✯ Day 313 of Vintage 365 ✯
There's an undeniable chill in the air these days. Perhaps not quite bone-shatteringly cold like the brutal arctic winds that rattle much of Canada throughout the winter, but enough of a bite so that one firmly knows summer and even the milder days of fall are well behind us.
During these mid-Novembers days as the world outside begins to slip from autumn to winter, and the possibility of snow is ever-near, I take a certain distinct joy in once again being able to keep my oven on for hours without it heating up our apartment to the point of it feeling like Death Valley.
There's comfort - timeless as the return of night time frost - to the act of creating hearty, filling, wonderful means on the stovetop and inside the oven once more.
From pots of bubbling soup and stew, to roast root vegetables, whole chickens and fragrant sweet nut and fruit breads turning perfectly golden brown, the return of nippy weather brings with it the desire - and need - to feed your family with the sort of dense, stick-to-your-ribs dishes that are rarely seen during the sizzling months of summer.
Though a handful of eyebrow-raising recipes over the years has given the given the word "casserole" a certain less desire connotation, the fact of the matter is that casseroles are a fantastic, handy, scrumptious one dish way to serve up a filling, nutritious meal (especially if you're heavy-handed with the veggies and lean protein).
I've always enjoyed casseroles a lot, be they rich, elaborate Italian cheese-topped numbers or simpler fare tossed together from store cupboard staples. Today's vintage recipe for Sausage Macaroni Casserole (which first appeared in Woman's Home Companion magazine and comes by way of curly-wurly on Flickr) hails from 1947 and speak of the culinary tastes of the decade, yet is still in keeping with many modern day baked pasta dishes.
As with most casseroles, this one has the added benefit of being adapted to high heaven. You could swap the sausage for lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey (or use soy crumbles instead); nix the American cheese and add a smoky gouda, mild havarti, or beautifully aged cheddar. In addition to (or instead of) the green pepper, why not try some broccoli florets, corn kernels, or sundried tomatoes?
On the table in under an hour, this creamy, crowd-pleasing macaroni casserole is precisely the kind of dish one yearns for the moment the mercury starts plunging, and is a great vintage recipe to whip up all through the freezing cold fall and winter night have returned once more.