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Friday Supper: The Great Grape Escape

Do you do the weekday countdown to Friday? So many people do. They look forward to escaping work, school, household chores, and the mundane snippets of their lives for weekend excitement--whatever that may be--or at least to quieting their alarm clocks and allowing Saturday morning languor. For many people, the weekends seem to start with Friday night pizza in front of the television. Maybe that's okay once in a while, but wouldn't it be better to opt for a meal that's simple, easy, economical, and that will fuel your body for whatever good things (or the mandatory but not so fun stuff) you have planned for the weekend? What about a meal that's just as fast as pizza and that's easy to share with others? Think date night at home. So what is this wonderful meal? Italian Turkey Sausages With Grapes.

The recipe sounds weird, but it makes a great main dish and is a good option when you're short on time or just don't feel like cooking. The dish requires relatively few ingredients, cooks quickly on the stove top, and is tasty and hearty when served over a bed of grits or polenta. I use sweet Italian turkey sausages, but, if you like the spicy version, go ahead. You also could use chicken sausages. Similarly, I use red grapes and red wine to make the dish, but, if you like white grapes and wine, go for them. They'll work. No wine? Substitute chicken broth or water. As you've probably figured out, this is an adaptable dish--just the sort of thing you need on a busy day when you don't want to hunt up a lot of ingredients. The main thing to keep in mind is to avoid overcooking the sausages. Poultry sausage is leaner than pork, and it will dry out and become hard if cooked too long. That said, the turkey sausages will be far less leaden in your stomach than pork sausages, and the turkey version goes nicely with the sweet grapes. If you want to serve the dish to company, go for it. Sprinkle on some minced parsley and a bit of shaved Parmesan cheese, and you'll have a trendy, "rustic" Italian-style, main dish. A salad and/or green vegetable and a loaf of Italian bread would be nice accompaniments, and dessert could be as low fuss as bowls of ice cream (think Italian gelato!). Doesn't this sound much better than cardboard pizza?

Italian Turkey Sausages With Grapes

Italian Turkey Sausages With Grapes -- Serves 4

1 teaspoon of olive oil 16-20 ounces of Italian turkey sausages (6-8 sausages) 2-3 cups of red seedless grapes, stems removed (about 16 ounces) 2-3 tablespoons of red wine 1/2 cup of water 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 2-3 tablespoons of chopped parsley (optional) 2-3 tablespoons of shave Parmesan cheese (optional) Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausages. Brown the sausages on all sides for about 5 minutes and then remove them to a plate. Add the grapes to the skillet and let them brown and cook for about 5 minutes. Mash some of them with a spatula to extract a little juice. Add the water and red wine to the skillet and stir the mixture for a few minutes. Add the sausages back to the skillet, cover the skillet, and turn down the heat to a simmer. Let the sausages cook for a few minutes more until they are just cooked through (165 degrees). Turn off the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Serve the sausages and grapes over grits or polenta to catch the juices. If you are feeling the need to be fancy, sprinkle each serving with some chopped parsley and a bit of shaved Parmesan cheese. Mangia!

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