I am a busy mum and pastor’s wife. I love to cook, but some nights I simply don’t have the time or inclination to prepare a healthy, toddler friendly, pescatarian friendly meal from scratch. This is where my freezer comes in handy. I often find myself making double portions and freezing half so I always have a go-to homemade dinner ready to whack in the oven.
Mince is brilliantly versatile. I use quorn, mainly because the husband doesn’t eat meat, but also because it’s healthier and cheaper than its beefy counterpart.
With a bag of quorn, a load of veggies, beans, herbs, spices and a spare hour I can whip up a lasagne, a chilli and smokey bbq beans. Here’s how… Gather your ingredients.
I used, 5 small onions, 3 carrots, 3 sticks of celery, a handful of mushrooms, 4 cubes frozen minced garlic, a large handful of frozen chopped spinach, a tin of kidney beans, two tins of baked beans, fresh bay leaves, thyme and rosemary, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, fresh chilli, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, two cartons of passata, tomato puree, dark chocolate, cheese, butter, milk, pasta sheets, a splash of red wine, a couple of stock cubes, an egg and of course salt and pepper, oh and a bag of quorn. This sounds like a lot of ingredients, but trust me it’s more methodical and easier than you think.
Dice all the veg, and sauté in olive oil in a large pan. Add in minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and a couple of stock cubes before adding in a splash of red wine if you have a bottle open.
After about 15 minutes of sweating them down pour in two cartons of passata, one of water and the bag of quorn mince.
Add in a good dollop of tomato puree and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. While it’s simmering make the cheese sauce for the lasagne. Melt a large knob of butter (approx 50g) in a pan, and whisk in a couple of tablespoons of plain flour to make a roux.
Pour in milk, stiring all the time until you get a desired consistency. Throw in a handful of cheese and stir until it melts. At this point I whisk in a beaten egg as I like how it sets the sauce on top if the lasagne, but it will work without too. Now layer up the dry lasagne sheets with the sauce in an oven proof dish, before pouring the cheese sauce on top and sprinkling over some extra cheese. Et voila, one down, two to go.
Now, in another oven proof dish pour in a tin and a half of regular baked beans in tomato sauce. Sprinkle over some freshly chopped rosemary, a teaspoon of smoked paprika and some Worcestershire sauce.
Now add in a couple of ladels of the sauce, mix well and sprinkle with cheese.
Now, to the remaining sauce in the pan add in the other half tin of baked beans, a tin of kidney beans, some chilli, cayenne pepper and a few squares of dark chocolate.
I portioned out some of the chilli for Phoebe before I added too much heat.
So there you have it. Three different meals, from one bag of quorn, some veg and beans.
I baked the smokey bbq beans in the oven for about half an hour, and served with sweet potatoes. They were delicious and a hit with both the hubby and toddler.
The lasagne is for tomorrow night and I’ve frozen the chilli food a rainy day.