Cheaters' pasta sauce

Right, as the name suggests, this pasta sauce is gonna be real easy to prepare. Heck, I even used a jar of pasta sauce for it - I did say it's a cheater's pasta sauce!

So what I did was merely to make the sauce taste even better, and I must say this was so convenient and definitely more time-saving than my other pasta sauces done from scratch.

Here's the recipe:


  • 200g minced beef
  • 1 small yellow onion (slice)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 Knorr beef stock cube (dissolve in a bowl of hot water)
  • plain flour
  • 1 bottle of ready-made pasta sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • mushrooms of your choice (optional)

Marinate beef with:

  • oyster sauce
  • worcestershire sauce
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic powder


  1. Marinate beef prior to cooking.
  2. Add oil to the saucepan and brown the beef. Remove when done.
  3. Add oil and sweat the onions. Add the bay leaves, beef stock, mushrooms (if adding) and return the browned beef to the saucepan. Let it simmer till it's not too watery.
  4. Add the pasta sauce and plain flour (and sugar).
  5. Toss cooked pasta in the sauce and dinner's done!

Btw, my fussypot loved the sauce! :)

Mini cottage pies (new recipe!)

When I first knew that Adora from The Gingerbread Mum was going to host a Breakfast for champions linky party, these mini cottage pies which I used to make for my little one came to mind! It’s been such a long time since I made them and I was really quite excited to make them once again - but this time I changed the recipe and they turned out even more delish!

My little girl loves all things mini – perhaps because she is sopetite. Hence, when I cook for her, I have to make sure that the size of the food is sorta bite-sized - to entice her to eat (she’s no foodie you see).

And breakfast is one of the hardest meals to make her eat because she is all grouchy and lazy and just, well, difficult to get her out of bed.

Mini cottage pies to the rescue!!! Who wouldn’t want to tuck into these cute little fragrant pies?

I didn't see my hubby eating these... I HEARD him. LOL. He was doing his marking like a grumpy old man before I went to do the dishes and the next thing I heard was a mmmmmmm... and I saw him happily tucking into the lil pies. :)

Smooth little pies waiting to be baked
(Confession: I had to re-use my previous photos as I couldn't get better photos this time)

I made these little pies for her when she was quite young:

These were made with purple potatoes! You won't get a golden brown!

Now that she's much older, I got her to help out:

Ahh... oops, not very dressed for photos but I'm sure you wouldn't mind, right?

This is hard work! :P

"See my sweaty head? I worked sooo hard for it!"
(Ya right, she ran around the house while waiting for her pies to be baked)

She loves this much much more than when she was younger!
(See my naughty little boy rummaging through the drawers again coz he couldn't get to take part in eating)

Cottage pies usually require the use of ground beef (and in the case of the English, they use lambor mutton). If you or your child do not consume beef for religious reasons or simply detest the taste of beef, you can always substitute the beef with chicken instead - not as authentic but nevertheless yummy! :)

Mini Cottage Pies (makes about 12-16 pies)

  • 3-4 egg-sized potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons minced beef
  • 1 tablespoon heap minced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon heap minced carrot
  • 1 tablespoon heap frozen green peas
  • olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • about 1/4 Knorr beef stock cube (dissolve in about 100ml hot water)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
For adding to mashed potato:
  • unsalted butter
  • milk
  • salt to taste
  • unsalted all-purpose herbs
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic bread powder

Marinate beef with:
  • worcestershire sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • sugar (optional)

1. Marinate minced beef. Set aside.
2. Peel potatoes and cube them. Set them to boil. Boil them till they are soft.
3. Heat saucepan and add oil.
4. Brown the beef. Make sure there are no large clumps. Remove from pan and set aside.
5. Add oil and fry the minced onion, peas and carrot till onion is soft.

6. Add flour and pasta sauce then return the beef to the saucepan.
7. Add the beef stock and simmer till the stock becomes a gravy. Remove the bay leaf when done.
8. Meanwhile, mash the potatoes with the ingredients stated above.
9. Fill the silicon mini muffin cups with the beef filling to about the half-waymark.
10. Add the mashed potato on top and shape them like little muffins.
11. Preheat oven to 220degC.
12. Bake mini pies for 20-25min at 220degC. (20min will do for mine) - or till the potato turns golden brown.

The wonderful thing about these mini pies is that they can be frozen and defrosted in the fridge!! So, you don’t need to wake up early to prepare these for brekkie in the morning (yes, that extra sleep is much needed, really). I cannot imagine having to wake up e.a.r.l.y to prepare these on a weekday!

Because of the mini size, you can serve these as breakfast, snack, or heck, even lunch or dinner! :) Just serve more/ less pies accordingly. Or pair them up with something else as a side dish!

Don’t you just love these versatile minis? :)

Have fun baking! I can’t wait to introduce these to my little boy when he’s older!

This is a Breakfast for Champions initiative by 14 Singapore Mom Bloggers. Click on badge above to find out what other yummy delights you can make for your family!


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