My neighbor had a health issue with her mom last night and I thought that the nicest thing I could do for her would be to make dinner and dessert for them tonight. I know her mom loves sweets, so I had to make sure to have some sort of dessert included, so I made a platter of chocolate chip cookies, since I already had the dough in the fridge… the question was now “what do I make for dinner”?
I looked through my freezer and found a package of turkey kielbasa and a half package of bacon, so that became the base of my recipe. Since I also had some green peppers and an onion in the crisper, I decided to make a turn on a “sausage and pepper sandwich” and add some linguine and a creamy cheese sauce to pull it all together. Here’s how I went about making dinner. NOTE: Remember that I was making two dinners for two people each, so these could have easily been made into a single 9×11 casserole instead of two individual 9″ round casseroles.
I crisped up the half package of bacon and then removed the bacon to a plate, leaving the bacon drippings in the saute pan. I diced one package of turkey kielbasa and crisped that up in the saute pan as well before removing that to a plate. I sliced one green pepper and half a large onion and sauteed these in the bacon grease until softened. While cooking all these individual pieces, I cooked 3/4 package of linguine (broken in half) until just al dente, then drained the pasta, saving some of the water in case I needed it for the sauce that would top the entire casserole.
I then assembled the casseroles, placing a little of the bacon and half the kielbasa and half the vegetables on top before adding half the pasta. Once this was done, I was able to turn my attention to the sauce. I wanted something that was creamy and slightly cheesy but didn’t just want to throw cheese on top of the pasta and hope it melted correctly.
I started the sauce by simmering 2T butter and 2T flour together to make a roux. I then added some white wine (using chardonnay was my choice this time… crisp and clean) and chicken stock to start a great tasting sauce. To make the taste unique to this particular dish, I added half a can of cream of mushroom soup (leftover from Christmas dinner), some parmesan cheese and some cheddar cheese for creaminess and a few dashes of Worchestershire sauce for flavor. Once the sauce tasted “right” (you HAVE to be willing to taste your sauces during the cooking phase so they balance out once they’re added to a dish), I poured half over each casserole and topped each with a sprinkling of leftover bacon.
I have no idea if my neighbors will enjoy this casserole, but I hope they feel the love that comes from wanting to do something nice for others in times of stress. Karma is a tricky thing… but I believe that if you always reach out to others in a positive way and from a place of kindness and love, that same thing will come back to you tenfold. I’m not expecting them to do anything in return…. I just know that they shouldn’t have to worry about feeding their family when they’re facing a difficult time.
May we all approach life in this manner… give when you can and your life will be made better for the effort.
Happy New Year Blessings to you all, my friends. Wishing you health and happiness as 2015 begins!