Kit – oven proof individual dishes

I was given these Le Creuset heart-shaped bowls for my wedding a few years ago, and it was love at first sight. They are a deep ruby red, beautifully shaped and I’m a sucker for anything heart-shaped. But, I admit, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them. The kind of thing I used to make in individual bowls was chocolate mousse, and even I couldn’t manage that much chocolate mousse (they hold a third of a litre). So they sat in the front of the cupboard where I could admire them, take them out, contemplate them, and then put them back again.
But suddenly, I get it! The thing I find most annoying about cooking for kids is the ‘their tea/your dinner’ scenario. I still can’t quite believe that you have to cook twice, but it’s difficult to see a way around it. Sometimes I even end up cooking the same thing twice in the same evening, such as carbonara, because it won’t taste nice after sitting around for several hours, but I’ve got enough ingredients to feed all the family. So…oven proof individual dishes are the answer!
Rather than reheat the lasagne you cooked for their tea for your dinner, you just make the lasagne in four individual dishes and cook them when you want them. This has worked really well for meals such as pasta bakes. I’ve also done it for cottage pie, so my and my husband’s dinner isn’t half a slightly dried out pie, instead it is two perfectly formed heart shaped individual pies, which is so much more appealing. I’ve also found that because it looks so nice kids are more into the food. A little girl came to tea the other day, who (according to her mother) never eats mince, and she scoffed an entire cottage pie, which I put almost wholly down to the fact it was in a heart shaped dish.
Other recipes that it works really well for are; chicken and broccoli noodles, macaroni cheese, chocolate fudge pudding, in fact anything that goes in the oven. Plus, turn the kids’ carbonara into a pasta bake for you and your partner. Just add some chunks of mozarella, put in the oven proof dishes and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Voila! Admittedly turning the oven on twice is a waste of resources, but less so than you having to cook twice, or throwing away food that looks unappealing because it’s been reheated too many times.
So, at the risk of stating the obvious: bowls, they are a really good piece of kit. Go and buy some!


  1. Since a certain little girl has eaten Cottage Pie out of a heart shaped bowl, her mother is now trying to source other novelty shaped kitchen ware. Unfortunatley the glass rabbit shapped jelly mould didn’t quite cut it. Keep up the good work Crumbs!

  2. Okay, so for those of you who don’t want to splash out on new cookware, go grab some of those little Gu pots – the ones that come in glass ramekins that you end up saving and then recycle in a job lot as they’re cluttering your cupboards.

    I make mini fish pies, cottage pies, pasta bakes, etc etc in them and freeze a load at once. Then either cook from frozen or defrost in the fridge overnight and cook for toddler’s supper in the eve.

    Keep meaning to blog about my little revelation but haven’t got round to it…


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