I spent some time a few weeks ago getting reacquainted with Meggie, an old friend whom I have known since she was a baby. She now has babies of her own, works a “more-than-full-time” job as a lawyer, and struggles to get a decent meal on the table each night.

Sound familiar?

Like so many moms, Meg blows in from work around six to a pair of little ones who are hungry for both affection and food. On good days she pulls together a balanced supper complete with vegetables, a protein and starch, but says her meals lack imagination. Bad days, when she is running behind or hasn’t made it to the market, find her exhausted with a platter of nachos in her lap. Mostly, cooking feels like a chore, not a joy, and takes a back seat to cuddling with her kids.

I pestered Meg for details about her family’s eating habits, shopping patterns, and cooking repetoire … brainstorming all the while about how she could streamline her prep time. Towards the end of our discussion, at which time I’m sure Meg just wished I’d leave her and her nachos alone, she turned to me and said, “What I need, Katie, is for cooking dinner to be a 15 minute affair.”

I get it. All of us moms, whether we are stay-at-home (who came up with that term, anyway?), work part-time, full-time, or over-time, sometimes need a 15 minute answer to dinner.

Is it doable? Yes.

This is the first in a series of family dinner posts I’m calling “The 15 Minute Meal.” The recipes won’t be ground breaking. They won’t transport you to a new country, or even a new county. But they will be tasty, honest, home cooked food that will fill your bellies, nourish your family and make you feel like a champ for pulling it all together, again.

Sausage Cabbage, and Apple SkilletTake this Sausage, Cabbage, Apple Skillet: Brown sausages and a sliced onion, toss in shredded cabbage and sliced apples, and dinner is done. This is for you Meggie, and all busy moms who sometimes need dinner to be a 15 minute affair. It’s frankly, the most family-friendly kind of affair I can think of.

Sausage Cabbage, and Apple Skillet
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Sausage, Cabbage, and Apple Skillet

The onions, cabbage and apples in this dish supply a hefty dose of nourishment: vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber. The sausage adds flavor and satiety. And even though sausage tends to be on the more decadent side, this dish still comes in at about 300 calories a serving. 

Course Dinner
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 304 kcal
Author Katie Morford

Ingredients

  • 4 pre-cooked chicken apple sausages, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head red or green cabbage
  • 2 medium tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Set your biggest skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook until they begin to brown.
  2. Drop the heat to medium, add the olive oil followed by the onion. Saute the onion and sausages for a few minutes until the onion is tender.

  3. While the onion cooks, cut the cabbage in half through the core, trim out the core and discard. Shred the cabbage like you would for coleslaw. Add it to the skillet and cook, stirring regularly.

  4. While the cabbage cooks, cut the apples off the cores in four cuts and cut into thin slices. When the cabbage is nearly tender (about 5 minutes), add the apple and sauté a few more minutes until the apple is tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  5. Serve with good, crusty bread and your favorite mustard.