Sunday, April 22, 2012

~Italian Sunday Casserole~

I am not too keen on casseroles normally (because they tend to be unhealthy), but this casserole is delicious AND very healthy!  I also don't usually like Italian sausages (I know, I'm a disgrace to my race), but I actually really enjoyed them in this dish!  This casserole is very easy to make, and can be made in advance.  I put it together Sunday morning so I could simply relax after church (who doesn't like that idea?).
There is something wonderfully rewarding to me when I find healthy recipes that actually taste good--no, not the recipes you have to eat and "pretend" they are good because they're healthy.  The recipes I've made lately really are delicious, which is so exciting!  This meal is the best because once your casserole is done, so is your entire dinner.  Your meat, starch and veggies are all being cooked at the same, convenient time.  Yay for time-savers!

Serves 4-6

You'll Need:

4-6 sausages, beef or pork
1 lb. potatoes
1/2 pound carrots (I eyeballed this)
1/2 red or green bell pepper
1 very large onion, or 2 small ones
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. oil
black pepper, sea salt to taste
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning*
1/2 c. chicken broth
4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 fennel bulb**

*I didn't have this, and the dish tasted great without it.
**I hate fennel, but the original recipe called for it.  If you like it, go for it.

Get Busy:

Peel the potatoes and cut into fourths.  Cut onions into thicker wedges.  If including the fennel bulb, remove the base and stalks, and cut into wedges as well.  Slice the bell pepper into strips.  Place everything in a 9x13 pan.  In a big bowl, combine oil, seasoning, minced garlic and chicken broth.  Pour mixture over the veggies and toss them around a bit.  Season the veggies with a generous amount of sea salt (or regular) and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake at 450 for 45 minutes.  This gives you plenty of time to brown the sausages in a pan.  Once lightly browned, cut the sausages in half.
After 45 minutes, the veggies should be fork tender.  If they are, add the sausages to the roasting pan and pour the balsamic vinegar all over.  Place the pan back into the oven, uncovered for another 25-30 minutes.  If you want, after 15 minutes, open the oven, grab a deep spoon and scoop up some of the juices at the bottom and pour over the veggies.  Enjoy!  This is so hearty and good.

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