Many people think I live in my kitchen. Sure I love cooking, but those who know me well know that I am all for recipes that are quick, can be frozen, and ultimately, can be used more than one way.
I recently went to Melbourne for a flying visit. I was literally there for 36 hours and before I went I made sure my husband had two meals ready for the kids, and a lunchbox for each day. This pan gave me my two meals and one lunchbox - now that is winning!!!
This pasta is quick and basically cooks itself. I'm going to give you the secret of how it turned into three meals and saved my husband while I was away.
BOLOGNESE PASTA MIX
Prep 10 min // Cook 30 min
500g pork and veal mince (or lean beef mince if you prefer)
4 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery finely diced
1 carrot finely diced
1/2 red capsicum finely diced
1 onion finely diced
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic crushed
3 cups liquid beef stock (or 1 stock cube mixed with boiling water)
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup good quality red wine (optional)
1 tbs EDMK Italian Spice Mix (or store bought Italian seasoning)
2 cups uncooked pasta
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to season
Heat 1 tb of olive oil in a pan then saute the garlic and onion for 2 minutes.
Add mince, break it up into small pieces and cook until browned.
Add carrot, celery, capsicum, tomatoes, EDMK Italian Spice Mix and red wine to the pan, then bring to the boil for 2 minutes.
Add liquid stock, tinned tomatoes, bay leaves and pasta to the pan, reduce to a low simmer and place lid on the pan.
Stir once or twice over the next 10 minutes until the pasta is cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
My twins are lasagne fans and unless I am organised, I CRINGE when they ask to have it for dinner! Even with a stockpile of Bolognese sauce in the freezer, the cheese sauce making process, then the layering process, the cooking etc., is a tiresome chore when you get home late and you want dinner on the table pronto!
Well my friends, that was until this recipe! I can make my "Cheat" Lasagne and have it in the oven in 10 minutes WITH a homemade cheese sauce!
It's not often my husband wants to kiss my feet in thanks, but this meal saved his bacon after taking me to the airport one night right on dinner time. Knowing that this was ready to eat when he got the twins home, and they were still tucked up in bed by 7pm, he was then relaxing in peace and solitude with a beer watching the football!
1. "CHEAT" LASAGNE
Prep 10 min // Cook 20 min
2 tbs plain flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
Pinch ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to season
2-3 cups of Bolognese Pasta Mix
1-2 cups cheese sauce
1 cup grated cheese
Heat the butter in a saucepan until melted.
Add flour and continuously stir for 1 minute or until the mixture is bubbling.
Reduce heat to low and slowly pour in the milk while continuously stirring so lumps do not form.
Cook until the sauce boils/or thickens (whichever comes first)
Add cheese and nutmeg then season with salt and pepper.
Continue to stir until the cheese melts.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
Add Bolognese Pasta Mix to the the tray.
Top with the cheese sauce and spread evenly over the Bolognese Pasta Mix.
Top with grated cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese on top is golden (about 20 minutes).
2. BOLOGNESE PASTA LUNCHBOX
The second way I used the Bolognese Pasta Mix is in the twins lunchbox. Luckily for me the twins love cold pasta in their lunchbox. For those kids who do not like cold pasta, this recipe is great as a thermos lunch especially now the weather is getting cooler.
3. BOLOGNESE TOAST
By the time my return flight had come around, my husband was ready to hand back the reigns. He had done a great job with breakfast, school runs AND two days of after school dancing and sport.
However by the last night his comment was thank goodness you left the rest of that pasta in the fridge and the final recipe for him was Bolognese Pasta Mix on some wholegrain toast - which the twins thought was a great camping treat (due to bolognese jaffles we eat when camping!).
Sadly there's no picture of that, as I was somewhere in the sky between Melbourne and Townsville, but if the pasta stained smiling faces that greeted me in arrivals is anything to go by, dinner that night was a great success!