Monday, August 24, 2009

The 15 minute Leggo's Challenge - Italian Beef Casserole

Okay so here's the challenge. Can you cook an Italian Beef Casserole to feed two people in less than 15 minutes?

This was quite some challenge for me, I mean I can cook but I'm usually quite slow at it and I've never tried - let alone make a casserole! But having been provided with the Leggo's Italian Beef Casserole Simmer Sauce, courtesy of Nuffnang - I decided to take up the challenge! I mean, I'm sure I could do it with a bit of help from google...

Hahaha. I reeaally hoped so? The results of my googling revealed that the ingredients of a casserole were typically cooked on the stove before being transferred to the oven where it continues to be cooked slowly for an hour at the very least. It was then that I thought to myself 'OMG, what have I gotten myself into?!?! How am I supposed to bake it when I've only got 15minutes? Should I maybe just use ingredients that don't require chopping and just bake it at a higher temperature...' Hahaha, I really didn't know what I was going to do. My initial thoughts of making something exciting changed right there and then to making something within the time limit... Luckily, I eventually found out that a dish can be called a 'casserole' if it's served in a casserole dish and surprisingly, YES WE HAD CASSEROLE DISHES AT HOME! Phew, so I didn't need to bake!

I know some of you might be like meh, as long as you use the 'Italian Beef Casserole' sauce, then it's an Italian beef Casserole but I'm a stickler for technicalities, I had to get it right! When I received the sauce, I read the suggested cooking instructions and it didn't mention baking either - I was getting confident I could accomplish the challenge.

Okay, so here's my first attempt:

I call it 'K's Italian Meatballs and Mushroom Casserole' =P

I used meatballs for a few reasons:
- I've never had proper meatballs (yep, it's true!)
- I keep hearing about those IKEA meatballs which are supposed to sosososoooo good but I've never tried them before =[

Ingredients (serves 2)
1 pack of Leggo's Italian Beef Casserole Simmer Sauce
1 pack of beef meatballs (300g)
1 onion
70g white button mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
mint leaves to garnish

1. Start the timer!! Then dice the onion and halve the button mushrooms.
2. In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onions until they begin to soften.
3. Add the meatballs and cook until the meatballs are browned evenly.
4. Check to see how you're going for time.
5. Add mushrooms and Leggo's sauce then simmer until mushrooms are just cooked.
6. Garnish with mint leaves or herbs, serve in casserole dish.
7. Stop the timer and jump up in joy when you see that yes, you did manage to do it in less than 15 minutes!!

cooking meatballs

after sauce was added

finished product! yay!

Yep, I timed myself and managed to clock it in just under 12 minutes. I served this with toasted Turkish bread rolls which were very good for dipping. At first I tried to serve it as a meatball hamburger using the Turkish bread roll but it got too messy so I ended up just having the bread on the side. But this way I managed to mop up all the sauce! Mmmmmm. Oh and the meatballs, they were goooood! Soft but with a bit of chew, much easier to eat than actual chunks of meat.

If you look on the sauce packaging, they've done it with actual chunks of meat though and that looked pretty good served with mash. I decided to try it with diced beef too and see which one I liked the best. I basically used the same ingredients as above but replaced meatballs with diced beef.

finished product number 2!

I also made some cheesey mash (Got that idea from that cheese ad on TV!) but I cheated a little because of the time restraint. I didn't want to use those instant mash powdery things so I got frozen potatoes and defrosted & heated them in the microwave. Mashed them up good, adding some milk, butter and a good heap of shredded cheese. It wasn't the fluffiest of mashes but the cheese all but made up for it! =]

finished product number 2 with mash

It actually took more effort to make the mash than it did the casserole and it wasn't even the star of the plate! I ate this with Turkish bread rolls too because I liked it so much the first time and this time round it was even better!! I'd dip a chunk of bread into the sauce and plop of cheesey mashed potato on it too - yuummmmy! The beef was definitely not as soft and cool to eat as the meatballs so next time I'm gonna go with the first version but with a side of mash too.

So how fast can you cook an Italian Beef Casserole? Can you do it in less than 15 minutes? Find out by heading over to Nuffnang's site and grabbing your own free sample of Leggo's Italian Beef Casserole Simmer Sauce. (Want some more variety? You can also get Leggo's Simmer Sauce Pouches - which serves 2 - in Chicken Parmigiana and Tuscan Meatball flavours for just $2.39 at your local supermarket.) So put on your thinking caps, fire up the stove and let’s see if you can beat me at the challenge!


Lisa said...

oops i didn't comment. anyway the photos looked great! i'm yet to try the sauce but seems like everything went well :) :)

ps please update soon!

K said...

@ lisa: haha look forward to seeing how you go =]

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

Using meatballs is a great idea ... might try this tonight. Looks very delicious.

K said...

@ Trish: haha thanks! yeah meatballs are way yum!