Cheap and Fast Comfort Food: Polish Casserole
So, I have to confess. We ate this mouth-watering Polish Casserole before I could get the pictures taken of the complete dish. The casserole was bubbling away in the slow cooker, sending out incredible aromas. By dinner time, we couldn't wait for the photos. Oops. Nonetheless, the two of us didn't scarf down the whole casserole, so I did manage some pictures to give you an idea of how the dish will turn out. The casserole uses inexpensive and convenient ingredients, which you layer in a slow cooker. The preparation takes about 15 minutes, and the cooking time is about 4 hours. What you end up with is a comforting casserole complete with noodles, sauerkraut, and turkey Polish sausage. The dish gets additional flavor from a scattering of caraway seeds and a simple home-made thousand-island sauce. Nutty, mild Swiss cheese melts atop the casserole for a finishing touch. No, the casserole isn't health food, but it's not too awfully bad for you and provides welcome warmth, comfort, and belly happiness. Serve the casserole with warm, crusty bread and a green salad for a complete meal.
Slow-Cooked Polish Casserole -- Serves 6+
8 ounces of wide or medium egg noodles, uncooked
2 1/2 cups of water, divided
24-ounce jar of sauerkraut (I use Aldi's German)
16-ounce package of (fully cooked) turkey Polish sausage, cut into 1/2-inch
1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of light mayonnaise
1/4 cup of plain, non-fat yogurt
1/4 cup of sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese
Coat the inside of a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and turn the heat to high. Spread the noodles on the bottom of the slow cooker and pour 1 1/2 cups of the water gently over them. Top the noodles with the sauerkraut, spreading the sauerkraut evenly over the noodles. Save the sauerkraut jar. Sprinkle the cut up sausage evenly over the top of the sauerkraut. Sprinkle on the caraway seeds evenly. In the now-empty sauerkraut jar, combine the ketchup, mayonnaise, yogurt, pickle relish, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Put the lid securely on the jar, and shake the jar well until all the sauce ingredients are combined. Pour the sauce evenly over the top of the casserole. Add 1 cup of water to the sauce jar, replace the top, and shake the jar again to mix the water and any remaining sauce in the jar. Pour the water/sauce over the casserole. Put the lid on the slow cooker, turn the heat down to low, and let the casserole cook for about 4 hours or until the noodles are soft (check the casserole early--remember the meat is fully cooked to start). Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top of the casserole and replace the slow cooker lid for a few minutes until the cheese melts. Turn off the slow cooker, remove the lid, and serve the casserole.