Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna Casserole

This one was absolutely delicious! I'm on a roll-three tasty low-carb meals in a row. At this rate, I'm going to want the cold weather to last forever. Unfortunately, this has the most carbs than the others so far, so maybe I won't be making it very often. Drat! Why do all the really tasty dishes have more carbs and more calories?

I changed the original recipe just a little—I added my changes and comments in red font below. If you want to see the original recipe complete with pictures, head on over to Kalyn's Kitchen.

This dish makes 6-8 servings and took 2-2 1/2 hours from start to finish.

2 medium-sized bunches of kale (I don't know how big a medium-sized bunch of kale is. I bought my kale at Walmart. The bunches looked pretty small so I used 3 of them.)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. olive oil
1 pkg (20 oz) hot turkey Italian Sausage (Turkey sausage is too expensive and hot Italian is too hot. I used mild Tarantino Italian sausage from Costco, our favorite brand.)
3 cups low-sugar pasta sauce (I used 1 jar (24 oz.) Classico Spicy Tomato and Basil sauce and added 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce to make the 3 cups. Spicy sauce to help make up for using mild instead of hot sausage.)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. ground fennel (I have never seen ground fennel. I used regular fennel seeds and smashed them with the smooth side of my meat tenderizer.)
4 Tbs finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups grated reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (I got carried away and used a 4 cup bag because we love cheese and because the pan was just too big.)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray a 9" x 12" lasagna-type glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray. I used a 3 qt, 9 x 12 baking dish. The next time I make this, I will use a slightly smaller baking dish (2 qt, 8 x 11). The kale and the meat sauce didn't quite cover the whole dish.

Add the salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Trim stems from the kale, then cut the kale into ribbons about 1/2 inch wide. ( I think next time I will just buy a big bag of the already cut kale.) When the water starts to boil add the kale, lower heat so the water is gently boiling, and cook kale 5-6 minutes. Drain kale into a colander in the sink and let it continue to drain while you prepare other ingredients.

While the kale is cooking, heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan, squeeze sausage out of the casings, and saute until the sausage is cooked through and nicely browned, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks. When the sausage is done, add the pasta and tomato sauce, dried basil, and ground fennel. Stir to combine and let the sauce simmer 20-25 minutes, or until it's thickened and the liquid is reduced.

In the casserole dish, layer 1/2 the drained kale, sprinkle 1/2 the Parmesan, 1/2 the sauce, and 1/2 the mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of kale, Parmesan, sauce, and mozzarella. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and cheese is starting to brown.

Let the mock lasagna sit for about 5 minutes before you cut it. Serve hot.

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