Saturday, 3 November 2012

Two of my favourite recipes

Here are two of my family's dinner favourites.  They're cheap and easy to make, and my 20-month-old thinks they're delicious!

Vegetarian lasagna

4-5 cups diced vegetables (I use onion, eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow button squash.  But mix it up with whatever you have and like)
500g tub ricotta cheese
4 cloves garlic
2-3 stock cubes (I use vegetable stock but beef also works really well)
1 egg
instant lasagna sheets
1 big bottle of tomato puree (passata)
2 cups grated cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion until translucent (*you could add hamburger here if you like).  Turn the heat up and add all your diced veggies and a tablespoon of oregano.  Stir to coat all the veggies in oil and herbs and cook until they start to soften.  Add the passata, stock cubes, garlic and other herbs to your liking.  Add about 1/2 cup water and simmer until it starts to thicken (about 15-20 minutes).  (I know it's a bit more work, but it really does make the taste SO much better pre-cooking the veggies at this stage.)

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/2 the grated cheese, all the parmesan cheese, egg and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano (*I've also added a few shakes of nutmeg here, which is good!)

To cook
Spray the slowcooker bowl with non-stick/oil spray.
Spread a bit of the tomato veggie sauce on the base of the crockpot (to stop sticking) and place a layer of lasagne sheets down; top with tomato veggie sauce and blob over a little of the ricotta mixture; cover with another layer of lasagna sheets.  Repeat this two or three more times, finishing with a layer of ricotta and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

I cook it on "low" for up to six hours.  You could also cook on "high" for three or four hours.  In a pinch, I've also cooked this in the oven at 180 degrees for an hour, as you do with a normal lasagna.  Serve with garlic or herb bread, and because there's so many vegetables in it, you don't have to serve it with salad!

Tuna cauliflower cheese

A 500g tin of tuna (I use the one in spring water)
Half small cauliflower, broken or cut up into small florets
1/2 small head of broccoli, broken or cut up into small florets
Big handful of green beans
Medium can of corn kernels
1/2 cup rissoni pasta (or any small pasta shapes you've got on hand)
1-2 tablespoons of butter
about 1/3 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I use skim but it doesn't matter really)
1 cup of grated cheese

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.  Boil, steam or microwave cauliflower, broccoli and beans until tender.  Cook the pasta until al'dente.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, make your white sauce - melt about 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat; add enough plain flour to soak up the butter (about 1/3 cup'ish).  Stir around for about a minute to cook off the flour some.  Gradually add the milk and keep stirring until thickened - add a little more milk if it's too thick.  Add a small handful of the cheese, salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.

Spread the vegetables, corn and pasta over the base of an oven-proof baking dish.  Drain the tuna and break up over the vegetables.  Pour the cheesey white sauce over the top and stir a little to combine.  Top with the rest of the grated cheese and bake in the oven until the top is golden brown.  Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine does!

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