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Dinnertime in Your Time

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Western BBQ Sausage and Potatoes
Bow-Tie Pasta With Smoked Sausage
Potato-Stuffed Sausage Boats
Broccoli Chowder

(Family Features) - Busy, busy, busy! 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 mouthwatering 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.

Quick and Easy

Here are more dinnertime strategies that will save you time in the kitchen.

  • Stock your refrigerator and cupboard with ingredients that are fully or partially prepared so you're ready to get cooking in an instant. In addition to smoked sausage and specialty potato products, frozen vegetables, packaged salad greens and bottled salad dressings are helpful to have on hand.

  • For greater convenience and flavor, use smoked sausage instead of beef or chicken in stir-fries, pasta sauces, soups and stews, and on pizzas.

  • Think outside the box. You can have soup for dinner, sandwiches for dinner, even breakfast for dinner for a change of pace - and taste.

  • If it's leftovers night, make it a treat by whipping up some instant flavored mashed potatoes to accompany that last bit of roast beef or chicken. Today's instant mashed potatoes taste like fresh and are the ultimate convenience food. Keep a variety of flavors on hand, such as roasted garlic or sour cream and chives.

  • Keep a few extra packages of smoked sausage in your freezer, where they'll keep well for two or three months. When you haven't had time to plan the meat for dinner, micro- thaw the sausage, then heat and eat. Keep a jar of good- quality mustard on hand as an accompaniment.

  • Add your own simple signature touches to instant mashed potatoes. Mix in some chopped fresh herbs and top with shredded cheese.

  • Start a collection of 30-minute recipes gathered from newspapers, magazines and Web sites. Try a new one occasionally to add to your cooking rotation for mealtime variety.

  • For more fabulous mealtime ideas for busy family cooks, visit www.bettycrocker.com and www.hillshirefarm.com.

Western BBQ Sausage and Potatoes

Ingredients
  • 1 package (1 pound) Hillshire Farm smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 medium green and yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker homestyle creamy butter mashed potatoes (from 7.2-ounce box)
  • Hot water, milk and margarine as called for in mashed potatoes package directions
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes or chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Preparation
    1. 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.
    2. Meanwhile, make potatoes as directed on box for 1 pouch. Stir in parsley and corn. Let stand.
    3. Stir barbecue sauce into sausage mixture. Heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Serve with potatoes.

Preparation Time
15 minutes

Start to Finish Time
30 minutes

Serves
4 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
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

Ingredients
  • 12 ounces uncooked bow-tie pasta
  • 1 package (1 pound) Hillshire Farm smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preparation
    1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
    2. While pasta is cooking, in 10-inch skillet, cook sausage 5 to 6 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
    3. Add cooked pasta, Alfredo sauce and Italian seasoning to sausage. Heat over medium heat until hot. Sprinkle with parsley.

Preparation Time
15 minutes

Start to Finish Time
25 minutes

Serves
6 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Tip: For a spicier version, try substituting Cajun seasoning for the Italian seasoning.

Potato-Stuffed Sausage Boats

Ingredients
  • 1 package (1 pound) Hillshire Farm smoked sausage
  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker butter & herb mashed potatoes (from 7.2-ounce box)
  • Hot water, milk and margarine as called for in mashed potatoes package directions
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

Preparation
    1. 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.
    2. Make potatoes as directed on box for 1 pouch. Stir in onions and mustard. Spread potato mixture evenly over sausage.
    3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle cheese over potatoes; bake about 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Preparation Time
12 minutes

Start to Finish Time
30 minutes

Serves
4 servings

Broccoli Chowder

Ingredients
  • 1 box (4.9 ounces) Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup canned or frozen (thawed) whole kernel corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 1 package (9 ounces) frozen cut broccoli
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (6 ounces)

Preparation
    1. 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.
    2. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.
    3. Stir in cheese. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until cheese is melted.

Preparation Time
5 minutes

Start to Finish Time
30 minutes

Serves
8 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Tip: Top off bowls of steaming chowder with popped popcorn or fish-shaped crackers.

SOURCE: Betty Crocker Potato Side Dishes
Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage



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