Cheesy Mexican Bake with Home-made Coleslaw

All my clients and friends keep telling me they want to eat better but have no time to cook! In response to this I’ve decided to post some quick-to-prepare recipes that will allow you to eat well, and get food on the table fast, with a mimimum of fuss.

This recipe is embarrassingly easy and I have endless variations of it, but here goes:

Note: For vegans, use a butter and cheese substitute. This is a vegetarian meal, but carnivores could easily add in a few handfuls of bacon, ham, chicken or sausage. Like I said, endless variations…

Ingredients: potatoes – washed but skin on ( you could also use pumpkin or sweet potato if you choose), an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a few cups of mixed vegetables, some ripe tomatoes (or a can if you’re really pressed), and a tin of baked beans, some cheese, coriander (cilantro – or fresh herbs of your choice), cumin, black pepper, paprika (smoked is good!) and a little chilli.

Fresh tomatoes from my garden!

Method:

Heat oven to moderate, 180c, or 350f.

Find a big baking dish or pan to serve your meal in and grease well with butter. (I use an old enamel dish I found at an op shop many years ago. It’s still one of my faves and it cost $2!) Cook up enough potato cut in rough big chunks, unpeeled, to cover the bottom of pan with a hearty layer.¬†(I often use pumpkin or sweet potato or a combo too.) While the spuds are cooking grease your serving pan and chop the rest of your vegetables, and then get started on your slaw. Ten minutes should be more than ample time!

When the potato is cooked dump into bottom of pan. Feel free to smash down a bit to get that coverage. Cover with a layer of baked beans. 1 tin ought to do it. Then add various chopped vegies – for ‘Mexican’ (this is hilarious considering I am an Australian…) I use chopped capsicum (bell peppers), raw onion, green onions (shallots) a few cloves of crushed garlic, fresh corn (you could used tinned), fresh coriander and then season with lots of cracked black pepper, cumin, paprika (smokey is good!) and a little chilli – or just use a mexican spice mix. Cover with a layer of sliced fresh tomatoes and then with grated cheese and place in hot oven for about 20 mins or until golden brown on top. Devour, with a garden salad or coleslaw. Easy and yum!

Variation: For something a little fancier slather some guacamole and sour cream on top, and add more fresh coriander (cilantro).

Coleslaw – finely slice or shred a quarter wedge of red cabbage and a white one, add some finely chopped celery, capsicum (bell pepper), onion and apple, grated carrot, and a little fresh corn if you have it. Add coleslaw dressing and mix well. (Confession – I will usually use store-bought dressing when I’m in a hurry) I often add walnuts or diced pineapple to my coleslaw too, depending on the day, and what I’m serving it with.

PS – You can cheat with the coleslaw if you need to by buying a bag of pre-chopped coleslaw vegetables from the supermarket, then adding a few of your own touches (like the onion and apple). That’s still going to be way better than the pre-bought tubs of mush that imitate the real thing.

Coles pre-made coleslaw vegetables – Image from coles.com.au

I often use whatever vegetables are in my cupboard/fridge or growing in the garden for my cheesy bakes. If I am feeling energetic I will cook beans from scratch, or use leftover chilli from a previous meal. It is a great dinner to reheat for lunch or supper the next day too :)

Tips: Cook double your usual quantity of potato at one night’s dinner, and make this recipe up to serve the following night. ¬†Refrigerate and then bake when needed, but give yourself a good 30 minutes cooking time to make sure it is heated right through. Faster than take-away and a fraction of the price! Or make two trays and freeze one to serve on those nights when you are too tired to care.

And while you’re waiting for this to brown in the oven, and with the coleslaw all made, you’ll have time for a minute’s meditation….

Life’s too short to eat bad food! I hope you enjoy this easy meal xx