The new cooker is awesome! It does this amazing thing, that when you turn the heat up, it gets hotter! And when you turn the heat down, guess what? It cools down!! Like, immediately – no waiting half an hour for it to return to a temperature cooler than the sun! Amazing. I’m one very happy camper.
So tonight we had another ‘adult’ meal, and I made veggie lasagne (the kids had mac’n’cheese). The ‘skinny’ in the title is slightly misleading. By ‘skinny’, I mean relatively, when compared to normal lasagne. I probably wouldn’t go so far as to class this as diet food – but it’s definitely not as bad for you as the meaty, cheesy originator of the name. I try to include one veggie meal in the weekly menu – it definitely helps to reduce the weekly budget a bit, and hopefully we’re doing our bit for the planet as well?
your choice of veg
Quorn mince (I used this to bulk this dish as I was feeding the Husband, but it’s really nice with just veg)
tinned tomatoes (or passata)
Oxo cube (if you’re a genuine veggie, this could be substituted with a veg stock cube)
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika (an amazing spice I add to a LOT of meals. If you haven’t got it, it’s totally worth buying)
1 tsp garlic paste / 1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp chilli flakes (or depending on taste)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
There’s a fair few ingredients in that there photo. But it’s mostly veg. It’s totally up to you what you put into your sauce, which is just a bolognese really. On this occasion I had some veg to use up (see the little bowls), plus I chucked in the leftover pizza sauce from the other day (the white lidded tupperware). I’m a great believer in ‘chucking stuff in’. Any leftovers, if you can use them, fantastic. I hate waste. I didn’t have any chopped tomatoes so I had to use passata. Again, use what you’ve got. This is why I love cooking, you don’t need to have every little ingredient in a recipe. You can often change to suit what’s in your cupboard.
1. Preheat your oven to 190°C (fan). Cut the veg up into small cubes and place in a roasting dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pop in the oven.
Today I had carrot, parsnip, aubergine, courgettes, onion, sweet red pepper, mushrooms, green beans and butternut squash (which I buy ready prepared – I honestly can’t be arsed peeling and cubing a squash). I kept the beans, mushrooms and pepper out for the first ten minutes, as they take less time to cook.
This all takes about 25-30 minutes to roast. Take them out a couple of times and give them a good shake before they’re done.
At this point my camera roll is interrupted by this:
The joys of children.
2. Once your veg is roasted, heat the remaining oil in a pan and add your Quorn mince (if using). I used the whole bag of Quorn mince, but I only used half the resulting sauce (I’ve frozen it for next time). Start it cooking then add all of the remaining sauce ingredients plus some water to make it ‘saucy’ (technical term).
This is what mine looked like. I then let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Unlike with meaty mince, you don’t need to simmer Quorn forever (it’s pretty soft already), and all the ingredients here were cooked, so it didn’t take long.
8 tbsp creme fraiche (I used the 3% fat one, which is yum, but use whatever kind you like)
30g parmesan, grated
After the last layer of lasagne I spread over the creme fraiche and sprinkled with the parmesan.
4. Chuck it in the oven, temperature lowered slightly to 180°C (fan), for about 30 minutes, or until the top is lovely and browned.
Because I was serving the Husband a veggie dish, I always feel I’ve got to compensate with something else (food wise I’m talking). So I made some garlic bread using the same pizza base dough recipe from the other day (in the breadmaker), slathered it in a mixture of butter, garlic, parsley and salt (the parsley really only adds the green bits) then sprinkled over some of the cheese leftover from the pizza. Et voila.
And wine was consumed. Obviously. It was Saturday night after all, and we have kids, so this is about as rock’n’roll as we get.