Being a working mum “forces” me to make extra efforts in cooking homemade foods for my son. In this kind of situation, I always use weekend as my “stocking up” time. Because in weekend only, I could cook big batch of chicken/vegetable stocks, meat sauce, or sorts of homemade frozen foods (like chicken nuggets or beef/salmon patties) supply for the next week. All stock, sauce, and frozen foods are packed up in individual portions (I pack them in separate freezer bags) and kept in freezer. This food-arrangement helps me a lot in preparing my son’s meals everyday. For instance, I just have to thaw and reheat one bag of meat sauce, cook some pasta, and voilà! One dish is effortlessly served! 😀
Talking about meat sauce, ah, this is my favourite! I always looove one staple recipe that can be transformed into zillion possibilities. Once you can cook this sauce, you can always use that same sauce for many other things, i.e.: pouring over pasta/rice/baked potatoes, layering up lasagna, or using this sauce as filling to make meat pies. As I cook this meat sauce for my kid, I usually “hide” some veggies into the sauce. That’s why, I use Bolognese sauce recipe in making my meat sauce. Originating from Bologna, Italy, Bolognese sauce itself is a meat-based sauce that contains onion, celery, tomato, carrot and cheese. I thought that’s healthy enough for my son’s diet 😀
Last weekend I cooked a big pot of Bolognese sauce and at the end of the day I had 4 medium-size freezer bags containing this wonderful sauce, ready to be happily frozen in my freezer 😀 . Last Sunday, my family actually planned to have an out-of-town family outing, so I used this Bolognese sauce to make some baked pasta. Baked pasta is a one-dish meal, which is convenient and simple to be carried on. And when I cooked the baked pasta, I knew I could really make a good use of my beautiful Lock & Lock Glass. Made of borosilicate glass which withstands high heat and sudden cooling, Lock & Lock Glass could be used not only in a fridge, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher, but also in a 400ºC oven! Unlike other normal glasses, Lock & Lock Glass uses strong heat resistant properties which could withstand sudden change in temperature, so it can be heated straight from the refrigerator, and when it’s broken by physical shock, it doesn’t break into numerous fragments and scatter, therefore it is a safe and suitable choice for food container. And oh, please don’t forget that this IS Lock & Lock, people! Of course the product itself is well equipped with the famous four-lock mechanism lid. This is one feature that makes my life so much easier. After using it as an oven cookware, I just have to put the lid on and we’re ready to go! No need to “transfer” the food to another food container. Ah, simple things that make me happy 😀
Okay, without further ramblings, here is the recipe for Baked Spaghetti (the only pasta left at my kitchen storage! 😀 ) with the additional-but-hard-to-resist cheese sauce on top! 😀
– 200 gram dried spaghetti, cook until “al dente” according to the package instructions
– 1/4 recipe of my Bolognese Sauce
– 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
– 2 tablespoons plain flour
– 400 ml milk
– 100 gram grated Cheddar cheese, or as many as you like 😀
– ground white pepper and salt to taste
Ingredients for Bolognese Sauce:
– 500 gram good-quality minced beef
– 2 cans Italian chopped tomatoes (@400 gram) or 800 gram fresh chopped tomatoes (choose the very ripe ones)
– water, the amount will be explained later
– 1 large or 2 medium onions
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 2 carrots
– 1 stick of celery
– 2 heaped teaspoons dried oregano
– small bunch of fresh basil (if you can’t find it, feel free to substitute with the dry one)
– salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 50 gr grated Parmesan cheese
– Olive oil
How to cook the Bolognese sauce:
- Peel and finely chop the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery.
- Add some olive oil into a big pan, and then add the veggies. Cook and stir them until softened and lightly colored (for around 5 minutes)
- Stir in the minced beef and chopped tomatoes. Fill the empty cans with water and add back the water from the cans into the pan. If using freshly chopped tomatoes, add about 800 ml of water.
- Finely chop the basil stalks (keep the basil leaves in the fridge for later), then add them into the pan.
- Season with salt, pepper, and dried oregano, then bring the sauce to the boil.
- Turn the heat down and simmer with a lid on for about an hour. Don’t forget to stir it every now and again.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add grated parmesan.
- Stir in some basil leaves, and have taste (add more salt and/or pepper if needed).
How to cook the Cheese sauce:
- Melt the margarine/butter in the pan, then add the flour.
- Stir them for a while until well combined, then quickly add the milk into the pan.
- Mix thoroughly, and add the grated cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring the sauce to the boil (when it starts bubbly, remove the pan immediately).
- Preheat the oven to 180º C.
- Rub the Lock & Lock Glass with olive oil, and place the cooked spaghetti in the bottom of the container.
- Pour the Bolognese sauce on top of spaghetti; spread it evenly to cover the spaghetti.
- Finally, pour the cheese sauce on top of the Bolognese sauce.
- Put it into the oven, and cook for 30 minutes or so until the top gets brown.
Don’t forget to watch the video here! 😉