Thursday, 6 November 2014

Cheat's Spaghetti Bolognese

I start with a disclaimer... I am not saying that using convenience food is always a good thing, but I am long past feeling a failure for using convenience products occasionally.  Since I moved from feeling like that to accepting that I sometimes find it immensely saving, life is quite a bit less stressful!

If you hate using packets, you can do as we often do...

...cook a bag of mince and add seasonings separately.  You can use whichever mince you like and cook as you would usually cook your mince, adding tomato puree, dried oregano and thyme, black pepper and dried onions. 

If you do care to look through the ingredients on the packet I recommend above, however, you will see that the ingredients are no different to what you might add in their component parts without weird chemicals.  If you have family members who hate the idea of a meal without meat, maybe give this a try as it tastes less rich than a meaty Bolognese (which could be helped by adding a couple of tbsp. of rapeseed oil) but tastes similar to how I remember canteen-style or ready-meal type Spaghetti Bolognese and with a similar texture.  It isn't mush.... there is chew here.  If you might get it past family members without meat-mince but do need meat to convince them to eat it, then you could try adding diced bacon at first, to maybe eventually phase it out; the bonus of this is that a little chopped bacon plus the bolognese mix I recommend above is less expensive than starting out with meat mince. It does however, as with all of the meat options for this, include a step more than simply lobbing everything in a pan at once and leaving it to simmer for a few minutes.

We like to serve steamed greens with a lot of our meals.  Green cabbages, kale and spring greens are cheaper than the baby spinach salad leaves I like to use occasionally in warmer weather, but are still very nutritious and offer the freshness of greenery on the plate.  I slice the greens, pop in a microwaveable bowl, add a splash of water (around 2 tbsp.) put a microwaveable plate on top, then cook on High for 3-4 minutes.

Cheat's Spaghetti Bolognese

Adsa's Meat-free Bolognese mix, or see suggestion above (74p)
400g tin of plum tomatoes, chopped roughly (31p)
1 tsp garlic powder (2p)
Good pinch of black pepper to taste (2p)
Spaghetti to serve (this sauce covers up to 500g nicely, depending on what ratio you prefer) (20p)

Make the tomatoes up to 1pint with boiling water from the kettle.  Stir in to the Bolognese mix and garlic in a pan.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, have the spaghetti cooking.  To save energy, we add boiling water from the kettle to the pan of pasta, bring to the boil with the lid on, then turn off the heat and let it all sit untouched for 10 minutes.  When you remove the lid, the pasta should be cooked.  Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.

Costings: £1.27 for the whole meal, serves around 6 adults (which would be 21p each) or 2 adults and 6-8 children depending on age/size!
*costs from Asda on 8/11/14

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