Family Meals Month: Italian Sausage and Polenta with Vegetables

Hy-Vee Dietitian Andrea Miller discusses ways to get into good habits for remainder of the year.
Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 10:28 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - September is National Family Meals Month. Hy-Vee dietitian Andrea Miller says that teaching your kids to eat healthy starts with changing the conversation surrounding it.

One of the most effective ways to help your kids eat better is to leave out the word ‘healthy’, Miller explained.

“You don’t have to call it out as much as we think that we may need to,” said Miller. “Planning meals as a family, cooking together and preparation as a family, and eating together as a family those actions within themselves are actually what help develop healthy eating habits.”

She recommends families keep it simple and comfortable when trying out a new recipe or sitting down at the table.

“Just enjoy the time together as a family,” said Miller.

Here is a sheet-pan recipe to try out this month!

Italian Sausage and Polenta with Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions

  • ¼ cup cooking oil, like: grapeseed, avocado or canola oil
  • Pint container of grape tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into ¼-inch strips or chunks
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt, less or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, less or more to taste
  • 6 Italian sausage links, pork or turkey
  • 1 tube cooked polenta, plain or seasoned, cut in half lengthwise
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh minced Italian parsley or basil

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees and adjust oven rack to upper-middle position. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil.

2. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to a large bowl. Add the herb and salt and pepper. Add the prepared tomatoes, onion and peppers to the bowl and toss to coat. Spread this mixture over one half of the prepared sheet pan.

3. To the other half of the sheet pan, place the sausage links nestled in next to each other. Add the two halves of polenta, cut-side down on the sheet pan.

4. Bake for 25 minutes, flip sausages half-way through roasting.

5. Flip polenta and sprinkle each halve with about 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Return sheet pan to oven for about 5 minutes to melt cheese. If you prefer crispier veggies and bubbly cheese, switch the oven to broil, return sheet pan to oven and broil 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

6. Remove pan from oven. Cut polenta into 1-inch thick pieces. Sprinkle fresh herb over veggies if using.

Recipe source: America’s Test Kitchen, one-pot dinners

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