Friday, December 27, 2013

Hoisin and Chilli Chicken Chow Mein

I love Chow Mein and like many reciipes, there are so many different versions. 

I love the Chinese version with noodles.. sometimes soft noodles and other times the crispy noodles take my preference.  There is something wonderful about a dish of noodles accompanied with tender meat and vegetables encased in a thick yet simple sauce.

As the kids were not eating with us tonight I fancied adding some chilli along with the sweet sour taste of hoisin sauce.  Adding two bold flavours to a simple dish could be a little overpowering but it was a risk I was willing to take especially after eating Christmas food for the last few days I was yearning a different flavour - and I had all my money on the fact that this dish may just give me the taste that I wanted.

And boy did it work - it was fantastic.  Both Noel and my Mam were in agreeance that the flavours complimented the chicken, vegetables and noodles. 


Hoisin and Chilli Chicken Chow Mein
 
Serves: 6
ProPoints per Serve: 8
 
200 gram packet Changs Egg Noodles
1 tablespoon peanut oil
600 grams diced chicken
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 bunch broccolini, chopped into 3 cm pieces
200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon crushed chilli
 
 
Boil water in a kettle.  Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Allow to stand for 5 minutes or until tender (not too soft).  Drain, return to bowl and mix through 1 teaspoon of peanut oil.
 
Heat wok over high heat and add 2 teaspoons peanut oil.  Cook chicken, garlic and ginger, in batches, until browned and just cooked.  Remove from wok.
 
Heat remaining oil in wok.  Cook onion, carrots and broccolini stalks over medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened.   Add mushrooms and cook for a further 3 - 5 minutes.  Add the broccolini heads and return the chicken to the pan. 
 
Mix together the hoisin sauce, sherry and crushed chilli in a small jug.  Add to the chicken and vegetables in the wok.  Toss together for 2 minutes.
 
Add noodles and toss very gently until mixed and noodles heated through. 
 
Serve immediately.
 
 

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Baked Fish with Macadamia Herb Crust

Fish seems to be the least eaten ingredient in our house.  We are not lovers of strong fish at all - hubby likes Flake or Gummy Shark and I will venture to Blue Eye and even Rainbow Trout but strangely we both love the majority of seafoods even the very pungent tastes of oysters and mussels.  Fascinates me really how tastebuds work?
 
Saying this I have realised that we do need to eat more fish rather than the odd piece battered and purchased from a Fish and Chip Chop served with a minimum of chips.
 
I had read this recipe earlier this year and had always kept it in mind for a "fish" dinner.  A few grumbles came from the camp when I suggested and then confirmed we were have fish for dinner this particular night.  Anyhow stubbornly I proceeded with my plans.
 
And to be perfectly honest I am so glad that I did.  Not only was this meal devoured but it was even mentioned again today how good it was.  Tipping I had better put this on the menu again.
 
The crunchy topping made using a combination of wholegrain bread, macadamia nuts, parsley, chives and lemon juice was magnificent - a burst of flavours that exploded yet complimented each other.  The oven baked fish was perfect, so flakey but yet still so juicy and tender. 
 
Served with potato galettes, also easy to make, and a quick salad this dinner was definitely a mid week wonder but would also surprise and please guests as a main in a dinner party.


Baked Fish with Marcadamia Herb Crust
(Recipe sourced from WW Magazine April 2013)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11
 
600 grams red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and thinly sliced
cooking spray
2 x 35 gram slices wholegrain bread, torn into pieces
50 grams unsalted macadamia nuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 x 150 grams firm white fish fillets (I used gummy shark)
Lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Arrange the potato slices on 1 tray in 4 rows, slightly overlapping, to make galettes.  Spray with cooking spray.  Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Meanwhile, process the bread, macadamia nuts, parsley, chives, lemon juice and oil in a food processor until finely chopped.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Press a quarter of the crumb mixture onto one side of a fish fillet.  Place fish on the remaining baking tray and lightly spray with oil.  Repeat with remaining crumb mixtur and fish fillets.

Bake for 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork in the thickest part.

Divide the potato galettes and fish between serving plates.  Serve with lemon wedges and either steamed vegetables or garden salad.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Curry Parcels

I decided to add spice to the Homemade Pasties as I had extra mince left over I decided to make a "Curry Parcel"- Miss Alex loves a curry puff/samosa and these wouldn't match the quality of those made by Indian chefs but they may have got a runner's up rating?  Oh well that's what I was hoping for.
 
Considering how easy the Pasties were to make adding some curry powder not only gave the mixture that indian kick but added a little depth to the flavour.  I decided to leave the mint in the mixture for an added twist - we all know mint goes well with Indian flavours.

And the verdict - all eaten along with the Pastries!!


 
Curry Parcels
(Recipe adapted from WW Simply Delish Cookbook)
 
Serves: 16
ProPoints per parcel: 5
 
250 grams lean beef mince
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 carrots, grated
300 grams potatoes, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste)
4 sheets frozen reduced fat puff pastry, just thawed
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
 
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Celsius fan forced.

Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Place mince, peas, carrots, potato, onion, mint and curry powder in a medium bowl. Mix well to combine.

Cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares.  Divide mince mixture evenly between pastry squares.  Fold pastry in a triangle to enclose filling.  Using a fork, press edges together to seal.  Place on prepared trays.  Brush pasties with egg and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Homemade Pasties

Another odd occasion where I was able to step foot in the kitchen I managed to cook the most amazing batch of Homemade Pasties that were not only yummy to eat but had that surreal comfort food feel of bakery purchased food without all the hidden fat or guilt.

Our whole family have a passion, or you could say an intense love, of bakery items especially the savoury ones so it came as no surprise that these pasties were devoured almost in one sitting.

Very easy to make using pre purchased frozen pastry sheets and infused with the flavour of fresh mint this was definitely an appreciated treat for the Murray household.


Homemade Pasties
(Recipe sourced from WW Simply Delish Cookbook)
 
Serves: 16
ProPoints per pasties: 5
 
250 grams lean beef mince
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 carrots, grated
300 grams potatoes, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
4 sheets frozen reduced fat puff pastry, just thawed
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Celsius fan forced.

Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Place mince, peas, carrots, potato, onion and mint in a medium bowl.

Cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares.  Divide mince mixture evenly between pastry squares.  Fold pastry in a triangle to enclose filling.  Using a fork, press edges together to seal.  Place on prepared trays.  Brush pasties with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.


(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Pineapple, Lime and Coconut Cake

Ok so again another apology for the lack of blogging....

I know that I haven't been blogging of late but we have just been seriously "out of control" busy! My work has been complete madness with many nights staying in motels leaving Noel and the kids to look after themselves.

The year is drawing to a close and there is end in sight for the madness.  Needless to say I am going to take a little time today to catch up on some things that I have cooked in the fleeting days of being at home... being a wife to my incredibly supportive husband, Noel, and a mother to my two wonderfully rounded yet quirky at times children, Oliver and Alex - instead of a career lady.

Strange as this sounds, I actually do need to sit, relax and allow the creative side of me roam free.  I adore nothing more than cooking and eating, and then of course there is the blogging side of my life where I enjoy sharing all of our culinary adventures with those that take the time to read our blog.

With that said please enjoy my catch up blogs and with determination I will endeavour to be a little more regular in the future.......

This cake is a perfect recipe to start off with.  A deliciously light sweet treat which I will put my hand up and admit that the flavour combination of the sweet pineapple and tangy lime is incredible. 

Topped with a cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with toasted shredded coconut each slice was like a little piece of paradise.


Pineapple, Lime and Coconut Cake
(recipe sourced from WW Magazine November 2013)
 
Serves: 12
ProPoints per serve: 6
 
cooking spray
100 grams reduced fat margarine
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons finely grates lime rind
2 eggs
440 gram can crushed pineapple in natural juice
2 cups self raising flour
200 grams extra light cream cheese
1 tablespoon icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon coconut essence
1 tablespoon shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Lightly spray a 20cm round cake tin with cooking spray and line the base with baking paper.

Using electric beaters, beat the margarine, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Drain the pineapple and reserve 1/2 cup of the juice.  Stir the pineapple and reserved pineapple juice into the egg mixture.  Gently fold in the flour.  Spoon into prepared tin. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Set aside to stand in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Combine the cream cheese, icing and coconut essence in a bowl. Spread over the cake and sprinkle with the coconut.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Night Pizza

Homemade pizza is always a welcome alternative to take away in the House of Murray.  I immediately fell in love with this pizza on the first mouthful.

I have to say I love Vegetarian Pizza but also like to change the ingredients sometimes to include some chicken, bacon or salami depending on my taste fancies at the time.  For me this pizza was the bomb - it had the lot and I was one happy diner!!
 
 
Friday Night Pizza
(recipe sourced from Weight Watchers Simply Delish)

Serves: 4 (Makes 2 pizzas)
ProPoints per Serve: 8

250 grams butternut pumpkin, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
150 grams button mushrooms, quartered
1 small red capsicum, chopped
2 x 100 grams wholemeal Lebanese bread
1/3 cup (80ml) pizza sauce
100 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
50 grams shaved hot salami, chopped
75 grams reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup (25 grams) reduced fat grated mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Celsius fan forced.

Place pumpkin and zucchini in a medium blow.  Add half the oil and toss to combine.  Preheat a chargrill or barbecue over high heat.  Cook pumpkin and zucchini, in batches, for 2 - 3 minutes each side or until lightly charred and tender.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large non stick frying pan over medium - high heat.  Add onion, garlic, mushroom and capsicum and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until just tender.

Place bread on 2 pizza or baking trays.  Spread pizza sauce over bread.  Top with pumpkin, zucchini, mushroom mixture, tomatoes and salami.  Sprinkle with feta and mozzarella.  Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until bread is crisp and golden.  Serve pizza drizzled with barbecue sauce and sprinkled with basil.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Slow Roasted Asian Chicken

Roast Chicken - a meal I do not cook a lot as for me it's always the same.  The menu will always read "Roast Chicken with Sage and Onion Stuffing, Vegetables and Gravy".  Enjoyable on an occasional time frame for me.

Until I came accross this recipe for a Slow Roasted Asian Chicken which I knew was going to appear on the menu sooner rather than later.  And to be honest I am so glad we tried it.

The chicken was juicy and tender, laced delicately with the asian spices.  There was no gravy as such but a wonderful fragrant yet pungent jus as a result of the slow cooker.  Served with steamed rice and steamed vegetables it was a dish thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.


Slow Roasted Asian Chicken
(recipe sourced from Weight Watchers Magazine June 2013)

Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 7

1 whole chicken, fat trimmed
salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 cm piece fresh ginger, thickly sliced
4 whole star anise
3 green shallots, cut into 3cm lengths
6 garlic cloves, whole, bruised
1 chicken stock cube
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 160 Degrees Celsius.

Place the chicken in a roasting tray.  Season the chicken, inside and out, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Place a third of the ginger, star anise, shallot and garlic under the chicken, a third in the cavity and scatter the remaining third around the chicken.  Disolve the stock cube in water and pour around chicken.

Cover with foil and roast for 1 1/2 hours or until the juices runc lear when the thickest part of the chicken is peirced with a skewer.

Preheat the grill, remove the foil from the chicken.  Place the chicken on a wire rack.  Strain the roasting juices into a jug.

Place the rack and the chicken back into the roasting tray and brush the chicken with the sesame oil.  Place the chicken under the grill 20cm away from the heat source, and grill for 5 - 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden.

Meanwhile use a spoon to skim the fat from the roasting juices.

Serve the chicken with steamed vegetables and roasting juices.

Add 1/2 cup steamed rice to this dish for an additional 4 ProPoints per serve.



(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chilli and Rosemary Potatoes

We had chargrilled Scotch Fillet for dinner last night which as always was cooked to perfection.  However I just didn't fancy a baked potato or potato bake as a side dish - tonight I wanted something different.
 
I was looking through my favourite website Taste.com and came accross this recipe for Chilli and Rosemary Potatoes.  Obviously I just had to try the recipe!!
 
The chilli flavour can be increased or decreased depending on the chilli that you use.  Milder use a long fresh red chilli, deseeded or leave seeds in for some heat, but for a hotter more intense flavour use a small red bullet chilli.
 
Another dish that was very easy to make and had a very nice flavour to them with accompanied the steak perfectly.


Chilli and Rosemary Potatoes
(Recipe adapted from Taste.com)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 4
 
1kg large potatoes, peeled, quartered
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
cooking spray
1 fresh red chilli, halved lengthways, deseeded, chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 220°C.
 
Cook the potato in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 10 minutes or until almost tender. Drain. Return to the pan.
 
Add oil and shake the pan to coat. Transfer to a roasting pan. Spray with cooking spray.
 

Bake for 20 minutes. Add chilli and rosemary. Toss to combine.
 
Bake for a further 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.
 
 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I decided that it couldn't be that hard to make our own Taco Seasoning as I believed that it had to taste much better than the packet mix.

And it was!!  Not only was the flavour bold but it was easy to make.  The colours in all the herbs and spices was intense as was the smell - a much nicer smell than what's in the packet with god only knows what artifical additives and colourings added.
 

 
I found this large batch recipe over at Rachel Cooks and I agree with her when she says her daugher loves to help with the measuring and mixing as my daughter did too.

 
This recipe makes a large batch of Taco Seasoning which will keep in a sealed container so you always have it ready on hand for your next big mexican cook up.


Homemade Taco Seasoning
(recipe sourced from Rachel Cooks)

Serves: 10 (portions of 3 tablespoons)
ProPoints per Serve: 0
 
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chili powder
2.5 teaspoons garlic powder
2.5 teaspoons onion powder
2.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2.5 teaspoons oregano
2.5 teaspoons paprika
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 cup salt (more to taste)
1/4 cup finely ground pepper

In small bowl, mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. (Or you can mix it together in the container you are going to store it in–just give it a shake.)

Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of this mixture plus 1/2 cup of water to 500 grams of cooked meat (of your choice). Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until there is very little liquid left in the pan.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Marsala and Mushroom Pork Cutlets with Creamy Polenta

Two in a row - this is getting exciting and I am feeling how I used to when my blogging was more frequent. 

Tonight's meal is an Italian inspired dish - pork in nice rich and creamy mushroom sauce accompanied by creamy and a little cheesy polenta.  The original recipe called for Veal Cutlets but I quite fancied it with pork instead.
 
 Not only was this dish very easy to put together, the flavour in the sauce was magnificent and very mourish... I could have just actually had a bowl of the sauce... spoon please?  And as with any polenta dish you are guaranteed a good arm workout LOL!


Marsala and Mushroom Pork Cutlets with Creamy Polenta
(recipe adapted from Weight Watcher Magazing August 2013)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11
 
1 tablespoon olive oil
4  (500 grams) lean pork cultlets, all possible fat trimmed
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1.125 (4 1/2 cups) chicken stock
1 cup instant polenta
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 brown onion, finely sliced
200 grams Swiss Brown mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons Marsala
2 tablespoons light thickened cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Heat 1 teapsoon of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Season the pork with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes each side or until browned and cooked to your liking.  Set aside and cover to keep warm.
 
Reserve 1/4 cup stock.  Bring the remaining stock to the boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the polenta and stir over low heat for 8 minutes or until thick and creamy.  Stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
 
Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium-high heat.  Cook the onion and mushroom, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softenend.  Add the reserved stock and the marsala.  Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes or until the sauce reduces.  Stir in the cream and boil for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper.
 
Serve the creamy polenta with the pork and the sauce.  Top with chives.
 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Country Chicken Pie (Pies)

YES finally I am back in the kitchen and I must say I am enjoying myself.  I am actually home all this week so hopefully you will be able to read a few posts from little ol' moi!
 
The weather has started to change and Spring is starting to make her presence know however I still fancied a hearty dinner.  Country Chicken Pies perfectly hit the spot and I must say that they tasted amazing.
 
Originally the recipe is for a family sized pie but once the smell was drifting from the kitchen children were hovering around the kitchen so I knew it would be easier and fairer (yes fairer) if I made individual portions.
 
The filling, jam packed with tender chicken and vegetables, was enveloped in a thick creamy sauce which just left my taste buds wanting more.  Topped with a yummy crunchy pastry top it was a pleasure to eat.


Country Chicken Pie
(recipe adapted from WW Magazine June 2012)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 10
 
1 tablespoon olive oil
500 grams lean chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 brown onion,  finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn kernals
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 sheet frozen reduced-fat puff pastry, just thawed
 

Heat half the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.
 
Heat remaining oil in pan.  Add carrots, celery and onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until stoftened.  Add chicken and any juices and flour.  Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add stock, stirring to combine.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir in milk, then cover and cook for 3 - 5 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens slightly.
 
Stir in frozen corn and peas, then parsley.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Transfer to a 20cm round ovenproof dish.  Set dish aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 1 hour to cool completely.
 
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Celsius fan forced.  Top dish wity pastry, allowing excess pastry to overhang.  Cut a small cross in the centre.  Spray with cooking spray.  Place dish on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slow Cooked Beef Stew with Cheese and Caraway Dumplings

Junior football weekly competion has finally but sadly finished for the 2013 season.  I have enjoyed this year even though I overcommitted not only myself but Noel and sacrafice special time with my family.  This year as well as being Treasurer I moonlighted as Registrar decided to be canteen manager and also put our (yes mine and Noel's) hands up to cook Sunday night dinners for 80 - 100 people each week.  14 rounds the Junior football season runs with 4 weeks of finals which this year are at another club.  I officially hung my apron up last Sunday finding myself lost this past weekend with no additional shopping, no mass cooking and no deep frying of chips etc on Sunday morning.  I am definitely a football mam and felt like something was missing on the weekend.

Anyway while that part of me has gone for the rest of this year, I can say I should have time to focus on my blog even though my work commitments remain the same.  I am seriously wondering whether I should blogging about my restaurant meals while I travel especially while I have a massive amount of travel ahead in the next few months.  Thoughts please??  I value your opinions.......

Needless to say I spent time in the kitchen cooking for the Murray family.....  and have thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Tonight's menu consisted of a slow cooked beef stew - very basic in ingredients but full of flavour.  Topped with herb packed cheesy dumplings this meal was a perfect dish for a cold evening.


Slow Cooked Beef Stew with Cheese and Caraway Dumplings
(recipe sourced from WW Magazine August 2013)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11
 
200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
550 grams gravy beef, fat trimmed
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 dried bay leaf
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup skim milk
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup 50% reduced fat grated tasty cheese
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
pinch smoked paprika, to serve


Preheat oven 180 degrees Celsius. 

Lightly spray a large shallow ovenproof saucepan with oil and heat over high heat.  Cook the mushroom, stirring, for 4 minutes or until golden.  Set aside. 

Lightly spray the pan with oil.  Season the beef with salt and pepper.  Cook the beef, in 2 batches, for 2 minutes or until browned.  Set aside.

Cook the onion, garlic and bay leaf, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile, whisk the stock, wine and tomato paste in a jug until combined.  Return the beef to the pan along with the wine mixture.  Bring to the boil.  Place in the oven and cook, covered, for 1 hour.  Add the mushroom and cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until the beef is tender.

Meanwhile place the four and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.  Combine the milk, oil, parsley and 2 tablepoons of the cheese in a jug.  Stir the cheese mixture through the flour until it forms a sticky dough.

Discard the bay leaf from the stew.  Drop tablespoons of the cheese in the jug.  Sprinkle with caraway seeds and remaining cheese.  Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the dumplings sre cooked through.

Serve with 0 ProPoints value steamed vegetables.



(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thank you all sooooo much for your patience with my spasmotic blogging....... cross fingers for a better last few months of the year xxx

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Asian Pork Cutlets

A quick and easy mid week dinner was needed as we are so busy at the moment and to top it off it's also school holidays here in Victoria.

I love pork especially when cooked with Asian flavours so this meal was really nice.  The marinade consisted of 3 ingredients so that made for easy preparation but did not lead to any shortcuts in the flavour.  I love Chinese Five Spice by the way..... and the use of Chinese Five Spice did not over power the sweetness of the plum sauce.  To be honest it was the typical asian flavour that we all relate to when we think of an asian meal.

This dish was cooked in the oven, elimating frying or barbecuing.  One baking dish, some steamed rice and some vegetables and voila - done.


Asian Pork Cultlets
(recipe adapted from WW The Extremely Contented Tummy 2007)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 12
 
1/4 cup plum sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five spice
4 x 125 gram lean pork cutlets
1 cup white rice
1 bunch baby bok choy, trimmed
3 carrots, peeled and cut into batons

Combine the plum sauce, soy sauce and five spice in a shallow ceramic dish.  Add pork, turning to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes to marinade.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Line a baking dish with baking paper.  Bake cutlets for 25 minutes, basting with marindae every 10 minutes, until cooked trhough and golden.

Meanwhile, cook rice according to packet directions.

Steam carrots for 5 minutes, add bok choy and steam for a further 2 minutes or until bright green.

Place cutlets on serving plates with rice and bok choy.  Drizzle with sauce and serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sweet Potato Fritters with Lemon Chicken

As sands through the hour glass so are the days of my life... currently at the moment there is lots on the go with several post backed up due to being time poor from being busy with both family life and work.

Before I go any further I need to formally announce the winner of my giveaway...... Congratulations to Erin Roe!!!  Well done and as mentioned in my original post Sirloin Steak with Tomato Kasundi and Potato Wedges I am jealous.  Can you send me an email to me and I will give you instruction on how to activate your course?

One of the posts I have trying to post during the last few weeks has been this one.  Sweet Potato Fritters with Lemon Chicken is a very elegant dish to look at but is very simple with only very few components to complete.  Not to mention it is a favourite of mine.

The lemon chicken isn't like that of a chinese restaurant where it is battered, deep fried and then coated in a sticky sweet lemon sauce.  The chicken is pan fried with the lemon juice is added during the last few minutes of cooking.  Served on top of the sweet potato fritters that are flavoured with spring onions and ginger, all drizzled with sweet chilli sauce makes for a perfect mid week dinner or for a special easy meal for a dinner party.


Sweet Potato Fritters with Lemon Chicken
(recipe sourced from WW Pure Test Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 8

600gram chicken breast fillets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
600 grams sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
5 shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
4 tablespoons coriander leaves (optional)

Coat a large non-stick fry pan with cooking spray and cook the chicken breast fillets for 5 minutes each side. Pour over the lemon juice during the last minute of cooking. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and keep warm while you make the fritters.

Place the grated sweet potato, shallots and ginger in a large mixing bowl and combine. Stir through the egg and flour.

Recoat the pan with cooking spray and heat. Scoop a quarter of the mixture into the pan and form into a circle about 12cm in diameter. Cook over a low heat for 4 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked. Remove from the pan and keep warm while cooking the remaining fritters.

Divide the fritters between 4 serving plates. Cut the chicken into slices and place on top of the fritters. Spoon over the sweet chili sauce and scatter with coriander, if using.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lamb and Cashew Biryani

I love rice and love Indian flavours as you all know.  Anything spicy always hits the spot with me.

Tonight's dinner was a very easy Lamb and Cashew Biryani - one could not fault the flavour.  My favourite part of this recipe - the recipe calls for Indian curry paste so the Biryani could have been what ever flavour paste you had on hand or fancied.  We used Tikka Masala Paste and while it was mild it was very enjoyable.

Although I did add extra vegetables to bulk it out it was a very and I mean very filling dish.  Topped with some greek yoghurt and fresh coriander this was a yummy mid week dinner.

Don't forget to enter our giveaway.


Lamb and Cashew Biryani
(Recipe adapted from taste.com)
 
Serves: 6
ProPoints per Serve: 9
 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
400g lamb steaks, sliced
1/3 cup Indian mild curry paste
1 cup basmati rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup sultanas
75g baby spinach
300 grams frozen vegetable mix (carrots, brocolli and green beans)
1/2 cup no-fat plain Greek-style yoghurt
1/4 cup cashew nuts, toasted, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons small fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
 
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until light golden.
 
Add lamb. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add curry paste. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add rice. Stir to coat in curry mixture. Add stock, cinnamon and sultanas. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until rice is just tender.
 
Stir in spinach and vegetable mix. Cook for 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
 
Serve biryani with yoghurt, nuts and topped with coriander.

 
(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sirloin Steak with Tomato Kasundi and Potato Wedges and a Give Away

Once again it has been so long in between posts and I assure you (as always) I haven't given up... it's called being time poor!  But I finally have a meal to share and also a great giveaway.
 
Tonight we had char grilled steak cooked on the open flame of the Weber... Noel's favourite way of cooking steak.  I decided that I wanted us to have something different to accompany the steak and when I came across this recipe I knew it was that "something different" we were having tonight.
 
Kasundi is a spicy Indian relish and not only was it full of flavour - it was easier to make than I had imagined.  Considering the depth and range of it's taste, spicy and sweet,  the steps involved were very basic which of course is always a win in the kitchen.  All up on the table in under 1 hour.
 
We used scotch fillet steak with this recipe as that is what we had on hand and even though we barbecued our meat this made no real change to the meal itself.  I really enjoyed the Kasundi and found it an enjoyable side to accompany the steak.  I presume that it would be a nice element to add to various meats.

Oh keep reading below to see details of our fantastic give away........


Sirloin Steak with Tomato Kasundi and Potato Wedges
(recipe adapted from WW 1 Recipe 3 Ways Cookbook)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 8
 
4 (680 grams) desiree potatoes, cut into wedges
cooking spray
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup white vinegar
400 gram can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 x 150 gram lean sirloin steaks (or steak of your choice), fat trimmed

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Celsius fan-forced.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Place potatoes on prepared tray and lightly spray with oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for 45 minutes or until tender and crisp.
 
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Add mustard and cumin seeds and cook, covered, for 1 minute or until seeds begin to pop.  Add turmeric, chilli powder, ginger and garlic and cook stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add vinegar, tomatoes and sugar and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until kasundi is thick.
 
Meanwhile, lightly sray a large non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over medium heat.  Cook steak for 3 - 4 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking.  Transfer to a plate.  Cover steak with foil and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
 
Top steaks with kasundi and serve with potato wedges.
 
 
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Now for the giveaway......

The wonderful prize I have to giveaway is actually a Food Safety Supervisor's Course with the Australian Institute of Food Safety.  Many thanks to Australian Food Safety News for this fantastic food related give away.
 
Most food businesses in Australia have a legal obligation to employ a qualified Food Safety Supervisor on their team. Whether you are a business who needs to meet these requirements, or a food worker who wants to develop new skills and obtain a qualification, then this course is for you. Our course is nationally accredited and covers all of the key skills required to be a Food Safety Supervisor in today's food-handling environment.

This engaging and interactive course is designed to take you step-by-step through the food safety laws in Australia and help you understand what you need to do to ensure that food is handled, prepared, cooked and stored safely in your organisation. You'll also learn about the requirements of a Food Safety Plan.

 
Other information regarding this opportunity:
- International entrants are accepted

- Prize can not be exchanged for money 

- No entries will be accepted after Wednesday 12th June 2013 7pm EST.

- Winner will be announced Friday 14th June 2013.

- The winner will be enrolled in the Food Safety Supervisor course and receive instructions via email.

Course information can be found here: Food Safety Supervisor's Course.

This course is normally valued at AUS $249.95.

So how do you get the chance to win this fantastic opportunity:

Simply leave a comment on this recipe.  Easy right? 

Your comment should tell me why you would like to complete this course and how it will help you in your future whether it's in the food industry, volunteer work, personal life etc. In others word tell me why you want to undertake this training.

If you do not have a google account you can leave an anonymous comment but please leave your name.  Then send me an email to: houseofmurray@optusnet.com.au to advise your contact details just incase you are the winner.

Good luck and I am really jealous as this is a training course that I would love to win for myself... that however may look a little too suspect!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Moroccan Apricot Chicken

First off I have to admit that I am not a lover of Apricot Chicken, probably why I have never posted a recipe for it before now.  Noel also doesn't really enjoy fruit with meat unless it's pineapple on a hamburger or with a ham steak.

However I decided to try this dish for something totally different.  And different it was - igniting my taste for a spicy Apricot Chicken rather than the traditional somewhat sweet (my opinion of course) version.

What a fantastic mid week dinner taking hardly any time to prepare and of course, as with most dishes in our house, hardly any time to devour!


Moroccan Apricot Chicken
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Family Favourites 2013)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 5
 
1 tablespoon olive oil
500 grams lean chicken thigh fillets, fat trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
1 brown onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup apricot nectar
3 carrots, cut into 2cm pieces
400 grams green beans, halved
1 red capsicum, cut into 2 cm pieces
400 gram can Weight Watchers Halved Apricots, drained, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
 
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
 
Heat oil in a large flameproof cassderole dish over meium high heat.  Add chicken and onion and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until chicken has browned.
 
Add cumin, paprika and allspice and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add nectar and carrots and bring to the boil.  Cover and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and add beans and capsicum, cover and bake for a further 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
 
Stir in apricots and half the coriander into the casserole until heated.
 
Serve with couscous allowing an additional 5 ProPoints value per serve.
 
 
(click here with a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Veal Schnitzel with Spicy Pizzaiola Sauce

This dish was filled with an amazing flavour not to mention texture.  The veal is coated in crunchy Panko breadcrumbs served on top of a bed of fresh basil infused tomato pasta. 
 
A slight hint of the chilli was noticable but not overpowering in the pasta sauce which made a perfect bed for the yummy veal schnitzel.
 
Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese breadcrumbs and are available from Asian grocery stores or the Asian section in most supermarkets.


Veal Schnitzel with Spicy Pizzaiola Sauce
(recipe sourced from Weight Watchers Magazine May 2013)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11
 
400 gram can diced tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
salt
freshly ground black pepper
250 grams fettucine or pasta of your choice
4 veal schnitzels, fat trimmed
1 egg white
2 teaspoons water
2/3 cup (50 gram) dried panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
100 grams baby spinach
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
fresh basil leaves, to serve

Blend the tomato until smooth.
 
Lightly spray a small saucepan with oil and heat over medium heat.  Cook the garlic, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add the tomator, oregano and chilli.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water following packet directions or until al dente.  Drain.
 
Meanwhile, season the veal with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Whisk the egg white and water in a shallow bowl.  Dip the veal in the egg white mixture then dip into the breadcrumbs to coat.
 
Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan over high heat.  Cook the veal for 1 minute on each side or until gold and cooked through.
 
Stir the pasta, spinach and chopped basil through the sauce to coat well.  Divide the pasta among serving dishes and top with the schnitzel. 
 
Sprinkle with basil leaves to serve.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spicy Green Curry and Coriander Prawns

I found a new cookbook, Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes, in the well stocked Clayton Newsagency.  This newsagency import magazines and cookbooks from all over.  This is an US publication so I was a little overjoyed to purchase it and discover some great recipes.

Green Curry (kaeng khiao wan) is a Thai Curry.  The green color comes from fresh green chillies. The "sweet" in the Thai name (wan means "sweet") refers to the particular color green itself and not to the taste of the curry.  Green curries tend to be as hot as red curries or hotter.  And I love them - infact I love most Thai dishes.

WOW and did this dish excite the tastebuds!! Simple ingredients but so full of flavour not to mention very easy to cook.  And yes I had a craving for prawns this week......


Spicy Green Curry and Coriander Prawns
(recipe adapted from WW Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes)
 
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 9
 
cooking spray
700 grams peeled and deveined raw prawns
1 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon green curry paste
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 cups steamed white rice
lime wedges to serve

Heat a wok or large non stick frying pan over medium to high heat.  Coat wok with cooking spray.  Add prawns and cook for 3 minutes stirring occassionally.

While prawns are cooking, combine milk, sugar, lime juice, curry paste and salt, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Add to the pan along with the coriander, bring to the bil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Serve with 1/2 cup steamed white rice and lime wedges.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Choo Chee Prawns


This would have to be one favourite prawn dishes of all time.  We have been cooking this dish for years now and it never fails to amaze with flavour.  This version is a low fat take on the traditional Thai Dish but I don't beleive it is any less as flavoursome than the original.

The amazing spicy yet somewhat creamy sauce is created using few ingredients and it's cooked in no time at all. 

I love the final addition of flavours from the fresh curry leaves, the basil and the coriander. It is delish.


Choo Chee Prawns
(recipe adapted from Taste.com)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 8

2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1kg medium green prawns, peeled
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 x 400ml can lite coconut milk
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 tablespoon water
12 fresh curry leaves
1 bunch fresh Thai basil, leaves picked
1 bunch fresh coriander, sprigs picked

Heat oil in a wok or large deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir-fry onion, garlic, chilli, prawns and sambal oelek for 2-3 minutes or until prawns change colour.

Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 minute.  Stir in combined cornflour and water.

Stir in the curry leaves, basil and coriander.

Serve with steamed rice if desired, allow an additional 4 ProPoints per 1/2 cup.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sweet Chilli Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry

Noodles are always a big hit at our house especially when enveloped with a nice sauce and plenty of meat and vegetables.  They are also a great way to get the kids to eat their vegetables.

The sweet chilli flavour isn't over powering in this dish it is detectable as is the lime.  The cashews added an extra crunch and as always this dish was enjoyed by all.

Another quick mid week dinner that will tempt everyone's tastebuds....


Sweet Chilli Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry
(Recipe adapted from WW Family Favourites 2013 Cookbook)
 
Serves: 6
ProPoints per Serve: 9
 
500 grams lean chicken breast fillets, fat trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 tablespoons lime juice
440 gram Wokka Thin Egg Noodles
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 green shallots, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
200 green beans, diagonally sliced
175 gram broccolini, cut into 5cm lengths
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashew nuts, chopped

Place chicken and combined sweet chilli sauce, garlic and lime juice in a glass or ceramic dish.  Toss to coat and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Prepare noodles in a large bowl of hot water as per packet instructions. Drain and set aside.

Drain chicken reserving marinade.

Heat a wok over high heat.  Add half the oil and heat for 30 seconds.  Stir fry chicken mixture, in batches, for 1-2 minutes or until browned.  Transfer to a plate.  Wipe wok clean with paper towel.

Reheat wok over medium-high heat.  Add remaining oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add shallots, capsicum, beans, broccolini and water.  Stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Return chicken mixture to the wokong with reserved marinade and noodles.  Stir fry for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Serve sprinkled with coriander and cashews.


(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Easy Mango Chilli Prawn Salad

Relaxing on Labour Day, a public holiday here in Melbourne I decided to make a quick and easy lunch for Noel and myself - a prawn salad with a Mango Chilli Dressing.  Took no time at all really and made a nice change to the boring but healthy salads we had been eating.
 
The dressing of course, was store brought and not homemade but it is quite a flavoursome and diet friendly one produced by Coles.  Simply Less Mango Chilli Dressing is one of the new flavours in dressing that Coles have recently released.

 
Easy Mango Chilli Prawn Salad
 
Serves: 2
ProPoints per serve: 4
 
16 cooked king prawns, peeled
2 cups of mixed salad leaves
1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 lebanese cucumber, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1/2 bunch fresh coriander leaves
4 tablespoons Coles Simply Less Mango Chilli Dressing

Rinse prawns and pat dry with paper towel.
 
Divide the salad leaves amongst two serving plates or bowls.
 
Top with capsicum, cucumber and red onion.  Add prawns to each dish.  Sprinkle with the coriander leaves.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of dressing over each salad and serve.
 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chicken and Mushroom Baked Crepes

Tonight's dinner surprised me on two levels - firstly I didn't think my kids would eat savoury crepes and secondly I didn't think my husband would appreciate "pancakes" for dinner!  I was wrong on both counts and stand corrected.

In fact tonight is the first time ever I have cooked savoury crepes and the first time I have ever served pancakes as a main course.  This recipe was very tasty. 
 
The soft crepe enveloping the creamy chicken and mushroom filling was absolutely delightful and delicate.  Although the filling ingredients sound "plain" as such in fact the delicate thick creamy sauce was perfect - you could taste every element right down to the pinch of nutmeg. 

Needless to say nothing left......


Chicken and Mushrooms Baked Crepes
(Recipe sourced from WW Cook Hearty Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 12

cooking spray
1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
400 grams lean chicken breast fillet, fat trimmed, cut into 1 cm pieces
400 grams button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons water
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Weight Watchers Canola Spread
2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
pinch ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
8 French-style frozen crepes, just thawed
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Celsius fan-forced.  Spray a 28cm x 20cm x 3cm ovenproof dish with cooking spray.
 
Lightly spray a large non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add chicken and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned.  Add mushrooms and 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until mushrooms have softened.
 
Heat spread in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Combine milk, stock and nutmeg in a jug.  Gradually add milk mixture to the folour mixture and stir until  smooth.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 2 - 3 minutes or until sauce has thickened.  Stir in chicken mixture and parsley.
 
Reserve 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture.  Lay crepes on a flat work surface.  Divide remaining chicken mixture among crepes and spread evenly along 1 edge.  Roll crepes to enclose filling and place, seam side down, in prepared dish.  Spoon reserved filling along centre of crepes.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
 
Served sprinkled with chives.