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Mitchell’s €1 Meals: Cooking in Bulk with Bechamel

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Image from www.sxc.hu

Image from www.sxc.hu

By Mitchell O’Brien

At just €1 per meal, these three menus are designed to be prepared together and frozen for ease of use for busy families on a budget. The whole family can get involved in the cooking process – so you don’t have to spend money entertaining the kids. There’s no compromise on the quality or quantity of food we eat, the fun in preparing meals, or the eating of them!

For the from” the Kitchen press” items, I have allocated 50c – I suggest a jar or money box on the window sill.

Can you put together a meal for €1-2? Share your recipes here!

Lasagne, Moussaka & Pasta Alfredo with home-made Béchamel sauce

Cost per serving: €1.16

Number of servings: 31

Total Cost (excluding electricity): €30.90

Lasagne and moussaka are ideal for the freezer. Make the two lasagnes and two moussakas for the freezer and have the pasta alfredo for dinner as soon as it’s made.

Béchamel Sauce Ingredients

This makes 2 ¼ litres of sauce to be used in the Lasagne, Moussaka & Carbonara recipes.

[TABLE=10]

Total cost for 2 ¼ Litres of Béchamel Sauce = €3.65

Method

1. Melt butter over low heat.

2. Sieve the 100g of flour into the 100g of melted butter and mix to a paste.

3. Add a cup of milk to the paste and let the milk warm up to the same temperature as the paste over a low heat before mixing with a whisk.

4. Once the milk and paste is mixed to a looser paste, repeat the process adding one cup of milk at a time until all the milk has been used and you have a loose to medium consistency.

5. Add a ½ teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of ground pepper and simmer for 10 minutes stirring regularly.

6. Finely grate the parmesan cheese and add to the sauce and stir well over a low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Remove the sauce from the heat and leave to cool, ready to pour in!

Ingredients for Lasagne, Moussaka, and Alfredo

[TABLE=9]

Total ingredients will make:

  • 12 portions of Lasagne
  • 12 portions of Moussaka
  • 7 portions of Mushroom & Bacon Alfredo

Total cost for 31 meals = €30.90, or less than €1.00 per meal

Lasagne – Method

2 x 6 portions = 12 meals

1. Turn on your oven and pre-heat to 180˚C.

2. Mix the 2 ½ lbs of lamb mince and the 2 lbs of beef mince.

3. Fry off 3 finely diced onions and 6 finely diced cloves of garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add 2 teaspoons for dried oregano in a LARGE sauce pan.

4. Add the mixed mince and brown.

5. Add three tins of chopped tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

6. Add a ½ litre of crushed tomatoes and 1 glass of red wine.

7. Add ½ a punnet of washed and diced mushrooms and let simmer for 35 minutes stirring occasionally.

8. After 35 minutes, turn off the heat and let stand for 30 minutes.

9. Wipe 2 Lasagne dishes (about 25cm to 30cm square and 8 cm deep) with a little olive oil.

10. Arrange 4 sheets of dried lasagne pasta on the bottom of both dishes.

11. Pour a ½ cm layer of your Béchamel sauce into both dishes covering the sheets of lasagne pasta and spoon a 2cm layer of the meat sauce into to both dishes.

12. Cover with another layer of lasagne pasta sheets and repeat the process with the Béchamel sauce and the meat sauce so that you have three layers of pasta, three layers of béchamel sauce and two layers of meat sauce, i.e. pasta, béchamel, meat, pasta, béchamel, meat, pasta, béchamel.

13. Sprinkle with a handful of grated parmesan cheese and some crushed black pepper and place in a pre-heated oven (180˚C) for 35 minutes.

14. Remove from oven when bubbling and the top is golden brown and leave to stand for 20 minutes before serving.

15. If freezing, leave go fully cold before putting in the freezer. This may take up to 2 hours. Cover with cling-film before putting in the freezer.

Each lasagne will give you six portions. Serve with mixed leaf salad, garlic bread, or oven chips. 1kg bag of oven chips available in Lidl for 65c and will serve 6 people as a side to this Lasagne.

NB: You will have enough meat mixture left over to make a moussaka.

aubergine Moussaka – Method

2 x 6 portions = 12 meals

1. Using the same meat sauce as used in the Lasagne recipe and the oven already pre-heated to 180˚C….

2. Wash the aubergines and slice length-ways. Season on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry until golden brown in 3 tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes, turning once after 2 ½ minutes. The aubergines will absorb the olive oil in the first couple minutes of frying and will release the oil back into the frying pan when they are done.

3. Arrange the aubergines over the bottom of both Moussaka dishes (about 30cm square and 8cm deep). Cover with 5cm of your meat sauce (from the lasagne recipe).

4. Pour 2cm to 3cm of your Béchamel sauce over the meat sauce and sprinkle with a handful of grated parmesan cheese and place in a pre-heated oven for 35 minutes at 180˚C.

5. Remove from oven when golden brown and leave stand for 20 minutes before serving.

6. As with the Lasagne, allow to cool fully before freezing. The Béchamel sauce will take on a firm consistency on top of the dish.

Each Moussaka will give you six portions. Serve with mixed leaf salad or oven chips. You can buy a 1kg bag of oven chips in Lidl for 65c, which will serve 6 people as a side to this Moussaka.

spaghetti-carbonaraAlfredo – Method

1. Bring a LARGE saucepan of water to the boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

2. Add the spaghetti and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes (follow the instructions on the side of the packet of spaghetti).

3. In a saucepan, sauté one finely chopped onion with 3 or 4 cloves of finely diced garlic and a pinch of oregano.

4. Dice a pack of smoked streaky bacon and add to the saucepan along with a ½ punnet of washed and diced mushrooms. Fry for about 3 minutes.

5. Season with a little salt (not too much – don’t forget there is bacon in there) and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Add 1 ½ cups of béchamel sauce and ½ a glass of white wine. Simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Drain the spaghetti in a colander and rinse with boiling water from your kettle.

8. Drizzle some olive oil over you hot spaghetti and transfer to a large shallow bowl (about 30cm or more in diameter) and pour over the Alfredo sauce and mix through the pasta.

9. Sprinkle with some grated parmesan and a little chopped parsley if you have it to hand and serve immediately.

This Alfredo recipe will give you seven servings.



4 Comments

  1. I think we’ll try this on Saturday with the kids. It will be great to have these in the freezer for during the week. We might even stretch to a bottle of vino for Saturday night with the money that we will save. Thanks

  2. Was just going to say the same thing as this is a pet-peeve of mine but Claire beat me to it. This is an American-style alfredo sauce not a carbonara. A carbonara is made with egg yolks, cheese, cured pork (guanciale or pancetta) and black pepper (and maybe a splash of white wine). The hot pasta cooks the egg yolks making a rich, creamy sauce that just coats the pasta. Takes about fifteen minutes to make.

  3. PS Real carbonara is even cheaper than this recipe.

  4. Thanks Claire and Bill: recipe corrected.

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