Monday, August 6, 2012

Comfort Central: Tiny Sausage Casseroles

I have never been a fan of mushrooms themselves, but if you put mushroom sauce or cream of mushroom soup in something, I'm immediately interested.  The rich flavor of it has always been really comforting to me, which likely leads back to this dish that my mom always made when I was a kid.

I love using ramekins for tiny casseroles, especially when the recipe makes four. That way we have portion-controlled entrees for two nights. I tried this recipe first using lightly buttered (frozen & thawed) hash browns on the bottom of each dish, but it just didn't fit with the rest of the ingredients.  Since the wild rice always worked so well in my mom's casserole, I went back to that for the base of this one. Mr. FvF and I both agreed it was the perfect amendment to an already great recipe.  Here's what you'll need...

1/2 lb sage sausage, crumbled and browned
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup frozen peas & carrots, thawed
1/4 C cream or milk
1 pkg long grain & wild rice, OR 1 1/2 cups frozen hash browns, thawed
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 C panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp butter, melted

I love a good short cut, and the Uncle Ben's microwavable long grain & wild rice is just as good as the stuff you have to cook yourself.  90 seconds and it's done.  Either way, line your ramekins with about 1/4 cup of the rice and press it down in the bottom and slightly up the sides with a spatula or spoon.
Once your sausage is cooked, crumbled and drained, mix it with the soup, milk and veggies.  Peas and carrots work really well, but I also threw in some fresh spinach.  And of course, if I were cooking these for myself, I'd throw in some sauteed onion as well.

Divvy this mixture up over the rice, then mix together your melted butter and bread crumbs and divvy that up over all four dishes as well.  Bake for 20 minutes or so at 350.


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