Thrifty + Nifty Food: Double Dinner

This post is still running on the theme of tip 2# Buy in Bulk by creating two recipes from one main ingredient but this week is Tip 4# Double Dinner which is when you cook two meals at the same time, meaning less cooking time and meals are ready for days when your really busy. Seem alot of faff? It’s not when you’ve got a plan. The dishes i do when i double up are often similar in the basic ingredients but with a few twists and normally with a different type of carbohydrate (pasta, potatoes, rice). These dishes are a little unusual for me and the family at the moment as the main ingredient is mince and we tend not to buy meat on a normal shop due to the cost and health benefits of a veggie diet but visiting we have guests at the moment who eat meat. So when i do cook with meat especially mince or a whole chicken i like it to go a long way and so doubling the dinner means you can create at least two meals for your family and reduce the cost by adding in cheaper and healthier ingredients.  As always essential ingredients in RED, must have  flavour GREEN and any extras ORANGE.

Lasagna & Cottage Pie

Ingredients, serves 6 each meal or 4 spread over 3 meals
500g Mince
2 Large onions finely chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
2 tins of plum tomatoes
500ml of beef stock/ 2 stock cubes worth or water if you dont have stock
3 Red peppers, roughly chopped
300g Red Lentils
400g Can of Baked Beans
200g mushrooms, roughly chopped
200g runner beans, roughly chopped

50g Butter
1tbsp of plain flour
1 Pint of Milk

4 Large potatoes
As many Lasagna sheets as you need to get 3 layers in your bowl i used 18!!!
2 tbsp Worcester Sauce
1tsp of cinnamon powder

1. Sweat the onions in oil on a low heat in the biggest pan you have for 10 minutes and add the garlic halfway through

2. Add the mince and brown most of it all over. Add the tomatoes and stock to the pan and simmer for 10 mins

3. Transfer about a third of the mince to a  another large pan with plenty of the cooking liquid. Add the lentils and baked beans if you have them and 1 tbsp of the Worcester sauce

4. To the other pan add the peppers, mushrooms and runner beans along with the rest of the Worcester sauce and cinnamon.

5. Cook both for a further 15 mins and while its cooking you can make the Bechamel sauce .

6.Gently heat the milk in a pan till warm but not hot. Melt the butter in another pan and once little bubbles start to appear sprinkle a little flour at a time and whisk. Once the flour has all been stirred in whisk quickly for a few minutes until cooked through. It should look like a golden yellow liquid the quality of single cream. Take it off the heat and stir in the warm milk a little at a time stirring constantly. It will start off very thick at first and then more like single cream again once all the milk has been added. Don’t worry if it gets too runny, once it cools a little it will thicken.

7. Once both mince pots have cooked, lay out the lasagna. Place a layer of the pepper mince in  an oven proof dish ( Square or rectangular otherwise you’ll go in circles trying to get the lasagna sheets to fit) then layer the pasta sheets and then the sauce. Repeat 2 more times and bob in the oven at 200 degrees or Gas mark 5 for 25 minutes

8. To finish the cottage pie, peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks. Boil in salted water for 15-20 minutes till soft. Drain and mash with butter and mustard if you like. If its a little dry add a little warmed milk for extra creaminess.

9. Toss the lentil mince into another baking dish and spoon over the mash potato, flattening it across the top, or you could get super fancy and pipe it on the top but lets just say mine is rustic. When you want to eat it pop in the oven at 200 degrees or gas mark 5 and dinners done.

I just add a seasonal salad on the side for a light touch and there you go, two dinners done at the same time and then you have dinner ready to go for when you need it. And even if i do say so myself it was absolutely gorgeous the lasagna, canny way to try the cottage pie. What have you got planned for dinner this week?


X xxx


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