utilitarian bolognese

there’s nothing quite as useful as versatile leftovers. my favorite is a big batch of bolognese, or meat sauce. it’s cheap to make & can be transformed into a variety of different dishes in the following days.

day 1: spaghetti bolognese.

day 2: mince on toast (breakfast/lunch)

day 3: cottage pie. (a british casserole dish of meat & mashed potatoes)

day 4: phyllo & mince. (a greek version of cottage pie)

*note: i have doubled quantities to cover use over four days! if you’re cooking only bolognese, half this recipe & it will serve 4 people.

now, while they all may be different combos of protein & carbs, the tomatoes in the sauce and a salad on the side will help the cause. this is a from-scratch recipe that my mom taught me in high school and never fails to impress — even in its simplicity.


day 1: spaghetti bolognese


  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 c. beef stock
  • 2 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. oregano and/or italian spices
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • sugar
  • parmesan cheese
  • olive oil for frying


heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. add onions and peppers and cook 5 minutes or until soft. add garlic and cook for 2 mins until fragrant. don’t let them burn.

add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon or fork while stirring. cook for 10 mins or until browned. pour off the majority of the fat.

add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. add a pinch of sugar to counteract the bitterness of the tomatoes. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. let simmer 20 mins. stir occasionally.

bring a pot of salted water to boil. cook pasta according to directions.

serve pasta w/ bolognese & parmesan.


day 2: mince on toast

reheat 1 cup of bolognese. toast two slices of bread. spoon bolognese over the toast, sprinkle with parmesan & serve!

sounds weird…. but is so delicious!


day 3: cottage pie


  • bolognese sauce
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • milk
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese


preheat oven to 350 F.

mashed potatoes: bring salted water to boil in a medium pot. add potatoes and cook until fork tender. drain.

mash the potatoes with milk, butter and S&P. (you know how you like your mashed potatoes.)

cottage pie assembly: place a layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. spread a layer of mashed potatoes on top. sprinkle with parmesan.

bake until heated through and the potatoes start to turn golden on top, about 15 mins.



day 4: phyllo  & mince


  • bolognese sauce
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 5 or 6 sheets of phyllo


preheat oven to 350 F.

heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan. add celery and cook until soft. add mince and cook until heated through. stir in flour and cook for 2 mins. transfer mixture to a baking dish.

layout phyllo on the counter and cover with a damp towel or paper towel when not using. one-by-one, paint each layer of dough with the melted butter. scrunch it up loosely and place on top of the layer of meat. arrange the phyllo so it covers the entire layer of meat.

bake for 10-15 mins until the phyllo is crispy and golden brown.



and there you go…. 4 meals from one, versatile meat sauce!

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