Going to Plan B, I checked my pantry, freezer and fridge to see what I could find. I had purchased the Italian bread so had that and spaghetti sauce in my pantry. In my freezer I found a pound of browned-up Italian sausage, and in my fridge I found Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Crème, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. If I had not found the Italian sausage, I would have used browned-up ground beef and added some Italian seasonings to it.
I thawed the Italian sausage in my microwave and combined it with the other ingredients to make what I call Italian Sandwich Casserole. My husband and son liked this very much, and it reheated very well in the microwave.
Two changes I will make when I make this again. I left the bread slices whole, and they were a bit difficult to cut through. Next time I will cut all the bread slices in half so that I can cut between them. I will save some mozzarella cheese to sprinkle on the top of the second layer of bread slices along with the parmesan. My recipe reflects those changes.
Italian Sandwich Casserole
10 slices firm bread such as Italian or Texas Toast, cut in half
1 carton Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Crème
1 lb. Italian sausage browned or ground beef browned with 1 t. Italian seasonings added
1 (8 oz.) pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 jar (28 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
Place bread slices on a large baking sheet and put in a 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes to toast slightly. Remove and set aside. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil. Place 10 half slices of the bread in the prepared pan. Cover bread slices with the cooking crème, spreading evenly. Spread the browned Italian sausage or ground beef over the cooking crème layer. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese over the meat. Pour spaghetti sauce over the cheese and spread evenly. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Add the last 10 half slices of bread, placing them over the previous slices. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the last of the mozzarella cheese over the top along with the parmesan cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. To serve, cut between the bread half slices and remove to plates. This is very hearty so could make as much as 10 serving depending upon what is served with it and whether it is served for lunch or dinner.
Thanks Leslie for a great idea. So tell me, do you ever create a dish with ingredients that you have on hand?
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