Monday, August 8, 2011

Cheesy Potatoes and Sausage

"My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with."  Oprah Winfrey

My twenty-one year old son recently told me told me that he missed my good ole' fashion cheesy potatoes.  It got me to thinking about comfort food, those recipes that are made in traditional ways and filled with nostalgia.  We often turn to comfort foods when we are yearning for a time gone by, something in our past.  Comfort foods are often flavorful and of a softer consistency and frequently filled with higher  levels of fat and less fiber.  Apple pie, macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole, potato salad, cheesy potatoes.....  

"Also, with men, there's a preference toward comfort food that's a little more healthy, like meat, pasta, and potatoes.
Women choose things like chips, cookies, chocolate and cake."  Brian Wansink
So I thought about cheesy potatoes and decided it was time to turn it vegetarian and make it a meal.  The result was this delicious combination of comfort food with a vegetarian twist.  A new standard for comfort food in our house.  It is yummy, delicious vegetarian fare.

"Comfort food is absolutely moving upscale."  Danny Meyer


4 large potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces
2 onions, chopped into bite size pieces
3 ribs celery, sliced thinly
3 carrots, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
handful of mushrooms, halved

1 fresh bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

6 Veggie Italian Sausage Links

1.  Place olive oil in a large heavy skillet.  Saute onions, celery, carrots, green pepper, garlic and herbs til they are soft and fragrant.

2.  Add potatoes to skillet and cook til they are soft and heated through, folding potaoes frequently.

3.  Combine mushroom soup and milk in a small bowl.  Add soup mixture to potatoes, folding in gently.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and heat thoroughly, folding gently.

4.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

5.  Heat veggie Italian sausage links in a small pan until heated through.

6.  Place potato mixture in an oven proof pan.  Set sausages on top of potatoes.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Broil a couple of minutes to melt and brown cheese.  Watch carefully when potatoes are under the broiler so as not to burn them.
"This recipe came to me like a lightning bolt out of the blue.  I think it is a great way to enjoy well-known comfort foods with a unique and interesting twist."  Ann Ginsberg

Servings:  4-6
Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Cost Per Serving:  $1.86

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