Helen’s Home Cooking

Do you reach for jars of pre-made Bolognese sauce? They are sadly almost all full of salt and sugar. Here is a simple alternative which should cost approximately 1/2 the price of shop bought ones and will be a healthy tasty option. Bolognese for me is a dish that can be made with whatever you have to hand and although in this recipe I am using bacon, mushroom and red pepper, I as often omit them as include them.

Spaghetti Bolognese

serves 4


  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 200g mince
  • 3-4 rashers smoked bacon/lardons
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Tomato passata – a whole jar/can
  • 2 cloves garlic/ 2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • a few mushrooms sliced
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed herbs
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)


  1. In heated oil fry the onions, mushrooms and red pepper for 5-10 mins while covered, stir occasionally; this releases the natural sweetness which shall hopefully compensate for any bitterness in the tomatoes.
  2. Add the mince, bacon and garlic and further fry for a few minutes until the mince has browned.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato passata, stock cube, herbs and chilli and bring to the boil.
  4. Cook for around 40 mins or until a film of oil appears on the top.
  5. Carefully taste at this point and if your dish is a little bitter, add some sugar approx 1/2 tsp at a time.
  6. Add black pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with pasta of your choice, topping with a little grated cheese.

Top Tip. By adding an extra tin of tomatoes, 1/4 pint of water and 2 tbls of tomato purée you should have sufficient sauce leftover to fill cannelloni shells for a second meal making this dish exceptional value for money.


Next Week, Indian Chicken Curry,  do you love going for an Indian take away but the price makes it a very occasional treat, here is a recipe that tastes every bit as good as a take away and although purchasing all the herbs and spices is initially costly you will have them at hand for many future curries remembering they shall still be cheaper than that one take away. If the price of all the spices does allude you by following the recipe & using Madras curry powder a reasonable substitute is at hand.


You shall need, 350g chicken breast, 3 onions, 4 large tomatoes or 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 3-4 cloves, 3 cardamon seeds, cumin seeds, coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, garam masala, bay leaves, garlic, fresh ginger, fresh coriander leaves to finish (optional).

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