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3 courses on a budget

Who says cooking needs to be complicated and that you need to fork out a lot of money to create truly memorable meals?

Bernadette Longueira makes complicated-sounding three-course meals the easy and budget-friendly way.

Welcome to 3 Courses on a Budget.

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Butternut soup


1 medium sized butternut peeled and cut into chunks

2 onions, cleaned and sliced

1 vegetable stock cube

1 litre of water

Salt and pepper to taste

Bay leaf

1 Teaspoon mixed herbs or Italian herbs – crushed

½ teaspoon crushed garlic

250g sweet corn

50ml oil



  1.  Peel the butternut and cut into chunks (not too big)
  2. Clean and slice the onion
  3. Add the oil to a pot and heat
  4. Add the onions, stir and allow to cook until they turn glassy (almost transparent in colour)
  5. Add the butternut, water, stock cube, garlic, bay leaf, herbs and pepper
  6. Stir well and bring to the boil
  7. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer gently for about 1 hour or until butternut is soft
  8. Remove the bay leaf
  9. Liquidise until smooth
  10. Return to the pot
  11. Taste, add salt if you feel it’s required
  12. Add the sweet corn and bring to the boil again
  13. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 45 minutes
  14. If the soup is a little too thick, add a further 500ml of water
  15. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
  16. Serve with hot crusty bread, or just plain bread and butter


Tuna Lasange

Serves 4 to 6


2 tins of 170g tuna

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

500g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

10ml olive oil or canola oil

1 tin tomato soup

2 dessertspoons of flour

120g butter

1,5 litres of milk

250g cheddar cheese, grated

250g mozzarella or any other cheese, grated

2 packets of lasagna sheets

1 teaspoon Italian or mixed herbs

Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized pan
  2. Add the chopped onions and crushed garlic
  3. Allow to sweat until shiny and glassy
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 2 to 3 minutes
  5. Add the tuna, Italian herbs, tin of tomato soup and half a tin of hot water
  6. Mix together and allow to simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes
  7. Check the seasoning and adjust according to taste
  8. If a little thick add some more water (approximately ½ tin)
  9. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes
  10. Take off heat and set aside


White sauce(Bechamel):

  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pan
  2. Add flour and stir for 1 minute or until a blonde colour
  3. Remove from heat and gradually add milk, whisking or stirring until mixture is smooth
  4. Return to medium heat
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and thickens
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes
  7. Remove from heat and add ½ the grated cheeses, and salt and pepper
  8. Stir until well combined and check seasoning
  9. Adjust if necessary and set aside



  1. Lightly oil a medium-sized square casserole dish or tin foil dish
  2. Ladle some béchamel sauce into the bottom of the dish and spread evenly
  3. Place lasagna sheets over the sauce in the base
  4. Ladle 2 heaped ladles of tuna mixture over the lasagna sheets, spreading evenly
  5. Ladle the béchamel sauce over the tuna covering it. Not to thick
  6. Add another layer of lasagna sheets
  7. Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 until you have used up all the tuna mixture (about 3 layers). DO NOT use up all the béchamel sauce
  8. Finish with a layer of lasagna sheets
  9. Pour over the last of the béchamel sauce
  10. Spread evenly and cover with the rest of the cheeses
  11. Cover with tin foil or a lid
  12. Place in heated oven 180°C and cook covered for 45 minutes
  13. Remove the cover and allow to finish cooking, and brown for a further 45 minutes, or until when tested a knife goes in easily
  14. Serve with a green salad and fresh crusty bread



  1. Instant sauces can be used. You will need 2 to 3 packets. Follow the instructions on the packet
  2. Lasagna can be frozen after cooked and kept for 3 months. Just label it well
  3. You can substitute this recipe using chicken


Marshmallow surprise 


1 large packet of white and pink marshmallows

1 tin of peach slices

1 Tin of pineapple  pieces

250ml whipping cream

1 packet of glazed cherries

1 tub of vanilla ice cream

Castor sugar

Vanilla essence



  1.  Get a jug of hot boiling water in which to dip a sharp knife
  2. Cut the marshmallows into quarters and place in a large mixing bowl
  3. Open the tinned peaches, drain and reserve the juice
  4. Cut the peach slices in half, add to the chopped marshmallows
  5. Drain the pineapple pieces and add to the peaches and marshmallows
  6. Place the cream in a separate bowl
  7. Add two heaped dessert spoons of castor sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla essence
  8. Beat the cream until it starts to hold its shape slightly – it must not be too runny or too firm. You should be able to pour it, with the help of a spoon
  9. Stir the cream into the marshmallow mixture until well mixed
  10. Cut the glazed cherries into quarters and place in the reserved peach juice
  11. Soak for about 5 minutes and pour into the mixture
  12. Mix well and serve with vanilla ice cream or just as is




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