Today I am delighted to welcome back Becky to the Blog with our 6 part series on healthy dinners. Becky has already been on the blog talking about healthy breakfasts and healthy lunches. So far in this dinner series she has looked at Green Smoothies, Frittata, Roast Chicken and Roasted Vegetables and Fish, Rice and Greens.
This weeks healthy dinner is this delicious slow cooked casserole. Now the nights are drawing in you may be looking for food that is a bit more warming and comforting, well this casserole recipe is just perfect!
I’ll pass you over to Becky……….
Slow Cooked Casserole
This is so easy, but it does take a while to cook. It can be prepared in advance if you are fast on time. I sometimes prepare this in the morning as I’m sorting the kitchen and preparing breakfast, roughly chopping carrots, onions and parsnips quickly as I do my other jobs! You might like to set your oven timer and walk into the delicious smell of cooked dinner at the end of a hard day at work!
These ingredients are totally adaptable. Use what you have in your fridge, or what is on offer at the shop. Please play around – the slow cooking method means all the tastes mingle and you can’t go wrong. I’m actually a vegetarian and I haven’t eaten meat for years – but I cook a meat version of this for my family, I just guess ingredients, and no taste testing goes on – that is honest – and they always like it. I’m sure it’s not the best casserole they’ve ever tasted, but it shows you how easy it is to make a decent casserole.
- 2-4 carrots
- Large parsnip
- 1-2 Medium Potatoes/sweet potatoes
- 2 onions (red or white or a few shallots) – Lots of onion is good in a casserole so don’t worry about adding too much.
- 3-5 cloves of garlic – get them in there!
- Mushrooms (Optional – mushrooms are not to everyone’s taste, but they can add a nice flavour and alternative texture).
Choose from Chicken, Beef, Tofu, Chickpeas or Mixed Beans (soaked overnight or canned), and Tempeh.
- 2 tins of Tinned tomatoes
- Stock cube (preferably organic and appropriate for your dish – the organic ones are made from real ingredients)
- sundried tomato paste
STEP 1) Start by chopping the top and tail off your onions and soak them in a bowl of water whilst you prepare the other vegetables. This will help release the chemicals that make you cry, so you can chop without streaming eyes!
STEP 2) Start scrubbing/peeling all the vegetables and chopping them roughly in to bite sized chunks, this should be quick; we don’t need uniform size and shape! Pop straight into an ovenproof casserole dish. The garlic can go in whole (peeled) or you can pop through a garlic press if you prefer.
STEP 3) Then return to the onions. Peel them and roughly chop – add them to the dish.
STEP 4) Prepare your protein. If you are having meat, tofu or tempeh, dice into bite sized chunks, and add to the dish. If you are having beans rinse them and pop them in.
STEP 5) Add two tins of chopped tomatoes, 1-2 desert spoons of tomato paste, a stock cube, salt and pepper, and some herbs if you like.
STEP 6) Add boiling water to cover. Pop on the lid and add to the oven to cook. The slower and longer you can cook the better. I would look at 150 degrees for 4 hours, but if you need to cook quicker you might want to cook on 180 and check after 2 hours. These times are all variable.
STEP 7) Once all the vegetables are soft and your protein is cooked, you may want to take a ladle or two of the casserole and whizz it up into a smooth thick sauce using a blender. Add this back into the casserole to thicken the sauce.
STEP 8) Adjust the seasoning. Serve in big or small bowls, on its own or with big chunks of fresh bread, and enjoy – watch your mouth it might be hot!!!
- None of my recipe suggestions are exact. I believe you need to try for yourself and see what works. Use my suggestions as guidelines and adjust to suit your ingredients, your timeframe, and your taste!
Have a great Day!
Love Becky xx