Wednesday, 18 December 2013

mmm something healthy??? what to make for a family?

After much googling I have found a few family friendly healthy meals that seem  to still have the YUM factor attached.

I intend to make this for our dinner tonight.

Three Layer Chicken & Bean Quesadilla ~ protein rich, oven-baked goodness

·                     4 large tortillas preferably whole grain
·                     1.5 cups refried beans
·                     450 grams chopped cooked boneless, skinless chicken
·                     1 cup grated Edam (or other low-fat) cheese
·                     1/4 cup pickled sliced jalapeno chilis, chopped,  plus more for decorating
·                     1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
·                     Handful fresh cilantro
·                     1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
·                     1/2 cup of your favourite salsa
Serves 4-6

Preheat oven to 200 oC.

Spray a baking sheet lightly with olive or canola oil.  Place one tortilla on baking sheet and spread a half cup refried beans on top.  Dividing chicken into roughly three even portions, top beans with one portion of chicken followed by a quarter cup of cheese.  Add a sprinkling of chopped jalapenos, olives and cilantro.  
Repeat layering two times.  Top with the final tortilla, pressing down slightly to help hold layers together. 

Cover the top of the quesadilla with foil (tucking foil under edges of bottom tortilla if possible) and bake the quesadilla for about 20 minutes or until heated through.  Gently remove foil, and place final quarter cup of cheese on top of quesadilla returning it to the oven for another 5 minutes until the cheese melts (or grill for one minute or so - watching carefully!).

For the presentation cut quesadilla into four (or more) pieces without fully separating them.  Spread Greek yogurt around cut lines and spoon salsa in the centre.  Top with pieces of fresh cilantro and jalapeno peppers.

My family love Mexican, so this will work for us - with a side salad. We'll be going mild - cos we're a bit wussy like that lol

Happy Cooking!!

Monday, 16 December 2013

So, those of you who have followed me over from Facebook will know that I am embarking on a bit of a lifestyle change. Nobody panic, I do still intend to create and find interesting recipes to share. I don't intend to become a food-police, but I am going to try and find recipes that will enhance the activity I'm introducing in my life, rather than add to my burgeoning body. The only challenge is that most of what I'm eating at the moment is with salad.. a bit boring for a food blog, but perhaps if I can share what to have then you can just add whatever salad you like! I promise I will still include desserts and the like too, I don't want to lose anyone now I've got you back!

Tonight at ours I am cooking Lime Chicken, asparagus, salad and couscous.

I started by marinating the chicken in olive oil (about 2 T for 6 thighs)and the juice of 1 lime, with a little seasoning added, just for taste. They're in the oven on 180oC for about 40 -45 mins, turning regularly and until cooked through. They should get a nice golden colour on them.

I'm serving mine with a green salad, blanched asparagus (which I will drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on and some slithers of parmesan cheese - just a tad!) and finish with that wonderful dish of couscous. SO yummy! I use the instant couscous in Morroccan Flavour (don't judge me, I know this meal hails from many origins ;P) Here's a nice recipe for couscous you could try if you don't have access to the packet mix one like I do:


200g couscous
400ml chicken stock
2 T unsalted butter
1/2 c green olives chopped (optional)
1/4 of a lemon - zested with juice
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
slivered pistachios to serve

Place couscous in a large bowl. Bring stock to the boil then pour over couscous. Add butter and stir well. Set aside for 15 mins before adding the olives, lemon and parsley. Season well and serve with the pistachios. mmm

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Mmmm tonights dinner is lingering on my palate and it was SOOOO yummy. The cream sauce i had made a few weeks ago and it made so much I froze it - well it heated up fabulously, so there's no issue with that - go for it! I served it with steamed asparagus and cauliflower, carrots and hasselback potatoes, was truly scrummy. Give this a go, it's truly delish

Bacon wrapped chicken with a cheese cream sauce

Bacon Wrapped Chicken
2 large chicken breasts
12 slices bacon (uncooked)
salt and pepper 
Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup chicken stock
4 ounces (200g) cream cheese
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
powdered garlic, onion, mustard to taste
salt,pepper and paprika to taste
1.                  Preheat oven to 180oC
2.                  Cut each breast into 3 pieces. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
3.                  Wrap 2 pieces of bacon around each breast. 
4.                  Lay each piece out in a lightly greased baking pan.
5.                  Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked and bacon in browned.
Cheese Sauce
1.                  In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat.
2.                  Add flour, a little at a time, whisking to avoid lumps. Once well mixed, cook over low heat for several minutes to cook out the flour taste.
3.                  Slowly pour 1 cup of milk into flour mixture, whisking constantly to ensure smoothness. Once smooth, add the rest of the milk more rapidly, still whisking.
4.                  Add the cheese, whisking as you add so that it melts consistently.
5.                  Once all the cheese is added and melted, use the chicken stock as needed to thin to the right thickness.

6.                  Taste the sauce before adding salt, as the cheese can be salty. Add all spices, to taste.

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

delish dip...

Years ago I made a very delicious cobb loaf dip... do you think I could find a recipe, so once again I was in creative mode, all because Cobb loaf was on special...

Now, there isn't exactly measurements for this its one of those recipes you play with...

Cobb Loaf Hot Dip

1 Cobb loaf
1 pottle of 250g cream cheese
1/2 c mayonnaise
then add whatever is in your fridge..

I added to mine 1 c grated cheese
1 onion, chopped finely
1/2 green and red capsicum
1/4 c chopped capers (or gherkins)
6 pieces salami chopped finely

You really can add whatever you like..

mix it all up.

Cut the top off the cobb loaf. Scoop out the middle of the bread, leaving about a 1cm lining. Fill the cheese mixture into the bread and replace the top. Place in an 180oC oven for around 20 - 30 mins, keep an eye on it, you want the bread crispy and the cheese gooey and melted. In the last 10 mins add the bread from the middle cut into chunks and let it dry out and crisp up. Serve with the lid off, dip the chinks into the hot mixture, cut up the lid and dunk, then as the dip goes down cut the sides and base off and dunk till gone. SOOOOO yummy!!

Happy Cooking!


PS, thank you to those who have commented, now I knw some people are interested ;)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Trying something new - YES, we CAN do it!

I know it's been awhile, but it is hard to think of posts that people would find interesting. I guess it's difficult to know if you are actually doing something useful, or boring people to death... Blogging is such a one-sided thing if you don't get any feedback.. (hint, hint, lol)

Last night I was pushed for time and motivation but I wanted to do something different for my family for dinner. Pork schnitzel was on sale at the supermarket and years ago I had a recipe for Pork Olives, so I thought I'd give it a go. Only snag is I couldn't find the recipe, not even online. I was determined to make it tho so I played with things and managed to make something so yummy I thought I should share it.

Pork Olives - Kerry Style

6 - 8 pieces of pork schnitzel (2 per person depending on size..)
2 cups rolled oats
1 small pottle of apple puree (120g roughly)
1 beef stock cube
1 dessertspoon fennel seeds
1 dessertspoon dried sage - or fresh chopped finely
2 t celery salt
salt and pepper
Gravy - packet mix is fine

In a bowl place the oats, apple puree, stock cube (crumbled), fennel seeds and dried sage (grind in a mortar and pestle if you have one) celery salt and salt and pepper. Mix. Lay out each piece of schnitzel and place oat mix on, roll up and secure with a toothpick. Continue until all are rolled up with mix. Place in a casserole dish. Pour gravy over the top. Cover and place in oven, 180oC. Cook for about 40 - 60 mins, turn occasionally) You want them to have colour and be tender and the gravy to thicken slightly. I served mine with new potatoes and mint and carrots, brocolli and cauliflower with cheese sauce. It was SO yummy!! I do hope you give it a try.

I really would love to get some feedback, perhaps some suggestions as to what you'd like to see, with Christmas coming I thought I might share some recipes of the things I cook for Christmas - if you think it's useful...

Happy Cooking,


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Well tonight in Palmy it's pouring down and cold.. so what better than to make a big pot of the very yummy Pasta e Fagioli, or Pasta Fazool in some dialects. This is another recipe from Jonathon at Italy with Relish cooking school, where I had the privilege of attending for a week back in May. The history of the dish is that it is good hearty "peasant" food, made with good produce and everyday ingredients, it can vary across Italy, but has a similar basis. I am not a fan of tinned beans - but I absolutely LOVE this dish, so please don't be put off by them - give it a go, you WON"T regret it!

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool - That's Amore....)

1 carrot
1 onion
2 sticks of celery
about 250g chopped bacon
olive oil
1 tin of Borlotti Beans
handful of fettucine pasta
salt and pepper

Chop carrot, onion, celery and bacon into small pieces, place in a pot with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, saute till onion is soft. Add 2-3 cups of water and simmer for as long as you can - ideally 1-2 hours on a low heat if you can, but if you don't have that much time, just as long as you can, the longer it simmers the more flavour you can get.

About 10 mins before serving add about 1/3 of the beans from the tin, the other 2/3 and the juice they are in goes into a blender and you blitz it until it is liquid and it should thicken. Add then bean mix to the soup and stir. Add the fettucine (I break mine up into about 2cm bits, as it's easier when you come to eat it) stir and cook until the pasta is done.

I taste mine and then season as required, sometimes it needs more salt than other times, and I have found using celery salt definitely assists the flavour!

If more liquid is required it can benefit from adding some chicken stock, it really is a dish you can play with to get the flavour you like.

I serve mine with warm crusty bread, YUMMO!!

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

I have talked to you about Pork Belly previously, but that was with an asian flavour. Tonight I cooked it, but with an Italian influence (that should surprise you lol).

While in Italy I tasted pork that was to die for. It had a coating on it that seemed a combination of a salty-sagey-fennelly taste (my best interpretation). Our chef guru, Jonathon, showed us how to replicate this delicious treat and we had it with chicken. Since I've been home I have made it many times with chicken, but more recently with pork, and it is truly YUMMO (highly technical term to describe a foods deliciousness).

I make a paste by putting fennel seeds, salt and pepper and chicken salt in a mortar and pestle and grinding it down to a fine powder, I then add crushed garlic, fresh sage and rosemary, chopped very finely and olive oil. I know I haven't given you quantities, but it really is to taste, you don't have to be exact. Using fresh rosemary and sage really is essential as the dried just doesn't give you the flavour explosion you need.

Whether you use pork or chicken you use this paste and rub it all over the meat, use your hands and massage it in. I used pork belly tonight, I rubbed this paste in the placed the pork belly in a roasting dish, I added 1 cup of chicken stock and covered it and placed it in the oven on 180oC for about an hour. I then removed the cover and left it in there until I was ready to make the crackling, and did this by putting the oven on grill and letting it crisp away.

I served it with braised red cabbage - it is So good!! even if you're not a cabbage fan you'd love this!

1T olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove crushed
1 t fennel seeds
1/3 c white wine
200g red cabbage, shredded
1 c frozen peas
50g chopped butter

Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring for 3 mins. Add garlic and fennel seeds and cook until it becomes fragrant, add the wine and simmer until it reduces by half. reduce the heat to medium and add the cabbage and peas. Cook, toss it around until the peas are heated through and the cabbage just starts to wilt, add the butter and toss until the butter is melted, season with salt and pepper and serve... mmmm

You can then cook something like potatoes... maybe cubed and covered with Italian seasoning, or rosemary salt and olive oil.. and baked in the oven till crispy. I do hope you'll try this, as the taste is amazing! and the whole family will enjoy.

Happy Cooking!