Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sausage & Lentil Casserole

Don't shoot me... this is another recipe from Eating Well Serves Two. I can't resist the perfectly portioned healthy recipes they offer in this collection.

I was looking up spinach recipes in the index to see if any recipes would allow me to easily sneak in collard greens. My roommate had said she had a thing for lentils and she is trying hard to try new foods. She doesn't like cooked greens, so I was worried this wouldn't work out for her. However, I cut the collards up into smaller pieces and I feel that the texture of the greens was somehow hidden by the rice and lentils. She and I both tasted it and agreed it was pretty good.

However... let me tell you this was not an easy one for me to make. First of all, I love how recipes call for canned lentils. I am certain I have never seen a can of lentils. I thought they all came in bags. So I looked up the conversion chart for dried lentils. I was told 1/2 cup dried lentils makes one cup. Since one can roughly equals two cups, I made a whole cup of lentils. Suddenly I had four cups of cooked lentils. That's okay! Because half of the lentils went into the freezer for another day.

Now I also I had to prep the collards. I had to soak the grit off, slice them up, and cook them. I also didn't have any instant rice, so I decided I would just half way cook some regular rice. And this is where things got out of proportion. I measured out the rice called for in the recipe, and it cooked out a lot of rice. So perhaps if you also do not have instant rice, you should reduce your rice from 3/4 to about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. I decided at the time I didn't give a crap and just dumped everything into the casserole dish and baked it.

This is way more than two servings, honestly it's more like 3 or 4. But that's okay... cause it tastes pretty good and I am never going to complain about large servings of healthy casseroles. However, I am sure next time when I reduce the amount of rice it will actually be two servings. FYI, the picture does not do it justice. It tastes a lot better than it looks.

Do you have any healthy(ish) casseroles that you'll be making this winter? Are you sneaking greens into dishes and hoping no one will notice? Please share in the comments section.

Sausage & Lentil Casserole
(Serves Two)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 link hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 small onion, chopped
1 14-ounce can lentils, rinsed
1 cup frozen or fresh spinach
3/4 cup reduce-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup instant brown rice
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a 1-quart casserole or loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and onion; cooking, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, spinach, broth and oregano. Increase heat to medium-high and cook stirring often, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake until the rice is tender, 30-35 minutes. Top with cheese and bake, uncovered, until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes more.

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