Despite our dreamiest visions of weekly meal planning and prep, half the time we don’t end up thinking about what we’ll make for dinner until it’s almost time to have it on the table. Our answer? Smoked sausage. If you keep some on hand, you always have something delicious to turn into a family-friendly dinner.
Casseroles, beans and rice, pasta, soup, stew – there’s really not much you can’t make with smoked sausage. Plus, because it’s already cooked, it makes a great dinner shortcut. Just add whatever’s in your fridge or pantry – whether that’s pasta, rice, potatoes, broccoli, eggs, etc. – and dinner’s done.
From kielbasa to Italian-style to bacon and cheddar and spicy chipotle, here are 25 ways to eat smoked sausage for dinner (and other times too):
- Upgrade a hot-dog dinner with a juicy Polish sausage. Stuff it into the buns you have on hand and decorate with some spicy brown mustard.
- Make a frittata: Sauté smoked sausage for a hearty breakfast, brunch, or brinner (breakfast for dinner). Smother it in cheese and caramelized onions, sneak in some sautéed veggies, and finish with a generous tear of fresh herbs.
- Stir bite-sized hunks of kicky andouille into homemade mac-and-cheese. Comfort food at its finest –and never admit that it only took minutes.
- Save an over-scheduled weeknight with a one-pot wonder to fuel the whole crew: sauerkraut, apples, and smoked sausage come together in minutes, with minimal cleanup at the end. Serve with whole grain mustard and crusty bread (and a couple steins of cold beer for the grownups!).
- During the summer especially, pan fry fresh corn off the cob, a rainbow of bell peppers, and sausage for a delicious side or entrée. Add heat with fresh jalapeños too.
- Date night! It does happen sometimes, but we must be creative to make it work. In the absence of a babysitter, my husband will put the kiddos to bed while I whip up some stuffed mushrooms. With a bottle of wine, especially, they feel quite fancy and make for the perfect at-home date.
- For heat-seekers and cheese-fans alike, spicy, sausage-dotted jambalaya will always fit the bill.
- Craft a composed Cobb salad substituting grilled chicken sausage for the chicken breast called out in this recipe. Lined up with colorful veggies, crispy bacon, and bleu cheese, it’s a clever twist on a classic.
- Layer a killer casserole of potatoes, cheese, and smoked sausage the night or morning before you plan to serve it; pop it into the oven right before dinner.
- Halve the time it takes to home-make soup with smoked sausage. Chock full of white beans and winter veggies, this one’s flavor profile is made dramatically better with the brilliant addition of sausage.
- Plated warm or cold, a simple pasta salad packed with sausage is nothing less than picnic perfect. Enjoy it all year, especially in the summer.
- Secure the game-day win with a spread of stellar provisions. It’s downright impossible to lose with a sausage-chili-cheese-beer strategy. Dip and chips, baby, for.the.win.
- Paired with steamed veggies, crispy dogs can pass for dinner. After school, though, they are absolutely special. Use them as a holdover ‘til dinner, just enough to get through homework.
- Manhattan Clam Chowder. Omigosh, it’s so good. Smoky from sausage, briny from clams, it’s heaven in a bowl.
- Homemade cornbread and andouille sausage go together like Forrest and Jenny, peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots. Make this delicious stuffing even easier by picking up a slab of pre-made cornbread from your grocer’s bakery.
- Whether I serve them as an appetizer or a side dish to hot sandwiches, I can count on my children gobbling up every last deviled egg. With finely diced andouille and a cayenne kick, they’re downright irresistible.
- Homemade calzones are stuffed perfectly with smoked sausage, veggies, and sharp cheddar. I always offer ranch dressing and marinara sauce for kid-friendly dipping.
- In the time it takes your kids to finish their homework, you can bust out some dirty rice. Serve it as the star of dinner, or as a side dish to roasted chicken.
- The sure way to get my kids to eat peppers? Fill them with sausage, of course. This one’s a great staple to have in your weeknight repertoire.
- Set and forget a smoked sausage chili for the slow-cooker. Put it together Monday morning and enjoy it throughout the week – in a bowl with sour cream and onions one night, on top of hot dogs another night, and as the crown to Friday-night nachos as a weekend kickoff. #WINNING
- Thread spicy smoked sausages onto a skewer, dip, and fry ‘em for homemade corn dogs. When the weather permits, then, send the kids outside for supper, an ice-pop dessert, and an end-of-day run through the sprinkler. (You are definitely the cool mom now.)
- Throw it all together – kitchen-sink style – for a dinnertime hash. Roast on a baking sheet for a crowd, or bring it altogether in a sauté pan for extra crispy bits. Top each serving with a fried egg cooked to order.
- Chock full of vegetables and smoky kielbasa, slow-cooker stew is really just a mature version of “beans’n’weens”.
- Layered on a burger bun with slaw on top, spooned over a baked potato, or served as a one-bite appetizer, sauce-smothered smoked sausage is the answer to every culinary quandary.
- Serve a pair of savory muffins with a simple tossed salad for dinner. Use the recipe here and swap in smoked sausage for the Canadian bacon called for; finish with a generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Make extras to freeze and microwave for an on-the-go breakfast the next morning.