Sharon Stratmann said she’ll make this Sweet Potato, Sausage and Asparagus dish at least once a week.
And after trying it, it isn’t difficult to understand why.
The sweetness of the potatoes is a contrast to the saltiness of the smoked sausage. It’s a combination that is a winner.
And it takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish to get it on the table.
“It’s easy to make it for two or three or four,” Stratmann said.
She said she got the recipe from her son, Mark, last summer and it’s not unusual for her to make it once a week.
Stratmann slices the smoked sausage thin, and she estimated she uses one-eighth of a pound.
“It’s really to taste,” she said.
It will take longer to cook if the sweet potatoes are chopped larger, she said. It also can be made with green beans.
She said she tends to follow a recipe as written. The Sweet Potato, Sausage and Asparagus dish is exactly how she got it from her son.
“I like it because it’s colorful and inviting to eat. I like things that have assorted colors and textures because it makes things more interesting to eat,” Stratmann said.
She said she may alter a recipe if she starts it and discovers she doesn’t have a needed ingredient.
She said she learned over time – she’s 71 years old — what works and what doesn’t.
While the sweet potatoes may hint toward a fall dish, Stratmann said that asparagus is a spring vegetable.
Stratmann likes to cook and prefers that over baking.
“I think I probably cook more because there is just one of me,” she said.
Her husband, Gary, died in 2016, just shy of their 45th wedding anniversary.
Stratmann gets her fresh produce at the farmers market and last summer grew vegetables in a family member’s garden east of town.
Her parents always had a big garden but once she had kids, it seemed like a lot of work, she said.
Stratmann has two sons and one daughter. There were nine girls and two boys.
She is one of 11 children; they grew up outside Perrysburg.
“The girls all learned to bake,” she said.
Stratmann recalled helping her mom can tomatoes and green beans and she continued to can a lot. She added peas, pickled relish, and red beets to her repertoire.
While Stratmann grew up making casseroles, her husband was used to meat and potato meals.
“It worked out,” she said about merging those two cooking styles.
His favorite meal was steak, corn on the cob, French fries and cherry pie.
Stratmann makes her own cherry pie with a homemade crust. She also makes cream pies and all the fruit pies.
She entered her canned goods at the fair for many years but stopped seven years ago.
Now, Stratmann competes in the cook-off competition and said she really liked the year zucchini was the focus. She found recipes for zucchini salad and zucchini pie.
She now tries to keep zucchini bread available for her grandkids, who demand it every time they visit.
Stratmann volunteers at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at St. Thomas More University Parish and participates in the quilt group at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.
She also volunteers at the senior center and with the needlework committee at the fair.
Stratmann was a bus driver for 37 years with Bowling Green City Schools.
Sweet Potato, Sausage and Asparagus
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
2-3 stalks asparagus, cut into pieces
1/8 pound smoked sausage, sliced thin
Place a small amount of olive oil in skillet. Add sweet potatoes and start cooking on medium heat.
Add asparagus and then smoked sausage. Stir and cover the pan.
Stir occassionally, cooking until sweet potatoes are just done, about 10-15 minutes.
Season with black pepper and garlic salt if you like.