Here is yet another recipe that a friend and I used to make in our freezer cooking marathons. It is not my ultimate favorite, but it makes a nice change from the other recipes as it has rice. And since it has rice, my family likes it! I have made quite a few adaptations to it as we have seven family members, and there is no way one box of rice would be enough! So I made it last night, and the one pan is gone, and the other pan is in the freezer. Hooray for not being having to cook some other day! I have included the original recipe, and then I put off to the side in italics what I did.
- 2 packages (7.2 ounces each) rice pilaf–I used 4 boxes of Rice-a-Roni, 2 of Rice Pilaf and 2 of Creamy Four Cheese; but any flavors would do. I doubled the rice and carrots, but nothing else.
- 2 pounds bulk pork sausage–I used 2 pounds of turkey smoked sausage.
- 6 celery ribs, chopped–I only did 1-2 ribs because I didn’t have anymore, and we don’t care for celery that much.
- 4 medium carrots, sliced–I did 7-8 carrots, chopped
- 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder–I did not use.
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper–I did not use.
- Prepare rice mixes according to package directions.
- Chop your carrots and celery. I have a food processor, and I chopped the vegetables rather small as the casserole would be more enticing to the children with small pieces of vegetables rather than big pieces of vegetables.
- Slice your smoked sausage if you are using smoked sausage.
- In a large skillet, cook the sausage, celery and carrots over medium heat until meat is cooked. Drain if necessary; for my smoked sausage, I did not have to drain it.
- In a large bowl, combine the sausage mixture, rice, soups, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper. Transfer to two greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes. (If you do 4 boxes of rice like I did, then use 13-in. x 9-in baking dishes. I put half of the rice in a 13″ x 9″ pan, then half the meat mixture, half of the cans of soup, and mixed all of it up in the 13″ x 9″ pan.)
- Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed. Yield: 2 casseroles (6-8 servings each).