Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Lactose-free lasagne

Time for a foodie post I think!!

After a long time of stomach issues Mr Loops has finally discovered it's because he is lactose intolerant!  Alas he adores cheese, and foods like lasagne, pizza, beans and cheese on toast :-(  He tried lactase tablets but they cost so much for the dose he needed to be able to eat dairy foods so now I'm working on adapting at least some of his favourite foods so he can have a treat now and again hopefully without changing the flavour too much!!

The finished product!!

I don't tend to use measurements or recipes when I cook, if there's something I want to make and don't know how to, then I'll trawl through online recipes or cooking magazines to get the general gist and pick my favourite!!  I'm clearly not a chef and I like food that's easy to make and remember.  So here are the basics of my lactose-free lasagne (for roughly 4 people) with in-progress piccies, adapt as necessary to make your own or just look at the piccies :-)

  • Soften onions/garlic/mushrooms in some oil (I use Carotino - cholesterol-free and vitamin-high oil) in a large deep frying pan
  • Remove the base veg to a plate, and add your choice of mince to the same pan you did the veg in, adding more oil if required (beef mince is usually good as is, but for turkey mince for instance I add extra)
  • If you break up the mince too early it will release water and start to steam but we're looking to brown the mince for flavour first, so try and keep it in one big block until it's browned on the first side, then turn it to brown the other side
  • Now break up the mince and when it has all coloured add a little plain flour and stir to soak up the juices, and then re-add the base veg
  • Add a tub of chopped tomatoes and the same again of water with a couple of stock cubes (pre-made stock instead), and add any other veg
  • Add any dried herbs you fancy (or if you prefer fresh herbs then put these in just before forming in the lasagne dish), I favour oregano and parsley and black pepper, or else just some italian or plain mixed herbs.  Add a slug of worcestershire sauce and/or soy sauce, chilli flakes, whatever suits your tastes, but don't go too over the top as you can always add more later when you've tasted it!!
  • Pop a lid on the frying pan and simmer for about an hour (really for beef mince the longer you cook it the more tender it becomes), stirring now and again and taste towards the end to check the level of seasoning/herbs/spiciness etc and check how tender the mince is.

Personally I like to pad out my lasagne with veg for extra [hidden] fruit and veg portions!!  In this lasagne I used onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots and peas (not sure I'd use peas again tho as they go a very unappetising colour!).  This tends to depend upon what I have in the fridge, I have also used leeks, sweet potato, anything to increase Mr Loops' veg count for the day!

As the mince is nearing completion, grab your lasagne dish, lasagne pasta sheets, lactose-free cheese and cheese sauce (and milk if required to make the sauce).  I used Arla Lactofree milk and cheese, and Free & Easy dairy-free cheese sauce.  Grate up the cheese, and prepare your cheese sauce.  For the sauce I used I had to make a paste with the sauce powder and some milk, then add the rest of the milk and pop it on the hob to thicken, I also added a little grated cheese to this.

Now build your lasagne!!  For mine - meat --> pasta --> cheese sauce --> meat --> pasta --> cheese sauce --> grated cheeeeese.

I like to add a little paprika and black pepper to the top :-)  Now pop this on a baking tray (to catch any overflow!) and pop in the oven at around 200C and leave for about 30-40 mins or until the cheese has melted and is all scrummy and bubbly!!

Serve with salad and/or wedges and/or some garlic bread (made with fresh garlic and a dairy-free spread like Vitalite)  Yum!!


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