I have always been someone who loves to cook and nine times out of ten I cook completely from scratch. I rarely use ready-made sauces and when I'm not cooking from scratch it's because we've ordered a takeaway! However, with a new baby due any day now, and a hungry brood to feed, I have been thinking of ways I can make life in the kitchen a little easier. So when I was offered the chance to receive a hamper of ingredients to come up with some mid-week family meals using Dolmio Bolognese sauce the timing could not have been more perfect!
The reason I never consider jarred sauces is because I have always thought that they're just full of processed junk. Which is fine - I love a bit of junk! - but when feeding my children I want to get as much goodness into them as possible, especially with Noah being such a fussy eater. I was surprised to learn exactly what goes into each jar of Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g: at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs including basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of water.
Not only does one jar provide a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each, this isn't actually all that dissimilar to my own Bolognese sauce that I make from scratch, so why have I never considered using it?! Dolmio sent us two of their jars along with a huge selection of other ingredients so we could give it a whirl and see what we thought. I decided to use one jar to make a veggie spaghetti Bolognese with extra hidden vegetables, and the other jar to make a fully loaded veggie bean chilli served with a jacket potato.
For the spaghetti Bolognese, I used some meat-free mince and added mushrooms, a carrot, a pepper and some garlic along with the jar of Dolmio. Using extra vegetables means I can get some more goodness into everyone but also reduces the amount of mince needed so you save a few pence, too! It only took me about 15 minutes in total to prepare and cook, because I didn't need to make my own sauce.
For the veggie chilli, I used meat-free mince again, along with kidney beans, a courgette, an aubergine, an onion and a pepper, and used the jar of Dolmio plus a tablespoon of chipotle paste to make the sauce. Instead of rice we had the chilli served on a jacket potato to save time, because jacket potatoes can just go in the oven while I get on with other things. Again it only took me about 15 minutes to prepare and cook this meal, aside from the jacket potatoes.
So what was the verdict on using Dolmio Bolognese in our meals? Well, I tell you something. Both meals were a hit - not just taste wise, but time wise as well! I saved so much time because I wasn't having to faff about making a sauce; Dolmio have done that part for me and you can see exactly what goes into it in the video below! Everyone enjoyed their food, and Ian actually said that the chilli was the best one I've ever made. I'm not sure whether to be offended, as that means my usual recipe isn't as good! Oh well! On the plus side it was so easy to do that even he could do it, which means I might be able to hand over the kitchen reins to Ian every now and then.
Dolmio Bolognese sauce is definitely going to be on my shopping list in future! What other meals would you use it in?
This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness