RECIPE: Sausage and rice casserole a comfort-food staple

Since her mother’s passing, JoAnn’s Sausage and Rice Casserole has become a comfort-food staple for Pam Armstrong. Courtesy of Pam Armstrong
Since her mother’s passing, JoAnn’s Sausage and Rice Casserole has become a comfort-food staple for Pam Armstrong. Courtesy of Pam Armstrong

Credit: Pam Armstrong

Credit: Pam Armstrong

Originally from Columbia, Tennessee, hospitality professional Pam Armstrong moved to Atlanta in 1989, and currently is a senior sales manager with Marriott Mid-Atlantic.

Armstrong had been working reduced hours during much of the pandemic, but she’s been back to full time for over a month, and said business has been picking up, especially for 2021 bookings and beyond.

“I work remotely, because I sell all of our hotels all over,” she said. “During the pandemic, I’ve been cooking a lot. I’ve been making soups and freezing them. I’ve been making casseroles. Because I’m divorced, and I don’t have kids, when I cook, I love sharing food with family, friends and neighbors."

Besides cooking, two of Armstrong’s biggest passions are collecting cookbooks and “beautiful flatware and china that is different and vintage.”

Pam Armstrong / Contributed by Pam Armstrong
Pam Armstrong / Contributed by Pam Armstrong

“My favorite cookbooks are by Ina Garten,” she said. “I love her show. I’m addicted to HGTV, and all the cooking shows. Any time anyone is at my house, I set the table with beautiful plates, and wine glasses and champagne glasses, and all of that. I just think presentation is the way. That’s from my hospitality days, and fine dining.”

Armstrong learned to cook by watching her mother make meals for the family, and she often goes back to her mother’s recipes for tried-and-true potluck dishes and desserts.

Five-flavor pound cake and chocolate Coca-Cola cake are among her favorites. But, since her mother’s passing in August, JoAnn’s Sausage and Rice Casserole has become her comfort-food staple.

“She made it for years and years,” Armstrong said. “I’m from a small town, and whenever we’d have dinners at the church, people always asked her to please make the sausage and rice casserole. Our neighbors, and her friends and coworkers, loved, loved it. It was the go-to for our family.”

JoAnn’s Sausage and Rice Casserole
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ⅓ cup red and yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • In a large skillet, over medium heat, break the sausage into pieces and brown, then drain and set aside, reserving drippings. Add celery, onions and bell peppers to the skillet, and sauté in the sausage drippings, until the onions are translucent.
  • In a large bowl, combine the celery, onions, bell peppers, water, chicken and mushroom soups, cooked rice, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste, then pour into a lightly greased casserole dish.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, and serve with warm French bread. Serves 8

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 325 calories (percent of calories from fat, 58), 14 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 21 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 53 milligrams cholesterol, 1,175 milligrams sodium
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