Italian Sausage Bake & Bacon Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper NOT!

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, (no casings)
1 small Vidalia Onion, chopped
2 large Yukon potatoes, chopped
1 cup baby carrots, halved
1 can diced tomatoes with herbs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Brown sausage and onion. Drain off grease.
  • Place sausage in the bottom of a 9×9 casserole.
  • Drain tomatoes, reserving juice.
  • Toss together the potatoes and carrots and layer over the sausage and onion mix.
  • Top with the tomatoes.
  • Whisk together the tomato juice, ricotta cheese and seasoning
  • Pour over top of everything.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake 45 minutes or until potatoes are done.

For some reason hubby loves Hamburger helper. Must be left over from his bachelor days. Now I can’t have pre-prepared foods so I made him a substitute recipe that tastes even better. I make in advance too which makes a great weeknight casserole ready to pop in the oven when you get home. Hubby likes the texture of Velveeta, but I find it a bit rubbery. So I tried Land of Lakes American cheese and it slices great while still giving you that smooth creamy cheese texture when it melts.

6 bacon strips cooked crisp and crumbled
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups green giant frozen corn, thawed
2 large Yukon potatoes, sliced
Land o’ Lakes American Cheese Slices

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Toss bacon and corn together.
  • Layer potatoes over top.
  • Generously salt and pepper the potatoes.
  • Place a thin layer of cheese slices over potatoes.
  • Brown hamburger and onions together. Salt and pepper well while meat is browning. Drain off fat.
  • Layer over the potatoes and top with another layer of potatoes.
  • Salt and pepper again and layer with another layer of cheese.
  • Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

**I like to make these back to back (that way I also have 2 meals ready to go with half the mess) so the left over bits of browned sausage and caramelized onion add flavor to the hamburger.
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Both of these recipes will be great additions to my recipe box. They have all our favorite ingredients. I think I will try the Italian Sausage Bake for dinner tonight. Thanks!