Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Casseroles: One Pot of Goodness

In Jamaican we are very familiar with one pot meals, as soup is a mainstay in our cultural cuisine. Saturday in Jamaica is our Traditional Soup Day. Most food establishments large and small have soup on their menu daily.
We put everything into our soups, foods from animals (chicken, beef, pork), staples (yam, green bananas, dumpling), Legumes( gungo, red peas), Vegetables (carrots,callaloo) you name it, we have it in our soups. 
Another very tasty but less popular one pot meal is the casserole. These are healthy meals, they use less utensils in the kitchen, as well as being very delicious.

 The real beauty of casseroles is how easy they are to make. All you need to do is combine the prepared ingredients in a casserole dish, then cover and place in the oven to cook. The indirect heat of the oven warms the ingredients slowly, preventing the food from sticking together and burning onto the base of the dish. A la

Tinned foods can also be used in casseroles to break the monotony of consuming and preparing them in the more traditional ways. I have had green banana and sardine casserole well seasoned with herbs and spices, and it was delicious.

Casseroles are fun and ingenious ways of getting young children and picky eaters to increase their food intake. With children the secret is : Cheddar cheese. Melted cheese gets them every time. I was  able to get my younger sister to eat yams and dasheens by incorporating them into a casserole. Using pasta, (lasagna) is another fun way of getting children to eat  and explore the world of food while keeping things nutritious.

Adding some brightly colored vegetables such as carrots or pak choi adds to the visual appeal of the casserole as well as adding to the nutritional value.

 Recipes can be found all over so go ahead do your research and get creative, make use of all your local foods.