Weeknight dinners at our house must fit three criteria:
2. easy; and
3. likely to be eaten and enjoyed by picky young children and slightly-less-picky parents.
That’s not too much to ask, is it?
I rely on my crock pot a lot for weeknight meals during the school year. I also double the recipe every time I make a casserole so that I have extras to pull out of the freezer for dinners on particularly busy evenings. But aside from crock pot and freezer meals, I require recipes that can be prepped, cooked, and ready to eat in 30 minutes or less.
Enter one of our family favorites.
I mean, how can you beat three ingredients? Any sausage would be tasty, but my preferred variety to use for these kabobs is chicken and apple sausage. It’s not too spicy, the kids love it, and it’s nicely complemented by both the apples and the maple syrup. As a bonus, there are quite a few natural brands out there (without the added sulfites) that I don’t feel guilty feeding my children.
For the apples, I usually buy two large apples of different types. One invariably turns out softer than the other, and one is usually sweet while the other is more tart, but I think it’s nice to have a little variety. Any apple should work fine, though Braeburns, Fujis, Golden Delicious, or Granny Smiths will hold their shape better in the oven. But it’s A-OK to use your favorites or whatever you have in the fridge.
As for the skewers, I have some metal ones that I like to use, but wooden skewers also work great as long as you remember to soak them in water first so that they don’t burn or catch on fire. Nooo, catching the oven on fire would result in a dinner-making experience that is neither quick nor easy, thereby negating my aforementioned criteria.
I’ve given you measurements for the maple syrup in this recipe, but I honestly never measure it out. I just pour a thin drizzle of syrup down the top of each skewer and use a silicone basting brush to distribute it over the sausage and apples. Halfway through the cooking time when I flip the kabobs, I mop up the syrup that’s puddled on the foil with my brush to glaze everything again and add a bit of additional syrup if necessary.
There you have it! A yummy, easy dinner that will satisfy the natives while requiring minimal time and effort from the cook. My boys always cheer when they hear that these kabobs are on the dinner menu. I hope they prove to be just as popular at your house!
Adapted from Real Simple Family, Fall 2010 (magazine)
More kid-friendly dinner ideas…