Granny’s Sunday Sausage Casserole

2016-01-28_18.19.30After a weekend of below freezing wind chill, a week at the county fair, and 2 days of rain, I desperately needed warm comfort food…FAST! I love soup, but sometimes, soup, stew, and chili are over-done.  For whatever reason, when it turns the slightest bit cold, everyone (myself included) runs to the store to get chili-making ingredients.  My boys love chili, but frankly, after a while, even I get tired of the routine. 

Likewise, there are evening when even I get tired of cooking. I cook breakfast and dinner at least 5 days of the week, and sometimes,  I need a simple dinner so that I can kick off my shoes and watch TV.  So, I look for meals that can be cooked quick…WITHOUT resorting to boxed meals and convenience food.
When I combined the 2 needs…warm/comfort and quick…I remembered my Granny’s sausage casserole.  I don’t know where she found it.  I don’t know how long she’s made it.  The one thing I do know is that it’s amazing, versatile, and makes everyone happy.
Granny’s Sunday Sausage Casserole (no, it doesn’t have to be made on Sunday!)
2 c. water
1 tsp salt
1 c rice
1 lb. ground sausage (not Italian or Maple)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom or cream of celery)
1-2 cups topping (Granny used chopped pecans. I prefer French fried onions, but had to use crushed crackers when I discovered that my husband made a snack out of the onions!)
Bring salted water to a boil.  Add rice, cover, and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat and cool.
In a large skillet, brown sausage.  Drain any grease, if necessary.  Add onions, celery, and garlic.  Saute over medium heat until tender.  Add soup and stir to combine.  Heat through.  Add rice and stir to combine. If your skillet is oven-proof, leave the casserole in the skillet.  Otherwise, transfer to an oven-proof casserole.  Top with pecans or French fried onions.  Bake at 375 degrees until topping is lightly browned and crisp.
Serves 6
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