Get out a lot of pans. Frying pans and saucepans.
Start with the sausage. Let’s say it’s Tuesday afternoon and you think you might whip up some spaghetti with sausage meatballs. It’s fast, and everybody likes it. And you know you have sausage in the freezer.
Pull out some sausage to defrost in the micro. Notice that your husband has picked up a pound of fresh andouille sausage links from the Giant. It was on sale. You are not sure your kid will eat this kind of sausage, but you assume you'll be able to hide it in the tomato sauce. Thaw it and rip it into small chunks, which you then roll into small balls and set to cook in you big cast iron skillet.
Being afraid to burn it, throw some water into the skillet when you’re heating the pasta water. Having put those fears to rest, feel free to go play with your kid. It’s not like you’re leaving the area or anything. You can see it from where you are. It’ll be fine.
When your son mentions that something smells burny, take the pan off the stove and remove the sausage balls. They’re pretty much done, and mostly intact. There’s a pretty bad layer of burned scum sticking to the pan. Please don’t forget to let that pan cool before you soak it.
Grab another frying pan. Chop an onion and a red pepper (or whatever else you find in the fridge) and cook that over high heat for a few minutes in olive oil. You don't need to get all the way to carmelized - just let it get a little brown and sticky, then throw some water (it’s boiled by now) on the veg and turn down the heat, and let that cook. Refresh the water every once in a while so the pan doesn’t burn dry.
The water will turn brown but it will, unfortunately, still taste like water. Stir in some Heinz Chili Sauce – not even a quarter cup. If you have a ripe tomato, squish it with your hands and add it to the pan. Add the sausage balls. Cover and simmer slowly.
This would be good with rice. Make some brown rice.
When the rice is done, stir a few big handfuls of greens – I had spinach – into the simmering pan of sauce and sausage. It’ll practically disappear in a few minutes.
Serve the creole over rice to your husband, knowing that your kid would never in a million years eat it. Realize you have no spaghetti sauce for the kid. Which is okay because you forgot to boil the spaghettti.
Offer him a hot dog. He asks to taste the red stuff you’re eating. He loves it! He eats his own portion and some of yours. He snipes sausage – the sausage that you were sure was too spicy for him– off everyone’s plate.
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