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Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole Recipe

This Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole is an excellent blend of comfort foods, uniting the flavors of juicy chicken sausage with fresh peppers, onions, and garlic. All these are combined with marinara sauce and enriched with a layer of whole wheat macaroni, making it a hearty, satisfying dish that can feed the whole family.

Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole Recipe
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Photos of Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole Recipe

The chicken sausage might not be a standard item in your pantry, but it's easily found in most supermarkets. Look for it in the refrigerated meat section. The Delallo whole wheat elbows are a particular type of pasta made from whole wheat. If you can't find this brand at your local grocery store, you can substitute it with any whole wheat elbow pasta.

Ingredients for Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole

Chicken sausage: This is a healthier alternative to traditional pork sausage, providing a lean but flavorful protein source.

Olive oil: This oil is used for its rich flavor and health benefits.

Onion: Adds a sweet, caramelized flavor when sautéed.

Red pepper: It has a sweet, mild flavor and adds a vibrant color to the dish.

Yellow pepper: Similar to the red pepper, it adds sweetness and color.

Garlic cloves: Provide a robust, aromatic base for the dish.

Mushrooms: They add a depth of flavor and a unique texture.

Petite diced tomatoes: These tomatoes add moisture and a fresh, tangy flavor.

Marinara sauce: This sauce lends a savory, garlicky, and slightly sweet flavor.

Water: Used to adjust the consistency of the sauce.

Italian seasoning: A blend of dried herbs, typically including basil, oregano, and rosemary, that brings an Italian flavor profile to the dish.

Kosher salt: It enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

Mozzarella cheese: It adds a creamy, gooey element that holds the casserole together.

Delallo whole wheat elbows: These are small, curved tubes of pasta made from whole wheat flour. They have a firm texture that holds up well in casseroles.

One reader, Gino Murdock says:

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This sausage and peppers macaroni casserole recipe is a game-changer! The flavors blend perfectly, and the dish is so comforting. It's become a family favorite, and I love how easy it is to make. The combination of sausage, peppers, and cheese is simply irresistible. Highly recommend trying it!

Gino Murdock

Techniques Required

How to brown the sausage: Cook the sausage over high heat in a large non-stick skillet, breaking it up into smaller pieces as it cooks until it is cooked through and browned.

How to sauté the vegetables: In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, garlic, and peppers. Sauté for about 6 to 7 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

How to simmer the sauce: After adding the sausage back to the skillet with the vegetables, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

How to assemble the casserole: Spoon just enough of the sausage/vegetable mixture to cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. Cover with uncooked pasta, spoon the remaining sauce mixture evenly over the top, and sprinkle with cheese.

How to bake the casserole: Cover the casserole with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it stand covered for 15 minutes before serving.

How To Make Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole

Enjoy rich and savory flavors in one plate with this macaroni casserole! It’s loaded with chicken sausages and bell peppers, all baked in hearty marinara.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 14ozchicken sausage,casings removed
  • 1tbspolive oil
  • 1cuponion,chopped
  • 1medium red pepper,chopped
  • 1medium yellow pepper,chopped
  • 3garlic cloves,chopped
  • 1cupmushrooms,sliced
  • 14½ozpetite diced tomatoes,(1 can), drained
  • 2cupsmarinara sauce
  • 2cupswater
  • ½tspItalian seasoning,or dried thyme
  • 1tspkosher salt
  • 8ozmozzarella cheese,shredded
  • 8ozDeLallo whole wheat elbows,or gluten free elbows, uncooked

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. In a large deep non-stick skillet, brown the sausage over high heat until cooked through, seasoning with a pinch of salt and breaking it up into smaller pieces as it cooks. Set aside on a dish.

  3. Add the olive oil to the skillet, reduce heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, and peppers, then sauté for about 6 to 7 minutes until the vegetables soft.

  4. Return the sausage to the skillet along with the remaining ingredients except for the pasta and cheese.

  5. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

  6. Spoon just enough of the sausage/vegetable mixture to cover the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Cover with uncooked pasta. Spoon the remaining sauce mixture evenly over the top and sprinkle with cheese.

  7. Cover with foil and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand covered for 15 minutes.

  8. Divide into 8 servings, then serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Calories: 384.10kcal
  • Fat: 18.39g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.79g
  • Trans Fat: 0.08g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 6.49g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.90g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.91g
  • Fiber: 4.27g
  • Sugar: 7.90g
  • Protein: 19.80g
  • Cholesterol: 74.18mg
  • Sodium: 918.60mg
  • Calcium: 253.93mg
  • Potassium: 636.12mg
  • Iron: 2.18mg
  • Vitamin A: 113.70µg
  • Vitamin C: 71.50mg

Technique Tip for Perfecting Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole

When browning the chicken sausage, make sure to break it up into small pieces as it cooks. This will not only ensure that the sausage is cooked evenly, but also allow it to distribute more evenly throughout the casserole, giving every bite a perfect balance of flavors. Additionally, when sautéing the onions, garlic, and peppers, be patient and let them soften properly. This will bring out their natural sweetness and add depth to the overall flavor of the dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and sausage in advance to save time during the cooking process.

One-pot wonder: Consider using a large skillet or pot to cook the entire dish in one vessel, reducing the number of dishes to clean.

Batch cooking: Make a larger portion and freeze individual servings for quick and easy meals in the future.

Use pre-cooked sausage: Opt for pre-cooked sausage to skip the browning step and save time.

Multitask: While the casserole is baking, use that time to clean up the kitchen or prepare a simple side salad.

Substitute Ingredients For Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole Recipe

  • chicken sausage - Substitute with plant-based sausage: Plant-based sausage is a great alternative for a vegetarian or vegan option, and it provides a similar texture and flavor to traditional sausage.

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a high smoke point and a mild flavor, making it a suitable replacement for olive oil in this recipe.

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots have a milder and sweeter flavor compared to onions, adding a subtle and delicate taste to the dish.

  • red pepper - Substitute with orange pepper: Orange peppers can be a colorful and slightly sweeter alternative to red peppers, adding a vibrant hue to the dish.

  • yellow pepper - Substitute with green pepper: Green peppers can provide a slightly different flavor profile while still maintaining the crunch and color in the dish.

  • garlic cloves - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a convenient substitute for fresh garlic cloves, providing a similar flavor without the need for mincing.

  • mushrooms - Substitute with zucchini: Zucchini can add a similar texture and absorb flavors well, making it a suitable replacement for mushrooms in the casserole.

  • petite diced tomatoes - Substitute with crushed tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes can provide a smoother consistency and a more integrated flavor to the dish.

  • marinara sauce - Substitute with tomato sauce with Italian seasoning: Tomato sauce with Italian seasoning can be a suitable alternative, providing a rich and flavorful base for the casserole.

  • mozzarella cheese - Substitute with provolone cheese: Provolone cheese can offer a similar meltability and mild flavor, complementing the other ingredients in the casserole.

  • whole wheat elbows - Substitute with gluten-free macaroni: Gluten-free macaroni can be used to accommodate dietary restrictions while maintaining the structure and texture of the casserole.

Presentation Tips for Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the sausage and peppers macaroni casserole, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use fresh herbs and edible flowers to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  2. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Enhance the visual appeal of the dish by incorporating a drizzle of balsamic reduction or extra virgin olive oil on the plate. This not only adds a touch of sophistication but also complements the flavors of the casserole.

  3. Utilize elegant serving ware: Opt for porcelain or ceramic plates to present the casserole. The use of high-quality serving ware adds a touch of refinement and elevates the overall dining experience.

  4. Garnish with precision: Pay attention to the placement of the sliced peppers and mushrooms on the plate. Precision in garnishing showcases attention to detail and culinary expertise.

  5. Consider portion control: Present the sausage and peppers macaroni casserole in smaller, carefully portioned servings to emphasize quality over quantity. This approach aligns with the refined dining experience expected by culinary professionals.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making This Casserole

  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods.
  • Non-stick skillet: A skillet with a non-stick coating that prevents food from sticking to the pan.
  • Olive oil: A cooking oil that adds flavor and richness to dishes.
  • Deep non-stick skillet: A deep pan with a non-stick coating, suitable for cooking larger quantities of food.
  • 9x13-inch pan: A baking dish with a capacity of 9x13 inches, commonly used for casseroles and baked dishes.
  • Food processor: A kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, and pureeing ingredients.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing ingredients together.
  • Foil: Aluminum foil used for covering and wrapping food during cooking or storage.

How To Store and Freeze This Casserole

  • Allow the casserole to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the dish soggy.

  • For short-term storage, cover the casserole tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

  • To freeze the casserole:

    • Divide the cooled casserole into individual portions or freeze the entire casserole in a freezer-safe container or aluminum tray.
    • If using a container, make sure to leave some space at the top for expansion during freezing.
    • Wrap the container or tray tightly with plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the container or tray with the dish name and date of freezing.
    • Freeze for up to 2-3 months for best quality.
  • To reheat the frozen casserole:

    • If reheating individual portions, thaw the desired number of portions overnight in the refrigerator.
    • For reheating the entire casserole, you can either thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or place it directly in the oven from the freezer.
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Remove the plastic wrap and cover the casserole with aluminum foil.
    • If thawed, bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. If frozen, bake for 45-60 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
    • Remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking to allow the top to brown slightly.
  • When reheating, ensure that the internal temperature of the casserole reaches 165°F (74°C) to ensure food safety.

  • If you have any leftover sausage, peppers, or onions, you can store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. These can be used as toppings for the reheated casserole or in other dishes like omelets, sandwiches, or quesadillas.

How To Reheat Leftovers

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover sausage and peppers macaroni casserole in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly. This method ensures that the casserole heats evenly and the cheese melts perfectly, creating a delicious, comforting meal.

  • If you prefer a quicker reheating method, you can use your microwave. Transfer individual portions of the casserole to microwave-safe plates and heat them on high power for 1-2 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through. Be sure to stir the casserole halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating. While this method is faster, keep in mind that the texture of the pasta and cheese may change slightly due to the microwave's quick heating process.

  • For a crispy top layer, you can reheat the sausage and peppers macaroni casserole under the broiler. Preheat your broiler to high and place the casserole in an oven-safe dish. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Keep a close eye on the casserole while it's under the broiler, as it can burn quickly. This method adds a delightful crunch to the top of the casserole, making it even more satisfying to eat.

  • If you have a toaster oven, you can use it to reheat smaller portions of the casserole. Preheat the toaster oven to 350°F (175°C) and place a single serving of the casserole in an oven-safe dish. Heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is melted. This method is perfect for those times when you're craving a comforting meal but don't want to heat up your entire oven.

  • For a stovetop reheating option, transfer the leftover sausage and peppers macaroni casserole to a large skillet or saucepan. Add a splash of water or chicken broth to help loosen the sauce and prevent the pasta from drying out. Heat the casserole over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it's heated through and the cheese is melted. This method allows you to easily control the moisture content of the casserole and ensures that the pasta remains tender and flavorful.

Random Fact About Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole

Chicken sausage and peppers macaroni casserole is a comforting and flavorful dish that combines the heartiness of sausage with the sweetness of peppers and the richness of marinara sauce. This dish is a perfect option for a cozy family dinner or a potluck gathering.

Is This Casserole Recipe Economical for Home Cooking?

This sausage and peppers macaroni casserole recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, including chicken sausage, onions, peppers, and whole wheat elbows, are affordable and readily available. The dish yields 8 servings, making it suitable for a family of 4. The total cost is approximately $20, making it a budget-friendly option. The flavors and textures of this casserole are satisfying, earning it a solid 8 out of 10.

Is This Casserole Healthy or Unhealthy?

This sausage and peppers macaroni casserole recipe has both healthy and unhealthy aspects. On the positive side, it includes a variety of vegetables such as onions, peppers, garlic, and mushrooms, which provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Using whole wheat elbows is also a healthier choice compared to regular pasta, as it contains more fiber and nutrients. However, the recipe also includes some less healthy ingredients, such as sausage and cheese, which can be high in saturated fat and sodium. Additionally, the portion size may be quite large, considering the recipe yields 8 servings.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use a leaner type of sausage, such as turkey or chicken sausage, to reduce the amount of saturated fat
  • Reduce the amount of cheese used or opt for a lower-fat variety, such as part-skim mozzarella
  • Increase the amount of vegetables in the recipe to boost the fiber and nutrient content
  • Use a low-sodium marinara sauce or make your own to control the amount of added salt
  • Serve smaller portions and pair the casserole with a side salad to balance out the meal

Editor's Thoughts on This Delightful Casserole

This sausage and peppers macaroni casserole recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The use of chicken sausage adds a savory depth, while the colorful peppers and mushrooms provide a vibrant and wholesome element. The addition of mozzarella cheese brings a creamy richness to the dish, and the whole wheat elbows add a nutty flavor and hearty texture. The cooking method ensures that the flavors meld together beautifully, resulting in a comforting and satisfying casserole. It's a perfect dish for a cozy family dinner or a gathering with friends.

Enhance Your Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli: Roast the broccoli with olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese until crispy and flavorful.
Honey Glazed Carrots with Thyme: Cook the carrots with honey, butter, and fresh thyme until tender and caramelized.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables: Marinate a variety of vegetables in balsamic vinaigrette and grill until charred and smoky.
Creamy Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes: Serve creamy polenta topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a comforting side dish.
Mixed Green Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette: Toss together a variety of mixed greens with a bright and tangy citrus vinaigrette for a refreshing salad.

Similar Casserole Recipes to Try

Creamy Chicken Alfredo: This creamy chicken alfredo recipe is a classic Italian dish that combines tender chicken, al dente pasta, and a rich, cheesy sauce. It's the perfect comfort food for a cozy night in.
Grilled Vegetable Skewers: These grilled vegetable skewers are a delicious and healthy side dish that's perfect for summer barbecues. The combination of colorful veggies and a flavorful marinade makes for a crowd-pleasing dish.
Mango Salsa Chicken: Mango salsa chicken is a refreshing and tropical twist on traditional chicken dishes. The sweet and tangy mango salsa pairs perfectly with the juicy grilled chicken for a burst of flavor in every bite.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing large mushroom caps with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and bake until golden and bubbly.
Bruschetta: Elevate the classic bruschetta by topping crispy baguette slices with a flavorful mixture of diced tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and balsamic glaze. Serve as a refreshing and vibrant appetizer option.
Desserts:
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in the rich and decadent flavors of this warm, gooey chocolate dessert. The outer layer is perfectly baked, while the inside remains molten and oozing with chocolate goodness. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate dessert experience.
Strawberry Cheesecake: Delight in the creamy and luscious texture of this classic dessert. The smooth and velvety cheesecake filling is complemented by a sweet and tangy strawberry topping, creating a perfect balance of flavors. Garnish with fresh strawberries for a beautiful presentation.

Why trust this Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, featuring savory chicken sausage and a colorful array of bell peppers and mushrooms. The use of wholesome whole wheat elbows adds a nutritious touch, while the blend of marinara sauce and diced tomatoes infuses the dish with rich, robust flavors. The inclusion of mozzarella cheese provides a satisfyingly gooey finish. With a harmonious blend of ingredients and a straightforward cooking method, this recipe promises a delicious and comforting casserole that's sure to become a household favorite.

Want to share your experience making this Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole or have any tips to enhance the recipe? Join the discussion in the Recipe Sharing forum!
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of sausage for this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of sausage for this recipe. You can try using pork sausage, turkey sausage, or even a plant-based sausage for a different flavor.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Absolutely! You can use any type of pasta you prefer. Penne, rigatoni, or even spaghetti would work well in this recipe. Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions for the pasta you choose.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the sausage and peppers macaroni casserole ahead of time. Simply assemble the casserole as instructed, cover it tightly, and refrigerate it. When you're ready to bake, allow for a slightly longer baking time to ensure it's heated through.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Certainly! This casserole freezes well. Once it has cooled completely, portion it into individual servings, place them in airtight containers, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Can I add other vegetables to the casserole?
Of course! Feel free to customize the casserole with your favorite vegetables. Zucchini, eggplant, or spinach would be great additions. Just be mindful of the cooking time for the vegetables you choose to ensure they are cooked to your liking.

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