With four small children I’ve found that organisation is key. I’m a pretty organised individual but sometimes even a small chink in my plan can see utter chaos ensue. I’m not sure how anyone with lots of small children and no organisational skills ever leaves the house. A typical morning is like a military operation – it probably doesn’t hurt I’m ex-military. I’m also
a bit somewhat completely OCD, so being organised totally floats my boat.
An example of this is my weekly menu. We have a whiteboard on the back of the kitchen door. On it we write lists of things we need to do, important information, even what days I’ve changed the beds (there’s five beds in this house, if I didn’t make a note, I’d never remember who’s I’d changed when). There’s also the weekly menu. I tend to make it up near the end of the week (a job I absolutely hate) as I do the weekly shop at the start of the week. I try to keep it varied: a mince day; a veg day; a fish day etc. Like I said, this is one of those tasks that bores me to tears.
But it’s a really useful tool. I only buy what we need for the meals that week, so we never have a lot of wasted food (a huge pet hate of mine), and my weekly shopping bill is kept to a minimum. I’m not saying its foolproof. I also keep a stock of failsafe meals. Jacket potatoes. Quesadillas. Filled pasta. It varies. Just in case. But it makes my life easier, which is always good.
This sausage casserole falls into the ‘failsafe meal’ category. It’s unusual for there not to be sausages in my freezer (I’ve told you about my mansize freezer? Literally. You could keep a body in it). The other ingredients are all store cupboard essentials for me. So regardless of what chaos is ensuing around me, I know that I can knock up a reasonable meal if necessary.
Ingredients (Serves 4 adults)
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped or sliced
2 tsp garlic (frozen or paste)/garlic cloves, crushed
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of baked beans
splash of soy sauce
veg of choice
∼ 100ml water
salt & pepper
1. Warm the oil over a medium heat in a casserole dish that will go from stove to oven (I have a hefty pot that is perfect for this, but if you don’t, just cook everything initially in a pan then transfer into a casserole dish to put in the oven). Add your sausages and brown all over – they don’t need to be cooked through as they’re going in the oven.
2. Remove the sausages and set aside for a minute. There should be some fat leftover from the sausages – if not, add a little more oil. Soften the onion in the fat until just starting to brown. Add in the garlic for the last couple of minutes, being careful not to let it start to burn.
3. Chuck the sausages back into the pot, along with all of the other ingredients. Everything. Just chuck it all in there.
I use carrots, sweetcorn and mushrooms in my sausage casserole as that’s what we like. But use whatever vegetables you want. Or none if you’d prefer.
4. Give this a stir then bung it in the oven at about 170ºC (fan)/325ºF/Gas 3 for about an hour.
I tend to serve this with lovely buttery mash and some green veg. The kids love it and it’s super simple to make.