I like to be prepared. I’m like a frickin’ boy scout. If I’ve got food in the freezer, I feel… safe. If it’s good food, even better. This fall has been incredibly busy, but thanks to my awesome organization, the freezer has had lots of spaghetti sauce, soups and other treats to keep us going on the days that we can’t seem to find the time to cook.
This weekend we had to turn the heat on. The house has been chilly in the morning and at night, and my thoughts have turned to… casseroles. You thought I was going to be all romantic like, didn’t you? You thought I was going to say scarves or woolen mittens. But no. I’m thinking cheese. And pasta. And casseroles that can be frozen so I don’t have to cook when my fingers are cold.
This recipe makes two casseroles. You could eat one tonight and freeze the other! Or eat both tonight. By yourself. To freeze, prepare this dish up until you have to bake the casserole. Do not bake. Let the casserole cool completely, cover with foil and then cover tightly with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Tape on cooking instructions (provided on page two of the recipe download) or write your own instructions out with your crappy handwriting. Put casserole in freezer. Or quickly unwrap casserole and eat it. (By yourself.)
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Movita’s Yummy Sausage Bake – based on about 4 million similar recipes and modified to Movita’s taste – download
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup of red wine
- 1 can of whole tomatoes
- ½ tsp of oregano
- ½ cup of cream
- 1 lb rigatoni or other pasta
- 5-6 cups baby spinach
- 5-6 cooked sausages, chopped into bit sized pieces (movita uses apple sausages)
- 1 cup of cubed or shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese (for topping, if desired)
- salt and pepper for seasoning
Fill a dutch oven with water and bring to a boil for the pasta. As your water is heating, saute the onion in a large skillet (with olive oil) for about four minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add red wine and allow to cook for about two minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and oregano, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes. Break up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon as they cook. Add cream and cook until warmed through. Reduce heat to low. Whilst the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta until al dente. Add the spinach to the pot with the noodles in the last minute or two of cooking time and cook until wilted. Drain the spinach and noodles, then return them to the dutch oven. Add the tomato sauce, cubed mozzarella cheese and the chopped sausages. Divide the mixture evenly between two casserole dishes (or make one huge casserole). Top with grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and bake at 375º for about 30 minutes.
Instructions for cooking from frozen:
Do not thaw before baking. Remove plastic wrap, leave foil wrap on. Bake at 375º for 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours. Remove from oven. Remove foil. Top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Do not replace foil. Return to oven for 20 to 30 minutes (until edges are browned).