Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hearty Cabbage and Beef Casserole Recipe (Gluten Free, Casein Free)

There's just something wonderful about comfort foods this time of year. One of my favorite comfort foods is macaroni. Although cheese is rarely on the menu these days, I still love a good creamy sauce for my pasta.

A week or two ago (during another dairy free "cheesy" sauce experiment) I decided instead of using another casein free "milk" substitute to create a creamy base, I would simply use chicken broth. Wow... it was another one of those "duh" moments when I realized after tasting the thickened chicken broth it was exactly the type of sauce I was looking for. It's a flavor I love and it can replicate "cheesiness" really well in a casserole. Perfect! And so incredibly easy.

I decided to create this casserole because I had a lot of vegetables on hand and we're eating from the pantry this week. It's one of those things about frugality I love. Creativity thrives when you have to use what you already have available!!

This one pot dish is FULL of hearty vegetables, a little ground beef for flavor (& to keep the husband happy), a gorgeous, flavorful, creamy sauce, and a kiss of greek seasoning. With all the vegetables in this meal, you don't even need a side dish!

While it takes a little time to prepare, it's a really easy dish to throw together once all the ingredients are prepped. And the best compliment? It's only about 340 calories per serving and while it doesn't actually have cheese in it... it tastes "cheesy." Upon his second serving, Michael asked me if I was SURE it didn't have cheese. I'll take that as high praise!

Hearty Cabbage and Beef Casserole
Created by Carrie @
Gluten Free, Casein Free, Soy Free

8 ounces dry gluten free pasta, cooked according to package directions
3 cups cabbage, sliced and cooked
1/2 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup brown rice flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons greek seasoning
3 egg whites

Optional Topping:
1/4 cup gluten free cornflake crumbles (an awesome substitute for parmesan cheese!), you could also use crushed tortilla chips if desired

Brown ground beef. Drain fat, and set aside. In the same pan saute onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Cook until onions are translucent and golden brown about 5 minutes. Set aside. In a large dutch oven heat olive oil. Whisk in brown rice flour. Cook for 2 minutes and slowly pour in chicken broth. Whisk well and cook for 5-10 minutes to create a thickened sauce. Add cooked pasta, cooked cabbage, cooked onion mixture, and 1/2 pound of browned ground beef. Add salt, pepper, and greek seasoning. Stir to coat and add in 3 egg whites. Mix together thoroughly and pour into a greased 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle gluten free corn flake crumbles or crushed tortilla chips evenly over casserole if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve. Makes 6-8 large servings.

** Just in case anyone else is counting: I have calculated that the total recipe is 2058 calories including 1/4 cup of the gluten free corn flake crumbles. For 6 large servings, it's 343 calories per serving. This is a nicely portioned meal with a healthy calorie count!

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