Anniversary pasta

I'm becoming a regular reader at Frugal Hacks. On Fridays, the DeputyHeadmistress posts an article about using what's in your hand wherein she talks about using what you've got to make the best of your situation.

We're still trying to figure out the Christmas traditions that we want to have in our family. Growing up, my family ate our big Christmas meal on Christmas Eve, and snacked all day on Christmas. When Frugaldad was growing up, they ate their big meal on Christmas Day. Once we moved to Idaho, since we live close to members of his family, we ate with family on Christmas Day. For a couple years, we decided to have a nice steak and potatoes meal on Christmas Eve. Then we started getting invited to Christmas Eve dinner at his brother's in-law's house, so we moved the steak dinner to the 23rd, which is our anniversary.

This year, the 23rd fell on a Sunday. When you take 4 children to 3 hours of church, the Sabbath certainly isn't a day of rest! Add to that the fact that I had to arrive an hour early for music practice, and then conduct the Christmas program during the service, I was exhausted by dinnertime. I had steaks in the fridge and potatoes in the pantry, but I just didn't have the energy to pull that meal together. Plus it was freezing, and dark, and snowing, so I didn't really want to grill those steaks outside! So I went to the fridge and the pantry to see what was in my hand.

I invented what I now call Anniversary Pasta and it is one of my better concoctions. In the freezer, I had a pound of bulk sausage in the spicy variety. I found some bell peppers, onions, and cream cheese from the fridge, and some penne pasta from the pantry. All of these ingredients are those that are easy to keep on hand and can be used in a variety of ways. I've made it three times in total now, each time a little bit different, but always delicious. Feel free to substitute what you have in your hand. I serve the sauce separate from the noodles to appease my picky children, but I would mix them together in a perfect world. We ended up with a very nice anniversary meal and a winner for the recipe box.

Anniversary Pasta
1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to directions
1 lb bulk sausage, regular or hot variety
1/2 large onion, sliced or chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch by 1 inch pieces
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 to 1 cup milk
Parmesan cheese for serving

Cook sausage in a skillet until browned. Add onion and peppers and cook until softened. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add milk until sauce is as thick as you like. Serve sauce with noodles and grate Parmesan cheese over the top of each serving.