Finding a healthy, delicious, family-friendly recipe that everyone eats without complaint is something many moms (and dads) only dream of. Today is the first installment of our new monthly feature, No Whine with Dinner. In it, we highlight success stories and a favorite kid-pleasing recipe from fellow food and parenting bloggers. Our first Q&A is with Jenna, host of Food with Kid Appeal, for her One Pot Sausage, Potatoes & Green Beans dinner. Jenna is the mom of two boys, “Big Boo,” age four and “Little Boo,” age two.
One Pot Sausage, Potatoes & Green Beans
Makes 4 to 5 Servings
- One 12 to14 ounce package chicken or turkey link sausage (I usually use Aidell’s Sun-dried tomato), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, sliced or diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced, crushed or minced
- 1 ½ pounds potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice
- One 16-ounce bag frozen whole, French style green beans, partially thawed
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place sausage in a large skillet or Dutch oven and cook until both sides are brown (the time may vary depending on whether the meat was precooked or not). Remove meat from pan and set aside. Pour off any fat. Heat oil in pan and cook onion and garlic on medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes to pan and cook over medium heat until they are tender and almost done (test with a fork; you don’t want them as tender as boiled potatoes for mashing). You may need more oil if you’re using a non-stick pan. Stir occasionally to prevent potatoes from getting too dark. When potatoes are nearly fork tender, add green beans on top, cover with a lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir and cook 5 more minutes or until potatoes and green beans are fork tender. The steam will cook the green beans. Return the sausage slices to the pan and stir them into potato mixture. Cook for a few more minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Note: I keep this recipe pretty bland since I’m feeding preschoolers, but if you’d like a little more heat, use some red pepper flakes, your choice of spice mixture, or choose a spicy sausage.
Q: Where did you get the recipe?
A: In college a friend served a sausage, potato, & onion skillet dish, and that was my inspiration. I increased the nutritional content by using lower fat, lower sodium (sometimes organic) sausage and by adding veggies.
Q: What do you like about this recipe?
A: It’s easy in the sense that all the ingredients go into one pan. I can have everything diced and sliced in a few minutes, and then be free to hang with the boys or unload the dishwasher in between stirring and adding the next ingredient. It’s a great nutrient- dense meal for a young kid since it packs good carbohydrates (potatoes) with protein (meat) and vitamins from green beans. It’s a crowd pleaser too.
Q: What do your kids think about this dish?
A: We usually eat before my husband, Martin, gets home. When he walks in the door, the boys run up to him and say, “You’re gonna be excited daddy, it’s yummy potatoes and sausage night.” One night when the kids were too busy playing to notice what I was cooking, they came to the table and my four-year old said, ”Mama, this is just the meal I wanted – sausage, potatoes and green beans. Delicious.” My two-year old picks out all his sausage bites, gobbles them up, and then says, “Look at my muscles. More sausage please.”
Q: Other than the fact that this recipe makes everyone in your family happy, do you have any other “Jenna” tips you’d like to share for taking the “whine” out of dinner?
A: Number one is to get kids involved in dinner preparation. Seeing ingredients (and sampling raw veggies) before they come together helps kids accept new foods. My kids love to munch on frozen green beans. One of them will run in the kitchen, hop on the stool, grab some and say, “Some for me, and some for brother,” and then vanish with a big grin. Next, make food relevant. If kids know they need carbohydrates for energy, protein for bigger brains and muscles, and fruits/veggies to stay well, they are more inclined to eat them. Finally, keep it fun. If you enjoy preparing food, eating food, and trying new things, etc. your kids will too. Describe what you taste in an enthusiastic way and kids will probably want to join in the taste test.
Q: Can you tell us about your blog?
A: It’s one thing to know what healthy food is, but it’s another to actually get your kids to eat it. Kid Appeal helps parents understand how to make food appealing and relevant to their children, which in turn gets food off the plate and into a tummy. Beyond kid-friendly recipes and childhood nutrition information, on my forum, parents can find a supportive environment to pose the questions that keep them up at night regarding their kids’ diets.
If you make Jenna’s recipe for your family, be sure to let us know what everyone thinks by posting a comment to our blog!