Upside-Down Sausage & Mushroom Pizza Casserole

IMG_8096Quite simply, sometimes a recipe will just surprise you.  Much like the skinny jean craze.  I didn’t see that coming.

Anyway, I was watching Food Network about a million years ago, and saw Robin Miller make a version of this dish.  What I liked about it was that it used a few shortcuts (jarred marinara and canned mushrooms) but didn’t rely on a store bought pie crust, puff pastry, or salty refrigerator biscuits (blehg) for the crust.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but health wise, I would rather make it myself.  The topping on this casserole bakes up like magic!  Pour it on and a half hour later it has puffed up to a soft, cheesy, ‘pizza crust or gooey breadstick like’ hat!  Quick, super simple, and kind of amazingly tasty.

I sent this recipe to a few of my friends-all Moms with little ones and busy lives-just to see how it would do.  They loved it and even made a few adjustments of their own that I kept in the final recipe.  I’m thinking I should have them road test my recipes more often!!

You can easily make this in two installments in order to save you a few minutes on a weeknight.  The filling can be made a day or two before you bake the final dish.  Just store it in the fridge and make the topping just before you slide it into the oven.  It also freezes well, so baked leftovers can be cooled, cut into single serving sizes, and popped into the freezer in small, re-heatable containers; perfect to grab for lunch when you are headed out the door to work.

Warm, hearty, and just the thing for winter.
IMG_8100One Year Ago: Lemon Potatoes
Two Years Ago: We were remodeling our house and I had no kitchen!

Upside-Down Pizza Casserole
Adapted from Robin Miller
I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but much like everything else, I plan to try using the white whole wheat flour in this and see how it bakes up.  If you try it before me, let me know how it goes!

2 links (about 8 oz or so) sweet or spicy italian sausage, removed of casing
1 small onion, diced
1 can (6 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 c sliced black olives
1/2 jar good marinara sauce
2 c shredded mozzarella
1/2 c flour
2 T grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
1 c milk
1 tsp dried parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
To make the filling, brown the sausage with the onion until cooked through.  Drain off any excess fat if necessary.  Add the mushrooms, olives, and sauce.  Heat through.  Pour into a sprayed 9X9 glass baking dish or other similar sized casserole dish.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder.  Add the egg and milk and whisk until smooth.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the sausage filling and pour the crust evenly over the top.  Its OK if it doesn’t hit every spot; it will spread in the oven.  Sprinkle the top with dried parsley and bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges and the curst has baked up and is firm.  Cool for a few minutes before serving.  Enjoy!