August 21, 2017

Sausage & Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel

sausage pumpkin shells

Whoo, that’s a long title!  And I’ll be honest – this does take a bit of time to prepare.  But if you have an extra hour on a Sunday night and want to make a delicious dinner with generous portions that you can eat the whole week through and not stop loving – try these Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel.

I was going to post my take on this recipe, since I made a few changes for my family, but I didn’t take careful note of my measurements. Food blogger fail!  So I’m just giving you the recipe I found at A Beautiful Bite.  I do want to note that I switched out cottage cheese for ricotta in this recipe, and it worked great.  Just buzz it in the food processor for a few seconds and it’s indistinguishable from the pricier ricotta.  Also, I ran out of sage and I had to garnish with parsley.  In any case, this recipe was a big hit, and it reheats well, so we’ll be seeing this again in our house.

 Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel

(Recipe Courtesy of A Beautiful Bite)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta shells, cooked al dente
  • 32-ounce ricotta cheese (or use cottage cheese)
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (I used sage breakfast sausage)
  • 2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated for topping (I skipped this)

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  2. Cook shells according to directions on box.  Drain and let cool.
  3. While shells are cooking, brown sausage in a large skillet.  Remove from skillet and place meat on a paper towel to drain.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat to cook the onions in.
  4. Cook onions in fat over medium heat until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for just a minute.  Add mushrooms and sage and cook for another four to five minutes.  Remove from heat and add cooked sausage.   Allow to cool for several minutes.
  5. Stuff shells with ricotta mixture, then top with sausage mixture.  Place shells in a 9×13 baking dish.  Set aside while you prepare béchamel sauce.
  6. In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for several minutes.  Add milk, pumpkin, yogurt, Parmesan, and ricotta.  Cook for a few minutes to thicken.  Add sage, salt and pepper.
  7. Pour béchamel over shells.  Top with extra grated Parmesan.  Bake at 350*F for forty minutes.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

When I was a kid, my Mom made two quiches as part of her dinner menu rotation:  a spinach quiche, and a sausage mushroom version.  I loved them both.  And I was going to make one for this week’s Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour blog post and then I realized:  I don’t need a crust!  I can turn my Mom’s quiche recipe into this Sausage Mushroom Frittata, which is just as tasty, saves calories when you don’t include a crust, and cooks up quicker to boot!

You can use any kind of cheese you like.  I think my Mom used Swiss, but my girls don’t like it, so I used Monterey Jack.  You can also mix some cheese into the egg mixture for a richer taste, but I wanted mine to be a lower-calorie meal.  I used bulk breakfast sausage (the kind you get in a tube, by the bacon), but you can use any kind of sausage.  Serve a slice of this frittata hot, with maybe a side salad and a piece of nice bread.  You can also have this for breakfast, of course, with some fruit or toast.  Get crazy – get cooking!

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bulk sausage
  • 8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk (or use half and half for a richer taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 or more slices of Swiss or Jack Cheese

Directions:

  1. In an oven-proof skillet, cook the sausage, crumbling it with your spoon as it cooks.  After 3 minutes, add the mushrooms.  Season them with a little salt – this helps draw the water out of the mushrooms.  Cover and simmer on medium for five minutes.
  2. Lift the lid and let all the water in the pan cook off.  If the pan looks dry, you can add a tiny bit of olive oil or butter and mix that in.  If it looks like the sausage left enough fat to lubricate the pan, go to Step 3.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn on the broiler in your oven.
  5. Pour the eggs over the sausage mixture and stir a few times.  When the edges look set, put the cheese on top of the eggs and place the pan in the oven.   Make sure it’s not too close to the broiler!
  6. Broil for about 3-5 minutes.  Keep an eye on this!  Take it out when things look golden and bubbly.  Slice and serve hot!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Southern Cassoulet

Southern Cassoulet

I know, it’s a weird title – French and Southern food together?  But this dish makes sense once you eat it.  Black-eyed peas are a good luck food for the New Year in the South, so why not dress it up a little with this interpretation of a French classic?  I present to you:  Southern Cassoulet!

Authentic cassoulet can take several days to prepare, and involves making a duck confit.  Too expensive and time consuming for me!  Chicken thighs sub in nicely.  Cook the black-eyed peas during the day (or use canned).  To make this even quicker, use two cans of white Northern beans.  I used just plain smoked sausage, but try out a pound of whatever kind of sausage you like.  Did you get a big Le Creuset pot for Christmas?  Now’s your chance to put your new enameled Dutch oven to the test!

Southern Cassoulet

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (or use two cans of other beans)
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3  stalks celery, chopped (use the leaves too)
  • 20 whole cloves of garlic (optional, but I thought they were delicious)
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary, minced (or use 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 4-6 large chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the beans in plenty of water until tender.  This can take two hours or so.  If you are using canned beans, skip ahead.
  2. In a very large enameled Dutch oven, cook the sausage.  Add the carrot, celery, garlic cloves, and rosemary.  Add a little olive oil if things start to stick.  Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Take the pot off the heat.  Drain the beans and add them to the sausage and vegetables, and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  On top of the bean mixture, place the chicken thighs, skin-side up.  Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the olive oil.
  4. Bake at 400*F for at least an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through with crispy skin.
  5. Good luck and have a Happy New Year!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Polish Sandwich

Polish Sandwich

Ladies, I’m not proud of this entry.  I mean, I AM proud of it, because this sandwich is seriously delicious!  It’s my attempt at copycatting a recipe from a hot dog chain in Southern California called Der Wienerschnitzel.  It comes pretty close to the original Polish Sandwich, with melted Swiss cheese, snappy sauerkraut, and tart pickles.  I haven’t been to Wienerschnitzel in years, yet I still found myself craving one of these babies.  (Sometimes you just gotta scratch that itch.)

But seriously, I am going to eat better next year.  No—really!  Bread will become a special treat, sugar will become verboten, and my veggie uptake will increase!  So as we finish out this year, I decided to give in to the desire for a Polish Sandwich, as a farewell to some not-so-healthy habits.  These sandwiches easy to make, and so satisfying.  You can use hot dogs or any kind of Polish-type sausage you like.  Try yellow or spicy brown mustard.  Find some good rye bread and make this sandwich.  You’ll take one bite and say Danke!

Polish Sausage

For each sandwich you will need:

  • a 5-inch piece of Polish sausage, or hot dogs, cut in half lengthwise
  • pat of butter
  • 2 slices rye bread
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Sauerkraut, warmed up
  • 1 large dill pickle, cut lengthwise into quarters
  • yellow or brown mustard

Directions:

  1. Cook sausage or hot dogs until done and hot all the way through.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the pat of butter.  Put both slices of rye bread down in the butter.  Top one slice of bread with the Swiss cheese.  Cook over low until the cheese melts and the bottoms of the bread are lightly toasted.
  3. To assemble:  Place the plain (non-cheese) slice of bread on the bottom and squirt with mustard.  Top with two halves of the sausage (or three halves of the hot dogs, cut side down.  In between the sausage, place as many of the quartered pickles as you like.  Cover the sausage and pickles with hot sauerkraut.  Top with cheese-y slice of rye bread.  Cut in half and eat hot.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!