I’ve had a few friends ask me if I can include some family-friendly recipes on my blog. Now, I don’t claim to be Nigella or Delia or any kind of great chef, but I pretty much always cook from scratch and am particularly fond of recipes I can batch cook, meaning I have a freezer stocked full of meals ready to go. I’m always passing recipes on to friends, so I’m more than happy to do the same here in the hope some of you will find it useful.
I’m going to start with this hearty sausage casserole. The recipe originally came from one I found on the BBC food website, although I’ve adapted it slightly over time. It’s been an absolute favourite in our house for a few years now. It’s so rich and warming and is perfect in this cold weather. We usually serve it with rice. It’s also a great one to take into work in a wide-brimmed Thermos flask, along with a plain tortilla wrap, for those days when you just can’t face sandwiches. I always quadruple the ingredients so that we have one meal to eat that day and three for the freezer.
I’m a vegetarian (although no one else in my house is) so I cook this with vegetarian sausages. Apparently it tastes just as good, and has less saturated fat. So far, none of my meat eating family and friends who I have cooked this for have complained anyway! I find Cauldron Lincolnshire or Cumberland sausages work best in this, as the texture of some other veggie sausages means they disintegrate while they’re left simmering in the pan.
It takes about an hour to cook, plus 15-20 minutes to prepare the ingredients.
8 good quality pork sausages OR Cauldron sausages, snipped/sliced into bite size pieces (about 5-6 pieces per sausage)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped into large chunks
2 cloves of garlic, chopped or squashed through a garlic press
1 red pepper, chopped into large chunks
100g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
4 sundried tomatoes, snipped into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
jar of passata
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
handful chopped basil or 2tsp dried basil
1. Gently heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or wok, and fry the sausages until they are golden brown and cooked through.
Or, for the veggie sausages, I find they work better in the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4, place sausages in a large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and cook the sausages for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
2. Remove (meat) sausages from the pan and put to one side. In the same pan, fry the onions and garlic until softened. (If using veggie sausages, pre-heat a good glug of olive oil in a large pan. I tend to do this step while the sausages are cooking in the oven). After 5 minutes or so add the peppers, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, cook for a further few minutes then return the sausages to the pan.
3. Add the red wine vinegar and cook for a couple of minutes on a high heat.
4. Add the passata, sugar, basil and paprika and simmer for at least half an hour.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with fluffy rice or crusty bread.
When freezing and defrosting food, make sure to follow health and safety guidelines. You can read the Department of Health’s advice here.
Mmmmm. Tasty! Do you have any family-friendly recipes you would like to share with other Cardiff Mummy Says readers? Let me know on my Facebook page or tweet me on @cardiffmummy