With so much to do, it’s tempting to eliminate cooking from the day’s priority list and succumb to another round of pizza, fast food or deli takeout. But deep down, most of us secretly believe there’s nothing more nourishing than a home-cooked meal. And certainly nothing says “home” like the tantalizing smells that drift from a kitchen when something delicious is cooking. These mouth-watering aromas whet the appetite and become treasured memories that can last a lifetime.
If you’d like to cook more often but think you’re too busy, try the four wholesome, family-pleasing recipes on this page. They take no more than 30 minutes from start to finish and banish the myth that satisfying, home-cooked meals are beyond the reach of today’s time-pressed families. These meals start with precooked smoked sausage and instant specialty potatoes to jump-start your dinner. Smoked sausage is easy to have on hand in the refrigerator, while instant potatoes, such as mashed, au gratin or scalloped, keep well in your cupboard. Convenient to use and easy to store, sausage and potato products also offer flexibility. If something unexpected happens to prevent you from cooking tonight, these ingredients will keep for later in the week with no worries about spoilage or waste. These recipes liberate—so you stay in control, ensuring dinnertime in your time.
Here are more dinnertime strategies that will save you time in the kitchen.
Western BBQ Sausage and Potatoes
1 package (1 pound) Hillshire Farm smoked sausage, sliced
Spray 10-inch skillet with cooking spray. Cook and stir sausage, bell peppers and onion in skillet about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, make potatoes as directed on box for 1 pouch. Stir in parsley and corn. Let stand. Stir barbecue sauce into sausage mixture. Heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Serve with potatoes. 4 servings. Tip: Substitute 1 bag (1 pound) frozen stir-fry vegetables (green, red and yellow bell peppers and onions), thawed, for the bell peppers and onion.
Bow-Tie Pasta With Smoked Sausage
12 ounces uncooked bow-tie pasta
Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. While pasta is cooking, in 10-inch skillet, cook sausage 5 to 6 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Add cooked pasta, Alfredo sauce and Italian seasoning to sausage. Heat over medium heat until hot. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 servings. Tip: For a spicier version, try substituting Cajun seasoning for the Italian seasoning.
Potato-Stuffed Sausage Boats
1 package (1 pound) Hillshire Farm smoked sausage
Heat oven to 350°F. Cut sausage into 4 pieces; slice each piece lengthwise almost through to bottom, and spread open. Place cut sides up in 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Make potatoes as directed on box for 1 pouch. Stir in onions and mustard. Spread potato mixture evenly over sausage. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle cheese over potatoes; bake about 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Makes 4 servings.
1 box (4.9 ounces) Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes
In Dutch oven, heat potatoes, sauce mix and remaining ingredients except cheese to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up broccoli with fork. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender. Stir in cheese. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until cheese is melted. Makes 8 servings Tip: Top off bowls of steaming chowder with popped popcorn or fish-shaped crackers.