Winter Walk, How Our Trade-In Value Went Up and Chorizo and Mozzarella Pizza Casserole
Snow is falling as I type, not just any snow, a light amount of beautiful snow appropriate for this time of year. Not the kind that drops a couple of feet and your driving spirits. I’ve heard it will not stay but if it can continue lightly through the evening, that would be wonderful as the town’s Winter Walk is tonight. You can read more about it at that link back there but I’ll tell you the bits I know.
Last year was our first experience (as it was our first year here), candles lined the sidewalk throughout the town, horse-drawn wagon rides were going up and down the blocks, and free treats were handed out in the local galleries and shops. Greg and I enjoyed this as it allowed us to get to know the stores and galleries with a large number of people so that we weren’t singled out as it would’ve been had we tried to on our own. It’s kind of awkward to walk into a dance studio or art gallery when you aren’t interested in participating and just wanted to see what it’s all about.
There are musicians and carolers, a pet adoption drive, Santa and actual reindeer, a model train exhibit and storytelling at the library for the children (and adults like me), you can get your picture taken at the historical society (reminder that this is where Jesse James attempted to rob the bank) with the James Younger Gang (we did) and of course, shopping to kick off the Be Local-Buy Local frenzy for the holidays and more. There’s no avoiding this since we live downtown and I wouldn’t want to because I’m unusually merry right now. Maybe it’s due to our tree being up and some décor strewn about the apartment, including a flashing light in the window that may or may not cause seizures to the passersby.
Now that snow is on the ground, it’s fitting that we recently purchased a newer used Subaru Forester with AWD intact (unlike ours-read about that there). We traded in the broken one, which involved the man asking for my birthdate to place into the records, then quickly responding with “you’re getting old” which was the point where I burst into tears screaming “I know, I know….I know,” and I’d like to think that’s why they added another $500 to the trade-in. During this ordeal, Greg was making both a face like he didn’t know me and a motion to stop but later consoled his old lady when we were outside. By consoled, I mean laughed at me until I realized I’m 27, when I’m 40 I can complain.
While our friend was visiting, I made a recipe that I thought he would like called pizza casserole. The original recipe was from Life’s Ambrosia but I substituted a few ingredients and left out a few others. My husband and I were quite taken by this dish but I used spicy chorizo instead of Italian sausage which was too spicy for our company. I forgot that he doesn’t like too much heat. You can use whatever amount you’d like and add more vegetables. I highly recommend making this if you want a speedy, tasty meal.
Chorizo and Mozzarella Pizza Casserole
1 pound dried rotini pasta (or your choice of pasta)
1 pound hot or mild ground Italian sausage or chorizo (mild or spicy)
1/2 cup onion, diced
add more vegetables like diced peppers if you’d like and/or diced pepperoni
1 cup button mushrooms, diced-optional
1 cup pizza or marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 and bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a tbsp of salt and cook pasta for 6-7 minute, then strain. Pasta will be firm.
In a large skillet, brown the sausage or chorizo, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the onion and mushrooms (plus any vegetables or pepperoni you’d like to add), cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables soften. Add in the cooked pasta and sauce. Mix well and remove from the heat.
Place half of the casserole mixture into an 8 x 8 casserole dish. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for 15 minutes and remove, then top with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake a few more minutes until cheese is melted and serve.