Wanna know what my New Year's resolution is? It's not your average run-of-the-mill resolution. It's really simple. In fact, I can sum it up in one word: NO! This year I promised myself that I would learn how to say "no." So far it's working out great. I've been walking around saying "no" like I'm a toddler. You'd think I just learned the word.
Will you help us out at the school? No.
Will you help us throw together a bake sale? No.
Can you stop what you're doing and get me whatever I want? No.
Can you watch my kids for the day while I go to work? No.
Do you want to buy some girl scout cookies? No.
I don't like spinach. Can I have something else for dinner? No.
You get the picture, right? Basically I've been a yes person for my entire life. I've always tried to be polite and please others, watch my p's and q's if you will. All of that is over now.
As you can imagine my new plan is meeting some resistance. I'm getting a lot of strange looks and raised eyebrows. My husband even suggested I change my blog from Stirring the Pot to Stirring the Cauldron. I had to laugh out loud when he made that suggestion. It was pretty funny. But I'm still sticking to my guns. This will be one resolution that I keep. There is going to be a new version of Kim, raw and uncut. I don't think people know what's in store for them.
So, I'm making no apologies for this macaroni and cheese. It's total comfort food. A layer of sausage (aka bangers), a layer of spinach strata, and a creamy mac and cheese base. It's not diet food in any way, shape, or form. It's loaded with sausage, cheese, cream, 6 eggs, pasta and bread, and then some more cheese for good measure. It's the kind of thing you make when you want to say the hell with it. Now who wants to join me?
Cheesy Mac 'N' Bangers Bake
Adapted from Everyday Jan/Feb 2012
Serves 4 or 6
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
1 lb irish bangers or sweet italian sausages, casings removed
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lb. thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan
6 slices white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed
In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni, stirring often, until al dente. Drain and let cool; do not rinse.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally until crumbly, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Melt the butter in the pan, then add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese until blended; season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
In a large bowl, using a fork, beat together the eggs, heavy cream, 2/3 cup parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
In a 9-inch square baking dish, evenly layer the macaroni and cover with the bread slices. Top with the spinach mixture in an even layer, then the sausage. Pour the egg mixture on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup parmesan (cover and refrigerate overnight if desired).
Let the casserole stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake until browned and crusty on top and set in the center, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting.
Do I have to tell you that we liked it?