In Smalltownland you can always find a church selling a cookbook as a fundraiser. You know the type of cookbook....everyone contributes a recipe and the book is printed with a plastic spiral binding. All the ladies of the church typically contribute their best recipe and these cookbooks are immensely popular.
It is what I like to call, "Church Lady Cuisine". To me a good church lady recipe has several hallmarks. The first being real ingredients that are readily available in any typical grocery store are used. No fancy sauces or spices are needed.
Second, the recipe satisfies children and adults alike. It is hearty and no nonsense. Fit for church dinners, picnics, or a funeral, church lady food is very versatile.
Third, and most important, to the church lady mantra is the addition of.....drum roll please......
cream of mushroom soup.
It is the glue that holds all casseroles together. That, "certain something", that church ladies just can't cook without.
And so I shall now share with you one of my favorite church lady recipes. It is a great cold weather supper with the addition of a salad/vegetable on the side.
1 lb sausage (I like to use a hot/spicy version.)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (church lady glue)
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups peeled, sliced raw potatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Brown sausage, drain and set aside. Combine, soup, milk, onion, salt, and pepper. In a greased 2 qt casserole dish, layer half of potatoes, half of soup mixture and half of sausage. Repeat. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cheese, return to oven, uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.