I love to cook but some days, especially midweek, I just can’t be bothered. Normally on these days I purposely delay starting dinner in the hope Aaron will say “fancy a takeaway?” and I’ll jump at the chance. However, with me trying to be healthier, not just on my waist but on my bank balance, anything I can do to prevent that is a win. When the awesome guys at Britmums got in touch to see if I’d like to take part in their Dolmio #ThankGoodness campaign I almost bit their hand off.
Dolmio #ThankGoodness Campgain: What I Received
A few days later I had this lovely lot of goodies delivered to my door. I set to the task of coming up with some awesome family meals that would tempt me away from the takeaways. I’m normally a “make sauces from scratch” kinda gal but the purpose of these jars of Dolmio was to take that time off my hands while still filling my family with nutrients.
At the end of the day, one jar of Dolmio Bolognese contains a full portion of fruit/veg for four people as part of their 5-a-day. Take a look at what goes in to each jar in this quick video.
Dolmio #ThankGoodness Campaign: The Meals
I’m extremely lucky in the sense that Eban isn’t all too fussy, especially when it comes to vegetables. He’ll give anything a try and so far the only thing he genuinely doesn’t like is mushrooms. We keep adding them to meals but he just doesn’t like them, so that automatically ruled them out of a dish.
I like meals that can be prepared ahead of time or can just be left to cook. This resulted in all my meals being super easy and pretty quick. I managed three meals with the jars of Dolmio although the third meal only required a few tablespoons of the sauce.
I’ll say now, I’m not a recipe cook. I don’t measure and weigh unless I really have to, so I throw meals together. You won’t find exact weights and times here as I play it all by eye.
Dolmio #ThankGoodness Campaign: Cheesy Meatballs
When you look at the selection of items I received the first dish that comes to mind is spaghetti bolognese. This isn’t a favourite in our house though. Aaron isn’t to keen on overly mushy meals. It is a quick meal to make and perfect when you can’t be bothered but I took a different route using the same ingredients.
These meatballs can be made ahead of time and/or cooked slowly in the oven – perfect for me. Simply take your mince, add the salt, pepper, grated garlic and chilli then smoosh it all in. Your seasoning can be altered to taste, add more/less garlic/chilli based on your family’s preference.
Take a small amount of the mince, roll it into a ball then squash it flat in your hands. Grab a cube of cheese (we used mild for super gooeyness) and wrap the mince around the cheese. Then reform the mince back into a ball. Once you’ve used all the mince you can refrigerate until needed. We got 11 large balls from our pack of mince.
When you’re ready, brown the meatballs in a frying pan using a little oil. Then either turn the heat down to cook them fully or put them in the oven covered in sauce until they’re cooked through.
Serving The Meatballs
I teamed the meatballs with a vegetable ratatouille made using onions, carrots, red/green peppers, garlic, chilli and the jar of Dolmio. I fried off the veg to soften it then added the sauce. Seasoned to taste and slapped it over the meatballs before bunging it in the oven while the spaghetti cooked.
Once it’s all cooked, I added a little of the sauce to the spaghetti to prevent it going sticky or hard. Plonked the meatballs on top then covered in plenty of Parmesan. I also served this with a garlic and herb “tear ‘n’ share” bread. It was gobbled up and Eban loved the twist in the meatballs when he realised cheese oozed out.
Dolmio #ThankGoodness Campaign: Chicken Pasta Bake
My second meal really was a quick one and super simple. I took two of the chicken breasts and sliced them into small strips, then cooked them in a pan. Then I boiled up some pasta until ‘al dente’, drained it and threw it in an oven dish. I added the cooked chicken, frozen peas and sweetcorn before mixing in the other jar of Dolmio (leaving 2-3 tablespoons in the jar for another meal).
Then in true pasta bake style, I sprinkled crushed cheese and onion crisps on top, covered them in cheese (we like cheese) and threw that in the oven to heat through and melt the cheese. Then served.
Again, this was demolished by the family. Unfortunately I completely forgot to take a picture of this meal but I’m sure you can imagine the cheesy pasta bake mess that would have been on the plate.
Dolmio #ThankGoodness Campaign: Breaded Chicken Burger
With the third meal, and probably my favourite, I really wanted something takeaway-ish. I decided to use some of the Dolmio sauce as part of a burger sauce.
For the sauce I finely diced a red onion and gently fried it in a little oil, to soften not brown it. Then I added a clove of garlic and a small amount fresh ginger – both the garlic and ginger very finely chopped. I let it all cook together for a few minutes before adding the 2-3 tablespoons of the Dolmio I had saved from the pasta bake. I let this all cook together and then allowed to cool. Once cool, I dolloped in a couple of tablespoons of mayo and mixed together.
The Chicken Burger & Rest
I took the remaining chicken breasts, placed them in a food bag and whacked them a couple of times with a rolling pin – to flatten slightly. I then coated them in flour, egg, flour, egg then pre-made breadcrumbs. Then I gently fried the chicken until golden before flipping to brown the other side. They then went in the oven to finish off (ensuring they were cooked throughout). For the last 2-3 minutes, while I assembled the burgers, I places a couple of slices of cheese on the chicken while in the oven so it melted.
For the burgers you can pretty much dress them how you’d like. We had shredded lettuce, red onion and gherkins, then the chicken and topped it all off with the Dolmio burger sauce. Served on a multigrain roll with triple cooked chips.
For the chips I par-boiled them before throwing them in hot oil. I lifted them out just as they were colouring and put them back in while assembling the burgers.
Dolmio #ThankGoodness Campaign: Diverse Dishes
I was very pleased with the meals I got out of the two jars of Dolmio Bolognese, especially that they weren’t just bolognese. It just goes to show that Dolmio doesn’t have to mean Italian based pasta dish if you use your imagination. My favourite meal was the burgers but Eban loved the cheesy meatballs.
As a “from scratch” sauce maker I was very shocked at the ingredients listed in each jar. I didn’t expect them to be practically the same as I use. I was expecting less tomatoes and more preservatives. How wrong I was. If you’re looking for a quick and easy midweek meal then keeping a jar or two of these sauces in the cupboard is a great idea.
This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness