Casseroles are a great meal that you can pre prepare. If you are trying to lose weight then you need to steer clear of any with cheese or cream in them. This pretty much leaves you with a tomato base for your casserole, which can still be an amazing meal and because you can change the meats, the spices, the herbs and the veggies you’ll never notice that they all start the same way- onion, tomatoes, garlic, potato, carrots. There are other options for sauces, but this list is a good start.
There are so many varieties and you can add anything to them and they are guaranteed to be delicious.
There are a couple of points that apply to all casseroles.
- Place the veggies in first, and the meat on top.
- When it has finished cooking, remove the meat and veggies (as well as you can, it may be easier to remove the sauce) and reduce down the liquids. Add a teaspoon of corn flour to thicken it up and boil it for 30-45 mins. This will make a thick and beautiful sauce. You then add everything back together and heat briefly before serving.
- As there is usually a complex carb in the casserole, you don’t need to serve it with another- but I think you can’t go past rice and a mouth-watering casserole. Something fresh and light like a leafy green salad will compliment a casserole nicely.
Here are some of my favourites
Lamb Shank Casserole
Lamb Shanks (1 per person)
1 Leek, chopped coarsely
2 Carrots, chopped coarsely
2 Potatoes, chopped coarsely
3 Garlic cloves, whole
1/4 pumpkin, peeled seeded and chopped coarsely
2 Parsnips, chopped coarsely
2 cup chicken stock
3 cup water
Salt to taste
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped coarsely
Add all ingredients, to a slow cooker/ french oven/ casserole dish.
Cover with water and cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.
Turn down to 100 degrees and cook for 4 hours.
Remove liquid and reduce.
Chicken thigh Casserole
Chicken drum sticks
4 Potatoes, sliced into thick rounds
garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 large can crushed tomatoes / 6 fresh tomatoes chopped roughly
Layer the ingredients in a slow cooker/ french oven/ casserole dish, starting with a layer of potatoes, some garlic, some chicken pieces, some tomato paste, salt and pepper, more potatoes and repeat. Try and finish with a layer of potatoes. Add tomatoes on top and then cover with stock and then water, so the tomatoes spread thought-out the dish.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees. If the potatoes on top are dry, turn over and submerge in the liquid.
Turn down to 100 degrees and cook for 2 hours.
Beef and borlotti bean casserole
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 cup dried borlotti beans (you can use black beans/ red kidney beans as well)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 800g beef chuck steak, cut into 3cm pieces
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200g mushrooms, halved
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup beef stock
- Capsicum, chopped
- Kale/ spinach chopped finely
Place beans in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 1 hour. Drain.
Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add half the beef. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned. Set to the side, with any juice. Repeat with remaining oil and beef.
Reduce heat to medium and fry onion and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes or until tender. Add mushroom. Return beef and juices to pan.
Add tomato, stock and capsicum. Bring to the boil.
Transfer to a slow cooker/ french oven/ casserole dish. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for an 1 hour and a half. Add beans.
Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beef is tender. Stir in Kale/ Spinach. Cook for 5 minutes or until wilted. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.
These next ones sound delicious and we would love to try them, but time is precious little in our house. If your situation enable you to get this creative- give these ones a go!
Beef and pear casserole
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 2 firm pears, cores removed, cut into thick wedges
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2kg chuck steak, cut into 3cm cubes
- 2 brown onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, grated
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Masterfoods Moroccan Spice Blend
- 20g butter
- Place 1 1/2 cups cold water, honey, 1/4 cup lemon juice, pears, cinnamon and allspice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until pears are tender. Allow to cool. Drain, reserving liquid. Set pears aside.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Cook steak, in batches, for 3 minutes or until browned, adding more oil as required. Transfer to a large plate.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to pan. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, ginger and spice blend. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Return steak to pan with 1 1/3 cups reserved pear syrup. Bring to the boil. Transfer tagine to an ovenproof casserole dish. Cover with a lid. Place in oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add pears. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden. Remove tagine from oven and stir in pears. Return to oven and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until steak is tender. Serve with pumpkin and chickpea salad and Moroccan bread (see related recipes).
Lamb, pumpkin and chickpea targine
Ingredients for the spice mix:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 fresh long red chillies, diced
- 2 dried red chillies, diced
Ingredients for the tagine:
- 500g diced lamb, trimmed of visible fat
- 2x400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads, steeped in 100ml hot water
- 1 lemon, peeled into thin strips and juice
- 400g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
- 400g potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1x400g tin of diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp honey
- 20 large pitted prunes
- 50g blanched almonds
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup coriander leaves, for garnish
- 250g low fat natural yoghurt to serve, optional
Ingredients for zucchini, lemon and mint couscous:
- 2 zucchinis, grated
- 1 lemon, zest, rind and juice
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped mint
- 500g couscous
- 500ml chicken stock, salt-reduced
To make the spice mix: Combine all the spice mix ingredients either in a blender or pound in a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste is formed, then set aside.
To make the tagine: Put a large non-stick frying pan on high heat, add the lamb pieces to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove lamb from then pan and set aside. Turn down the heat and add the diced onions to the pan, put on a lid and let the onions saute lightly for 2 minutes. Add the spice mix and stir for 1 minute. Return the lamb to the pan and toss through the spice mix and onions. Next, add the cinnamon sticks, saffron and water that it has been steeping in, the lemon peel, lemon juice, tinned tomatoes, freshly grated black pepper to taste and 2 teaspoons of honey. Stir through the ingredients and replace the lid. Turn down the heat and let the tagine simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and add the cubes of pumpkin and potato, prunes and almonds. Add another 200ml of water if the tagine is too dry. Cook on a low heat for approximately 15 minutes until the potatoes and pumpkin are tender but not mushy.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve with couscous and yoghurt.
To make the couscous: In a saucepan, bring to boil chicken stock, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the grated zucchini and bring it back to the boil. Take the pot off the heat. Pour in the couscous and stir. Cover with a lid and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Remove lid and sprinkle over the freshly chopped mint and using a fork separate the grains.
To serve: spoon the couscous into a bowl and then place the tagine on top.