Monday 19 August 2019

Family Meal Time Favourites - Classic Lasagne!

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Most parents will agree that family meal times are rarely easy, throw in some fussy eaters, a busy work schedule and various after school club and sometimes tea time feels like a mission in itself!

There are a few things I have found that definitely help including doing an online shop which means I can write a list, plan meals and stick to it rather than wandering round, filling my trolley with random bits only to get home and realise I only have one full meal for the week! Secondly I find making meals that can be either made in advance and frozen or chucked into the slow cooker are always winners as they save so much time, especially on those days we are all in rush.

The Ciao Gusto range from Ocado is always a go to for me when planning my meals as they have a huge range of ingredients from tinned tomatoes to pasta, wine to dessert and snacks and dairy products, all at really reasonable prices too. The Ciao Gusto range brings together over 30 of Italy’s most popular brands including Riso Gallo, Filippo Berio, Giovanni Rana and Cirio plus some lesser known brands such as Valsoia dairy free ice cream, Auricchio cheeses and Negroni charcuterie. So whether its old classics or new flavours you are looking for you always get the authentic Italian flavours with Ciao 

One of the favourites in our house which is a winner with both the adults and kids in this classic cheesy lasagne, which can be made on the day or in advance.

So if you are looking for a family favourite then check out the recipe below for the delicious cheesy classic lasagne. 

Ingredients - 

- 500g of lean steak mince (ideally less than 5% fat)
- 1 large onion chopped finely
- 1 tin of chopped tomato's
- 1 carton or jar of passata
- 2 beef oxo cubes
- 1 tablespoon of Italian mixed herbs
- 150g mushrooms (sliced)
- 350g dried lasagne sheets
- 2 cartons (400ml) of Valsoia soya béchamel sauce
- 200g extra mature cheddar cheese

Method - 

Place the steak mince into a large saucepan to brown off, ensure the pan is big enough to add all the ingredients above as you will need to leave everything in the pan to simmer later on. Leave the mince to brown off stirring occasionally.

- Whilst the steak mince is browning dice the onion into chunks, these can be as small or as large as you wish. I tend to dice my onion quite finely as its easier to eat (and hides it from the kids too!). Slice the mushrooms too and then once the mince has browned off add both the onions and mushrooms to the pan.

- Once all added to the pan, crumble in one oxo cube and mix. Allow the dry ingredients to fry off a little more to begin cooking the mushrooms and onions. After around 5 minutes add in the tin of chopped tomato and jar/carton of passata and stir, ensuring everything is incorporated well.

- When everything is mixed well add in the tablespoon of mixed herbs and the second oxo cube and then stir again. Now turn down the heat so your mince mixture can simmer gently. I usually leave this for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally which helps to thicken up the sauce and really intensify the flavours.

 - After 30 minutes remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Whilst that is cooling get your dish ready and begin layer your lasagne. Start with a layer of your bolognaise, then add a layer or your pasta sheets followed by a layer of the Velsoia béchamel sauce. Repeat the process until your dish is full and then finally top your lasagne with a generous helping of cheese!

- Once finished place into the oven at 180C (160C fan assisted oven) for around 45 minutes. If you want to top to be really crispy and bubbly you can place into the grill for another 5 minutes too. 

- Serve straight away whilst bubbling and hot! We often serve ours with some freshly baked bread and a big fresh salad (or the kids also like it with chips and garlic bread too!). 

This lasagne recipe is quick and easy to make and can even be made in advance and stored in the fridge for the next day or even frozen for another day making it the perfect meal to have in the freezer for those nights you just don't have time to prepare something! 

The Valsoia béchamel sauce was a delicious addition to this recipe and honestly made preparing the lasagne so much quicker and easier as there was no faffing around trying to make and prepare my own white sauce or béchamel. Even better is that the Valsoia béchamel is 100% plant-based, has no hydrogenated fats and is naturally lactose free, its also suitable for vegans too. So if you wanted to you could swap out the mince for a suitable vegan substitute to make this meal totally vegan friendly.

The Valsoia range (including the béchamel sauce I used in this recipe is on offer throughout September for 20% off when you buy two over at Ocado

What is your favourite go to family favourite meal? Let me know in the comments below. 


**This is a paid collaboration with Ocado and Ciao Gusto. However all words, opinions and images are my own. I retain full control of this post.**

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