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Posts Tagged ‘sauce’

I admit it, I’m spoiled. I like cooked vegetables, or at least some sauce with my pasta/orzo/couscous/rice. However, when you’re standing in front of the fridge 5 minutes before you need to leave the house in the morning packing food to take to lunch and you realize you’ve got small hamburgers and orzo without sauce, what’s to be done?

Eat your food dry, I hear your answer. Next time make something the evening before. I picked a different route.

I add a handful of cherry tomatoes to the box. When I eat lunch, I warm it in the microwave. The cherry tomatoes burst. I cut them up before eating, getting a nice fresh tomato sauce (you can’t get any fresher than that ūüėČ ). Granted, there are no fried onions in there and the tomatoes are still mostly raw, but it’s still a sauce, and that’s what’s important, isn’t it? And healthy!¬†If you’ve got another few seconds to spare you can even add a dash of dried oregano or basil. Then you have Italian¬†instant tomato sauce! ūüėõ

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I have a recipe for lasagne that never fails. It’s easy and quick. However, sometimes you want something just a bit… richer.¬†What¬†I really¬†felt¬†like was adding a cheese sauce layer to it. However, the classic way of making a cheese sauce is to do bechamel sauce and add¬†cheese¬†to it. I did not have¬†the¬†patience to stir a pan for¬†twenty¬†minutes.

And then I found this recipe. This is an easy cheese sauce that uses all the ingredients of a cheesy bechamel sauce, but without the endless stirring and you can even (gasp!) leave the pan for a few minutes to tend your baby! And it tastes absolutely amazing.

So:

3 layer lasagne (22 by 12 cm pan)

Layer 1: Tomato sauce

1 can (800 gr) crushed tomatoes.
Water
Oregano, basil and thyme to taste
100 gr tomato paste (optional)

Mix all ingredients, add water until consistency is to your taste. Depending on the type of crushed tomatoes you use, you might not have to add water at all. For additional sweetness and thickness, you can add tomato paste.

Easy tomato sauce

Easy tomato sauce

Layer 2: Spinach sauce

400 gr frozen chopped spinach
250 gr cottage cheese
Ground nutmeg to taste

Thaw spinach in the microwave. Add the cottage cheese and the nutmeg. Mix.

Easy spinach sauce

Easy spinach sauce

Layer 3: Cheese sauce using Bristol foodie’s awesome recipe

1 mug grated cheese (I used parmesan)
2 tbsp white flour
pinch salt, pepper and nutmeg
2 mugs milk
25 gr butter

Pour cheese, flour and spices into a pan, stir well. Add milk and butter, bring to a boil while stirring occasionally (the original recipe states that one should stir constantly, but I didn’t and it was fine).

Bringing to a boil...

Bringing to a boil…

When the sauce thickens, it’s ready! (Don’t wait for it to thicken more as it will be in the oven as well. Mine turned out just a smidgen too thick,¬†which¬†didn’t hurt the taste any ūüôā ) This does not have lumps!

Layering the lasagne:

Start with enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the lasagne sheets (I use no precook sheets of Barilla, 3-4 per layer, three layers of lasagne). Pour tomato sauce, spinach mixture and cheese sauce.

Tomato and spinach - first layer

Tomato and spinach – first layer

Layer lasagne again. Tomato and spinach, and then another layer of lasagne. Top it all with the rest of the cheese sauce. Sprinkle oregano on top.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Place in a preheated oven at 200 ¬įC for 20 minutes or until a fork goes through¬†the¬†lasagne without breaking anything.

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Lighter version: You can do without the cheese sauce for a lighter, easier lasagne, in which case you should top the lasagne with tomato sauce (use the tomato paste and more water to stretch the tomato sauce for this). Sprinkle oregano and grated cheese on top and you’ve still got a great lasagne.

Bon Apetit!

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Lately we’ve had guests for at least one meal every weekend. So I’ve been making more chicken than usual. When we don’t have guests I rarely do it as my husband doesn’t like chicken. He likes chicken breast or schnitzel, but not chicken as is. Odd, isn’t it?

Anyway, as I’ve been doing more chicken lately leftovers are more of a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I like chicken. I just don’t like it the same way every day. On the other hand, making something new when I’ve got perfectly good chicken in the fridge is a bit pointless as well. So this time I made sauce with the chicken, and ate it over pasta. It turned out delectable.

I didn’t photograph it as my baby grew pretty insistent that she wanted to eat as well, so I didn’t have time to savour it properly, and even less time to photograph. But it’s still worth remembering.

The base for the sauce was the chicken gravy and tomatoes. As I’ve already mentioned, a delectable tomato sauce can be made pretty easily in the microwave.¬†Adding¬†the¬†chicken gravy to it made it richer and smoother. I removed fat from the gravy before using it, so it wasn’t too fat, either ūüôā¬†To top it off, I added chopped leftover chicken and chopped leftover grilled fennel, and some dried basil. ¬†The result was a rich sauce with a surprising depth of flavor¬†because¬†of the chicken and fennel.

Definitely something to remember.

Ingredients:

One quarter chicken, cooked
Chicken gravy
About 15 large cherry tomatoes, halved if large
About 1 1/2 chopped grilled fennels
Dried basil to taste
One portion pasta (or rice, couscous, burgul, whatever)

Put the tomatoes in a microwave safe dish. Cook on high for 3 minutes. If tomatoes remain whole, crush them until they pop (carefully! it sprays!) and cook on high for another minute. Add chicken gravy and chicken, fennel and basil. Cook on high for another two minutes. If using pasta, add to sauce and cook for another minute on high or until pasta is warm. Otherwise serve over rice or couscous (or whatever).

Bon Apetit!

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When reheating leftover pasta for one, the first impulse is to add some ketchup, sprinkle with parmesan and eat. This is very quick and hassle free. On the other hand, it isn’t that filling, so I usually need two servings,¬†and the overall result is less than the height of nutrition¬†[1]. ¬†I again turned to my cookbooks for inspiration, and found a recipe titled “pasta with butter and cheese sauce”. Basically pasta tossed in butter and garlic and sprinkled with cheese. I thought, “Why not make it? Frozen chopped spinach can so easily be added to this. It can even be done in the microwave!”

So:

Ingredients

about 20 gr butter (I found it too buttery, will probably use less next time. This is still less than the original recipe, though)
1/2 tsp minced garlic, or to taste
75-100 gr frozen chopped spinach
salt
freshly ground nutmeg
one portion leftover pasta
grated parmesan  cheese

For clarity and brevity, I will refer to a “Step” as 30 seconds in the microwave on high.

Put butter in microwave safe dish (I use a pyrex. You can already do this in the serving dish, but all my microwave safe bowls were¬†in the¬†dishwasher when I made this so I used an extra pyrex). Put in microwave on “high” in 30 second steps until mostly melted. Add garlic and spinach, and cook in microwave in 30 second steps, stirring every step, until spinach is defrosted and buttery and garlic is fragrant, about 4-5 steps. add salt and nutmeg and cook one more step.

Spinach Sauce

Add pasta and toss, and put in microwave for last step. Add grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Easy, rich, and tasty. And the spinach at least nods towards nutritional content and is much more filling. And the whole thing takes about 5 minutes. What more do you need?

Bon Apetit!

 

 

1. As opposed to some, I don’t consider ketchup a¬†vegetable ūüėČ BACK TO POST

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