Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicken and Spring Vegetable Pasta

There was no real recipe behind last night's pasta, just using things up in the fridge and to my delight everyone loved it. The kids wanted pasta, I fancied vegetables and Noel wasn't really fussed as he had a late lunch and wasn't hungry.

I was impressed by the flavour plain but slightly cheesy and you could definitely taste the vegetables which reminded me of spring vegetable soup. This pasta dish would even be nice without the chicken or you could substitute for a different meat.

Chicken and Spring Vegetable Pasta

Serve: 6
Points per serve: 6

250 grams penne or pasta of your choice
cooking spray
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
1 red capsicum, small diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
150 grams broccoli, cut into florets
100 grams chicken breast supreme (deli sliced chicken), chopped roughly
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
freshly ground black pepper
200 ml lite thickened cream
100 grams reduced fat grated tasty cheese

Cook pasta according to packet directions. Drain and set aside.

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray and over medium heat cook onion and garlic until softened. Add capsicum, peas, corn and broccoli and cook until no longer frozen and broccoli cooked through.

Add the chicken and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Mix together the chicken stock powder, parsley and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Add to the vegetable mixture along with the cheese, mix well.

Add the pasta and toss to combine. Heat through ensuring cheese has melted and serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Moroccan Couscous Salad

We had barbecued marinated half chickens last night for dinner and I wanted something different to serve as a side along with a garden salad. We are becoming fonder of couscous and I thought using couscous would be perfect.

With some spices, fresh herbs and some vegetables this was better than I imagined and could have been quite easily eaten by itself.

To convert to a vegetarian meal exchange the chicken stock powder for vegetable stock powder.

Moroccan Couscous Salad
Serves: 8
Points per serve: 2.5

1 cup instant couscous
100 grams flaked almonds, toasted
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 tablespoons currants
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 yellow capsicum, seeded and diced
2 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup firmly packed coarsely chopped fresh coriander
2tbs fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

Place the stock in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Remove from heat. Add the couscous and stir with a fork until combined. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir with a fork to separate the grains.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until onion softens. Add currants and carrot. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the tomato and capsicum and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat.

Add onion mixture, coriander and lemon juice to the couscous and toss to combine. Taste and season with pepper.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Cheats" Satay Sauce

To be honest the first time I made this version of satay sauce I was very sceptical. Why? Because satay sauce is a favourite in our house which is full of harsh critics especially Alexandria. She loves this chinese version of satay sauce that I make.

Unlike the household favourite this recipe doesn't involve any cooking and is literally made in minutes. This low point sauce is incredibly easy to make and tastes perfect - smooth in texture, a little spice while being somewhat creamy.

I have to say this quick sauce went down a treat served with lamb kofta and salad wraps with my little princess stating "I hope there is some sauce left for my lunch tomorrow!"

"Cheats" Satay Sauce
(recipe sourced from Symply To Good To Be True 5)

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 1.5

2 1/2 tablespoons light peanut butter
1/2 cup 97% fat free mayonnaise
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

In a small mixing bowl combine all ingredients, mix until well combined.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pork and Sweet Potato Casserole

Two things about this recipe I loved.... sweet potatoes and the use of the slow cooker. Not to mention this recipe fit perfectly into the criteria for this month's Royal Foodie Joust.

I cannot begin to explain how easy this meal was to prepare nor how it was very tasty ~ so tasty the table ate in silence, deafening me with how good it must have been. Being a slow cooker recipe with minimum fuss in preparation (approximately 15 minutes maximum) it is definitely a mid week wonder.

Pork and Sweet Potato Casserole
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Australia)

Serve: 8
Points per serve: 5

1200 grams lean pork, largely diced
1000 grams orange sweet potato, peeled and cut into large cubes
800 grams canned diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teapsoon minced garlic
1 cup unsweetened orange juice
2 spring onions, chopped in 2 cms pieces
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon tabasco sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon cornflour
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

Place the pork, sweet potato, tomatoes, garlic, spring onions, cummin seeds, tabasco sauce (if using), salt and pepper in a 6 litre slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 7 hours.

Mix together the water and cornflour to form a paste. Stir in the cornflour mixture and mix well. Add the lime juice and corianer and cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve with your choice of steamed vegetables.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Prawn and Herb Rice Paper Rolls

These are something that we love and have made them a lot over the years. Not only are they full of flavour but although being a little fiddly to make that really aren't difficult. This recipe uses prawns but you can use any meat you like or omit the meat to make them a vegetarian roll.

Served with any flavour asian sauce they make a nice light meal, a picnic dish or even a entree.

Prawn and Herb Rice Paper Rolls
(recipe adapted from WW Recipe Collection 2002)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 3

50 grams cellophane noodles
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons crushed peanuts
500 grams whole cooked prawns, shelled and cut into pieces or shrimp, shelled and left whole
1/4 cup basil, finely sliced
1/4 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
4 cabbage leaves, finely shredded
5 spring onions, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
16 rice paper rolls

Soak the noodles in a bowl of hot water, rinse with cold water, drain. Chop into pieces and combine with the vinegar, nuts and prawns.

Combine the fresh herbs, cabbage, shallots and carrot together. Stir in the prawn mixture and mix well.

Working with 1 wrapper at a time, soak the rice paper in warm water for 30 seconds and place on a flat surgace. On each wrapper pile a litlle prawn mixture. Roll up tightly, folding the sides in the enclose the filling. Continue rolling and folding until all ingredients are used.

Serve with your choice of sauce (don't forget to account for any extra points).

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bake Lemon Chicken Cutlets with Proscuitto and Fresh Herbs

This simply yet tasty dish was enjoyed by one and all last night.

Very easy to prepare, this one pot wonder is perfect not only for a busy week night but would be a perfect dish when entertaining. The simplicity in the preparation is not reflected in the finished dish considering the look, smell and flavour - magnificent.

The lemon wasn't sweet but complimented the chicken just as the saltiness of the proscuitto did. Served with creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables I think this recipe would please even the fussiest of diners.

Baked Lemon Chicken Cutlets with Proscuitto and Fresh Herbs
(recipe adapted from Good Taste Magazine Novermber 2005)

Serves: 12
Points per serve: 4

12 (about 150 grams each) chicken thigh cutlets, skin and visible fat removed
3 large lemons
12 prosciutto slices, halved
3 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced
3/4 cup fresh sage leaves
3/4 cup fresh marjoram leaves
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the chicken cutlets, bone side down, in a large roasting pan.

Use a vegetable peeler or a small, sharp knife to peel strips of rind from the lemons. Cut the lemons in half and juice. Reserve the juice. Place the lemon rind and prosciutto between the chicken cutlets in the pan.

Sprinkle the chicken with garlic, sage, marjoram and rosemary. Drizzle with lemon juice, white wine and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour to develop the flavours.

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Bake chicken in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve the chicken drizzled with pan juices.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pesto Linguine with Chicken and Zucchini

Tonight is a busy night for the house... Dennis and Pam arrive to visit tomorrow so with having weigh in as well as a mountain of cleaning to do we needed a very quick and easy dinner to prepare.

I know dinner at the Murray household is good when everyone is quiet for a few minutes as they take in the flavours. This dish was very fresh tasting and to be totally honest very enjoyable. Even Miss 9 who apparantly hates pesto had 2 bowls full.

As far as preparation and cooking is concerned, this pasta dish is on the table in under 25 minutes which as you all know fits my week night requirement of something quick and tasty. Considering the fact that there is the minimum of ingredients with this recipe you will, like we were, actually be surprised with the flavour.

Pesto Linguine with Chicken and Zucchini
(recipe adapted from Good Taste Magazine January 2009)

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 6

350g dried linguine pasta
Olive oil spray
1 (about 300g) single chicken breast fillet, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally
2 garlic cloves, crushed
80g (1/3 cup) bought basil pesto
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn
1/2 cup reduced fat light thickened cream
20g (1/4 cup) coarsely grated parmesan

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water following packet directions or until al dente. Drain and return to the pan.

Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil spray to grease. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Increase heat to high. Add the zucchini and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Add the chicken, zucchini mixture, pesto, basil and cream to the pasta and toss to combine. Divide among serving bowls and top with the parmesan to serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Soup

Now before you are turned off by the photo I need to reassure you that this soup is really nice. If you are a lover of mushrooms and spinach like me, look no further... probably not everyone's cup of tea but I enjoyed it.

The mellow earthy flavour of the mushrooms combined with the intense taste of the spinach was a great combination. Although this is a creamy soup it isn't heavy and could easily be served as an entree.

Watch out Popeye - talk about getting a vitamin hit in one bowlful... B12 and iron!!

Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Soup

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 2

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
500 grams button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon beef stock powder
6 cups water
100 grams baby spinach
375 ml can Carnation Evaporated Low Fat Milk
freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan and add mushroom, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until onions soften slightly. Add stock powder and water, mix well while bringing to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and add baby spinach. Stir to completely cover the spinach leaves allowing them to wilt.

Using a blender or a stick blender process until smooth.

Return to gentle heat, add evaportated milk and stir to blend. Heat thoroughly but do not boil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Hint: You could easily replace the beef stock powder with vegetable stock powder to make this suited to vegetarians.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stir Fried Black Bean and Chilli Prawns

Another busy night in the Murray household saw the kids and us eating seperately. The kids having left over Quick and Easy Pasta Casserole because they really enjoyed it last night. As for Noel and I we decided to eat when I returned from the hair dresser so a quick prawn stirfry was planned.

Noel adores the flavour of blackbean so I thought I would treat him. I am not a huge lover but don't mind it every now and then. Normally we would order Beef in Blackbean Sauce from our favourite restaurant, Shark Fin Inn in Keysborough so I knew he would like the idea of tryng prawns cooked in a black bean sauce.

Stir Fried Black Bean and Chilli Prawns
(recipe adapted from Neil Perry - Food Source Asia)

Serves: 2
Points per serve: 4

cooking spray
500 g King Prawns shelled, deveined & butterflied
1 tablespoon black bean sauce
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 knob ginger finely sliced
2 tablespoons diced red capsicums
2 tablespoons diced green capsicums
4 spring onions, slice in 3cm lengths
2 - 4 red bullet chilli, seeded and sliced, to taste
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons shao xing cooking wine
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon caster sugar
3 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
Spray wok or large frying pan with cooking spray and heat.

Stir fry the prawns until they are just cooked, remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the black bean sauce, garlic, ginger, red and green capsicum, 3/4 of the spring onions and chilli. Stir fry until fragrant.

Add the shaoxing wine, soy, caster sugar and oyster sauce then return the prawns to the wok and toss through.

Scatter with the remaining finely sliced shallot and coriander leaves.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quick and Easy Pasta Casserole

Tonight was a very busy night for me with a doctors appointment at 4.30pm and my Zumba class at 7pm so needless to say something quick to prepare was required and I did not want to buy takeaway because it's easy to do that but never what we want and not very often do we enjoy our purchases as much as home cooked meals.

I came across this recipe when menu planning and thought it would be perfect. I know pasta is always a hit with the kids but was a little worried about the taste due to the simplicity of the ingredients.

But from the first mouthful the kids had there was silence so I knew it must be good. In fact the kids loved it and for something quite simple I thought it was nice too. There was a faint hint of the chillis without much heat and the added vegetables made it a one dish dinner without having to cook extra side vegetables, but your could if you wanted too. Saying this made the serving sizes were large and very filling. A perfect cook, serve and eat meal - nothing extra really required to cook.

Quick and Easy Pasta Casserole
(recipe adapted from WW Recipe Collection 2000)

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 7.5

375 grams pasta shapes
cooking spray
1 teaspoon minced chilli
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced and halved
500 grams extra lean beef mince
1/2 cup tomato paste
800 grams tinned diced tomatoes
1 x 440 gram tin corn kernels, drained
100 grams baby spinach leaves
freshly ground black pepper
200 grams grated reduced fat tasty cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Coat a large lasagne or baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook the pasta according to the packet directions. Drain.

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray, heat and add chilli, garlic and onions. Cook until the onions are soft. Add the mince and cook, stirring, until mince is browned. Add capsicums and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, corn, spinach leaves and pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Spoon half the mince mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat with remaining mince and cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and dish is heated through.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)