Cheap Recipe: Smoked Sausage Pasta Bake

28 Sep

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This is a great twist on the smoked-sausage-for-dinner theme.

This is a great twist on the smoked-sausage-for-dinner theme.

This is a great vehicle for cooking with Gouda cheese, which I’ve seen seasonally at ALDI for as little as 99 cents. It’s not always available there, but when it is (like around SuperBowl time, for instance), this is a great dish to try out. The smoky flavor of Gouda cheese lends itself nicely to the smoked sausage flavor.

I’ve had this old Pillsbury recipe for over ten years but I’ve tweaked ingredient amounts on it many times to compensate for differences in sizes of available ingredients. There’s nothing I hate more than using only “most” of something I’ve bought specifically for a recipe.

So, my updated version of this classic should be easy to shop for and eliminate wasted ingredient portions. And it’s just downright tasty, too.

Half a bag of pasta is a good usable amount that leaves behind enough to use again.

Half a bag of pasta is a good usable amount that leaves behind enough to use again.

Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees. Dice one small wheel (7 ounces) of Gouda cheese into very small pieces. (If Gouda isn’t on sale or seasonally available, you can
Dice up a wheel of Gouda. (Try not to sample all of it!)

Dice up a wheel of Gouda. (Try not to sample all of it!)

always use 10 or 12 slices of American cheese in its place to keep things on the cheaps.)

In a large pasta pot, bring water to a boil and add half the contents of a 12- or 16-ounce bag of penne (or other variety) pasta. Use an oversized pot because you’ll be adding stuff to the cooked pasta in the same pot. When pasta is a minute or two away from being done, add 1 (16-oz.) bag of frozen California veggie blend (broccoli, carrots & cauliflower) to boiling water. Drain once pasta is tender and veggies are hot.

Broccoli, carrots & cauliflower.

Broccoli, carrots & cauliflower.

Melt a little pat of butter.

Melt a little pat of butter.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (optional). Heat for a minute or so, or until smooth and bubbly.

Slowly incorporate 2 cups milk into butter mixture, stirring

Stir in diced cheese after removing from heat.

Stir in diced cheese after removing from heat.

often. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Once mixture returns to a slow simmer, remove from heat. Gradually stir in all of the diced cheese and set aside.

The old recipe called for 12 ounces, which created useless leftover sausage ends.

Heh. Heh. Hey, Beavis...

Chop 1 (14-oz.) package of smoked sausage (two long links) into bite-sized rounds. Toss sausage pieces into drained pasta/veggie blend.

Pour cheese mixture over pasta and stir until evenly coated. Transfer mixture to a greased or sprayed 9″ x 12″ glass casserole pan.IMG_4251

Spray nonstick coating on inside of sheet of aluminum foil and cover casserole tightly.

Remember to cover the dish before you bake it!

Remember to cover the dish before you bake it!

 Bake approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

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