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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Sausage casserole a family hit

Thursday, October 07, 1999

Tested by Nancy Anderson

Susan Miller of Tarentum is a second-time Countdown winner, previously scoring with Shrimp Oscar in March.

Today's recipe for Potato, Pepper & Smoked Sausage Casserole was clipped from McCall's magazine about eight years ago. Since then, it's become a dinner staple in her home.

"It's very simple to prepare and the blending of flavors will surprise you," she said. "The cream is the secret. It gives the dish a special flavor."

The cream does help. In our casserole the vegetables had left quite a bit of liquid and the addition of cream gave it a saucy, rather than a watery look.

"It isn't thick," she added. "But you swirl the potato or the peppers around in it and it's very good."

The combination of veggie colors and flavors was most appealing to the eye and palate, but we missed garlic and think the dish (which came in just under 30 minutes) would benefit from the addition of 1 teaspoon jarred or a clove of minced fresh. Maybe even some basil.

Although the original recipe called for kielbasa, Miller prefers Hillshire Farms smoked sausage. Turkey sausage, she said, could also be substituted.

"I have made this many times for my family (husband Dennis, son Dennis Jr., 12, and daughter Ivana, 6) and I usually just serve it with bread and a salad," she said. "This is even better the next day."

Miller, a homemaker who quit her job at the Funny Bone Comedy Club in order to have more time at home, is enjoying her "retirement" by reading more recipes in magazines and newspapers and cooking up a storm.

Potato, Pepper & Smoked Sausage Casserole

2 large sweet peppers, red and/or green
1 large onion
6 to 8 small red potatoes, cleaned but not peeled
12 to 16 ounces smoked sausage, kielbasa or turkey sausage
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Cut peppers into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cut onion in thin wedges.

Halve or quarter potatoes into bite-size pieces (don't make them too big or they won't cook through).

Cut sausage into 1/2-inch slices. Combine all in large, microwavable casserole.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil.

Cover and cook on high power for 15 minutes, stirring after 5 and 10 minutes.

Stir in cream. Cover and cook another 2 minutes.

Serves 3 or 4.

Can be baked in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Do you have an entrée, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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