Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Magical Components Casserole

This dish was designed to not only provide a great hearty healthy meal in one dish, but also to show how you can use any part of it to make other great dishes.

Expand your choices by finding the magic in the dishes you already know how to make. You be the magician! The kitchen is your temple where you can express all of the love, all of the need to serve, all of the nurturing that you provide on a daily basis. If you have followed slave for even a month now, you have become a chemist or as they used to call it, an alchemist!
Try this recipe and as many of the variations listed as possible. Then go on to think up others! And when you do, please tell me.

1 ½ lbs Ground Beef
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach cooked and WELL drained.
1 pkg store brand Mac & Cheese (you will only be using the pasta)
½ cup chopped onion
2 large shallots minced
2 stalks celery diced fine
4 large cloves garlic peeled and minced
1 green pepper, diced finely
4 Tbs of yellow mustard
4 Tbs low sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 can condensed Celery soup (low sodium)
1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (low sodium)
1 5 oz container non fat plain Greek style yogurt.
1 ½ tsp oregano
1 ½ tsp basil
1 Tbs kosher salt
¼ ground white pepper

Cooking Spray

Pre heat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 baking dish.

Spray a large frying pan, Over medium low heat start sweating the chopped onion, set timer for 4minutes, stir occasionally : remember if it sizzles when you add onions, the pan is too hot. When timer goes off, add the minced shallots, reset the timer for another 4 minutes.
Add the minced garlic cloves stir for only 1 minute then add the chopped celery and diced pepper. Continue to sweat the vegetables until they are very fragrant and celery and peppers are still vibrant! About another 4 minutes.

NOTE: At this point the magic begins. Remove between 1/3 to ½ cup of this to cool, then seal in freezer bag. When You want a fantastic dip, again warm this over a medium to low heat and stir until the onions start to turn brown. This is channelizing. When you get that color, let it cool for 5 minutes and mix it with a 5 oz container of non fat plain Greek style yogurt and everyone will rave about how good it is!

Now then brown the ground beef in the same frying pan over a medium heat. Remember you want it brown not just a “Grey”! Dollop in the yellow mustard and cook, stirring, until all of the yellow is absorbed into the meat. Now have the skillet lid handy, add the 4 Tbs of Worcester Sauce and clamp the lid on. Lower the heat to a simmer for at least 5 to 6 minutes.

NOTE: again, more magic. At this point the ground beef will have a nice more powerful flavor. Remove about half of the beef and mix in about ½ cup of the onion mixture, let cool, bag and freeze. Now the next time you want to use one of those helper boxed dinners, thaw out this beef and let it get warm in a medium high skillet and proceed with the directions on the box. It will taste so much better than just the ground beef alone. Also great as an addition on store bought frozen pizza, just remember to only use less than ½ a cup.

Now to continue with our casserole. Cook and drain just the pasta from the mac and cheese box. Remember to subtract 1 minute from the lowest cooking time on box. This is usually just enough time to microwave the spinach.

NOTE: again if you wish, omit the spinach and continue to make the mac and cheese as the box directs but stir in the heartier beef mixture and about 1/3 cup of the onion mixture: fantastic!

Back to the casserole: You are ready to assemble. Add the onion mixture to the beef in the skillet and carefully stir in the condensed soups plus the yogurt, cover and let simmer. If forgotten, pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. When it reaches temperature. Spray the baking pan. Un-cover the beef mixture and pull apart the chopped spinach and stir it in until well incorporated. Now stir that into the drained pasta and spoon into the baking pan. Cook for right at 25 to 30 minutes in the oven just to make everything is warmed and all flavors mixed.

NOTE: my friend Iron Chef Emmitt pointed out how versatile this mixture was by saying “if you use Chicken instead of beef you have a French casserole. If using Beef, by adding some taco seasoning, you have a Mexican casserole, and by using diced tomato, more oregano, with a bit of Parmesan Cheese on top you have an Italian casserole.

See why slave refers to it as Magic? All of these great dishes from the one basic recipe. What variations can you think of? Maybe soy sauce and bean sprouts? Anyway you chose to make this have fun and enjoy!

Happy to serve my Master Indy


To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Please buy slave's cookbook:

The Little Black Book of Indiscreet Recipes by Dan White via @amazon

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