30 Minute Meals Get Real – #1

As much as I love coming up with meals on my own, I also really enjoy finding inspiration from cookbooks and Food Network. Rachael Ray is one of my favorite sources for inspiration. The kids agree too, and we usually watch one episode of her show together every night. (They’ve been saying “Yummo” and “EVOO” almost as long as they’ve been talking.

I appreciate her cooking style – a little of this, a little of that – and the fact that her recipes are so versatile. We all also tend to think that they’re very good. And I appreciate the fact that I can create a new and delicious meal for my family without spending all day in the kitchen and still sticking with my stolen moments method.

However, I have yet to find one of her recipes that actually takes me only 30 minutes to make. When you have children for sous chefs and life going on around you, I just don’t think it’s realistic to believe that you can make one of her meals, start to finish, in 30 minutes or less.

So, here is a breakdown of a 30 Minute Meal FOR REAL I’m going to be doing one of these each week and I hope you’ll follow along. And I’d love to see your real version of a 30 minute meal too!
On the menu for this dinner we have Sweet Sausages Braised in Onions with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes. (From Rachael Ray 365:No Repeats) *Recipe at the bottom of this post.
I broke from routine a little bit for the sake of experimentation. We generally eat at 6:30, so I figured I’d give myself a little leeway.
Gracie is the first helper on the scene. She takes my potatoes to the counter for me and only drops 3 in the process.
Then Olivia decides she wants in on the action too, so I stop cutting potatoes to put her on the counter. (That’s where she spends most of her time when I’m cooking.)

11 minutes in and I’m just putting the potatoes in the pot and the sausages in the skillet.

Olivia had to get down to go potty, so Alex decided he wanted to take over her spot.
Back to chopping garlic. (Yes, that is a “garbage bowl” in the background, and yes, those are Rachael Ray pans on my stove. I’m usually not this much of a follower, I promise!)
The sausages are out, the onions and garlic are in. I had to put the onions in before the garlic so that I could stop to put Alex on the counter. 5 minutes until the 30 minute mark. It’s not looking good!Why do I hear Gracie spitting in the next room? MUST go check on her! Ahhh…she’s finally decided she doesn’t like the taste of crayon. That’s a step in the right direction for her, but not very helpful for my dinner.
One minute past the goal. Sausages are braising and potatoes are still simmering.
Oh, excuse her. Isabelle’s Nintendo needs to be plugged in, and that obviously takes precedence over the counter clean-up I was trying to finish.
When you’re not old enough to sit on the counter, having mama hold you is the next best thing.
It’s finally time to mash the potatoes, 47 minutes in.
Dishing food onto plates. The clock says 6:49.
Just over one hour after starting, dinner is served. (I’ll be honest and shave 5 minutes off of that time to account for picture taking.) It definitely didn’t take only 30 minutes, but it sure was delicious!

Sweet Sausages Braised in Onions with Horseradish Smashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. small red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) (once around the pan)
  • 8 links (about 2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (I used 1 1/2 t. dried thyme)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar (eyeball it)
  • 2 c. chicken stock or 1 1/4 oz. can chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 – 1/3 c. sour cream 1 rounded tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. milk, depending on how you like your mashers
  • 1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (I skipped this.)

1. For the smashed potatoes, place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Salt the water and potatoes. Take off the lid and boil the potatoes until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, start the sausages. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the sausage links and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove the sausages from the skillet and reserve.

3. To the skillet, add the onions, thyme, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, and honey. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then add the browned sausages back to the pan and braise the sausages until they are cooked through and the sauce has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. While the sausages are braising, drain the potatoes and return them in the hot pot to the warm stovetop to dry them out. Add the butter, sour cream, horseradish, and milk to the potatoes and smash to the desired consistency. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the horseradish smashed potatoes among 4 serving dishes. Add the chopped parsley to the sausages, then top each serving of potatoes with 2 sausages and some of the braising liquid.

Stop by Rocks In My Dryer for more Works For Me Wednesday.