Oh sure, I’ve made a traditional casserole before. There’s a reason that recipe has been around for ages. It’s a classic with great flavor. This green bean casserole is something different. Something amazing. Crispy green beans, sure. A creamy cheese sauce, you bet. Red bell peppers, bacon, onion and panko? Fantastic.
This is soon to become a staple in our household. I was able to grab last-of-the-season fresh beans when I made this green bean casserole. With the season now gone I’ll have to make this using frozen (but not canned!) beans. If you use frozen, defrost them using the package instructions and skip steps #2-#6 below for blanching the fresh beans. That’s it!
Get some good panko bread crumbs. Funny how not too many years ago, you’d never hear about them. Now, you find them in just about any dish that used to use regular old bread crumbs, from meatballs to fried chicken.
I’m lucky in that I usually love darn near everything I make. These Mississippi Mud cheesy potatoes are definitely no exception. In fact, love may be an understatement. Anita and I both devoured them. You just can’t beat the tender potatoes, ooey gooey cheese, crunchy smoky bacon, and green onions. It’s a lot like having a loaded baked potato, and yep, you guessed it, I love loaded baked potatoes too.
The only possible change (and really, it’s a stretch perhaps) I would make to these Mississippi Mud cheesy potatoes would be to add a roasted jalapeno or two. Actually, that’s not a stretch at all. Or maybe a pinch or two of smoked paprika or chipotle powder. Yeah, I’m going that for sure now! It’s not that this dish NEEDS some spicy kick to it. It’s that I like things with a little heat more that things without it. So why not add just a bit? I figure anything I would add to a bake potato, I can add here too!
I recently discovered Blue Plate mayonnaise, which I think is the best around. If you can’t find it locally you can pick it up online for a fair price.
I was going to change the name of this dish to just ‘spaghetti casserole’ because (before I made it) I thought that calling it Million Dollar Spaghetti was a bit pretentious. Well, as you can tell, I didn’t change the name. That’s because, yeah, Million Dollar Spaghetti is the perfect name for it.
If you close your eyes and take a bite of this spaghetti you’ll almost think you are eating lasagna. Actually, it’s very close in flavor to my mom’s easy lasagna, a recipe I make and devour regularly. Spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, pasta, a little Italian seasoning and plenty of cheese. What’s not to love?
Million Dollar Spaghetti was a huge hit in our house. We were sad when the last piece disappeared. But not super sad since we knew it won’t be long until we make this again. And again.
You can easily change this recipe up to meet your own tastes. Maybe add some fresh mushrooms in when you cook the sausage. Or a few bell peppers. For me, a pinch or two of red pepper flake is always a good idea too. You don’t have to use an expensive jarred spaghetti sauce, either. Good ole Prego (I used Italian Sausage and Garlic) works just great!
I highly recommend that you shred or grate your own cheese at home. Don’t buy the pre-shredded or pre-grated stuff. It has stuff added to it to keep it from sticking together. That ‘stuff’ affects how the cheese melts. Shred it yourself and use the good stuff.