Substituting carbs 1. – Pasta free lasagne

In order for me to complete or succeed at any sort of diet or exercise routine… I need an accomplice and as much as I love every single one of my friends… not one of them is great at keeping to a diet or going to the gym with me. We all work in the food and beverage industry which means one thing… you can be easily persuaded into a gin or two or frequently end up in a pub that hand makes warm, fresh sausage rolls (wheatsleaf in Borough Market) and as hard as we all try… we never succeed.

So this time around to help me drop some excess weight I seem to have picked up since getting married, Mr Willetts decided to help me out. So during the week we have been juicing during in the day and sticking to a low or no carb dinner. I have also been working out to Charlotte Crosby’s 3 minute Belly Blitz (which is amazing by the way) and also going to the gym when I can.

“you have let yourself go a little bit since the wedding but I’m still in great shape”- Mr Willetts

So I thought what a brilliant way to show you what I’ve been doing than to blog the meals we’ve (I’ve) been creating trying to substitute Carbs for something just as filling and nice to taste.

My first creation was pasta free lasagne. Now this has been done time and time again but 9/10 these recipes are vegetarian recipes. My one version combines meat and the idea of using courgettes and spinach as the layers. Now I’m no cooking expert and I’ve certainly NEVER made a cookery book or a recipe before, but in the name of blogging I’ll give it a try! I’m not using any technical measures because to be honest we normally guess anyway! and switch it up depending on whats in the fridge.

To serve 1 Mr Willetts and 3 normal size appetites. You will need:

-4 Courgettes – thinly sliced ( I try to use the big side of the cheese grater OR a potato peeler to get it nice and thin)

-half a bag of spinach

-2 tomatoes sliced

-3 dice size pieces of low fat feta

-Pesto

-1 500g packet of 5% fat minced beef

-1 beef stock cube

-2 red onions

-1/2 packet of mushrooms

-1 jar of Bolognese sauce… choose your own brand… we like Dolmio on our house

-1/2 tin on chopped tomatoes (or the small little carton you can get)

Firstly, Mr Willetts and I like to split the cooking dinner thing. We usually prep together and then I pull everything together to make it to the plate! (he’ll always claim he “MADE” dinner… even if he only chopped one onion).

Top tip- turn the oven on now to get it warmed up… Mr Willetts is rubbish at this and then wonders why he has to wait an extra 20 minutes for dinner. Place the oven on 180C. Now our oven doesn’t actually have the numbers on the dials anymore, the oven is so old that they have worn off so… we guess.

So start by chopping both onions and the half pack of mushrooms and we get those into the pan Β with some fry light (maybe 5 sprays?). Add the full packet of mince and cook until browned. At this point Mr Willetts and I like to add a beef stock cube to create some extra flavour and then we pour away any excess water (That’s a Mr Willetts job as I would end up pouring the whole thing in the sink by accident). Then simply add 1/2 tin of tomatoes and the Dolmio sauce, stir and leave to simmer for about 15/20 minutes.

Take the Courgette slices and season with salt and pepper for extra flavour.

Once everything is nicely cooked off take a rectangular oven dish (preferably a glass one) and layer 1/3 of the meat on the bottom of the dish. Then add a layer of spinach (around half of what you have) on top and then add a layer of courgette, making sure to pack extra in on the layers as courgettes do shrink in the oven! Repeat this again for the next 2 layers. – Top tip that we’ve learnt after doing this a couple of times now… use the sliced tomato to top the Lasagne and this will stop the courgette layer from drying out when its in the oven.

Place the lasagne in the oven or around 20 minutes to bake. Once the tomatoes start to crips and the courgettes start to brown on the top layer take it out. Crumble the feta over the top and add some tea spoons of pesto to the top and spread around. Then pop it back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

When it’s done (you’ll know because the feta will melt over the top of the lasagne, take it out and leave it to rest for around 10 minutes… this is probably the most important bit because it allows the juices inside to settle a little so that it firms up and doesn’t fall apart when you cut into it.

Now we usually like to serve this with a rocket salad or sometimes with sweet potatoes baked in the oven but the world is your oyster in terms of what to serve it with. As we’re trying to keep to low carbs I would say the salad is the best option!

Why not try it out! Remember to tag me in pictures of your creations… I’d love to see them!

“This dinner is lovely, my version is always better because it has more layers. It doesn’t fill you up because there’s no bread…” – Mr Willetts

Mrs Willetts x