Monday, 9 July 2012

Meals Under $10 - Lasagne and Salad

There is an extra mouth to feed in our family now that my hubby has returned from living overseas and I have really noticed a difference in how much I cook and the types of meals.

It seems that when it was just my son and I, it didn't really matter whether I threw some spaghetti or eggs on toast for the evening meal a few times a week but now there are three of us I put together a much more complete meal.  I'm not sure if it's because of the extra person at the table or whether it is because it is my husband and there is some subliminal message saying that's what I should be doing.

Anyhow one of our fairly regular family meals has always been Lasagne and because it is made with ground beef mince which is a cheap cut of meat, it fits into the category of feeding your family for under $10.  I always serve it with a basic salad and some of my 'secret salad dressing'.

1/2 cup cream
1 pkt Instant (or fresh) Lasagne pasta sheets

Tomato Sauce
500g beef mince
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tins tomatoes, chopped (or equivalent in fresh tomatoes)
1/4 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp oregano (dried) or equivalent in fresh herbs
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Bechamel Sauce
60gm (2 oz) butter
4 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
2 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
pinch ground nutmeg

Heat oil in pan and add beef mince, fry until nicely browned then add onion and garlic, cooking for 2 minutes.  Add all other ingredients for Tomato Sauce and simmer for approximately 1 hour to allow the flavours to develop.

Make Bechamel Sauce as follows: Melt butter in saucepan and stir in flour. Cook over a low heat for 2 minutes and slowly add milk while stirring to eliminate lumps.  Stir until sauce thickens then add half the grated cheese and stir until it has melted and is combined with the sauce.  Season with a small pinch of nutmeg and salt to taste.

Assembling the Lasagne
In a lasagne or baking dish layer the ingredients as follows:
Lasagne sheets, meat and tomato sauce, bechamel sauce (repeat).  Top with a layer of lasange sheets, sprinkle with 1 cup grated cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese.
Bake in moderate oven for 30 - 35 minutes, pour cream over the top and bake for a further 15 - 20 minutes or until Lasagne sheets are tender.

Serve with a garden salad.

I know this is not the traditional Italian Lasagne recipe but it's amazingly good.  It is taken from the Women's Weekly recipe cards my mother gave me.  When we travelled throughout Italy my boys had opportunity to eat Lasagne many many times and they still say this is the best one they have tasted so it's a keeper for me!


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