Diet Friendly Sausage Pasta Bake

This super simple and quick sausage pasta bake tastes like it should be full of calories, but it really isn’t. Perfect for a midweek dinner for the whole family.

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This Sausage Pasta Bake is such a creamy, cheesy bowl of deliciousness, you’ll never believe it’s diet friendly!

Sausage Pasta Bake - This super simple and quick pasta dish tastes like it should be full of calories, but it really isn't. Perfect for a midweek dinner | thehecticcook.com

I’m such a cliche. It’s the new year and I’ve joined a diet club. This is not a new thing. I’m back at Slimming World having joined and rejoined on at least a half dozen occasions. But I’m determined this time. This time I’m going to stick with it. Really. No, really. So at the moment, meals in the HC household are of the healthier persuasion. Well, ok, I’m still feeding the kids macaroni cheese and cheese & bean pastry pie on a fairly regular schedule. But generally we’re eating stuff that can be made SW friendly like spaghetti carbonara (yes really) and pork chow mien.

Sausage Pasta Bake - This super simple and quick pasta dish tastes like it should be full of calories, but it really isn't. Perfect for a midweek dinner | thehecticcook.com

To make this process a little more interesting, I’ve also discovered a couple of really good food blogs that are dedicated to Slimming World recipes. One of which is Two Chubby Cubs. Their site is full of really good recipes that not only sound tasty, but are tasty. They’re also bloody hysterical. As long as you’ve got a sense of humour and aren’t easily offended, I’d highly recommend checking them out, if only for the witty repartee. This recipe for Sausage Pasta Bake is a take on their One Pot Sausage Gnocchi Bake. I like gnocchi, but it’s easier for me to substitute it with pasta so the kids will eat it.

Now, if you’re at all familiar with the Slimming World diet, you’ll most likely have heard of Quark. It’s hailed somewhat like a food from the gods. I never quite got it. Until I added it to a pasta sauce. It gives a creaminess you’d get from adding cream cheese, but without the raised eyebrows at SW class. It’s added in this recipe, but if you’re not fussed about the calories, just use cream cheese.

Sausage Pasta Bake - This super simple and quick pasta dish tastes like it should be full of calories, but it really isn't. Perfect for a midweek dinner | thehecticcook.com

The sausages are your call. If you’re trying to be healthy, there are plenty of fat-reduced sausages on the market. Personally I’ve found I like Porky Lights (again, if you know anything about SW, you’ll know what a cliche that is). But use whatever sausage you like. I’ve also made this recipe with tuna and chicken, so you can be even more saintly.

This pasta bake has become a staple now in our house. It stays inline with my effort to shift the second belly, and the kids like it. If I’m ever going to succeed in cutting the flab, I need meals like this, that the whole family can eat. But even if you’re born with a metabolism faster than Usain Bolt and couldn’t give two hoots about eating healthier (I hate you, I really do), this is a really tasty dish that is well worth a go, especially for a midweek quick and simple dinner.

Ingredients

400g uncooked pasta
6 sausages, meat removed from casings
Spray oil (or a tbsp of oil if you’re feeling decadent)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed (or 2 tsp garlic puree)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp basil (I use frozen chopped basil, it has all the flavour and is so convenient – dried basil is a bit of a waste of time to be honest)
salt & pepper 
75g quark
75g grated cheese to sprinkle on top (I cheat and buy a mozzarella/cheddar mix from the supermarket which is brilliant for melting on pasta bakes)

1. Boil a large pan of (well) salted water and add your pasta. Cook until soft (I don’t like my pasta al dente, so cook it however you like it).
2. Meanwhile, spray a pan with oil over a medium heat, and add the sausage meat, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook until browned through.
3. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes, then add the tomatoes, basil and seasoning. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, to let the flavours evolve a wee bit. Taste, and add more seasoning if required.
4. Stir through the quark.
5. Once the pasta has cooked, drain it, and then add it to the meat sauce. Stir through.
6. Pour the pasta into an ovenproof dish and top with the cheese. Pop under a hot grill until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
7. Serve.

This will serve a large family. Simply alter how much pasta you cook, depending on the amount of people you’re cooking for. Hopefully this will appeal to most folk, whether you need to lose some poundage or are just looking for a tasty midweek supper. Give it a go this week for dinner. I promise you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Happy cooking!

Homemade Sausage Rolls

Homemade Sausage Rolls – You haven’t had a sausage roll until you’ve had a homemade sausage roll!

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

I always make sausage rolls at Christmas. I don’t know if it’s just me, but to me sausage rolls mean Christmas. We tend to have them on the big day itself, either as a light lunch or a late supper, depending on when we have the main event (this has changed over the years from early afternoon to dinner time – I like it later as it gives me the whole day to prep/eat/drink – I once drank a whole bottle of prosecco whilst making Christmas dinner….but I digress). You get some lovely shop-bought sausage rolls, but if you’ve never made your own, you’re honestly missing out. These are really tasty, and really simple.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

Let’s talk pastry. I usually buy the shop stuff. It’s good; it’s easy; it’s convenient. Nine times out of ten, I’ll use a nice block of shop-bought puff pastry. However. During a rather enthusiastic baking spell a few years back, I decided to make my own. How hard could it be? The answer is actually not hard at all. Don’t go believing the theatrics of GBBO. Making puff pastry is not particularly hard. It does take a bit of time, but most of that is to chill the pastry. So I’ve written a separate post here about making puff pastry. However, if you can’t be bothered with that just use a block from the shop.

Ingredients (makes about 24)

500g block of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
plain flour for dusting

Filling:

400-500g sausagemeat
50g breadcrumbs
sage, about 6 leaves chopped or 1 heaped tsp of dried
1 small apple, grated
seasoning
2 tbsp ketchup/caramelised onion chutney/condiment of choice (optional)

Notes:

  • Quantity of sausage meat is not exact because different shops sell it in different sized packs, so use whatever you have between those quantities (mine was 400g on this occasion).
  • The last ingredient is totally your call. Sometimes I like some extra flavour to my sausage rolls, sometimes I just like to leave them traditional. You could even split the filling and add extra flavour to one portion whilst leaving a portion plain. The choice is yours (on this occasion I added 2 tbsp of ketchup – saves having to dunk them once they’re made). 

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (fan) / 425°F / Gas 7.

2. In a large bowl mix the filling ingredients together with your hands. Season well.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

3. Take your pastry out of the fridge. Cut it in half, and roll the first half out on a lightly floured surface to about a 42x10cm rectangle.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

4. Take half of your filling and squeeze it out into a long log shape, placing it in the middle of your pastry strip.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

5. Brush both long edges with the beaten egg, then fold one side over, followed by the second side, and seal well.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

6. Turn the long roll over so the sealed edge is underneath, and place on a tray. Repeat the process for the second roll, then place the tray in the fridge for about 10 minutes to chill.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

7. Take out of the fridge and cut each into about 12 pieces (or whatever size you like for your sausage rolls). Space out on your baking tray (I tend to spray my tray with cooking oil before placing the sausage rolls on it to prevent them sticking) and brush each roll with the beaten egg.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

8. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

If you can resist eating about 5 of these straight out of the oven then you’re a better person than me!

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

Freezing

You can also make these to freeze, which is really handy at this time of year:

After cutting them up and brushing with the egg (step 7), place them on a tray, slightly spaced apart, then place them in the freezer for about an hour. No need to cover. Once they’re frozen take them out and pop them in a freezer bag, seal and place the bag back in the freezer until you need them. When you want to cook them, place them on a tray and pop in the oven (same temps) for 30-35 minutes until golden and cooked through. No need to egg wash as you’ve already done this. Easy!

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

If you’ve got a Christmas party this year that you need to take a nibble to, make some of these, and I promise they will go down well.

Happy cooking!