Editor’s note: Welcome to the new Dinner Tonight column, which takes the place of the Healthy Family column. Here’s why:


For the past five years, I have had the pleasure of writing the Healthy Family column. After nearly 200 articles on the ins and outs of cooking for kids, I have a reached a new fork in the road: My kids are no longer kids.

When I started, my three boys were in middle school and high school, and I had a lot to say about cooking for families, because that’s exactly what I was doing daily. Last week I had the bittersweet experience of taking my youngest to college and, like a million parents before me, I began a new phase in my life, one I’m looking forward to sharing with you. Welcome to Dinner Tonight.

I may not be cooking for kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to figure out what to cook for dinner. It simply means I won’t be writing as much about how to get your kids to eat vegetables or try new foods. Instead, I’ll continue to offer fresh ideas and recipes you can make any night of the week, with more of a focus on techniques and ingredients.

So what’s for dinner tonight? The great thing about cooking in September is that the air is still warm, but not hot, which makes grilling an even more pleasurable pastime. Many fruits and vegetables continue to be at their peak. Still, you may be tired of grilling corn (just kidding, who could ever get tired of grilled corn?), so let’s go another direction this week with a recipe for Grilled Italian Sausages With Peppers and Onions.

Grilling sausages can be tricky because it’s easy to dry them out in the process. I suggest cooking them first, together with the already grilled peppers and onions, in a disposable aluminum pan (or a makeshift one made out of heavy-duty foil), before you finish them off on the grill.

This technique works for any kind of sausage and results in an evenly cooked, moist link with a snappy bite. A splash of cider vinegar and a touch of sugar give the onions and peppers a nice sweet-and-sour flavor that also infuses the sausage. You can serve them alone or hoagie-style on a toasted bun.

On a side note, I want to thank all of you Healthy Family readers, many of whom have e-mailed me with comments and questions over the years. I hope you’ll continue to follow along with me in this new chapter of cooking. It’s not like I won’t see my boys from time to time. As long as they can get a good meal (and maybe some laundry done), I know they’ll be back.

Grilled Italian Sausages With Peppers and Onions

Serves 4.

Note: Adding a little cider vinegar and sugar to the peppers and onions gives them a slight sweet and sourness that pairs nicely with smokiness from the grill. Serve them on their own, or on toasted rolls. From Meredith Deeds.

• 1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4-in. rounds

• 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into eighths

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

• 1 tbsp. sugar

• 4 sweet or hot Italian sausages (about 12 oz. total)


Build a medium-high-heat fire on one side of the grill, leaving the other side free of coals. (Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes.)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss onions and peppers with oil and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved.

Put peppers and onions in a grill basket or directly on the grill, turning occasionally until they are softened and dark in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer pepper and onions to a 10-inch-square disposable aluminum pan. (Or construct a tray out of a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil, 10 inches square, with sides about 2 inches high.) Add the vinegar mixture and stir to combine. Place the sausages in the foil tray with the pepper mixture.

Place tray on the hot side of the grill for 2 minutes or until the meat begins to sizzle. Slide to the cooler side of grill. Cook with the grill cover closed and all vents open until sausages register 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes, turning once in the middle.

Place the sausages on the hot side of the grill and cook, turning once until they are browned on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the peppers and onions to a platter and top with the sausages. Drizzle with the juices accumulated in the tray and serve.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 295 Fat 21 g Sodium 900 mg

Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 7 g Total sugars 8 g

Protein 13 g Cholesterol 35 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, ½ carb, 1 ½ high-fat protein, 2 fat.


Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter ­at @meredithdeeds.