beef sausage lasagna bake with orecchiette

One of the things I so love about cooking is finding inspiration from items I have in my fridge or freezer. A simpler version of lasagna using beef sausage, vegetables and orecchiette pasta, this dish cooks a little faster than your traditional lasagna as the pasta is cooked before adding it to the meat sauce.
Because sausages are packed with so much beautiful flavour I always remove the casing to enhance the dish. I used orecchiette pasta but any other pasta like penne, rigatoni or fusilli are great alternatives.

Serve this comforting meal with a simple garden or avocado salad and shavings of parmesan.
A delicious, budget friendly family meal!

ingredients | serves 6 | a little effort
600g beef sausage
1/2 white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
150g button mushrooms, quartered
2 zucchini, grated
1t dried oregano
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only
2T tomato paste
1 can crushed tomato
1T paprika
2T brown sugar
1C cherry tomatoes, whole
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1t salt
good grind of black pepper
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
2T olive oil
1T butter
2C grated cheddar
3C orecchiette pasta, cooked according to package intstructions

white sauce
35g butter
4T flour
2.5-3C milk
1/2t salt
1/2t white pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C/170 with fan.
Heat the olive oil & butter in a large, ovenproof skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until glossy. Remove the sausage meat from the casings by pressing it out, into the hot pan, like little meatballs. Discard the sausage casings and brown the meat all over. About 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring.
Add the grated zucchini, rosemary, paprika, oregano, sugar, salt & pepper, stir to coat and cook for 5 minutes. Pour the crushed tomato into the pan and cook the mixture for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add the cherry tomatoes, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the parsley through the mixture. Set aside.

make the white sauce
Melt the butter in a small pot on medium heat. Add the flour and mix using a wooden spoon.
Remove the pot from the heat and, using a whisk, add the milk while rapidly whisking. Place the pot back onto the heat and continue to whisk until the sauce starts to thicken. Leave to gently simmer for about 10 minutes, while stirring. Add more milk if the sauce is too thick. (You must have a pourable sauce.)
Season with the salt & pepper.

Spoon the cooked orecchiette pasta onto the meat sauce. Pour the white sauce over the pasta and top with the grated cheddar cheese and thyme leaves.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until browned on top.

easy, budget friendly family meal – sausage & spicy rice

I welcome easy, budget friendly meals that my family will enjoy. Meals that are packed full of flavour even when I didn’t spend hours slaving away in the kitchen.
Cooking shouldn’t feel like a chore. Food is meant to be enjoyed and not only when eating it but also when preparing it. For this reason, easy, quick dinners, that fit into our busy schedules work wonders for me!
I used normal sausage but you can use a spicy sausage, pork sausages or really any kind of sausage you prefer. Removing the meat from the casing adds extra flavour to the dish so i highly recommend doing so.
I served this dish with a green salad of leaves, avocado, green pepper and topped it with toasted almonds, red onion and radish. Steamed greens or roasted vegetables will also be perfect as side dishes.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
600g sausage, casing removed
4tbs olive oil
3tbs butter
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5tbs paprika (not smoked)
pinch chilli flakes
6 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1/2tsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
1/2tsp onion seeds
1tsp dried oregano
1/2tsp salt
black pepper
3/4c long grain rice
1 can chopped tomato
1/5c chicken stock `
1 red pepper, cut into blocks
spring onion, sliced at an angle (garnish)
handful fresh parsley, chopped

how to do it
remove the sausage meat from the casings/s and set aside.
heat oil and brown the sausage, about two minutes. set aside. add the butter to the skillet and cook the onion until glossy. add the paprika, oregano, thyme, onion seeds, cumin seeds, chilli & coriander and cook for one minute, until fragrant.
tip the rice into the skillet and stir through to coat. add the garlic, diced tomatoes, red pepper & chicken stock and stir. tip the meat into the mixture and bring it to a light boil.
turn down to a gentle simmer. cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes, until the rice have absorbed the liquid and is cooked through.
add a little more water if desired.
remove the skillet from the heat and stir the chopped parsley through the food. garnish with the sliced spring onion and serve warm.

sausage & potato ‘casserole’

it is no secret…i love one pan wonders. it is perfect for when you really do not have much time but still want to enjoy a good, hearty meal.
i like to serve it the way it was prepared…in the pan. this way everyone gets involved and it becomes a family affair. i almost always serve crusty bread along with it. nothing beats dunking fresh crusty bread in some leftover tasty juices.

ingredients |. serves 4
800g beef / venison sausage
4tbs butter
3 tbs olive oil
4 shallots, halved
4 garlic cloves, sliced
4 potatoes, blocks
2tbs fresh thyme leaves
1tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 small red chilli, chopped
3 tomatoes, quartered
3tbs brown sugar
black pepper
25g brown onion soup
2c beef stock
fresh parsley (garnish)
chives, chopped (garnish)

heat butter & oil in a large skillet and sauté the shallots & garlic until fragrant and glossy. add the sausage to the skillet and brown on all sides. add the potatoes, sugar, thyme, rosemary, chilli, salt & pepper. stir to combine and leave to cook for about 2 minutes.
mix the brown onion soup & stock and pour the mixture into the skillet, stirring. bring to a light boil.
turn down the heat, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
remove the lid, add the tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and the sauce have thickened.
garnish with parsley & chives.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x