So, I decided to put up the recipe for the lasagne I made for group last Monday, since I’m making a batch of it today. It would be entirely syn free if not for the parmesan on top (which can be used as a healthy extra) and the bolognese mix (which could be swapped out for mixed herbs – Waitrose do an amazing one in their cooks range here). See the end of the post for a list of ingredients you’ll need.
Before you start, preheat the oven to approximately Gas Mark 6.
1) Fry off the onions (if including them – you won’t ever see an onion on this blog since I can’t stand them) and garlic (if you’re not including onions, add the garlic with the mince because otherwise it’ll burn and be really bitter and yucky) in some Fry Light.
2) Add the mince and fry until brown. Drain any excess fat.
3) Add chopped tomatoes. Fill the can with water and add that to the pan.
4) Mix in herbs/bolognese mix and stir until well blended.
5) Simmer until the sauce has thickened to a consistency you’re happy with and then remove from the heat.
Variations: Could add veg (Slimming World usually recommends carrots and celery) or mushrooms; use meat substitute (eg Quorn) to make it vegetarian; could add bacon/pancetta for extra flavour (which should be added with the onions/before the mince).
Once the bolognese sauce is cooked (or simmering, if you can keep an eye on it at the same time!) start making the white sauce.
Slimming World Cheese Sauce
1) Place the quark into a large mixing bowl and beat until relatively smooth.
2) Add the fromage frais to the quark and mix well.
3) In a separate dish, beat two eggs.
4) Add the eggs to the cheesy mix and stir well.
5) Add a pinch or two of nutmeg to the whole thing and mix.
As you can see, this is the super simplest cheese sauce you’re ever going to make! The amounts above are suggested only; this is one sauce where you can stick it all in and, as long as the ratios are pretty much the same (though you never really need to double or half herbs/spices even if you’re doubling or halfing a recipe) it’ll all be good!
So then, you just need to put it all together in lasagne form. If you cooked the bolognese and took it off the heat before you started the cheese sauce, you’ll just need to give it a good stir.
1) Take an oven-proof dish and place a layer of the meat sauce.
2) Cover with lasagne sheets (you could double layer them for a more substantial carbs hit – though be aware that, as ever, fresh pasta is not free on Slimming World).
3) Cover the lasagne sheets with the cheese sauce (the sauce is much gloopier than cheese sauce would usually be, so you need to be pretty careful when spreading it over the pasta sheets – it’s also worth noting that it’s kind of important to make sure all the pasta is absolutely covered so you don’t end up with cardboard like pasta!)
4) Pour/smooth another layer of the bolognese sauce on top of that and cover with lasagne sheets.
5) Cover with one last layer of cheese sauce (again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to cover absolutely all of the pasta, so you don’t end up with burnt, cardboard-y pasta corners!)
5) Top with grated parmesan (weigh it for absolute certainty).
6) Bake in the oven at about Gas Mark 6 for 40 minutes (adjusting according to the size, ie if it’s huge it might take longer but if it’s individual size it might take more like 30 minutes).
And voila, Slimming World (nearly) Sin Free Lasagne!
I think it’s worth the effort to make this, since this is actually my favourite lasagne in the world – I’m too fussy to properly enjoy other people’s lasagne since they invariably include copious amounts of onions and/or mushrooms. One exception to this (so far) is an Italian girl I was on study abroad with who made the most glorious lasagne I’ve ever tasted! Otherwise, my mum loves Marks & Spencers Count on Us Lasagne which is almost certainly cheaper (and definitely easier) than making your own.
It’s a sad fact that making something like a lasagne from scratch is always going to be more expensive just from the sheer number of different ingredients involved – it will be cheaper if you use an Italian herb mix and keep in mind that once you have ingredients such as lasagne sheets and nutmeg, it would be cheaper to make.
Otherwise, it’s probably best to keep it as a treat every once in a while, just based on cost and sheer effort to make. It’s not difficult but it is pretty time consuming to do – certainly not a week night dinner (unless you’ve make it at the weekend and just need to stick it in the oven…)
Credit: I’m not sure where the recipe came from. The bolognese sauce is pretty much just what I do whenever I want pasta bolognese. The cheese sauce was a slimming world recipes from one of the mags, I believe.
PS, I just told my mum that I was going to post this recipe and she said ‘so you’re going to make it properly instead of just throwing it together then?’…I resent that: most recipes can just be thrown together – amounts can be changed, ingredients can be swapped out or just left out altogether. Every thing can be fitted around what you like, what you have or what you want to eat. Exceptions include souffles (actually, I don’t know that for certain since I’ve never made a souffle, but I imagine you have to be pretty exact if you want it to rise); cakes/baking (some recipes can be changed around/substituted, but at your own risk!); and risottos (again, this is pure speculation since I’ve never made a risotto either, but I imagine it would probably become a soggy mess if you mess around with the amounts too much!)
(to make approx. enough for 4 people)
1 pack of extra lean mince beef (less than 5% to be free on Slimming World)
1 tin of large tin of chopped tomatoes
3-4 cloves of garlic
Italian herb mix/mixed dried herbs/Spag Bol mix (eg Colmans/Schwartz)
Any veg (onions/mushrooms/carrots/celery)
1 – 1 1/2 tubs of Quark
2-3 tbsp VLF Fromage Frais
pinch of nutmeg
lasagne sheets (the number will depend on size of your dish; whether you double layer the pasta; and if you do more layers)