Keto Brinjal Lasagna

Keto Brinjal Lasagna

I started out this year a few kilo’s heavy after a fantastic holiday to Italy and Mozambique so came back ready to drop a few kgs. My girlfriend had been chatting about Keto and is pretty similar to banting which I have on good authority works.

This started a great adventure in No carb, no sugar cooking and this take on Lasagna, which uses brinjal instead of pasta and cauliflower with cream cheese instead of white sauce is amazing.

Give it a try, it is worth the effort 🙂 Picture gallery at the end of the recipe.

This will easily feed 6 people with a little left over. Serve with a salad.

What you need

Bolognese sauce

1 kg mince
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
50ml tomato paste
2 teaspoons garlic
2 large onions chopped finely
Salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon Italian/Mixed herbs
300 – 500 ml chicken stock

Cauliflower sauce

1 x whole medium head of cauliflower broken into small pieces
1 x 250g tun cottage cheese with chives or similar

The Rest

Lots of cheese, mature cheddar or a mic of mature cheddar and cheddar.
A good handfull of basil leaves
2 large brinjals sliced about 5mm thick
Salt toi remove the liquid from the brinjal
Olive oil

The process

First, slice the bringals, place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt to extract the liquid. Leave them for about 30 minutes or so.

Now make the bolognese sauce.

Add the chopped onions to large pot and sweat on a medium to high heat.

Add the garlic and mince and cook until lightly browned.

Add the tomato paste and herbs and cook for a further 5 minutes or so.

Now add the tinned tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, mix it up and leave to simmer on a low heat for as long as it takes to do the rest. Give it a stir every now and then.

Tip: If you have time and a slow cooker, make the mince, pop into the slow cooker on low and leave it for at least 3-4 hours. The longer the better actually (We do ouirs over night)

Now steam/boil the cauliflower until semi soft, remove from the heat, drain the water and mix in the cottage cheese and set aside.

Next you want to take the brinjal that has been sweating and wash off any salt under cold water. Then place on kitchen towel to remove water.

Put a pan on high heat on the stove and cook the brinjal in a little olive oil until soft and lightly browned. Once done, remove and set aside.

Construct the brinjal lasagna in a large oven proof dish by making alternate layers of bolognese, brinjal, cauliflower and cheese. Finish off with bolognese and a layer of cheese.

Place in a 180 celsius oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the top is browned and the juices from the bolognese sauce are bubbling up the sides.

 

Chicken Chorizo (2017 update)

Chicken Chorizo (2017 update)

Chicken Chorizo

I had some left over penne from the night before and found a chorizo and some other goodies which I needed to use. I really love digging out what I have not used every few days and seeing what I can come up with, it doesn’t always work out as I expect but this one was a real winner. If you don’t have chorizo, use bacon or salami. This fed 3 very hungry people with a bit left over so 4 or 5 would be right. It took all of 15 minutes from start to finish.

Chorico has a beautiful spicy paprika flavour that just puts this recipe in a whole dimension of it’s own. I make it regularly and love it every time.

What you need

Chorizo – about 25cm piece
3/4 large chicken breasts
1 large onion finely chopped or grated
3/4 cloves finely sliced garlic (not crushed)
1 tin chopped peeled tomatos
1 teaspoon paprika (I have smoked paprika which gives it a great flavor)
1 small dried chilli (leave this out if you don’t like it hot.)
Salt and pepper.
300g penne

The process

Slice the chicken breasts across the grain into fairly thin slices (3-4mm) and do the same with the chorizo. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the paprika.

In a hot wok or deep frying pan with a little oil, add the onion, garlic, chicken and chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes stirring all the time. When the chicken takes on a whitish color add the tin of chopped tomatos, reducethe heat to low and simmer for about another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Toss the cooked penne into the pan or the mixture into the pasta pot and toss until the pasta is coated with sauce. You are done, enjoy.

2017 – I have really made this so often I have to remind you all. You can try different variations of this recipe using bacon instead of chorico and then adding a little smoked paprika or even adding some cream to the sauce just before serving and letting it heat up (well worth tring, it’s a winner for me).

We had a Malva pudding for dessert and I still had a bit of Lemon meringue pie which did not last very long… what a treat and so little fuss.

Weekend Vegetable Lasagna

Weekend Vegetable Lasagna

Slow baked vegetable lasagna

Slow baked vegetable lasagna

This is a real tasty vegetarian dish or another one of those recipes when you feel you need some vegetables in your diet and is made on top of the stove. (for 4)

It takes 4-5 hours to cook so is great for a weekend lunch. Adapted from Italian home recipes

What you need

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta or cottage cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tins chopped peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian mixed herbs
1 punnet  baby marrows, thinly sliced (2 ½ cups) Use a peeler if you can
1 medium eggplant thinly sliced
1 cup macaroni or 4 lasagna noodles, broken up

The process

In a small bowl, mix together Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmesan, egg, oregano, and garlic powder.

Spread 1/2 can of stewed tomatoes (broken up) on bottom of oven proof dish.

Sprinkle Italian spices over tomatoes.

Sprinkle 1/3 of zucchini over sauce and top with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Spread 1/3 of macaroni over cheese mixture. (If using lasagna noodles, spread 1/3 of noodles over cheese mixture.) Repeat layering, ending with remaining tomatoes and spices. Firmly press ingredients into the pot.

3 – Cover and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours. Allow lasagna to rest 20 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

You will thank us for this one!!

Mamas Lasagna Recipe

Mamas Lasagna Recipe

old fashioned lasagna recipe

Mamas Lasagna recipe

Every now and then a recipe comes along that you just have to print and keep, bookmark or do whatever you need to so that you do not lose it and this old fashioned Lasagna recipe is one of those easy recipes. Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients, you will have most of them in your cupboard.

There is no low fat low salt this or that, it’s from a great friend of mine whose grandmother passed on the recipe and has been a favourite in their household for as long as anyone can remember. This is not to say that it is difficult or complicated, it is a lasagna recipe that is unpretentious, great tasting and home style food at it’s best so do what you need to and cook this one, you will be so glad you did. (serves 6) Dish size is 30cm x 20cm x about 8cm deep.

What you need

1 large onion finely chopped/grated
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
150g pork sausage meat
1 kg beef mince
2 tbsp tomato purée
3 tsp dried oregano
2 x 420g tins chopped peeled tomatoes
150ml beef stock
2 heaped tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
600ml full-fat milk
pinch of nutmeg
250g lasagne sheets
Grated Parmesan cheese
Grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil

The process

If you are using boxed lasagna, boil the kettle and fill a dish with boiling water, place your lasagna sheets into the water one at a time and allow to stand for about 10 minutes or so so that they par cook. It is important to add them one at a time or they will stick together.

In a pan on a medium heat with a little oil add the onions and cook until they begin to sften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the pork sausage meat and fry for about another 3 minutes. You want to make sure that the meat is separated into a mince consistency. Add the beef mince and cook for about 10 minutes, moving it around so that it is all cokked. It may look a bit grey at this stage but have no fear that is how it is meant to look.

Now add the tomato puree, tomatoes, beef stock and oregano, mix it all up and allow to heat through, taste and season with salt and pepper and then leave it to simmer for about 30 minutes or so to reduce the liquid and thicken up while you make the white sauce.

Take a small pot and place on a medium heat, melt the butter and then stir in the flour. You want the flour to cook but not brown so make sure you are tirring all the time and that your stove is not too hot. This should take about 3 minutes with the butter and flour mixture foaming. Now add the milk little by little and stir furiously to get a smooth consistency and you ahve used all of the milk. Now add the nutmeg, give it a good stir and turn off the heat.

By this time your meat sauce should be ready as well and you are ready to get going.

Take a 20x30cm oven proof dish that is at least 6-8cm high and give it a light rubbing with some butter all over the base and add a thin layer of the meat sauce, then a layer of lasagna sheets, a thin layer of white sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan, then another layer of lasagna sheets and repeat until it is all finished. Sprinkle a nice thick layer of Mozzarella over the top with another fine sprinkle of parmesan.

Into a 180 Celsius oven it goes for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is beautifully brown and bubbling.

That is the very best lasagna you will ever taste! Check out some of the other easy pasta recipes.

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Melanzane

This has been such a hit amongst my friends that I just had to feature it again. I served it with a Prime Rib Roast and potato bake with mushrooms – all in all a huge success.

I had the most incredible Melanzane at Fournos in Benmore the other day that was everything a Melanzane should be, Creamy eggplant layered with tomato and topped off with a nice crust of Parmesan. It was so delicious I had to go back and get another helping. Well here it is folks, the most awesome Melanzane Parmigiana you will ever have. You can have this as a meal on it’s own with a bit of French loaf and a side salad for a brilliant vegetarian meal or as a vegetable with your meat. You will need an oven dish that is about 22x20cm and about 6cm high. Makes 4 -6 portions.

What you need

2 large cloves garlic sliced
2 400g tins chopped peeled tomatoes
2 large egglants sliced (or 3 smaller ones)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

The process

First off heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Next put a small pot on the stove on medium to low heat and place both tins of tomatoes into the pot, stir and then leave to simmer while you prepare the eggplants.

Chop the ends off your eggplant and slice into 1-2cm thick pieces lengthways so you have these long strips of eggplant.

Place a generous amount of Olive oil into a pan on a medium heat and fry the garlic, remove and add to the tomato sauce. Now fry the eggplant slices until lightly golden on each side. Place on kitchen paper to drain. This should take about 3 minutes per side and is important not to rush, you want nice creamy eggplant.

While these are cooking stir and taste the tomato sauce adding a little salt and pepper to taste (I also add about 1 teaspoon of sugar which really does the trick). You want to reduce the liquid and have the tomatoes still a little chunky but soft and a thickened sauce. Toss in the basil leaves ripping them as you put them into the sauce.

Now take your oven dish and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, then cover with eggplant and another slightly thicker layer of sauce. Sprinkle over a small amount of Mozzarella and then repeat the process until you have used up all of the eggplant. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top, sprinkle the last of the Mozzarella and then top off with every last piece of the Parmesan.

make sure you have a nice layer of Parmesan covering the top.

Place in your oven for about 40 minutes until you have a bubbling cheesy crust that has a little of the tomato sauce oozing through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. This lets the cheesy crust harden a bit which makes all the difference.

Double or trebble this recipe with no problem at all!

Tortellini with creamy pea and ham sauce

Tortellini with creamy pea and ham sauce

totrtellini recipe with pea and ham

Tortellini with pea and ham sauce

Tortellini is a really easy way to make a delicious meal with very little effort and this pea and ham sauce with some good tortellini is a real winner. You can choose your favourite tortellini fillings like spinach and ricotta, butternut or a meat filling, either way you are going to love it. It’s certainly not for dieters but so delicious even if you are dieting and you allow yourself a treat, this would be it. (serves 4 people easily)

What you need

500g of your favourite tortellini
4-6 slices ham chopped up
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 cup frozen peas
200ml double cream
Grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

The process

Pop your tortellini in a pot of rapidly boiling water that has been generously salted and cook as per instructions on the pack. (I must say that the Woolies fresh tortellini is fantastic and cooks very quickly).

While thats going on, heat a pan on low heat, add a little olive oil and cook your garlic for about a minute until it is sizzling but not brown. Add the peas, ham and then the cream, season with a grind of black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Bring the sauce to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute. This cooks the peas and brings all of the flavours together.

Remove from the heat, toss in the tortellini and gently mix it in using a folding movement. (You want to be really careful here so that you do not break the tortellini) If you are a good flipper of the pan, flip the tortellini around until every piece is coated in the sauce.

Serve immediately with a generous amount of Parmesan. Serve with a salad and a few sliced of toasted ciabatta rubbed with a garlic clove.

Meat lasagna

Meat lasagna

Meat lasagna

This is the classic meat lasagna recipe that you have probably had a variation of many times in your life. The meat sauce is the classic meat sauce base used in most Italian pasta recipes that can be altered for your own taste. Every Mom, Dad, or Grandmother seems to have their own perfect recipe so start here and create your perfect lasagna. I like to add a tablespoon of Chutney substituting the wine with chicken stock to my meat sauce and sometimes a few fresh herbs that happen to be around the kitchen so send it and make your own. (Good for 4-6 people) Note: the meat sauce takes a while to cook but is well worth the time but if you have your own favourite meat sauce, use that.

What you need

Dried lasagna sheets cooked for 4 or 5 minutes and dried
1 liter bechamel sauce

Meat sauce

2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons grated carrot
2 tablespoons grated celery
1 heaped tablespoon butter
500g lean beef mince
1 cup white wine or chicken stock
125ml milk (1/2 cup)
pinch nutmeg
750g peeled chopped plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper

150g grated parmesan cheese

The process

Add the butter to a pan on a medium heat and then add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until translucent and beginning to soften. Add the mince and cook until the mince has lost it’s pink color. You don’t want it to brown and in fact begins to look grey, this is good.

Now add the wine or chicken stock, stir and allow to simmer until all of the liquid has evaporated. Stir it occasionally to make sure there is little or no liquid left. Now add the milk and nutmeg and allow to simmer again until the liquid has evaporated.

Now add the tomatoes with all of their sauce, stir, reduce the heat to medium low and leave to simmer for about 3 hours stirring occasionally. If you notice the sauce sticking add a little more chicken stock. You really want to do this, it softens the meat and produces an incredible flavour.

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius and begin the assembly. Use a 33cmx23cm baking dish and place a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom, a layer of pasta sheets and then a layer of bechamel sauce. (I sometimes sprinkle a little cheddar cheese at this point). Repeat the process until you have completely finished the meat and end off with a layer of pasta sheets topped with bechamel sauce.

Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese and into the oven for 40 minutes until browned and bubbling.

That is the best Classic lasagna and meat sauce I have ever tried. You may want to try the Spinach and Ricotta lasagna recipe as well.

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Spinach and ricotta are such a great combination and when used in a lasagna together with a rich bechamel sauce you are in for a treat. It’s vegetarian in every way but as a confirmed meat eater this is a really fantastic lasagna recipe that leaves you satisfied in a way that only comfort food can. This makes a nice size lasagna good for 6 people.

What you need

Lasagna sheets

1 kg spinach leaves
2 tablespoons butter
250g ricotta cheese
pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 liter bechamel sauce or light cheese sauce(From Woolworths if you don’t want to make it)
150g fresh parmesan grated
1 tablespoon butter

The process

Put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil and trim down your spinach removing the stalks and hard white bits. Using baby spinach leaves is the best option but any spinach will do. Drop the spinach into the water and boil for about 2 to 3 minutes to soften.

Strain the spinach and allow to cool, then squeeze it like a rag to remove as much of the water as you can. It’s also a good idea to place it in a clean dish cloth and squeeze. Now chop it into small pieces and set aside.

Cook your pasta in salted water for 4 minutes or so (about 1/2 the cooking time on the pack), drain and allow to cool and drain. To prevent them sticking together separate while still hot and set aside to cool.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a pan on a medium heat and saute the spinach and add to a bowl. Now add the ricotta, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste, mix together to distribute evenly.

Now it’s assembly time so first put on your oven to 180 Celsius and then get a baking dish that is 33cmx23cm or there abouts and spread a thin layer of the ricotta mix onto the bottom(about 4 tablespoons worth), then a layer of pasta sheets and then a thin layer of bechamel sauce. Repeat until you have filled the dish finishing off with a layer of pasta that is covered with the rest of the bechamel sauce.

Now top it off with the grated parmesan, a few dots of butter and into the oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and smelling fabulous.

Thats it, it is fantastic.

Chicken pasta with peas and creamy mustard

Chicken pasta with peas and creamy mustard

chicken and pea pasta

Chicken and pea pasta

If you only have about 15 minutes to spare for dinner and feel like a chicken pasta that is very satisfying and offers a creamy, delicious sauce, then you are going to want to try this chicken pasta recipe. The sauce is a very unusual blend of cream with a hint of mustard that goes so well with the chicken that I can’t imagine why it is not seen in restaurants. ( for 4 people)

What you need

250g dry pasta, spaghetti or tagliatelle but any pasta will work
Olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped or grated
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup fresh cream
2 cups peas (frozen and thawed)
2 cups or about 350g cooked chicken cubed or shredded
The process

Place your pasta in a large pot of salted water letting it boil until cooked while you prepare the sauce.

You can either poach the chicken by cutting it up and placing the pieces into some boiling chicken stock for about 2 minutes or simply stir fry the pieces until white. Set the cooked chicken aside.

In another pan on a medium heat cook the onions until transparent and soft, try not to let them brown. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute. Now add the wine and the mustard, put the heat on high and bring to the boil.

As soon as it boils, reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. Stir in the cream and allow it to continue simmering for another 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thick slightly.

Add the chicken and peas (make sure you have thawed the peas properly and that they are free of any water) and simmer for another 2 minutes until the mixture is hot.

Your pasta and your sauce should be ready at about the same time, so now drain your pasta and add it to the chicken and pea sauce, toss it to coat the pasta and you are done.

Shrimp and smoked salmon pasta

Shrimp and smoked salmon pasta

Shrimp salmon pasta

Folks, this is a great meal when you feel you need to spoil someone and with Valentines day just around the corner, you may want to print this one. It is really easy to make so you can spoil that special someone without fretting. This is one of the few occasions where frozen shrimp is OK to use. By the way, if you need a few ideas of what to give a man as gift, check out MensGifts.co.za (good for 2 people)

What you need

Cooked pasta – enough for 2 people
1 medium onion finely chopped or grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g shrimp
100g smoked salmon
small bunch chopped fresh chives
Zest of 1/3 a lemon
150ml fresh cream
splash of white wine or about 30ml
1 teaspoon fresh chopped Thyme
Salt and pepper

The process

Heat the oilve oil in a pan on a medium heat and toss in the onions. Let them cook for about 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are nice and soft.

Now add the shrimp (thawed and dried if you used frozen) and cook for about another 3 or 4 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through.

Toss in the chives, lemon zest, salmon, cream and then the wine. Allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes or until warmed through.

Pour the sauce into your cooked pasta which you have left in the pot and mix to coat the pasta with the sauce.

Serve with a side salad and some crisp warm bread. It is yummy I tell you. Take a look through the other pasta recipes