Sometimes people can get into a cooking rut. You can bet that even well-known chefs get frustrated by the challenge to consistently create restaurant-yummy meals at home.
Perhaps the best way to break out of a dinner slump is by making small changes to proven meals. I did just that last night.
One of our go-to meals when our grandson comes for supper is cooked sausage, some kind of potatoes and a vegetable. Lately, I’ve been preparing the sausage in a large cast-iron frying pan, first steaming it in water and then browning it in butter. The potatoes, which are peeled and cut into cubes, are oven-roasted, with a light coating of olive oil and some favorite seasonings such as a Cajun mix, garlic powder and a dash of salt and pepper.
But I was up for something different, so I decided to fry the cubed potatoes in a little olive oil and butter, complemented with a small diced onion and roasted red pepper. In another smaller skillet, I cooked some Langdon Sausage — casing removed and cut into chunks — which Great Plains historian and self-syndicated newspaper columnist Tom Isern calls the greatest sausage in North Dakota.
Once the sausage was thoroughly cooked, I removed it with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with paper towels to soak up the excess fat. Then, I combined the meat in the larger frying pan with the potatoes, onion and peppers.
The result was a meal that would even make Emeril Lagasse drool — and had our grandson asking for the leftovers to take home.
Potato and Sausage Skillet
1 1- to 2-pound ring sausage
3 large potatoes (red or white), peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, roasted, or small jar of roasted red peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
Place olive oil and butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Place potatoes, onion and red pepper in pan and cook. While potatoes are cooking, place sausage in a smaller skillet and fry until cooked through. Remove sausage with slotted spoon to plate lined with paper towels. Once the excess oil is soaked up, add the sausage to the potato skillet and mixed thoroughly. Serve with a vegetable such as green beans.
Yield: Serves 4.