Sometimes, simple recipes are the best. They are tasty, easy to prepare, and easy to eat. “Plain food” was what my mother always called it. She would always say that her recipes were “nothing fancy.” It was those un-fancy recipes that she would often rotate through when she was cooking for us. One of the things that was in frequent rotation on our menu was fried potatoes and onions. My father loved to eat these with a dollop of mayonnaise, while I preferred mine with a pile of ketchup. My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so our meals were usually plain and simple foods. Potatoes are generally an inexpensive food and cooking with them can help to stretch your grocery dollars. My mom would serve fried potatoes and onions alongside a small piece of meat or with beans. I don’t remember having them for breakfast. The potato dish was always a lunch or dinner item.
Recently, we had a freezer malfunction. It wasn’t the neatly organized freezer over my fridge. The big free-standing freezer in the garage went on strike, and we had to hurry to find storage for all of our slowly melting frozen food. Some of it was shoved into my fridge top freezer. More of it was shoved into the available freezer space of friends and family. Once our freezer problems were resolved, I was concerned about how the shelf life of my frozen foods might have been affected since they were moved across town during the heat of summer. I made a list of everything that was in the freezer and vowed to eat our way through it in the next month. The ice cream was dispatched quickly when I said I wanted it gone in a month. The meats and veggies lingered. I actually created a menu plan based solely upon our freezer contents. Each meal uses at least one meat and one veggie from the freezer.
As I write this, we have eaten the ice cream, and there are no longer frozen vegetables or frozen juice concentrates in the freezer. All that remains are meats. I have pre-marinated some of the meats for the grill and have assembled some crock pot meals for the freezer, too. Since I am a working mom, I try to make life as easy as possible for us with regard to getting a healthy dinner on the table. Baker’s Man can usually help with some of the meals if any complicated prep work is done ahead of time. He’s an awesome guy, and I’m glad that I married him. Sweet Sue Chef will sometimes help her father in the kitchen, but she’s more likely to show up to bake cookies or brownies than to make Linguine with White Clam Sauce.
One of the items that was left in our freezer was a 1 pound package of smoked sausage. As I was staring at it, I thought of my mother’s fried potatoes and onions. I realized that the smoked sausage would go well with that. I also realized that I could make a one pan meal if I sliced up the sausage and put it into the pan with the potatoes and onions. It sounded like a perfect dinner solution, so I got to work. Even though it was supposed to be potatoes and onions, I noticed that I had some sweet mini peppers in my fridge that I needed to use up, so I cleaned out the seeds and membranes, then I sliced the peppers into thin strips. I halved a larger medium sized onion and sliced it into thin slices. I wanted as much onion as pepper, so use your own judgement here. Since we really like garlic, I also chopped two cloves of garlic.
At this point, you want to have everything ready to add to the pan so go ahead and slice up your sausage. If you want, you can quarter it or halve it before slicing or just slice rounds of sausage.Go ahead and cut up your potatoes into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes. Heat olive oil or butter in the bottom of a large skillet. Add garlic for a minute while stirring. Then add peppers and onions and saute for 3 -4 minutes. Add the sliced sausage and continue to stir, over medium heat, until the peppers and onions are beginning to get soft. Sprinkle with some black pepper to taste. Push the pile of peppers, onions, and sausage to one side of your skillet, then add half of the potatoes to the empty side of the skillet. Pile all of the sausage, peppers, and onions on top of the potatoes until the other side of the skillet is empty and then add the remaining potatoes. Carefully spoon the pepper mixture on top of all the potatoes so that they are evenly covered. Think of it as “smothering” the potatoes with the vegetables. Once the potatoes are in position, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth or reconstituted bouillon to the pan. Cover the pan. This actually steams the potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Scoop a serving of the smothered potatoes and sausage into a bowl or onto plates according to your preference. Add more salt and pepper to your taste and enjoy.
There you have it. A simple and inexpensive meal that’s filling and sure to please your family. Give it a try and let me know what you think. We love to hear from our readers. Thank you for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.
- 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced ¾th inch thick
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 2 bell peppers or 6-8 sweet mini peppers thinly sliced
- 1 medium to large onion thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 6-7 small to medium potatoes cut into ¾ to 1 inch cubes
- ½ cup chicken broth or reconstituted chicken bouillon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat oil or melt butter in a large deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high to high heat
- Add peppers, onions, and garlic to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Sprinkle with black pepper.
- Add smoked sausage to the pan and saute for 3-4 more minutes until vegetables begin to soften.
- Push sausage, pepper and onion mixture to one side of pan and add ½ of the potatoes.
- Spoon sausage, pepper and onion mixture on top of potatoes until the other half of the pan is empty.
- Add the other half of the potatoes to the empty half of the skillet.
- Spoon the sausage, pepper, and onion mixture evenly over top of all the potatoes. Think of it as "smothering" the potatoes with everything else.
- Add ½ cup chicken broth to hot pan.
- Lower heat to medium low and allow to cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Salt and pepper to taste