Sweet and salty GF sausage casserole

So typically sausage isn’t on the healthy list but in moderation,  it should be!  It has a high dose of protein and some healthy fats in there.   It’s better to use sausage that isn’t pork if possible because other types have less bad fat and calories per serving.   I used beef sausage.   Remember to read labels so you know what is actually in your meat… Keep it natural and simple.

Okay so onto the recipe. I tend to cook for an army (about 4-6 people)  so please adjust accordingly.

You will need:
10 medium Sausage links – I used beef
Rice- brown or white
1- 2 oranges
1 can black beans
1 cup frozen peas- or 1 can
1 cup frozen corn –  or 1 can
Honey (make it organic and local for an extra health boost!)
3 avocados
Shredded cheese (or shred your own)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Table salt
Pepper
Garlic
Parsley
Pam cooking spray
Skillet
Large pot
Measuring cup
Cutting knife
Cutting board
Baking dish

Alright so first things first… Get the rice started.   1 cup rice per 2 cups water.   This recipe uses 2 cups rice and 4 cups water.
Pour it into the large pot,  add a dash of sea salt and bring it to a rolling boil.  Once it reaches boiling,  turn it down to simmer and cover for about 30 min.

While the rice is going,  start slicing your sausage.   I did my slices relatively thick (by that I mean no thicker than half the size of your nail).  When you’re done,  grab your skillet and pour a little olive oil in it; just enough to coat the bottom.  Turn your stove on medium and after about 20 seconds,  throw your sausage in there.   Let them get a nice deep red color before removing the skillet from the hot stove.   Set aside the sausage for a moment.
Slice the oranges.  Squeeze the juice from them and shred them on top of the sausage in the skillet.   Then lightly drizzled the sausage with about a tablespoon of honey and let it sit.
Then open the can(s)  of beans (and corn/peas)  and drain them.
Grab the frozen bags of corn and peas and open them.
Before you begin the next step,
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees… You are ultimately going to broil it but I find if I preheat it cooks more evenly during broil.

It has now been about 20 minutes since I started the rice. I know the cardinal rule of cooking rice is don’t open it too soon but i want it to have a little bit of moisture so it doesn’t dry out in the oven.   Add the black beans,  frozen corn and peas,  sausage,  and oranges into the pot with the rice.  Season it with salt,  pepper,  garlic and paprika to taste.  Then stir it and cover for another 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile,  coat your baking dish with Pam and start dicing your avocado.
*here’s a simple tip to dice an avocado with less mess.  Slice the avocado in half long wise… From the part where the stem was all the way to the opposite end and back. Then lightly pry the avocado open with the knife by gently loosening on all sides.  Once open,  pop out the seed by sliding your knife just underneath it and pushing up.  Once the seed is out,  draw lines in the fruit with your knife.  You will draw a set of vertical and then a set of horizontal until you have a nice grid on your avocado.  Be sure that when you do this,  you are cutting through all the soft part but not through the skin.  Then slide your knife down into the fruit along the edges.  The diced parts will come out easily. Any leftover fruit in the middle can be scraped off with the knife as well. *

Once your avocado is cut,  put it aside.  Turn back to your rice. There should be a little fluid in the pot for broiling but if it’s a little too much,  you can either cook it longer or strain it.
Dump the contents into the baking dish. Place the dish in the preheated oven and change the setting to broil for about 4 minutes.  Then go back in and stir it up to get rid of excess moisture.  When the moisture is mostly gone,  top with a layer of shredded cheese.  Broil for 2-3 minutes or just long enough for the cheese to melt.
Then remove from oven and let cool a little.
Serve with some diced avocado on it for a healthy,  filling meal. *don’t pass up on the avocado,  it really makes the dish *

As with all casseroles,  they are not always the prettiest to take pictures of… But very yummy.

image

All in all,  this dish is a little high on calories that come largely from healthy fats.  The positive is that this dish is so filling,  you only need a small serving to feel full! Plus it has a large dose of protein,  and a decent amount of complex carbs and fiber.

– Taylor Luster

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