That’s-a Spicy Casserole-a!

Sometimes I think I was born during the wrong decade.

Don’t get me wrong, I rocked my giant 80’s hair with my DayGlo shorts and wayfarers.


You know you had them, too.

But sometimes when I hear Golden Ager’s talking about “the good old days” that were “a simpler time”, I often find myself nodding in agreement.

Case in point, I love to swing dance.

It’s not all that popular at da clubs these days, unfortunately.

The other throw back that I can’t get enough of?  Casseroles.

Other than tuna casserole (it still kinda freaks me out) I’ve taken a crack at as many casseroles that I can think up.

But even though I like to wax nostalgic about retro cuisine, I love updating the classics.

Owing to the fact that my fridge is still pretty empty (still haven’t made a trip to Trader Joe’s…I’m starting to experience withdrawal DT’s) a throw-together casserole seemed like a perfect solution for dinner.

I don’t usually go with the classic Italian dishes, but I found myself with some roasted garlic chicken sausages, frozen bell peppers and an onion.  The choice of cuisine seemed obvious.  Hmm, what to do?

Spicy Sausage+Pepper Casserole
serves 4…although, don’t leave me alone around it or I’ll eat it all

3 chicken sausage links
1 medium onion, diced
1 small bell pepper (or 3/4 cup frozen) bell pepper, cut into strips
4 servings penne (or other short) pasta
1 T butter
1 T flour
~1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes+green chilis (I used Rotel)
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil
2/3 c shredded mozzarella
1/4 c panko bread crumbs
1 t olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°.  Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Once it begins to ripple, add onions with a sprinkle of salt.  Saute until translucent.  Add bell peppers.  I used frozen strips, but feel free to use fresh or frozen in any color.

Once the veggies are soft, slice sausage on a bias and add to skillet.  Then dump in a can of Rotel.  I majorly love Rotel and I’m not even a fan of diced tomatoes in things.  It’s spicy and amazing.

Season with oregano and basil.  Once pasta is cooked, drain.  While this is going, add butter to a skillet over medium-low heat to melt.  Sprinkle in flour and whisk together to create a roux.  Once the flour has cooked a bit, slowly whisk in chicken broth until it comes to a gravy-like consistency.

Turn off heat and add mozzarella.  Stir to melt the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Combine drained pasta, veggies/sausage and cheese sauce in a greased 9″x9″ casserole dish.  Sprinkle with panko and bake for about 20 minutes until bubbling.  Turn on broiler and watch carefully- you just want the top slightly browned.

This is not a retro casserole.  This tastes like what would happen if an Italian sausage+pepper+onion sandwich met mac ‘n cheese met some Tex-Mex queso, fell in love, formed an unconventional marriage and had a baby.

Too much?

Casseroles, you have my heart.

If that’s not a meal for the generations, I don’t know what is.

24 thoughts on “That’s-a Spicy Casserole-a!

  1. Casseroles are my ultimate comfort food. Green bean, breakfast, potato… bring it!

    And I have shades like that from my Rod Tuffcurls halloween costume. I plan to rock them poolside this summer. Or just the whole summer in general. Aren’t you glad you’re friends with me? ha

    • I almost burned this one, actually! One of the chicken sausages that was on the top of the casserole got pretty toasty.

  2. Casseroles are amazing. It makes a lot of food, it reheats well, and you get to dump cheese on top.

  3. I loooove casseroles. They’re one thing I can usually make without disaster.
    Have you done a post about your artichoke cooking method?

  4. That seriously looks and sounds so good. I love hodgepodge meals- cleaning out the fridge style, for sure. But yum! I bet the addition of the chicken sausage just made this one… oh and wine. Duh.

    • I do! They worked really well in this casserole. I probably wouldn’t use them in a salad (or in place of raw peppers in general) but they cook up really well!

  5. “This tastes like what would happen if an Italian sausage+pepper+onion sandwich met mac ‘n cheese met some Tex-Mex queso, fell in love, formed an unconventional marriage and had a baby.”

    I think we’re sisters. I also think this casserole would make my heart melt. I love you and I love your thinking, lady 🙂

    ps: Those shades are bangin’

  6. That casserole looks delish! When you have randoms laying around they either go into a crockpot or a casserole – and they usually turn out awesome!! I ❤ me some italian food — I usually make a tortellini casserole – so goood!

    P.S found your blog from RAN and just wanted to say hello – like the blog! 🙂

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