for about 10 minutes? Here’s an elevated version.

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, sliced lengthwise and thinly sliced

• 1 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

• 1 tablespoon minced garlic

• 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced

• 32 ounces kraut, drained well

• Red pepper flakes, optional

In a large skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add sausage and increase heat to medium-high. Cook until sausages have browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Continue to stir so that onions/peppers don’t stick.

At this point, you could stop cooking and pile this goodness on a toasted bun or hoagie roll and have a lovely dinner. But, if you choose, add the kraut and red pepper flakes (if using), and stir to combine all ingredients and let simmer for 5 minutes or so over low heat. There you go - a delicious one-skillet weeknight meal! On second thought, pile ALL of this goodness on a bun or roll.

Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram and fleurdelolly@yahoo.com.