30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner

This 30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner is quick weeknight dinner with very few dishes and lots of fresh veggies, making it an awesome option for busy weeknights. 

This 30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner is quick weeknight dinner with very few dishes and lots of fresh veggies, making it an awesome option for busy weeknights. 

Back to school means quick weeknight dinners are a must. A quick weeknight dinner that also includes veggies and creates very few dirty dishes? It’s a done deal!

Believe it or not, this is our first week back in school, and I’m not going to lie, I’m thrilled. Don’t get me wrong, this summer was filled with lots of fun – various camps, extended vacations for the kids to both grandparents, an anniversary getaway with my hubby… but as summer has wound down, I’ve been missing the routine that the school year brings. Yes, weeknights are busy. Weekends too. But we get into our groove and generally, things run fairly smoothly.

This 30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner is quick weeknight dinner with very few dishes and lots of fresh veggies, making it an awesome option for busy weeknights. 

This year, we have after school activities 3 days a week. One of those days isn’t so bad because Miss. Hazelnut stays after school, and we just pick her up a little later. LOVE not having to do extra drop offs or pick ups, or even having to stay for the activity. I always enjoy watching but it makes it hard to finish everything that needs to be done.

So with the start of the new school year, I’m pulling back out my slow cooker and my cookbooks, and flagging old favorites and looking for new, easy recipes (READ: quick with minimal prep) that will not only please everyone in the house, but that will make the evenings a bit easier for me. I won’t share the new recipes with you until I’ve tried them, but some old favorites include:

Don’t want to wait for more quick recipes? Check out some of the ones that have caught my eye recently, pinned to my 30-Minute (or Less) Meals Pinterest Board or my Slow Cooker Pinterest Board.

This 30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner is quick weeknight dinner with very few dishes and lots of fresh veggies, making it an awesome option for busy weeknights. 

Today’s recipe is one that I’ve been making various iterations of for a few years now – Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner. I tweak it according to what veggies I have in the house, whether someone has a preference for sweet or spicy Italian sausage, but the outcome is usually the same. Sausage + roasted cherry or grape tomatoes (because they’re my fave, when they get all sweet and bursty) + squash. As you see in these photos, I also included sweet Italian peppers (a cousin to the bell pepper) but I’ve also made it with mushrooms in the past. I don’t usually bother with seasoning the sausage and veggies, as the spicy Italian sausage tends to flavor the veggies enough, but you can easily marinate the sausage and veggies or sprinkle with your choice of seasoning. This sheet pan dinner can be served as is, for a lower-carb meal, but I really enjoy it over a bit of brown rice.

So tell me, what are some of your favorite meals for busy weeknights? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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This 30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner is quick weeknight dinner with very few dishes and lots of fresh veggies, making it an awesome option for busy weeknights. 

30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner

This 30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner is quick weeknight dinner with very few dishes and lots of fresh veggies, making it an awesome option for busy weeknights. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 346 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes destemmed and cleaned
  • 1 small yellow squash or zucchini cleaned, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 sweet Italian pepper (or bell pepper) cleaned, seeds removed, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage still in casing, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • kosher salt (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.

  2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Add chopped vegetables and sausage. Spray again with cooking spray. If using, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are softening and sausage is cooked throughout.

  4. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Serving Suggestion: Serve on top of white or brown rice. 

This 30-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner is quick weeknight dinner with very few dishes and lots of fresh veggies, making it an awesome option for busy weeknights. 

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Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables

Sweet yet spicy pulled pork, quick pickled vegetables and hearty brown rice is my new favorite summer combo – Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables. With bright flavors, you don’t even need to turn on the oven to enjoy this satisfying meal! 

Sweet yet spicy pulled pork, quick pickled vegetables and hearty brown rice is my new favorite summer combo - Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables. With bright flavors, you don't even need to turn on the oven to enjoy this satisfying meal! 

I’ve only had Banh Mi a few times, but those meals were certainly memorable. If you haven’t had it before, Banh Mi is a French-Vietnamese sandwich that’s traditionally served on a hearty, crusty bread, such as a baguette. It’s piled high with meat, pickled veggies, and cool cucumber to offset the spice.

Sweet yet spicy pulled pork, quick pickled vegetables and hearty brown rice is my new favorite summer combo - Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables. With bright flavors, you don't even need to turn on the oven to enjoy this satisfying meal! 

I tried this version from Gina’s Skinny Taste earlier this summer and instantly fell in love. The sweet and spicy pulled pork is wonderful, but for me, it’s the quick pickled vegetables I can’t get enough of. I was also all about the juxtaposition of the hot pork and cold veggies. So good!

I did tweak Gina’s recipe a bit, but not significantly. The changes I made were:

  • More meat! I doubled the meat in this recipe because I prefer having leftovers, it just wasn’t enough for my family.
  • Adding a little water to the sauce. After reading the comments, I was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough sauce left. I added 1/2 c. water which gave me a decent amount of sauce. Feel free to adjust up or down based on whether your slow cooker runs hotter or cooler, or if you’ll have the slow cooker on for longer than 6 hours.
  • Pickling more veggies! In the original recipe, only the carrots were pickled. I pickle the carrots, cabbage and jalapeno because I love the flavor.

Sweet yet spicy pulled pork, quick pickled vegetables and hearty brown rice is my new favorite summer combo - Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables. With bright flavors, you don't even need to turn on the oven to enjoy this satisfying meal! 

I’ll also put in a plug – while Gina has her recipe online, I originally found it in her cookbook, Skinny Taste Fast & Slow, which features healthy meals that either cook up super quickly, or are quickly prepped and tossed in the slow cooker. I’ve made several recipes from it and have enjoyed all of them. If you’re looking for a new cookbook to add to your Christmas list, check this one out.

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe is pretty forgiving and easy to customize to taste. My husband isn’t a fan of pickled veggies and is pretty picky with vegetables in general, so I made only enough pickled veggies for myself – and let him put cold shredded carrots on his. He also prefers a bit more rice in his dish, while I’ll usually use a bit less than what’s below in my own. You can’t go wrong.
  • I usually prep the pickled veggie the night before, draining them, and keeping them in the fridge to make serving easier the night I serve this. It’s easy to do the night of, but I make them when I’m already in the kitchen prepping something else.
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Sweet yet spicy pulled pork, quick pickled vegetables and hearty brown rice is my new favorite summer combo - Slow Cooker Pork Bahn Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables. With bright flavors, you don't even need to turn on the oven to enjoy this satisfying meal! 

Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables

Sweet yet spicy pulled pork, quick pickled vegetables and hearty brown rice is my new favorite summer combo - Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables. With bright flavors, you don't even need to turn on the oven to enjoy this satisfying meal! 

Course Drinks
Cuisine Asian-Inspired
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6
Author Liz

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Pork:

  • 1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 2 fresh jalapenos sliced
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 lbs. pork tenderloin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Ingredients for the Pickled Veggies:

  • 1 c. distilled white vinegar
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 c. shredded carrots
  • 2 c. shredded red cabbage
  • 2 jalapeno sliced

Ingredients for the Bowls

  • 4 c. cooked brown rice
  • 1 c. sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves chopped

Instructions

Make the Shredded Pork:

  1. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, jalapeno, and water to the bowl of the slow cooker. Whisk to combine. Add pork tenderloin and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  2. Cook on low for 6 hours. Transfer to a cutting board or plate to shred. Return to slow cooker and serve with sauce.

Make the Pickled Veggies:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, Stirring or shaking every so often.

  2. Drain liquid and cover, storing in the fridge until ready to serve.

Assemble Bowls and Serve:

  1. Place 2/3 cup rice in a bowl. Top with pork, sauce, pickled veggies, cold cucumber and cilantro. Serve.

Sweet yet spicy pulled pork, quick pickled vegetables and hearty brown rice is my new favorite summer combo - Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi Bowls with Pickled Vegetables. With bright flavors, you don't even need to turn on the oven to enjoy this satisfying meal! 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Farmer’s Market Week Recipes that went live today
Wednesday Farmer’s Market Week Recipes

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1-Pot Apple Sausage Meatballs #AppleWeek

Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

This post is sponsored on behalf of #AppleWeek. Our generous sponsors, Swiss Diamond, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, Nordic Ware, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Nairn’s and The Spice House have provided us with products for recipe creation and a giveaway for our readers. As always, all opinions are my own.

Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

When I was planning for #AppleWeek, I knew that I wanted to share some more savory recipes with you. Making a week’s worth of sweets – be it desserts or breakfast items – would have been easy but not quite so good for my waistline. So when Swiss Diamond Cookware announced their sponsorship, I was thrilled and immediately began plotting what to make. For those that haven’t heard of Swiss Diamond, the company was established in 2001 with a manufacturing facility in Switzerland. Swiss Diamond produces a variety of high-end cookware – from cast-iron pieces to non-stick skillets and pots to knives. I was lucky enough to receive this gorgeous 6.3 Quart Cast Iron Shallow Casserole from them and was instantly in love. Look at it:

Swiss Diamond Shallow Casserole

Can you blame me? This is the stuff I linger over at kitchen stores.

Today’s recipe was created specifically for this pan. 1-Pot Apple Sausage Meatballs. These little bites take only a few minutes to put together. First, they are sauteed in the shallow casserole pictured above and finished off in the oven for a sweet, fall appetizer. This recipe makes enough meatballs to serve 5-6 as an appetizer, depending on how large you make the meatballs. Personally? I didn’t want to wait to entertain, so I made a batch and served them with rice for lunch. And my husband didn’t complain about it. 😉

Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

Before you leave me today, do me a favor and do a couple of things.

  1. Follow Swiss Diamond Cookware on your favorite social media platform. Not only can you drool over their amazing products but you’ll get some great recipe inspiration as well. You can find Swiss Diamond on Facebook Twitter Instagram and Pinterest.
  2. Be sure to scroll down and take a look under the recipe and check out the other #AppleWeek recipes that went live today. There’s a bit of everything – sweet and savory; something for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
  3. Finally, be sure to enter the #AppleWeek giveaway at the Rafflecopter below. There are some amazing prizes, including a 10 piece pack from Swiss Diamond Cookware worth over $600!!! There are multiple ways to enter and multiple prizes (description of each prize is listed here) so be sure to throw your name in the ring!

Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

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Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

1-Pot Apple Sausage Meatballs

Italian sausage and shredded apple "meatballs" are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 5 Servings
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1/4 c. minced red onion
  • 1 Gala apple shredded (with skin on)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 Tbs. plain bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine sausage, red onion, shredded apple, garlic, bread crumbs and sage. Using your hands, mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed and mixture comes together.

  3. Add olive oil to a cast-iron casserole dish, heating over medium heat. While olive oil heats, shape sausage-apple mixture into balls, about the size of golf balls or even a bit smaller.

  4. When oil is hot, saute meatballs for 2-3 minutes, until browned. (You may need to work in batches.) Flip and saute for another few minutes. Rotate again, if needed, until meatballs are browned all over. (If working in batches, transfer browned meatballs to a plate and set aside. Continue browning remaining meatballs.)

  5. When meatballs are all browned, return to pot, placing in a single layer if possible. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

  6. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

This recipe yields 18-24 meatballs, depending on size.

If you don't have a heavy cast-iron casserole like the above (or another dish that can go from stove to oven) or if you're scaling this recipe to feed a crowd, meatballs can be baked on a baking sheet, covered with foil, for 20-25 minutes as well.

This recipe was adapted from Inside the Rustic Kitchen.

Tuesday Recipes:

1-Pot Apple Sausage Meatballs - Italian sausage and shredded apple meatballs are delightful, sweet little appetizer bites, especially wonderful for fall and winter entertaining.

Enter the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Thank you AppleWeek Sponsors: Swiss Diamond, Nordic Ware, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, The Spice House, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oats and Nairn’s  for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The AppleWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The AppleWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the AppleWeek posts or entry.

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Sweet Sausage & Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce

Sweet Italian sausage is tossed with penne pasta and tomato vodka cream sauce in a lovely comforting dish that we enjoy for both quiet evenings in as well as for entertaining.

Sweet Sausage & Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce - Sweet Italian sausage is tossed with penne pasta and tomato vodka cream sauce in a lovely comforting dish that we enjoy for both quiet evenings in as well as for entertaining.

Now I know that I promised you a lunch recipe every Wednesday this month, but time got away from me over the past two weeks. Lots of travel and house guests this month has left me feeling like I’m constantly playing catch up. So instead of a classic lunch recipe, I’m taking a post that I had prepared for back to school and decided to share it with you a bit earlier.

But don’t worry – it you’re still wanting lunch inspiration, this recipe came from one of my favorite dishes to pick up and take for lunch during crazy weeks. There’s a chain grocery store in my area that is known for it’s prepared foods. They have a huge buffet that people love for lunches and dinners, and an amazing catering menu that I’ve ordered from for parties. But when my husband goes out of town? I head to the section with prepackaged, made-in-store entrees. While maybe not the cheapest around, they’re convenient and way healthier than the stuff I’d get at work. I load up my basket with enough premade entrees for lunch and dinner while my husband is out of town – those little dishes totally make the week alone with both kids so much easier and less stressful.

Sweet Sausage & Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce - Sweet Italian sausage is tossed with penne pasta and tomato vodka cream sauce in a lovely comforting dish that we enjoy for both quiet evenings in as well as for entertaining.

One week earlier this summer, we hit on one of those crazy periods. I went looking for my favorite prepared meal – a pasta dish with sweet Italian sausage and a vodka cream sauce – but it wasn’t on the menu at the grocery store that week. I was so disappointed that I decided that it was time to recreate the dish myself. I don’t know why I waited so long. This dish turned out perfectly. It was fairly easy, came together in roughly 30 minutes (hello, weeknight dinner!), and was just as good – if not better – than the store’s version. I bumped up the amount of sausage by a little, both because we like the extra meat and because the package I purchased was a bit more. I also folded in extra mozzarella cheese to thicken the sauce a bit. All in all, it was a great meal, and I have a new dinner that I’ll be adding to my rotation. And knowing how easy it is, I’ll take the time and make this next time my hubby goes out of town, rather than buying the premade versions.

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Sweet Sausage & Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce - Sweet Italian sausage is tossed with penne pasta and tomato vodka cream sauce in a lovely comforting dish that we enjoy for both quiet evenings in as well as for entertaining.

Sweet Sausage & Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce

Sweet Italian sausage is tossed with penne pasta and tomato vodka cream sauce in a lovely comforting dish that we enjoy for both quiet evenings in as well as for entertaining.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1 1/3 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 3/4 c. vodka
  • 1 c. chicken stock
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 oz. pasta I use whole wheat penne
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil about 20 leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat, saute sausage, breaking up into small pieces. When almost completely browned, add garlic and shallots, sauteing for another few minutes until sausage is browned completely and garlic and shallots have begun to soften.
  2. Slowly, add vodka, stirring and scraping bottom of the pan to get any extra bits up. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half. Add chicken stock and crushed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper (I used a large pinch of each). Stir, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, before lowering heat to keep warm.
  3. While sauce is simmering, preheat oven to broil and cook pasta according to package. Then drain.
  4. When pasta is almost ready, increase heat to low and stir in cream and basil. Add pasta. Fold in 1 c. mozzarella. Top pasta with remaining 1/2 c. pasta and broil for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
  5. Serve immediately, with fresh garlic bread and/or a side salad.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used my Le Creuset dutch oven (<- affiliate link) to make the sauce. Because it’s a heavy pot, it cooked up very quickly with minimal sticking, but you could also use a regular pot/pan.
  • Make Ahead: Do everything up through topping the pasta with mozzarella. Transfer to a large Pyrex or other fridge/oven safe dish. Then top with remaining 1/2 c. mozzarella, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, cook in an oven at 375F, covered with foil, for 45-60 minutes. Remove foil in last 10 minutes of cooking, to melt the cheese.
  • Vodka Cream Sauce adapted from Rachel Ray.
Sweet Sausage & Penne in a Vodka Cream Sauce - Sweet Italian sausage is tossed with penne pasta and tomato vodka cream sauce in a lovely comforting dish that we enjoy for both quiet evenings in as well as for entertaining.

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