Making dinner for teenage boys can be incredibly gratifying when you cook the perfect thing. I have three sons and their appetites often defy the scope of the imagination – especially on a school night after a sports practice. They walk into the house, a giant backpack hitched to one side and the first thing they say is “I’m starved. What’s for dinner?” This dish of sausages, onions, potatoes, peppers is always a huge hit. (“No tofu tonight. Phew!”)
We’re fully back into the swing of the school year. Last night was back-to-school night. We met our son’s teachers and got a sense of what’s in store. I think it’s going to be a great year, but intense. Our youngest son is a senior with lots of challenging classes plus college applications. And he’ll be in the high school marathon club again this year, which means his appetite will be turbo-charged even beyond that of a typical ravenous teenage boy. Gotta gear up with some great weeknight dinner recipes that satisfy and please the whole family – even the hungriest ones.
Here are a few more of my favorite weeknight dinner recipes that are hearty and satisfying:
This could be described as a Mexican Lasagna: corn, black beans, tomatoes, canned chilies layered between corn tortillas and cheese. It’s gluten-free and vegetarian, but it’s also delicious with added sautéed ground turkey or beef, if you like. Slice and serve with salsa and sour cream or plain yogurt – sometimes I make rice on the side.
Shredded chicken (use rotisserie for a super fast version) tossed with your favorite barbecue sauce – mixed with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and shredded cheese – rolled up in flour tortillas and baked until the cheese melts. I make these by the dozen and freeze some for another night or for quick, microwavable after school snacks.
A quick satisfying Asian stir-fry with chicken, vegetables and noodles.
A mild, beautifully-spiced curry that’s quick to make and family-friendly. Delicious over fluffy white rice.
Just one note about the sausage, onions, potatoes recipe – it’s extremely flexible. I developed this version with green and yellow peppers and green beans, for the Idaho potato commission. But I will often vary the types of vegetables I use – sometimes it’s red peppers (iPhone photo below), sometimes yellow or green. I also love this dish with sautéd sliced zucchini in place of green beans.
I hope your fall is getting off to a great start!
- 2½ pounds Idaho® Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes, scrubbed, cut into bite-sized chunks.
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 precooked spicy sausages of your choice (12 ounces) cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices
- 2 bell peppers, any color, seeds and ribs removed, cut into ½ inch strips
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into ½ inch slices
- ¾ pound fresh green beans (about 4 handfuls), washed, root ends trimmed off
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or substitute fresh ground black pepper)
- 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or substitute balsamic vinegar)
- Put the potatoes into a large pot, and cover with water by 2 inches. Stir in a teaspoon of salt. Set the pot over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, lower to a gentle boil and set your timer for 10 minutes, until potatoes are cooked but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages and cook, flipping occasionally, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. (don't wash the skillet - you'll use it for the peppers and onions)
- Put an additional tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and browned in spots, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat but keep on the stove. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Drop the green beans in to blanch them. Once the water returns to boil, set the timer for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge beans into cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
- Add the sausages, green beans and potatoes to the skillet with the onions and peppers. Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil and pomegranate molasses (or balsamic) on top. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Toss everything gently to combine, over a medium flame, until heated through. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Divide among 5 bowls or plates. Enjoy!