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Whoof!  I’ve gone from being too busy and uninspired to blog to having my head brimming full of new recipe ideas!

This casserole today was a total ‘crime of opportunity’ that you’ll see if you look a the prices I got at my local discount grocery store.  It was a wonderful amalgamation of all the things that happened to be on sale!  My fireman said that this casserole had that ‘classic and comforting’ taste that you look for in cheese-topped baking dish.

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It really looks like there are a lot of ingredients, but it’s easy, I promise!

Creamy Rice and Sausage Meatball Casserole

Serves 3-4 – cost approx $.79 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb maple or regular breakfast sausage ($.48, great bargain at my local store)
  • 1 egg ($.12)
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • salt, to taste
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • pinch anise seeds
  • 1 small onion, medium dice ($.20)
  • 1 small stalk broccoli, stalks medium dice and crown cut in florets ($.33)
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup ($.50, you can often find dented cans on the clearance rack of larger grocery stores and also use some coupons!)
  • 1 can chicken stock
  • dry thyme, to taste
  • dry sage, to taste
  • 2 Tbs fresh parsley ($.10)
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups long grain rice, par cooked or 4 cups leftover rice ($.47)
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 lb cheese ($.34)

Start by mixing everything in the first set of ingredients to make the meatball mixture.  Roll about 2 Tbs of the meatball mix into balls and brown them up in a large saute pan.  This made about 16 mini meatballs for me, make them as big or as small as you like.  Once the meatballs are browned all over, set them aside and move on to making the sauce.

If there’s fat from the sausage meatballs in you pan, use that to saute your onion and broccoli for about 5 minutes.  (If you have a leaner sausage, saute your veggies in 1 Tbs of vegetable oil or butter.)  Add in all the remaining ingredients in this set and bring to a simmer.  Now would be a great time to preheat your oven to 350 F.  Return the meatballs to the mix and simmer the whole she-bang for about 10-15 minutes.

Put the par cooked or leftover rice in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Spoon in the creamy meatball sauce and gently mix to evenly distribute all the meatballs and vegetables.  Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 15 minutes at 350 F, to heat everything through and melt the cheese.  Now you’re ready to enjoy!

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