This Rich and Cheesy Beef Casserole Might Just Be Your New Favorite

A lot of people want to cook a wholesome and filling meal at home, but can‘t do so because they’re either too tired, too busy, or do not have enough time on their hands. In the end, they resort to ordering takeout or having food delivered to their home. But did you know that it’s possible to cook a delicious and nutritious meal without slaving away in the kitchen for hours? All it takes is a bit of creativity (and some spice) to transform a few simple ingredients into something that will delight your palate and nourish your body. 

1 pound grass fed ground beef
1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 organic Roma tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced
8-ounce can organic tomato sauce
1/2 cup organic beef stock
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coconut oil 
Himalayan salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
1 cup raw cheese of your choice 

1. Season ground beef with salt and pepper and brown in a large oven safe pan. Drain beef, remove from the pan and set aside.
2. In the same pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil. 
3. Sauté the cabbage and onion until softened, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, cinnamon, ground cloves and beef stock. Whisk to incorporate ingredients.
6. Add ground beef to the pan and pour the tomato sauce mixture and mix thoroughly. 
7. Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

When Buying Ground Beef, Look for Organic and Grass Fed Varieties

This simple and easy-to-prepare stir fry recipe uses beef, a superior source of protein and other nutrients, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been found to be a potential cancer fighter. However, for this recipe (and other recipes calling for ground beef), I advise you to buy ONLY organic, grass fed ground beef for safety reasons.

Conventional ground beef from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which are notorious breeding grounds for diseases, can expose you to dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and even fecal bacteria like E. coli. One test even revealed that 100 percent of all ground beef samples contained bacteria that can cause life-threatening blood or urinary tract infections. 

The truth is that ground beef is actually more problematic than solid meat cuts. In whole cuts, the bacteria are found on the surface of the meat, and are destroyed once the meat is cooked thoroughly. When you grind meat, though, the same bacteria get mixed throughout the meat, contaminating all of it. What’s more, ground beef is usually made from a number of different animals — and if one animal is contaminated, the entire batch will be, too.

Once you find organic beef (from pasture raised cows, raised by a trustworthy local farmer), make sure to cook it thoroughly. However, avoid burning it, as burnt meat can cause carcinogenic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) to form. Organic beef is not only safer, but also nutritionally superior than CAFO beef, as it is higher in:

• Total omega-3s  (it has a healthier ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids)
• B-vitamins riboflavin and thiamine
• Minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium
• Vitamin E
• Beta-carotene
• Vaccenic acid (which can be transformed to CLA)

Don’t Forget the Other Standout Ingredients in This Recipe

The second equally nutritious ingredient in this recipe is cabbage, which is an excellent source of fiber, folate, vitamin B6, manganese and vitamins B1, B5, B6 and K, as well as powerful antioxidants. These beneficial phytonutrients help protect against several types of cancer, including colon, prostate and breast cancer. 

Cabbage also contains an impressive amount of vitamin C — it can give you 54 percent of the recommended daily value for this nutrient. Vitamin C is a potent free radical-scavenging nutrient that helps protect you against infections. Other nutrients in this humble vegetable include phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium.

While the recipe above calls for completely cooking or “softening� the cabbage, this method may remove most of the nutrients in the vegetable. If you want to get all the benefits of cabbage, cook it as minimally as possible instead. Leaving it tender crisp preserves the delicate nutrients while giving your dish a delicious crunch.

Tomatoes and tomato sauce also make up a bulk of this recipe, but note that they are a nightshade plant, and therefore may contain lectins. The good news is that cooking them can effectively diminish much of their lectin content, and at the same time increase the lycopene content. 

Lycopene is perhaps the most well-known compound in this food, and is said to have anticancer and antistroke effects. It’s also been Identified with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, according to one study. 

Raw cheese adds not only a delicious saltiness to this dish, but also a plethora of nutrients. When made from the milk of grass fed, pastured animals, cheese is an excellent source of:

• High-quality saturated fats and omega-3 fats
• High-quality protein and amino acids
• Vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin), B12, D and K2 and minerals like zinc, calcium and phosphorus
• Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is known for its potential to fight cancer and boost metabolism 

Finally, herbs and spices, particularly cloves and cinnamon, add a depth of flavor to this recipe. Cloves add a sweet and earthy taste to your dishes, and also boast of antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that stand out from other spices.  On the other hand, cinnamon, one of the most studied spices in the world, has been found to help improve a wide array of health conditions, such as inflammation, dementia, diabetes, cardiovascular health, dental health and more. 

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