As weeknight family dinners go, this Weekday Weenie Bake ticks all the boxes: delicious, healthy, one-pot, make-ahead, kid-proof (with a side of ketchup, perhaps), and wallet-friendly. Are you reading this Kiwi? I said WALLET FRIENDLY. Cheap and cheerful. Economical.
Kiwi and I have a long-standing debate about our monthly grocery spend. For the sake of marital endurance, I will not hang out this piece of dirty laundry. Suffice it to say that I like to spend (on leeks, not on Louboutins, in my defense!), and he likes to save, or at the very least spend more modestly.
So this recipe is dedicated to Kiwi. And to everyone out there looking to trim their grocery bill.
A few factors make this recipe easy on the pocketbook. For one, it uses inexpensive winter veg—stuff like potatoes, onions, turnips and carrots. For another, it’s super flexible, allowing you to make use of whatever veggies happen to be on sale or wilting in your fridge. And finally—the weenie factor! Sausages—even really high quality ones—are tasty and cheap. I buy organic ones at a mere two bucks a pop.
And lest you think that cheap food equals boring food—not so! This is veggies slow-roasted in sausage juices people! Um, hello? So good.
If your kid is anything like the Bean, you might want to serve this with a squeeze of ketchup and call it hot dog night. Grown-ups and fancy kids will probably prefer a dollop of grainy mustard or dijon for dipping. And, while this is really a full meal on its own, I generally side it with some steamed broccoli or a green salad to up the veg quotient.
For the make-ahead option, assemble the whole dish the night before, cover with foil and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. You may need to add 10 minutes or so to the cooking time if you are baking it straight from the fridge.
- 4 to 6 of your favourite gluten-free sausages (see note)
- 8 cups winter vegetables, chopped in one inch pieces (E.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets or onions)
- Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme (see note)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put chopped vegetables into the bottom of a large casserole/baking dish. Stir in oil, thyme, salt and pepper and arrange sausages on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, flip sausages, then bake for another 30 minutes or so, until sausages are cooked through and vegetables are soft and starting to brown.
- Stir in apple cider vinegar.
- Serve with grainy or dijon mustard for dipping (ketchup for the kids!).
It's important (and if you are on a gluten-restricted diet like us, essential) to look for a sausage that contains only meat and spices---no filler. Most reputable butcher shops will sell filler-free sausages.
While I don’t normally associate fresh herbs with economy, thyme is one exception because it keeps for such a long time (months, sometimes) in the fridge.