Thursday, October 4, 2012

... comfort food ...

Doesn't that picture just make you want to toss on a cozy sweater, take a stroll through the fallen leaves and head home to cook up something warm and comforting?

I give you a homemade macaroni & cheese meal to fit that bill!

Cheesy Roasted Campanelli &
Seared Turkey Sausage

1 pkg. campanelli pasta, cooked and drained
1/4 c. butter
3 T. flour
1 t. mustard powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ground black pepper 
2 c. milk (1% can be used)
3/4 lb. sliced cheese (Land O Lakes American Cheese)
1 pkg. smoked turkey sausage, sliced on the bias
1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly spray cooking oil to prepare a 9x13 casserole dish for baking. 

Prepare a saute pan with olive oil and heat on medium heat.  Add smoked turkey sausage to pan and sear on both sides for approximately 2 minutes, until a slight char is evident.  Remove pan from heat.

In a separate medium saucepan, melt butter and whisk in the flour, mustard powder, garlic powder and black pepper.  Simmer mixture on medium heat for approximately 2 minutes.  Wisk in milk and heat thoroughly.  Thereafter, stir in slices of cheese, reserving 10-12 slices for layering.

Once sauce is together, place a single layer of cooked and drained pasta in casserole dish.  Add sausage.   Then place strips of cheese overtop.  Drizzle half of the sauce mixture on top of layers.  Add a final layer of pasta, cheese and the remaining sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Served with some fresh veggies or a side salad.


Sidenote:  Other cheeses may be substituted for this recipe; however, it is my opinion that if American cheese is used, Land O Lakes American cheese is the best option.  I tend to shy away from the American cheeses that are prepackaged in plastic ... as it seems that the cheese takes on its packaging - - plastic-looking cheese that is gummy instead of crumbly.  Of course, this is just my opinion.

TO THOSE WHO ARE LOCAL TO ME -- Our Giant Eagle apparently carries TWO DIFFERENT TYPES of Land O Lakes American Cheese.  One, that they refer to as the "block cheese" which is my top choice -- and another that is referred to as "presliced cheese" which can be compared to Kraft slices in plastic.  Now, here's the best part ... they are SAME PRICE!!  My complaint is that there is NO reference to give notice to the customer of the difference in qualities on the Giant Eagle labels ... and of course, I feel that the price should be cheaper for a lesser quality item.  So, just a forwarning, should you grab a pound in the display cooler that the deli has offered for convenience and you grab a package (wrapped and bagged just as if it had been handed to you from a deli clerk) of Land O Lakes American Cheese - - be WARNED.  You may find that when you bring it home ... you have just purchased shiny, plastic-like cheese - minus the perk of a cheap price.

On a brighter note ... the temps will be falling through the weekend and I'm thinking ... apple dumplings!

"Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort."

~ Norman Kolpas

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