Spaghetti Bolognese is one of our favourite dinners. It was even one of the first meals we had when we visited Venice last year. We have it at least once per week.
I make my Bolognese in bulk using my slow cooker – I love my slow cooker. I have this slow cooker (affiliate link). It cooks meat so nicely, to the point where it just falls off the bone and I have even been known to cook a chocolate pudding in mine – maybe that can be a post for another day.
But where it really comes into its own is when I want to cook something in bulk. This is usually Spaghetti Bolognese or Chilli. I am out of the house each day, at work, so I don’t really want to have to cook a meal from scratch every night BUT I do want to eat food that is mainly cooked from scratch. My slow cooker allows me to do this.
The recipe I am sharing with you today is one I have used for ages and has been adapted over the years to use more or less of the herbs etc that we like. That is the great thing about cooking from scratch, you can take a recipe and adapt it to what YOU like. So, if you like lots of garlic, add more garlic. If you don’t like garlic at all, don’t add any. I am sure you get my meaning.
The other thing I like to do is bulk out my meals to reduce the cost per portion. Of course, I want to do this without taking away any flavour or texture. I want my family to eat it without noticing anything different and, in this dish, that is where Porridge Oats come in. Porridge oats blend in beautifully with any mince dish to the point that you won’t notice they are there at all!
Here is my recipe for 16 portions of Spaghetti Bolognese from 1 kg Beef Mince, which I make once every four weeks and freeze into four tubs. Then the night before we plan to eat it, I defrost a tub overnight in the fridge and then reheat it thoroughly whilst I am cooking the spaghetti. Job done!
Spaghetti Bolognese – Makes 16 portions
4 large onions, chopped – I actually use ready chopped frozen onions which I defrost the night before
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 kg beef mince
200g Porridge oats
2 x 500g cartons of Passata
8 tbsp Tomato Puree
500 ml Beef Stock (if using stock cubes, use two cubes)
4 carrots, finely chopped – I use tinned, sliced carrots which I chop up finely
4 teaspoons Dried Basil
4 teaspoons Dried Rosemary
2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
4 Bay Leaves (if I have run out, I miss these out)
1. If, like me, you want to use frozen onions, you need to defrost these the night before you want them. I don’t actually weigh them out, I just use what I think resembles 4 large onions worth.
2. The mince is better browned, so the next thing to do is put this in a saucepan, on a medium heat, whilst you get on with everything else.
4. Give it all a good stir.
5. Drain any fat off the mince and add the mince to the slow cooker.
6. Give it another stir.
7. Add in your Bay Leaves – I like to leave the stalk sticking out, so that I can fish them out easily at the end of the cooking time.
8. Put the slow cooker on ‘low’ and let it cook for 6-8 hours.
15 Minutes before eating:
Cook your required amount of spaghetti, according to the instructions on the packet.
End of cooking:
Turn off the slow cooker and allow to cool, slightly, before dividing into four freeze-able containers (mine are old margarine tubs). When fully cool they are ready for freezing.
If you give it a try, let me know what you think?
If you have any tips you can share on how you save money on your groceries, I'd love it if you popped them in the comments below.