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Basic casserole: 10 meals!

Basic casserole: 10 meals!

Serves: 8
Time to make: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total cost: $14.72 / $1.84 per serve

(at time of publication)


Chicken tagine: (Pictured) Use 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs as the meat. Trim visible fat. For the stock use chicken stock and reduce to 1 1/2 cups. Add 1 tablespoon honey and 1 cinnamon stick. Add 1 finely chopped small red chilli, 1-2 tablespoons Moroccan seasoning and 2 teaspoons turmeric to onions and garlic (Step 1). Instead of adding vegetables, add 1 cup pitted prunes, dates or dried apricots. Reduce cooking time to 45 minutes. Ten minutes before end of cooking, add 2 cups frozen green beans. Serve with couscous and top with toasted almonds and chopped fresh coriander. For a sweeter tagine, add extra honey.

Chickpea, pumpkin and cashew nut curry: Omit beef. Add 1-2 tablespoons curry powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon turmeric to softened onions and garlic (Step 1). Cook for 1 more minute. Use chopped pumpkin for the vegetables. Replace beef stock with 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Add one 400g can chopped tomatoes or Indian-styled tomatoes, 3/4 cup light coconut milk, two 390g cans chickpeas (drained) and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Cook for about 40 minutes at 180°C or cook in a wok with a lid. Just before serving, stir in 3/4 cup raw cashews and 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander. Serve over rice.

Beef curry: Add 1 tablespoon curry powder and 2 teaspoons ground cumin to onions and garlic (Step 1). Use 2 large potatoes or kumara, chopped, or a mixture of both for the vegetables. Add one 400g can chopped tomatoes with remaining ingredients. Ten minutes before end of cooking, add frozen green beans. Adjust flavours before serving. To extend recipe further, add one 390g can chickpeas (drained) when adding green beans.

Italian ragoût: Use 1/2 cup red wine for 1/2 cup of the stock. Use capsicum, celery, mushrooms and carrots as the vegetables. Add 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or oregano plus one 400g can chopped tomatoes. If preferred, add chopped olives.

Beef Burgundy: Omit chopped onions and add 2-3 rashers diced lean bacon to garlic (Step 1). Reduce stock to 1 cup and add 1/2 cup red wine, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Use whole baby onions, chopped potatoes and whole or halved mushrooms as the vegetables.

Chicken, mushroom and bacon casserole: Use skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks as the meat. Add 200g chopped lean bacon rashers and 500g button mushrooms to onions and garlic (Step 1). Use chicken stock instead of beef stock and add 1 teaspoon hot mustard. Add one 400g can chopped tomatoes and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Serve with a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream and chopped fresh parsley.

Italian sausage casserole: Use 8 thick, reduced-fat Italian sausages as the meat. Slice thickly then brown in a heavy-based non-stick pan. Cook onions and garlic (Step 1) then place in a casserole dish with sliced sausage, stock, one 400g can chopped tomatoes, one 420g can chilli beans and 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Use 1 chopped red capsicum and 1 chopped green capsicum as the vegetables. Add 200g pasta shapes such as penne or macaroni at the same time as you add stock. Cook at 180°C for 20 minutes. Add 2 cups frozen green peas or beans. Cook for 10-15 more minutes. Serve in bowls topped with fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Irish stew: Use 4 large chops (forequarters) or 8 small lamb chops as the meat. Trim visible fat. Reduce stock to 1 cup. Use peeled, thickly sliced potatoes as the vegetables. Add half at the beginning of cooking and the remaining half after 1 hour. Drain off some liquid if necessary before adjusting seasonings. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley. Add a touch of Guinness to cooking liquid if you prefer.

Mexican beef and bean casserole: Add 1 tablespoon paprika to softened onion and garlic (Step 1). Reduce beef stock to 1/2 cup and add one 400g can chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup tomato purée and one 420g can Mexican/chilli beans. Use 1 chopped red capsicum, 1 chopped green capsicum and 12 button mushrooms as the vegetables.

Pork and apple casserole: Use 4 large pork loin chops as the meat. Trim visible fat. Layer browned chops in a casserole dish and top with sliced raw onions (omit garlic) and 2-3 peeled, thinly sliced apples. Mix 1 cup apple sauce, 1 cup liquid chicken stock, 1-2 teaspoons whole grain mustard and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar together in a jug. Pour over chops. Bake for about 45 minutes at 170°C, or until chops are cooked and sauce is thick.

HFG tip

If a thick gravy is preferred, mix a little flour or cornflour with water and add a few minutes before end of cooking time.

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