Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sausage and Grits Casserole

If there is one meal I could eat all day every day, it's breakfast. I love everything about it. Well, I should clarify: savory breakfast. I don't like anything sweet first thing in the morning. The most I can handle is my coffee, which is hardly sweet at all. Anyway, whenever we have occasions to provide breakfast for gatherings, I usually volunteer to make something savory. This casserole is perfect for just such a need. It can be made ahead of time and baked before serving, and (especially if you keep cooked sausage in your freezer) it comes together in a snap! You can certainly cook the grits in only water, but in my experience every little layer of flavor helps when you're cooking.

This is also a fairly simple recipe that can be customized. Diced green and red peppers, chopped spinach, mushrooms - there are plenty of ways to add variety.

Sausage and Grits Casserole

1 cups grits
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground breakfast sausage
2 green onions, chopped
4 eggs
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, bring the milk, stock, butter and seasonings to a boil, whisk in grits and turn heat down to low. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the grits are thick. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, cook breakfast sausage in a skillet until browned through, breaking it up as it cooks. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper. Temper the eggs by whisking in about 1/4 cup of the grits, then pour the mixture into the grits and stir well. Add in the sausage, green onions and 1-1/2 cups of cheese. Pour that mixture into a greased 9 x 13 dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Store in the refrigerator until ready to bake, or bake immediately at 350° for 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Unstuffed Pepper Casserole

My kids could eat spaghetti every night of the week. Except that one kid who is starting to get tired of it. At any rate, I make a lot of marinara and I like to have different ways to use it rather than just the traditional pasta route. This recipe is a great alternative. It offers a big veggie punch along with the flavors that it seems like everyone loves! This is also my go-to casserole for giving to others because it can be adapted to fit dietary restrictions like gluten-free, dairy-free, whatever. It freezes well so I sometimes give it unbaked. That way if the family has received a lot of food they can freeze it for another time.

Unstuffed Pepper Casserole

1-1/2 cups brown rice, prepared according to package directions

1 zucchini, trimmed and shredded
1 carrot, trimmed and shredded
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 jar marinara sauce (about 1 quart)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large skillet, saute the turkey until brown, breaking it up as it cooks; season with salt and pepper. Remove to a separate dish. In the same skillet, saute the zucchini, carrot, onion and green pepper. Add the turkey back in, along with the rice, marinara, cheddar and eggs. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, seasonings and olive oil. Sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes, until heated through and bread crumbs begin to brown.