Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Italian Sausage Pizza Casserole

Italian Sausage Pizza Casserole

The smell of this baking is just heavenly.  A cross between pizza, bread and tomato sauce, all mixed up into one delicious aroma of warmth and sustenance. This meal is super easy to assemble and because it takes a little while to bake, it leaves time for other things in between, like helping out with homework and preparing a side salad.  Made of super healthy, easy to find and inexpensive items, it is not only delicious and filling, but packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and protein.

Italian Sausage Pizza Casserole is also extremely versatile and the particular ingredients can be swapped out easily so long as the underlying recipe remains the same.  Don't want to use regular milk? Use plain soy or almond milk.  Prefer a different type of cheese? go ahead! Don't like spinach? Use some cooked broccoli or peppers. Rather use cooked pork sausage, cooked hamburger meat, vegetarian soy crumbles or canned white beans?  All of them could easily be used in place of the organic chicken sausage.  Trust me, I plan to try different variations of this casserole and promise to post the results.

Italian Sausage Pizza Casserole

5 organic eggs
3 C. organic 1 % milk
1 C. grated organic Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 regular loaves of whole wheat Italian bakery bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 10 oz. package frozen organic spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 packages of fully cooked organic Italian chicken sausages
     (8 - 10 links), sliced into half inch pieces
1 14.5 ounce can organic diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, drained

Preheat the oven to 375F and lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with non stick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs well, then add the milk, cheese, garlic salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and stir to combine.  Add in the bread and toss to coat it evenly.  Let the bread sit for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.  Put half of the bread in the bottom of the pan and spread out in an even layer.  Add on the spinach next, followed by the sausage and the tomatoes.  Top with the remaining bread, and pour any of the left over liquid over the top.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until puffed up, slightly browned and cooked through.

first bread layer

spinach layer

organic chicken sausage layer

tomato layer

final bread layer, ready for the oven
my dinner is served!

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