The Covered Dish: Italian Sausage Bake

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Let’s get simple, I mean s-i-m-p-l-e!  With the heat of summer upon us we need quick fix meals that can cover needs in one meal.   Personally I’m all for recipes of this nature.  Right now we are finding peppers, zucchini, onions and tomatoes in the Ozark Mountains.  Every one of these could be implemented into this Italian Sausage Bake.

If you cannot find Italian Sausages you might just consider using lean brats or Italian meatballs.  ‘If’ you place this in a crockpot on low I would consider only cooking for 4-5 hours on low/simmer.  If you turn the cooker on at 7 or 8 am I’m afraid you meal may be pretty mussy.  Sometimes when I do this dish and others that are similar, my husband comes home at noon and flips on the slow cooker.

You will note in the recipe that we’re using small zucchini, peppers, onion and possibly mushrooms.  Above in the first paragraph I suggested tomatoes.  If I had a bunch of romas that needed to be used I would quarter and include.  Remember when you’re picking a zucchini to go for the smallest sizes.  The larger zucchini contain excess water which you don’t want to add to a dish.  Tip:  When I shred zucchini I no longer shred on a box grater.  While we are pushing and shredding on the box grater we are actually creating extra liquid by bruising the vegetables.

When shredding oodles of zucchini I use a food processor because it cuts very fast and there’s no bruising and extra liquid.

For the salsa certainly use your canned salsa if you made any last season.  The main reason is because the sodium will not be as high as store bought salsa.  Usually I serve this over a nice bed of linguini or fettucine noodles.   This easy peezy recipe works for dinner parties by simply adding French bread and a refreshing salad.

By cooking 12 sausages at once you will have plenty for another meal or for the daily lunchbox.   If you are growing herbs this dish is the perfect place to stick fresh basil, oregano or Italian parsley.

It’s my hope that you’ll eat at home and find more time for conversations, family and self.  Our nation has endured a monumental week.  The more we can involve ourselves within our communities the better.  Reaching out to others and listening, really ‘listening’ can build trust.  Seek to understand.

Simply yours, The Covered Dish.  www.thecovereddish.com

Italian Sausage Bake

1-2 peppers, quartered into chunks

1 small zucchini, sliced and halved

1 medium-large onion, cut into chunks

Mushrooms (8 oz.) if desired

2 teaspoons pressed Garlic

1 jar/can of regular spaghetti sauce

1 jar mild-medium salsa

12 Italian sausages, do not cut, leave whole

Place everything into a large stockpot/Dutch oven with a lid and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours.  With everything that’s in the sauce there is no need to add salt or pepper to this dish.  Toss up a beautiful salad and add French bread, what could be simpler?  I open the lid and stirred mine after the first hour.  Don’t forget this will also go in the crockpot.  See directions in the column.  Serves 6-8 persons.

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