Monday, September 19, 2011

Polska Mac-n-Cheese Casserole

I found this recipe in a Halloween-themed ad for Hillshire Farms products a few years ago. They called it "Spook-tacular" Smoked Casserole. It was similar to a from-scratch mac-n-cheese with polska recipe I've posted before, but this one uses fewer ingredients & bakes up without much prep. Hmmm... Sounds good to me!

I had all the ingredients on-hand, but could think of modifications too. Like substituting broccoli or green beans for the peas. Or substituting a different pasta, one you have on-hand. Or substituting fat-free products for the cream of mushroom soup, the milk & the cheddar. Or even substituting cream of something for the cream of mushroom... I'm sure you can think of a few too.

The real taste-kick though is one that you shouldn't substitute - the lightly browned polska kielbasa! It's YUMMY! Brings such a great smoky flavor to the mac-n-cheese. It's definitely one part you don't want to leave out.

So whether you bake this up at Halloween-time ("spook-tacular"!) or any old night you want a warm & cozy meal, it's a winner. My family declared it "A KEEP!"

Polska Mac-n-Cheese Casserole
adapted slightly from Hillshire Farms

Prep time: 10 mins
Bake time: 45 mins
Serves: 6

1 16-oz pkg turkey polska kielbasa (original recipe calls for smoked sausage)
1 10.75-oz can fat-free cream of mushroom soup
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups or 8-oz uncooked penne pasta
1 1/2 cups french-fried onions, divided
1 cup or 4-oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 375*F. Cut polska kielbasa into 1/4-inch slices.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add polska; cook & stir for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine soup & milk in a 9x13" baking dish. Stir in uncooked pasta, browned polska, 1/2 cup french-fried onions, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and peas. Cover baking dish tightly with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove foil & top with remaining 1 cup french-fried onions and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake for 3 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

We paired this with broccoli - YUMMM!!

Change the polska kielbasa to chicken or smoked sausage.
Change the cheese to Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack.
Change the peas to broccoli, carrots and/or corn or green beans.
Change the cream of mushroom soup to cream of chicken (if using chicken).

These are just a few I thought of - get creative!! Let me know if you find a new combo that works!

Enjoy -

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