Penne with Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausages in a Creamy Jalapeńo Sauce


This past Friday, our daughter, Kylie, graduated from high school. It seems like just yesterday that she was entering kindergarten. Everyone told me this time would go by very quickly … it did indeed. Torrey Pines was a fabulous high school and she really enjoyed the four years she was a student there.

My sister, Cherie, came in for the festivities on Wednesday. We were busy from the get go. Thursday was the reunion with Kylie’s elementary school.


The kids that graduated Del Mar Heights Elementary School came back together and announced their name and their future plans to the students that are there now. You see, each and every year, Del Mar Heights has what is called Dancefest. Oh how my friends and I loved the Dancefest. You get to school early when dropping the little ones off and set up your blankets and lawn chairs to mark your spot … the place you’ll be picnicking with your child and yours and their friends. Everyone, of course, wants to sit in the front row … all the better for videoing and taking pictures of this fun event! Each grade at the Heights does a particular dance for all the parents to watch. For instance, kindergarteners do the chicken dance (so cute!) and 6th graders do the waltz to “Moon River”. I remember my friends and I saying to each other “I can’t believe it’s already time to do the waltz, these elementary school years flew by.” The seniors that come back for the reunion stand together before the Waltz is to be performed and talk about their future plans. It was wonderful to see the kids at this age, all grown up and ready to venture out into the world.


When it was Kylie’s turn to talk, she took the microphone and proudly announced “I’m Kylie Braunreiter and I’ll be attending Cal State University San Marcos.” and proceeded to talk about what she wants to do with her future. All these kids have wonderful futures waiting for them. One of the young men that Kylie went to elementary school with is heading to UCLA to play football! The kids that came back to Del Mar Heights have gone to one of a few high schools in the area (Torrey Pines High School, Canyon Crest Academy, Cathedral Catholic High School, San Dieguito Academy, and the Grauer School). Del Mar Heights was only one of several elementary schools in our area that feeds into the high schools. There were over 700 graduates just from Torrey Pines.


All of the schools in our area are fabulous. Everything we did at Del Mar Heights was a memorable experience and we were all truly blessed by our kids having attended there and making the friends they did. A lot of the parents stuck together and are still friends. To me, this is what life is all about. Making friends and enjoying their friendship for life.

I wish each and every one of the graduates of 2017 all the best, I can’t wait to see where your individual journeys take you.

On Friday, two of Dennis’ brothers, arrived. David and his wife, Donna, flew in from Texas Friday morning and Doug and Kelly drove in from Tucson with two of their children, Angela and Andrew. Dave and Donna arrived early in the day and Donna headed to the school with me to set up our blankets at the football stadium to save our seats for the big event. It was a bit like Dancefest … get there early, get set up and head home to get ready for the big event. Doug and Kelly met up with Dave and Donna at the hotel and met us at the ceremony. Dennis, Cherie and I headed over to the school and Donna was able to lead the rest of the gang and tell them where to go since she had come with me in the morning to set up. It was such a wonderful day having our siblings with us to celebrate and join in on the fun day and weekend. I could never have accomplished this party without the help of my sister and sisters-in-law, my brothers-in-law and my niece and nephew. They were amazing! We love them all so very much and are so glad they were here for our celebration.


Dennis and I waiting for the ceremony to begin. I still can’t believe the day is behind us!


Kylie on her big day!

After the ceremony, Kylie headed to a graduation dinner party with friends. Dave, Donna, Doug, Kelly, Angela, Andrew, Cherie, Dennis and I headed out for a pizza and back to the house to do some last minute set up for the party Saturday.

Kylie’s graduation party was held on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. We had a wonderful time with my aunt and uncle, my cousins and their kids and our many friends and neighbors that were able to join us in our celebration. I actually had her party catered, but did have appetizers and snacks out. One of the appetizers I served at Kylie’s graduation party was Smoked Apple Chardonnay  Chicken Sausages. I baked these and cut each sausage into sixths and served it on a platter with dijon mustard. My friend, Elizabeth, is a fabulous cook! She is in my dinner club … her and I are the co-founders of Del Mar Dinner Club. This is an appetizer that Elizabeth puts out and is always a hit. Elizabeth made an artichoke dip for Kylie’s party that everyone absolutely raved about. It is so good!

I had lots of sausages left over and wanted to use them, so decided to use them in a pasta dish. I bought Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausages from Trader Joe’s. Feel free to use any chicken sausage that you like. I felt that the chardonnay chicken sausages would taste great with a creamy sauce that had a bit of a kick to it. Kylie’s friend, Kendra (also a graduate of Torrey Pines! Kendra sang the National Anthem at the Graduation Ceremony … she has a beautiful voice) was here for dinner last night. I decided to make enough pasta for us and then to double my recipe so she could take some home for her lovely parents, Neil and Marcina, for their dinner tonight.

I started by chopping two jalapeńos and putting them into my mini food processor. I then added three cloves of garlic, chopped and a half of a sweet yellow onion, kosher salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. I processed this mixture together until it was smooth.


Next, I made a white sauce. This consisted of butter, flour (to make a rue). After melting the butter and adding the flour, and whisking together, I added one cup of fat free milk, kosher salt and pepper. I always have fat free milk at home, but you can use whichever milk you prefer and have on hand. Once the white sauce was done, I added it to my cut up chicken sausages that I was reheating on a skillet on the stovetop. I then made my pasta, drained it and added it to the sauce and sausages. I did not add cheese, but garnished this pasta with chives.


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place chicken in a large glass dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a glass measuring cup, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, and dried sage. Whisk together and pour over the chicken. Let sit 30 minutes on the counter or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator. (If you place it in the fridge to marinate, make sure to bring the dish to room temperature before baking). Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Cover with foil and let chicken sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris



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