Monday, January 24, 2022

Sloppy Joe Biscuit Casserole


  Lately with all the sub-freezing temperatures, I've been thinking that I'd like to have some sort of casserole. Maybe something saucy on the bottom and bread on the top. I remember the chili bread casserole I did about a million years ago which had chili on the bottom and then corn bread baked right on top of it. Hmm... possibly. And then after a brief browse through the fridge and pantry, I saw that I have a can of Pillsbury biscuits and a few cans of Sloppy Joe sauce. oooooh NOW we're talking. Sloppy Joe on the bottom and biscuits on the top? Yes please! What's not to love?
 So I did a quick google search to see what similar ideas were out there. I immediately found a recipe on a blog called This Is Not Diet Food. Ok then! That'll work!
 So, the original recipe made the sauce from scratch, adding ketchup and brown sugar, etc. I opted to use my home canned Sloppy Joe sauce, since I happened to have it, but I'm sure the results are similar. You could even use your favorite store bought sauce like Manwich, and it'll be perfect. The basic recipe is still there. Tweak it however you like, and use what you have on hand. I'm sure it will still turn out great! It's definitely just the thing to have after you come in from being out in the cold!
2 lbs lean ground beef 
1 cup yellow onion, diced 
1 bell pepper, any color, diced
2 cups homemade or store bought sloppy joe sauce
1 cup French fried onion rings
2 cups shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend 
12 oz Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits
Heat oven to 375ºF. 
Place ground beef in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and peppers to the pan with the ground beef. Crumble the ground beef well as it cooks. When the ground beef is completely cooked, turn off the heat and drain the excess grease from the pan. Add sloppy joe sauce to the beef mixture. Add the French fried onions. Stir well until everything is coated in sauce. Pour the sloppy joe mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Open the package of biscuits and cut each one into 6 pieces. Place the biscuit pieces on top of the cheese, spacing them out as evenly as possible. Place the dish in the oven and bake the casserole until the biscuits are nicely browned. 22-25 minutes. Serve with a nice salad or veggie on the side and enjoy!
Sometimes I like to mix things up by doing a pound of ground beef and a pound of bulk sausage.  Want to add some heat to it? Add a diced jalapeno pepper. Want it to be a little sweeter? Add 1/4 cup each of brown sugar and ketchup. Want it to be more savory? Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Don't have ketchup? Use canned tomato sauce. Make it however you like it!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Joey's Spicy Sausage Mac and Cheese


 Many years ago, I went to my family's Pollyanna Christmas Party. As you can imagine, there was a ton of food ranging from appetizers to entrees to desserts. That's just what we do! Anyway, this one particular year, my nephew Dan, aka Daniel Boone, brought a small crock full of warm sausage dip, and it was a HUGE hit. When I asked him for the recipe, he said it was super easy, only had a couple ingredients, and that he'll text it to me. Perfect!
 A few days later, I sent him a text, reminding him to send me the recipe. His return text was simply a picture of a pound of sausage, a can of Rotel tomatoes w/ chilis, and a block of cream cheese. That was it. Just a picture. He said "here's the recipe." LOL Well, I guess you can't get any simpler than that!
 Over the years, I kind of forgot about it, and never did get around to posting it. But then recently, as I was thinking of holiday party dips to post, that recipe came to mind again and I thought, OH! That sausage dip! I need to do that! So I browsed my pantry to see if I had any of the ingredients on hand.
And then the A-HA moment happened! 
I thought, hmmm... I bet this would make a SLAMMIN' pasta sauce. As I was browsing my pantry, I noticed, instead of Rotel tomatoes w/ chilis, I had a big jar of salsa. Instead of a block of cream cheese, I had a big block of Velveeta processed cheese. And of course, I had lots of pasta choices. 
Ok, so I could do a mac and cheese, kind of like Queso when you melt cheese with salsa, but then add sausage to it... YES! Let's do this!!! OMG it turned out so good! I couldn't believe it.
 So, instead of a picture, I'll tell you the easiest way to remember this recipe. You don't even have to write it down. It's as easy as 1-2-3: 1 lb Velveeta, 2 lbs sausage, 3 cups salsa! That's all there is to it!!! Who knew that something so simple could be so delish?? It makes the perfect cheesy ooey gooey mac and cheese, and you can throw it together in less than 30 minutes for an easy week night dinner. Cool, huh? 
So if you're a fan of spicy things, sausage, and/or mac and cheese, this one's for you. 
Thanx again, Daniel Boone, for sending me that recipe! 
Maybe sometime, give MY version a try!

1 lb Velveeta cheese
2 lbs mild Italian bulk sausage (or removed from link casings)
3 cups homemade or purchased mild salsa
1 lb large elbow pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in another large heavy pot, over medium heat, cook sausage until brown, breaking up large chunks as you go. Spoon away some of the excess fat, if needed. Add salsa and chunked Velveeta cheese. Stir well until the cheese melts and the sauce becomes ooey gooey. Add cooked pasta to your cheese mixture. Toss well. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese , if desired, and serve.
Note*- I didn't add ANY other seasonings. I didn't even salt the pasta water. There is already QUITE a bit of salt and other seasonings in the other ingredients. 

The main thing about this recipe is that it's SPICY! Even if you choose mild salsa, and mild sausage, it still gets pretty spicy when it all cooks together. So just keep that in mind. If you don't want any heat at all, try using just diced tomatoes instead of salsa. The sausage will still flavor the rest of the dish. Or, if you don't like sausage, you could use ground beef. The salsa will still flavor the rest of the dish.
 On the flip side, if you want A LOT of heat, go as hot as you dare! Use Italian HOT sausage or HOT salsa, or both! How adventurous are you feeling?? You do you!
If the sauce gets too thick, just add a little milk until it's the right consistency. 
If you prefer a baked mac and cheese, pour the whole works into a large casserole dish, top with Parmesan cheese, or even some shredded Cheddar, then bake in a 350ºF oven until the top becomes golden brown.


Monday, January 10, 2022

Easy Slow Cooker Mushroom Pot Roast


 Full disclosure, I’m not really sure of where I found this recipe. There are similar versions of it bouncing around the interwebs with just a slight variation here or there. Some add wine, some add potatoes or carrots, etc.
 With mine, since I was going in a decidedly mushroom direction, I added a jar of my home canned mushrooms. I was originally gonna serve it with mashed potatoes, but I decided to just go with some roasted carrots, potatoes, asparagus, and some pickled beets (which I LOVE). There’s really no wrong way to do it, and it couldn’t be easier to do. If you can open a can of soup, you can make this recipe. It’s that easy!! And if you don’t own a slow cooker, this is the perfect reason to buy one! Your family will love you for it!!!
1 4-5 lb chuck roast
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
2 (10 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 lb baby carrots
1 lb baby potatoes, halved
canned mushrooms, as much as you like
splash of red wine

Spray inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the pot roast in the slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cover. Cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. That's all there is to it!

To make a thicker gravy, remove the cover for the last hour of cooking. 
Instead of adding potatoes to the crock, serve your roast over a pile of mashed potatoes. YUM.