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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Investing time on a recipe for success

The 'sandwich lunch' was replaced with this fantastic home made lasagne.  I can have a sandwich later.

This is one of our favourite recipes and today, I've decided to make up the twice the quantity and freeze some.  We've enjoyed this meat lasagne at around just 400 calories for a very large portion (quarter of the recipe) and costs around £1 each.  The thing is, it can be cooked, cooled, reheated and enjoyed all over again.  In fact, I've decided to make this as we can have half today and half tomorrow when we return from the pub.  It's delicious, and my sneaky white sauce works a treat - so easy too.  Sometimes I'll add a separate layer of courgettes or beefy mushrooms, to ring the changes.  Add whatever you fancy.  It's tastier than the (often slippery) supermarket version, and it freezes perfectly. 

If you have a spare hour, and like us, want to invest time in yourself and your weightloss, here's the recipe:

Ingredients for Lasagne to serve 4 large or 6 smaller portions:

6 sheets of pre-cooked lasagna (104g) 360 cals
450g good beef mince (fat poured off) 837 cals
160g onions 67 cals
120g mushrooms 26 cals
Tablespoon tomato puree 14 cals
Tin chopped tomatoes 88 cals
15g cornflour 60 cals
250ml semi skimmed milk 125 cals
20g parmesan/cheddar mix for the top 80 cals
Mixed herbs to taste
Salt & pepper

One oblong baking dish 20 x 30cm - you can use a square dish, or anything that accommodates the length of the pasta sheet (18cm) to avoid having to break it up.

Fry the mince and pour off the fat. Fry the onions in a little oil until soft then add as much garlic as you like and add to the mince. Stir in some dried provencal herbs and pep this up with some of your own herbs if you have any. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. At this stage you could add any odd bits of left over red or white wine to give the dish a bit of oompfhhh (no, I haven't drunk any yet).

Now layer the ingredients. Bottom layer is the mince, then 3 sheets of dry lasagne, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a layer of UNCOOKED sliced mushrooms. Why bother cooking the mushrooms and soaking up lots of fat? They stay quite chunky if you add them raw, and cook through nicely in the oven. Put another layer of mince on top of the mushrooms. Repeat and finish with a layer of mince.

Put this half done dish into the oven once it has been covered with FOIL. This will steam/bake and soften all the ingredients. The pasta especially. I cooked it for around half an hour on 180 degrees. During this time I made the white sauce.

For the white sauce, mix the cornflour (which I prefer to ordinary plain flour as it is less likely to go lumpy, and has a cleaner taste in my opinion) with a little of the cold milk. Then add a little oil - about 2 teaspoons. Put on cooking ring and DO NOT LEAVE THIS TO IT'S OWN DEVICES or it will turn into superglue and ruin the day. Keep stirring all the time, and slowly add the rest of the milk. Once you have a quite runny yet thick mixture and it has gently simmered for a few minutes, add some seasoning (and a little bit of grated cheese if you fancy). Pour sauce over the dish and finish with the 20g of grated parmesan/cheddar or whatever strong cheese you want. Then put back in the oven, uncovered until brown - for about another half an hour.

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