This is a favourite easy lasagne recipe, the original of which was passed on to me from my mum. I’ve modified it a bit over the years, arriving at the crowd-pleaser version I’m sharing with you here. I make this for dinner all the time.
This easy lasagne is the perfect meal to take around to a sick friend, drop off to a new mum or share with a bunch of friends for Friday night dinner. Everyone loves this lasagne. It’s a simple dish to make too.
Instead of a traditional béchamel sauce (which you can certainly use if you prefer), I simply add Mum’s easy cheese sauce. You can find the recipe here.
Easy lasagne recipe
Serves about 8
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour and 40 mins
- 500g of mince beef
- 1 onion chopped finely
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 bacon rashers
- 1 carrot grated
- 1 stick of celery – chopped finely
- 300g of mushrooms – chopped finely
- 440g tin of tomato soup
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1/4 cup of tomato relish
- 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
- 1 box of instant lasagne sheets
1. Place the chopped onion, crushed garlic and sliced bacon into a large saucepan. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onion begins to turn translucent.
2. Add the mince beef and use a spoon to break up any lumps and mix in with the bacon and onion. Cook for a further 3 minutes or until the meat begins to brown.
3. Stir in the grated carrot, sliced celery and mushrooms and mix well to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the carrot and celery begin to soften.
4. Add the tomato soup, tomato paste and tomato sauce along with the dried mixed herbs. Mix all of the ingredients together and reduce to a medium/low heat before covering your saucepan and cook for 35 minutes. Check every 10 minutes and give it a good stir.
5. In the meantime, make your cheese sauce by placing all of the ingredients into a small saucepan. Turn the heat onto medium and cook for approximate 7 minutes or until all the ingredients have combined and the cheese sauce begins to thicken.
6. Preheat your oven to 180ºC and take out a large lasagne dish.
7. Place a layer of pasta on the bottom of the dish and add ⅓ of the meat sauce. Place another layer of pasta on top before adding another ⅓ of the meat sauce on top. Repeat until you have used all of your meat sauce and have a layer of pasta on top.
8. Pour the cheese sauce over the layer of pasta on top and place the baking dish into the oven to cook for 35-40 minutes.
Freezes well for up to 3 months.
Do you have a family lasagne recipe? Try this one anyway!
Mac and cheese just screams comfort, doesn’t it? It’s got just the right amount of carby, creamy goodness that is so satisfying to tuck into. I’ve kinda-sorta made my Mac and cheese recipe a little healthier by adding a few veggies, but there’s no denying that this is a ‘sometimes dinner’.
In fact, when my husband saw me making this he was less than impressed. In fact, the comment “why would you make that?” actually came out of his mouth. After resisting the urge to slap him, I continued making the recipe, knowing that he would be eating his words along with his Mac and cheese once he actually tasted it.
It’s really not that hard to make. The cheese sauce is no doubt the trickiest bit, but I was still able to get it done without any disasters, even as my boys ran laps of the island bench in the kitchen. As you do.
To make this Mac and cheese recipe a little more adult-friendly, I used three different cheeses for my sauce. However just tasty cheese if you prefer. I also decided to add some cooked bacon and onion along with corn kernels to bring a little extra taste (and goodness) into the recipe. I’m also thinking about adding sundried tomatoes to it next time I try it.
As this isn’t the healthiest meal going around, I decided to serve this as a side with some homemade chicken tenders and steamed broccoli and beans. The boys thought it tasted great and were quick to clean their plates (they are crazy for carbs after all). Even my husband mumbled something about it being pretty good when asked.
You’ll like this one too:Cheat’s cassoulet
Easy mac and cheese
Makes 4 serves
Takes 30 mins
Bakes 25 mins
• 4 rashers of bacon
• 3 spring onions
• 1 cup of corn kernels
• 400g of dried macaroni pasta
• 50g of butter
• 2 tablespoons of plain flour
• 2 cups of milk
• 1 cup of grated tasty cheese
• ½ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
• ½ cup of grated gouda cheese
• 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
• ½ cup of bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 190ºC and lightly grease a baking dish.
Cut the bacon and spring onions into small pieces and cook in a frying pan over a medium heat until the bacon begins to brown. Remove from the frying pan and set aside until needed.
Cook the macaroni as per the instructions on the packet.
While the macaroni is cooking, place the butter into a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Cook until melted and add the flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
Gradually add the milk to the mixture and stir as you go. Bring the mixture to a boil (keep stirring) before reducing the heat and simmer for 2 minutes – continuing to stir regularly.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the grated cheese and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese has melted.
Place the cooked macaroni into the baking dish, add the cooked bacon and spring onions, corn kernels and pour the cheese sauce over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Carefully mix all of the ingredients together until the cheese sauce has coated all of the pasta. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and place into the oven.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
What’s your go-to comfort food?
Have a look into any family freezer and you’re almost guaranteed to find a box of baked chicken tenders or chicken nuggets. Baked chicken tenders are the kind of thing you always have on stand-by for when you really don’t want to cook. The good news is, you don’t have to settle for the over-processed, store-bought version. It’s actually super-easy to make your own.
While my boys are happy to dip their chicken tenders into a pot of sauce and call it a complete meal, I serve these with a few steamed veggies or a simple salad for a complete meal. As well as being an easy dinner, these baked chicken tenders also make a yummy lunch when popped into a wrap with some salad. They go great served cold in the lunch box too.
Make the baked chicken tenders in advance and then simply pop them into the freezer for nights when you just can’t be bothered cooking – which for me at the moment is almost every night!
For the herby coating, use any herbs to suit your family’s taste. I like a couple of teaspoons of paprika mixed through myself, but I’ve simply said “mixed herbs or spices” in the recipe. Suit yourself!
More great meal ideas: 25 family dinners we make again and again
Baked chicken tenders
Makes 12 strips
Takes about 15 mins
Bakes 25 minute
• 500g of chicken breast
• 1 cup of bread crumbs, made from approximately three slices of day-old bread
• 100g of Parmesan cheese, finely-grated
• 2 teaspoons of mixed herbs or spices
• 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (optional)
• 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 190ºC and line a tray with baking paper.
Slice the chicken breast into strips and place in the fridge until needed.
Put the breadcrumbs, finely grated Parmesan cheese, mixed herbs and sesame seeds into a bowl and stir to combine.
Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl.
First fully coat the chicken strips in the egg, then the bread crumb mixture, turning to coat.
Put the coated chicken strips onto the baking tray and cook for about 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
What do you keep in your freezer for an easy meal?
Every home needs a caramel fudge recipe in the recipe book. Caramel fudge is loved by pretty much everyone (do you know anyone who doesn’t love it?). This recipe makes a beautifully sweet fudge that melts in your mouth.
I like to use a good quality white chocolate when making this fudge, I think it gives it a rich and smooth consistency, which is what fudge is all about after all! The resulting caramel fudge makes a lovely gift to package up for Christmas or birthdays or just because.
I’ve made this fudge up to a week before I’ve needed to use it. It stores really well in a sealed container inside of the fridge. To be honest, it doesn’t seem to last very long once it’s made!
Easy caramel fudge recipe
Makes 24 pieces
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 6 hours (mostly in the fridge)
- 125g of butter
- 390g tin of condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
- 220g of brown sugar
- 200g of white chocolate – broken into pieces
1. Break the white chocolate into pieces and chop. Set aside until needed.
2. Line the base and sides of a 28cm x 18cm slice tin with baking paper and set aside until needed.
3. Add the butter, golden syrup, condensed milk and brown sugar to a medium sized saucepan and cook over a low heat for approximately 10 minutes. The fudge mixture will start to thicken and turn a lovely golden brown.
4. Once the fudge mixture has darkened, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chopped white chocolate and quickly stir to combine.
5. Quickly pour the caramel fudge into your prepared tin and gently smooth the surface.
6. Place the caramel fudge into the fridge for 6 hours (preferably overnight) to set before cutting into small pieces to enjoy.
Let us know in the comments if you make this caramel fudge!
These cheese and cauliflower fritters really are the perfect easy lunchbox addition. Keep them warm in a Thermos, or they are equally delicious served cold with some cherry tomatoes and cucumber sticks.
Although these fritters are all about the cheese, I like to add some grated zucchini to the mix to up our veggie intake. However you can easily leave this out if you prefer. Both of our boys LOVE these cheese and cauliflower fritters and think they are ‘crunchy potato cakes’. I can assure you I’m in no hurry to correct them!
Make these fritters for dinner and put the leftovers straight into the lunchbox, ready for tomorrow. You can make up an extra big batch because they freeze well for up to a month. To reheat, simply thaw your cheese and cauliflower fritters in the fridge and then reheat for 10 minutes in a 190ºC oven.
Cheese and cauliflower fritters recipe
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min
- 600g of cauliflower, leaves removed and cut into small florets.
- 1 medium zucchini (approximately 120g)- grated
- 2 cups (150g) of self raising flour
- 1 cup of parmesan cheese – finely grated
- 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese – grated
- 60g of feta cheese crumbled
- 1 garlic clove – crushed
- 1 teaspoon of onion flakes
- 2 eggs – lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup of water
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- olive oil to shallow fry
1. Place the cauliflower florets into a food processor and blitz until they turn into small pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add the crushed garlic, onion flakes, grated zucchini, chopped bacon, parmesan, mozzarella and feta cheese to the bowl. Add the self raising flour last then stir well to combine.
3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl lightly with a fork, add salt and pepper to taste. Add the eggs along with ¼ cup of water to the bowl with the cauliflower mixture and stir.
4. Gradually add the extra water and stir until you have a thick batter – please note you may not need all of the water depending on the size of the cauliflower and zucchini that you used.
5. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and use a ¼ measuring cup to scoop up the batter and place the fritter mixture into your pan.
6. Use a spoon to gently spread the mixture into a circle between ½ cm – 1cm thick. You should be able to fit approximately six fritters (or even more depending on the size of your pan) into your frying pan.
7. Cook the cauliflower and cheese fritters for about 5 minutes on each side until they are crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil so they stay warm while you cook the next batch. Repeat until all the cheese and cauliflower fritters have been cooked.
Would your kids enjoy fritters in their lunchbox?