Friday, June 25, 2010

Mediterranean Lamb Pizza

It's been a while since we had home made pizzas and even though we love making our own to suit our flavours as I really wanted to make something different. It is really funny how the minute one of us suggest pizzas for dinner I start trying to remember different combinations of flavours/styles that I have seen on menus, in magazines, cookbooks etc.

I really enjoy a clean tasting pizza where you can taste the individual flavours. This one perfectly fit the bill from the basil pesto base to the smooth creamy ricotta. I was really happy with the outcome and will definitely be cooking this again.

Mediterranean Lamb Pizza

Serves: 4
Points per serve:5

cooking spray
1 large red capsicum, quartered, deseeded
150 grams lean lamb strips
1 large lebanese bread (100g)
1 tablespoon basil pesto
30 grams low fat grated mozzarella
1 large zucchini, peeled into thin ribbons
1/2 red onion, sliced
80 grams low-fat ricotta, crumbled
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
Fresh basil leaves, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C. Preheat grill on high. Spray a large baking tray with cooking spray to lightly grease. Place the capsicum, skin-side up, on the prepared tray. Cook under grill for 5 minutes or until charred and blistered. Transfer the capsicum to a sealable plastic bag and set aside for 5 minutes (this helps lift the skin). Peel the skin from the capsicum and cut the flesh into thin strips.

Meanwhile, spray a frying pan lightly with olive oil spray. Heat over high heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes for medium or until browned. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 3 minutes to rest.

Spread the bread with pesto. Sprinkle with the cheese. Top with the zucchini, capsicum, lamb, onion and ricotta.

Place the pizza on a pizza tray that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the base is crisp. Sprinkle with pine nuts and basil leaves to serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta

This is a really old recipe, one that I had almost forgotten until someone asked about the recipe. Of course, this jogged my memory about how hubby and I used to love this and then I thought I was about time that I made it again.

I have to admit though that this recipe is somewhat intriguing with the asian flavours of sweet chilli sauce combined with pasta but it's worth trying. Dependent on the heat level you like and the sweet chilli sauce you have on hand you may need to adjust the amount that you use. I have an asian brand that has a little more heat than the Australian version so you may need to cut down the quantity to 2 tablespoons.

Saying all this, I am sure you will enjoy this easy and quick meal - it pleases everyone in our house. The only thing hard about it is deciding whether to have freshly grated parmesan cheese with it or not (by the way I didn't!)

Sweet Chilli Chicken Pasta
(recipe from WW 123 Cookbook)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6.5

240 grams pasta of your choice
480 gram chicken breast fillet, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ red capsicum, chopped
1 brown onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1x 425 gram can diced tomatoes
½ cup white wine
3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Add pasta to a large pan of boiling water, boil rapidly, undercover, 10 to 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.

Heat a frypan, coat with cooking spray and cook chicken in oil until golden brown and tender. Remove from pan and set aside.

Sauté capsicum, onion and garlic in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes or until onions is tender.

Stir in the tomatoes, white wine, chilli sauce, basil and black pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, add the chicken and pasta and heat through.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pork Stuffed Capsicums

Winter is definitely the time for cooking comfort food and these fit nicely into that category. Not only are these easy to make but they are jam packed with vegetables and are bursting with flavour. We cook these quite often and are brilliant for a mid week dinner.

The pork mixture could also be used in various other vegetables and you could even add some chilli's if you wanted to spice it up a little. These meat filled parcels are a meal in themselves as they are very filling and they a great way to get the kids to eat their vegetables - not that I have ever had any problems with that as my two eat all vegetables!!

Pork Stuffed Capsicums

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 4.5

cooking spray
500 grams lean pork mince
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
100 grams button mushrooms, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 400 gram tins diced tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
2 slices multigrain bread, made into fine crumbs
8 small capsicums
200 grams grated low fat tasty cheese
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray, add pork and cook over a medium heat until pork is browned, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Add onion and garlic and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, parsley, basil, paprika and tomatoes. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs, mixing well.

Carefully remove the top of each capsicum and using a spoon remove the seeds and membrane. Spoon mince mixture evenly into capsicums.

Stand the capsicums in a large casserole dish. Top each one with cheese.

Combine the tomato juice, water, oregano and sugar in a large jug. Mix well. Pour around the base of the capsicums.

Place in oven and cook for 50 minutes or until capsicums have softened and the cheese is bubbling.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Venison and Bacon Casserole

For months now I have been fancying venison. I have grown up eating different foods and one I always remember and looked forward to was venison especially a roast. My mam used to marinate her venison piece overnight, wrap it in bacon and roast it until tender but not overcooked. I also enjoyed eating vension while traveling overseas in both Sweden and Canada. Needless to say it would rank high on the list of my favourite meats.

I was very excited when I finally managed to get my hands on some venison, buying it in Springvale but have to be honest and say was dissapointed when I defrosted it to find it was diced. My longing for a venison roast went out the window and now I needed to come up with a recipe that used diced venison. Basing my thoughts along what I had eaten in the past, especially with it being marinaded in blackcurrant syrup we came up with the following.

Once marinaded I put everything in the slow cooker and let it work it's magic. And it did. To my surprise it was delicious and the kids thought it was brilliant also. The richness of the venison coupled with the slight sweetness from the berries and the bacon infusion made this dish rustic and a "comfort food" dish especially as we served it with creamy mashed potato.

The children had no problems with the fact that they were eating deer meat (secretly I knew they wouldn't as they eat nearly everything we give them anyway) in fact Alex did most of the preparation cooking. Both have said that they would like to try venison roasted - so the search for a roasting joint continues!!

Venison and Bacon Casserole

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 7

1 cup hearty red wine
1/2 cup blackcurrant syrup (I used Ribena)
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons lingonberry jam
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pieces orange peel
1 kilogram venison shoulder, diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
175 grams 97% fat free short cut bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, thickly sliced
1 stick celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 cup water
freshly ground black pepper

In a large dish mix together the red wine, blackcurrant syrup, lingonberry jam, bay leaves, pepper and orange peel. Add the venison and allow to marinade overnight.

Drain the venison and reserve the marinade. Pat the pieces of venison dry and dust lightly in flour.

Heat a frying pan, add half the olive oil and brown the meat all over in batches. Place in slow cooker bowl. Spray the same frying pan with cooking spray add the the bacon and onion. Cook until golden brown and the onions have softened. Add to the cooked venison in the slow cooker. Once again spray the frying pan and add the carrots, celery and garlic and cook a few more minutes before adding the to venison and bacon mixtures. Add the reserved marinade. Season with salt and pepper, add water and cover with a lid.

Cook on low heat setting for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chicken Pizziola

This is a recipe I knew would be a hit with the family.

A dish along the lines of the Chicken Parmagiana, Acapulco Chicken and Taco Chicken Bake which our all favourites in our house. There is obviously something about chicken topped with tomato sauce and cheese along with other things that entices everyone.

Chicken Pizziola
(Recipe adapted from Symply To Good To Be True # 1)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6.5

4 x 140 gram chicken fillets, skin and all visible fat removed
60 grams 97% fat free lean ham, diced
1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teapsoon dried basil
cooking spray
4 tablespoons tomato paste
160 grams reduced fat grated tasty cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Flatten chicken breast with meat mallet.

In a bowl combine ham, mushrooms, capsicum, tomatoes, garlic and basil, mix well until combined.

Spray a baking tray with cooking spray and place raw chicken fillets on to it. Spread each fillet with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Place 1/4 of the pizza topping evenly over each fillet. Then sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese on each fillet.

Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked and topping is golden brown.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Old Fashioned Chicken and Corn Pot Pies

Nothing beats an old fashioned pot pie and when the filling is creamy chicken and corn I think it brings out the kid in us all...... especially on Sunday night when we had spent the day freezing cold at the football, dodging rain showers and trying to get warm from the few rays of sun peeking through the clouds.

I remember my mam always making pot pies (and family sized ones). She would make really yummy and interesting fillings, topping them off with homemade pastry and serving them with pride. Oh I wish I was a kid again.......

As you have probably guessed due to my erratic posting of late we are still flat out being over social flutterbies that I am trying to catch up on posting some recipes as I don't want you to think I have given up on sharing recipes with you all - needless to say I cheated and used frozen pastry sheets!! But the result was delish... ask the others!!

Old Fashioned Chicken and Corn Pot Pies
(recipe adapted from WW Heavenly d'Lites Cookbook)

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 6

4 small chicken breast fillets, skin and visible fat removed
500 ml water
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon garlic
freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup skim milk
440 gram can corn kernels, drained
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 sheets Pampas Reduced Fat Puff Pastry
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, if desired

Place chicken fillets, water, wine, stock powder, garlic and freshly ground black pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook gently uncovered fot 15 minutes. Remove chicken from the saucepan to allow to cool, reserve the liquid stock. When chicken is cool, chop roughly.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Coat 6 1 cup ramekins with cooking spray.

Microwave the carrots and peas for 2 - 3 minutes or until slightly tender. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until soft. Stir in the flour, cook over a gentle heat for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the milk and the reserved stock. Return to the heat and cook stirring until the mixture boils and starts to thicken. Add the carrots, peas, mushrooms, sage, chicken and corn. Mix well and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Pour equal amounts of the filling in each ramekin. Cut pastry sheets into 6 squares and place over the pie, pressing edges firmly to seal. Lightly coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until pastry is crisp and golden.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Garlic and Coriander Prawns

The second part of our Asian Tasting Feast was prepared by Alex. Unlike Oliver, Alex doesn't like scallops but LOVES prawns!! And she definitely loves Garlic Prawns. So as a twist she decided to add coriander, which I have say to say made them delicious.

This dish was really easy to prepare and cook so making it an excellent entrée for any meal, not just an asian feast. Alex decided to serve these in little bowls with 3 prawns in each. I guess she didn't want anyone to miss out as they were very yummy!!

Garlic and Coriander Prawns

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 1.5

12 large green prawns, shelled but tails intact
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh corinader
freshly ground black pepper

Rinse and dry prawns. In a large bowl place all ingredients, mix well, cover and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes for flavours to develop.

Heat a frying pan over high heat and add the prawn mixture. Stirfry prawns for 3 - 4 minutes or until pink in colour and liquid has reduced slightly.

Serve immediately.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Dim Sum Scallops

Saturday night we decided to have an Asian inspired feast, with tasting plates of several dishes. The idea behind this wasn't because we all enjoy asian food but was to get all four of us involved and cooking allowing us to share and spend good quality family time together. Something that we have been missing recently in our busy lifestyle at the moment.

Oliver loves scallops although he's not big on most other seafood or fish. With this in mind he took on the challenge of cooking the scallop dish. This was quite an easy dish to cook but it was great to see him in the kitchen again.

The original recipe calls for scallops in their shells but I had frozen scallops and shells which I had kept from a previous time and these worked just as well.

Dim Sum Scallops
(recipe adapted from Essential Fingerfood Cookbook)

Serves: 4

Points per serve: 1

12 scallops in shell
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
fresh coriander to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180 deg Celsius.

Place the scallops, in shells, on an oven tray.

Combine the teriyaki sauce, sherry, spring onions, juice, oyster sauce, sesame oil, garlic and ginger in a bowl; stir to combine. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of marinade over each scallop.

Bake the scallops for 5-10 minutes or until tender and white.

Note: These can be cooked under a preheated hot grill for 5 minutes instead.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)