Our latest feast

Monday, December 8, 2014

Homemade Guacamole

You really cannot serve Mexican especially Spicy Chicken Nachos without Homemade Guacamole.  It's that perfect accompaniment that pleases the tastebuds along side all the warm wonderful spices that Mexican food is laced with.
One of the major positives about this dish is that it's such an easy side dish to make, taking only minutes and the flavour is just an explosion in your mouth compared to shop brought prepackaged dip.

Homemade Guacamole
Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 2
2 ripe avocado
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
150 grams cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 red bullet chilli (seeds removed if desired) finely chopped
juice of 1 fresh lime
freshly ground black pepper

Cut avocados in half, remove stone and peel.  Dice each half and place in a large bowl.  Mash gently until chunky.
Add onions, cherry tomatoes, coriander, chilli and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix until well combined.

Refrigerate until required.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Spicy Chicken Nachos

We love having people over and there is always something quick and easy we can whip up just to keep everyone's tummies happy while we enjoy the great company.  Mexican is one of those friendly comfort foods that everyone seems to love and I would have to say that Nacho's are high on everyone's favourite food lists.

These Spicy Chicken Nachos are definitely a crowd pleaser served with sour cream and Home Made Guacamole - they were definitely a hit..  So easy to make especially the corn chips being made from tortillas, the mince spicy but not overpowering which can be made with or without the chilli kick.

Please note as we had a houseful I doubled the recipe below.

Spicy Chicken Nachos
(Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers 1 Recipe 3 Ways Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11
4 x 40g extra light flour tortillas
1 tablespoon olive oil
500 grams low fat chicken mince
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
1 green capsicum, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teadspoon ground coriander
300 gram jar chunky tomato salsa
1 cup water
1 - 2 teaspoons chilli flakes (if desired)
1/3 cup extra light sour cream
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves

Preheat oven to 200 degress Celsius or 180 degrees Celsius fan-forced.  Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.  Cut each tortilla into 12 wedges.  Place on prepared trays and lightly spray with oil.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp and golden.  Cool.
Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add mince and cook, breaking up any lumps for 3-5 minutes or until browned.  Transfer to a bowl.
Heat remaining oil in pan.  Add onion, capsicum and carrot.  Cook strirring for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add cumin and coriander and cook stirring for 1 minute or until fragrant.  Return mince to the pan with salsa, water and chilli flakes if using and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 - 12 minutes or until thickened.
Place tortilla chips into serving bowls.  Top with mince mixture , sour cream and coriander. 
Serve with a 0ppt salad, homemade guacamole and some grated cheese if desired.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Asian Pork Cutlets

This meal had to be one of the easiest that I have prepared EVER!!  And the outcome was a really tender pork cutlet flavoured with all the spices of the orient.

I have to be perfectly honest that I am not a fan of cooking small pieces of meat in the oven (baking) in fact I don't even cook large peices of meat in the oven as we cook all of our roasts in the Weber.  So this itself was an interesting exercise for me and thankfully with success.

The flavour was full considering the marinating time was very minimal making these Asian Pork Cutlets a perfect midweek wonder.  The kids loved the flavour - somewhat sweet but with the underlying tones of cinnamon, star annise and soy added character to the plum sauce base.

Overall a terrific dish which I am sure will be on the menu again very soon.

Asian Pork Cutlets
(Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers 5 Ingredients Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 12
1/2 cup plum sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teapsoon chinese five spice powder
4 x 200 gram pork cutlets, fat trimmed
1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed
1 cup white rice
Combine the plum sauce, soy sauce and five spice in a shallow glass or ceramic bowl.  Add pork, turning to coat.  Set aside for 30 minutes to marinate.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Line a baking dish with baking paper.  Place cutlets on the baking tray, reserving any marinade.  Bake cutlets for 25 minutes, basting with marinade every 10 minutes.  Cook until pork is cooked through and golden or to your liking.
Meanwhile cook rice as per packet instructions. 
Place remaining marinade in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce heat, simmering until sauce slightly thickens. 
Steam broccolini for 2 minutes or until bright in colour.
Place cutlets on serving plates with rice and broccolini.  Drizzle with sauce and serve.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chicken Leek and Corn Crepes

This dish definitely is at the top of the Comfort Food list - it's creamy, flavoursome and a definitely "can I please have some more?" meal.    In fact this dish has 'Comfort' written all over it. There was not much left of this dish at all (and I had planned to freeze some as I had doubled the recipe). 

While this sounds like a recipe that involves a lot of elements - it would if you cooked them all yourself but making this mid week is easy when you can by already made crepes.  Here in Melbourne you can find them in the freezer section at supermarkets near the pastry).  Defrost them before use and away you go.

The creamy chicken, leek and corn filling is easy to make and with all the ingredients prepared before hand is completed in 20 minutes allowing a little extra time for it to cool. 

Overall, a perfect dish...

Chicken Leek and Corn Crepes
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 12

cooking spray
1 leek, finely sliced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
400 grams lean chicken breast fillet, fat trimmed, cut into 1 cm pieces
2 tablespoons water
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
1 cup frozen corn kernals, thawed
8 French-style frozen crepes, just thawed
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
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 leek and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add chicken and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned.
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 flour 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, corn 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 a 0ppt garden salad if desired. 
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Giant Vegetable Rosti with Cheese, Spinach and Poached Eggs

Sunday's are so busy during the football season and we rarely get the day to ourselves so when the season is over we try to make the most out of our Sunday.

This morning, after a small sleep in, I decided that a yummy brunch was now on the menu.  The weather is warming up and it was perfect this morning to sit outside and enjoy some precious time together.  Saying this I did not want the usual big breakfast (you know bacon, eggs, beans, toast, etc.)

I had seen this recipe for a 'Giant Potato Rosti' several times and had always thought that it would be a winner with us foodies.  I added some thyme to the potato and carrot mix plus used tasty cheese instead of the feta.  And it was yummo!!!

Not that easy with all the different steps involved but worth the effort.  A crispy rosti topped with cheese, fresh spinach and a runny egg... perfect for a mid morning brunch.

Giant Vegetable Rosti with Cheese, Spinach and Poached Eggs
(recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver)
Serves: 6
ProPoints per Serve: 7 

1200 grams potatoes
6 large carrots
sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
cooking spray
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
100g baby spinach
6 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 180 degress Celsius.

Peel the potatoes and carrots, then grate them coarsely. Add a good pinch of salt, toss and scrunch it all together, then leave for 5 minutes.

Put olive oil into a large bowl and add a good pinch of pepper and thyme leaves.

Handful by handful, squeeze the potato and carrot mixture to get rid of the excess salty liquid, then sprinkle into the bowl. Toss in the oil and pepper until well mixed, Spray a large baking tray with cooking spray and then evenly scatter the potato mixture in tray. Roast for around 35 minutes, or until golden on top and super-crispy around the edges.

Meanwhile, boil a large saucepan with water to cook your poached eggs.  Just before your rosti is ready, with the water gently simmering, crack in the eggs, poach to your liking, then carefully remove with a slotted spoon.  Or cook your poached eggs using your usual method.

Remove rosti from the oven sprinkle with grated cheese.  Top with baby spinach and poached eggs.  Add a side serve of Weight Watchers Bacon for 1 ProPoint per 2 slices.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Moroccan Chicken Pie with Sumac Yoghurt

Its definitely not been a long time between drinks for me but it's been a long time between blogging.  To be honest time is poor for me once again with many things happening outside these website walls consuming too much of my time.  I have to sit back and decide what I need to dedicate my time to and what is just wasting my time.  One of the things that gives me the most enjoyment is this blog "my nerdy hobby" I started for fun until my family started telling others about it and word got out.

So with that in mind and tasking myself with learning the art of prioritising I am moving forward.  And one of those things to assist is to cook.....

This Morrocan Chicken Pie not only tasted great but the house was filled with an aroma, sweet and spicy, that was entising and very pleasing on the nose.  Everyone was automatically drawn to the kitchen commenting on how good this smelled.

The taste was not disappointing either - with the pie being devoured by the whole family.   The balanced spices definitely laced the chicken with a Middle Eastern flavour combined with the sweetness of the apricots.  I removed the sweet potato from the original recipe as my family don't seem to do potatoes in pies unless it's Grandma's Curry Pie (made from left over stew) and added some extra vegetasbles. 

It must have been good I have had a request to make pot pies from this recipe so the individuals (you know who you are) can have them for lunch or for a snack after school.  Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!

Moroccan Chicken Pie with Sumac Yoghurt
(recipe adapted from WW Eat Well Diabetes Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 9

500 grams chicken thighs, visible fat removed, diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
400 gram can diced tomatoes
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoon fresh coriander chopped
1 sheet Pampus reduced fat puff pastry
1/2 cup low fat natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon ground sumac

Preheat oven to 200°C or 180°C fan-forced. Lightly spray a 1.5L (6-cup) capacity ovenproof pie dish with oil.

Heat half the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add chicken and cook, in batches, stirring, for 3–4 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan. Heat remaining oil in same pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, ginger, cumin and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Return chicken to pan with apricots, tomatoes, stock, carrots and capsicum and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir cornflour and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir cornflour mixture into chicken mixture and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in coriander.

Spoon chicken mixture into prepared dish. Cut pastry into eight 3cm-wide strips. Top chicken mixture with pastry strips in a lattice pattern. Trim excess pastry and press edges to seal. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden.

Meanwhile, combine yoghurt and sumac in a small bowl.

Serve pie with sumac yoghurt.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Lebanese Pork and Veal Meatballs

This was an interesting recipe not only by name but by the way that you cook part of the actual recipe.  I have to say I was very intrigued and felt compelled to try it out.

Meatballs are a winner at any time as far as I am concerned - small mouthfuls of tender melt in your mouth bites are always enjoyed but these that are Middle Eastern infused topped the list.

The Lebanese rice was very different but was one of the conversation highlights.... really rice and pasta? Who would have thought?  But both these combined, cooked in the stock until tender, really made this dish as they both enveloped the flavours and made the meal complete.

If you are after some different and want a one pot wonder this perfectly fits the bill. 

Lebanese Pork and Veal Meatballs
(recipe adapted from WW Slow Cooking Cookbook)
Serves: 8
ProPoints per Serve: 10
400 grams lean pork mince
400 grams lean veal mince
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 white onions, thinly sliced
4 cups veal or chicken stock
1 cup long grain white rice
100 grams angel hair pasta
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh coriander leaves

Combine mince, garlic, egg, cumin, coriander and cardamom in a medium bowl.  Mix until well combined.  Roll level tablespoons of mixture into 32 meatballs.  Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook meatballs, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned.  Transfer to a plate.

Reheat same pan over medium heat.  Cook onion, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add meatballs and stock, bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

Add rice and cook for 5 minutes.  Add pasta and cook for 10 - 12 minutes or until rice and pasta are tender and liquid has been absorbed.

Serve topped with tomato and coriander.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Beef and Pumpkin Rendang

It's absolutely no secret that our household loves curry.  Any type of curry regardless of it's origin.  It surprises me that when many people think of curries they think Indian considering all the tastes and flavours we have in the world.  So many different styles of curry and so many different versions of the one curry dish.

Rendang is a spicy meat dish which originated from Indonesia but is now commonly served in many countries. The curry paste is a mix of spices, which includes ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, lemon grass, garlic, shallot and chillies. Cooked with coconut milk traditional Padang Rendang takes hours to cook. However this recipe is both quick to prepare and cook plus having the added bonus of it being low fat.

The house smelled amazing not only once we started cooking the paste but while we waited for it to cook on the stove.  This recipe cook easily be adapted to a slow cooker recipe, obviously by adjusting the liquid and the cooking times.

Beef and Pumpkin Rendang
(Recipe adapted from WW Slow Cooking Cookbook)

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 7

2 red onions, chopped
6 small fresh red chillies, chopped
2 lemongrass sticks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk powder
1 kilogram gravy beef, fat trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
4 cups beef stock
800 grams pumpkin, chopped
200 grams green beans, cut into 5 cm lengths
4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

Process onion, chilli, lemongrass, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a food processor until smooth.

Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook curry past, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add milk powder and stir to combine. Add beef and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beef is tender.

Add pumpkin and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until tender. Add beans and cook for 2 minutes or until just tender.

Serve sprinkled with lime leaf. Add 3 ProPoints for ½ cup steamed rice.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes Crispy Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables that most people eat.  They can be boiled, mashed, baked, steamed, grated, diced, sliced, etc. but my favourite has to be little tasty bite sized cubes that are flavoured and crispy.

Fresh rosemary roughly chopped with garlic and sea salt perfectly complimented the crispy potatoes and were delicious served with Southern Fried Chicken.  Trust me though, they were nice just on their own (I snuck a few in the kitchen).

To easy to make... perfect to eat!

Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes Crispy Potatoes
ProPoints per serve: 3
600 grams potatoes, peeled and 2 cm diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons finely crushed sea salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl mix all ingredients together.

Place on a single layer on a prepared baking tray.

Cook for 25 - 30 minutes until golden and crispy and cooked through.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Southern Fried Chicken

Comfort food doesn't get any better than eating chicken drumsticks with your fingers, except when the chicken is coated in a blend of spices that make your tastebuds dance.  Southern Fried Chicken is just one of those dishes that not only sounds soulful but sounds inviting and comforting.  It's a dish that is hard to resist... at times one piece is just not enough.
The American's have made this a well known dish especially in the Southern States.  The most famous version of this dish of course is Kentucky Fried Chicken.  The original version of this dish required deep frying the coated chicken pieces.  I have made a low fat version "Home Made Kentucky Fried Chicken" which was also delish.
The secret to Southern Fried Chicken is that the chicken pieces are marinated in chilli tainted buttermilk and then coated in a seasoned flour what could be easier?  A quick fry to seal and then oven baked which reduces the greasiness.  This recipe was very easy and as always devoured by those sat at our dinner table.
Southern Fried Chicken
(Recipe sourced from WW Dinner with Friends Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 11
8 x 70 gram skinless chicken drumsticks
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Place chicken in a glass or ceramic dish (or large snap lock bag).  Add buttermilk and chilli, and turn to coat.  Cover and place in fridge for 3 hours or longer if time permits.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Combine flour, paprika and cumin in a shall bowl.  Remove chicken, one piece at a time, from marinade. Coat chicken in flour mixture.  Transfer to a plate.  Discard marinade.

Heat oil in a large non stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken, turning, in batches,  8 - 10 minutes or until browned.  Transfer to prepared tray. 

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until cooked through. 

Serve with coleslaw mix drizzled with lemon juice (0ppts) and steamed corn on a cob - add 2ppts for 80g corn.  You could also serve with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes Crispy Potatoes.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Banana Bread Supreme

Banana bread is a really treat especially as it is often made using lots of butter or oil but this Banana Bread Supreme contains no dairy at all and is not only very easy to makes it's delish. 

Only a handful of ingredients sees this mixed together within minutes.  The riper the bananas the more intense the flavour.... so I tend to let my bananas sit on the bench until the skin is black and the bananas very soft.

Served hot or cold you will be amazed by this Banana Bread.

Banana Bread Supreme
(recipe sourced from Best Recipes)
Serves: 12
ProPoints per serve: 2
3 ripe medium bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self-raising flour
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar

Heat oven to 180C and grease and line the base of a loaf tin.

Mash bananas in a medium sized bowl, then add golden syrup.

Add caster sugar and mix well.

Add egg, sifted flour and salt and lightly mix until just combined.

Pour mixture into loaf tin and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pepper Crusted Lamb Rack with Cream Cheese Mash

Today we celebrated 21 years of wedded bliss.... what more of a gift could I give my husband than a beautiful rack of lamb dinner.... the more part that I gave him was that he cooked most of it!!!!  LOL I have to say it was a joint effort cooking tonight.  Cooking together is something that we have always enjoyed doing which is a bonus.
Both of us enjoy lamb especially the fillet, rack or cutlets and even more so a lamb roast.  This lamb rack was cooked to perfection and it wasn't very difficult at all.  A quick pan fry and then finished off in the oven for 15 minutes it was not over cooked - just right.  The crust had a flavour sensation that was not over powered by the pepper it was beautifully balanced with thte rosemary and salt. 
The mash - what can I say?  I was mash to die for.  Very rustic with a leek and thyme infusion which did nothing but complimented the lamb rack.
It was a toss up as to whether the lamb was better than the mash or that the mash was better than the lamb - that's how nice this dish was.
Overall this dinner, which would be a magnificient entertainer's meal, was avvery easy to prepare, cook and serve weeknight wonder. 

Pepper Crusted Lamb Rack with Cream Cheese
(Recipe adapted from WW Dinner With Friends Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 12
650 grams peeled potatoes, chopped
3 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 x 200 gram (4 cutlets in each) french trimmed lamb racks
1 tablespoon oil
2 small leeks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs to garnish
60 grams extra light cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Boil, steam or microwave potatoes until tender.  Drain, cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile combine pepper, rosemary and salt in a small bowl.  Press pepper mixture over lamb racks.  Heat half the oil in a large non stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Cook the lamb for 2 minutes each side or until browned.  Transfer to a baking tray.  Bake for 15 - 18 minutes for medium or until cooked to your liking.  Remove from oven, cover with foil and set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Heat remaining oil in the same pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic, leek and thyme leaves, stirring, for 5 - 7 minutes or until leek has softened.   Mash potatoe in a bowl with cream cheese and milk until smooth.  Stir in the leek mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.
Serve mash with lamb and 0 ProPoint steamed vegetables.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

Beef in Black Bean Sauce, a classic dish I think that everyone has ordered from a Chinese at some stage in their life.  It has a taste, unique, that you either like or hate.  It's a little sweet, a little salty yet packs a powerful flavour and compliments beef magnificently.   It's a split in our house, the two men love it, the daughter hates it and as for me, I sit on the fence.  If it's too strong I cannot eat it and if there's not enough flavour of the black bean I whinge about that..... gggrrr.  As the daughter being away at her Grandma's for part of the school holidays, I made sure this dish was on our menu planner, as have been a few other meals.
Cooking chinese or any Asian dishes can be daunting to many.  Yes many recipes can seem very complex but yet some are very simple.  This one falls into the simple category with no trickly steps at all.   No premade black bean sauce has been used in this recipe.  Instead a trip to the Asian Supermarket saw us armed with a jar of salted black beans and recipe in hand.  I think that was the hardest part of the whole dish.
Takeaway in our home, mid week ease and a taste that was exactly how it was meant, slightly sweet and spicy, jam packed with vegetables... who could ask for more?  Bonus points to be awarded as this was prepared and cooked by my husband, Noel.
Beef in Black Bean Sauce
(recipe adapted from WW Magazine October 2014)
Serves: 4
ProPoints Per Serve: 5
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon canola oil
600 grams rump steak, fat trimmed, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon salted black beans, chopped

Combine stock, cornflour and kecap manis in a small jug or bowl.

Heat a wok over high heat.  Add half the oil and heat for 20 seconds.  Stir-fry half the beef for 2 - 3 minutes of until browned.  Transfer to a plat.  Repeat withthe remaining oil and beef.

Add onion and carrot to the wok and stir-fry  for 2 - 3 minutes or until just softened.  Add capsicum and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.  Add garlic and black beans, stirring for 30 seconds. 

Return beef to the wok along with the stock mixture.  Stir-fry for 1 - 2 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

Serve with extra steamed 0 ProPoint vegetables and steamed rice.  Add 4 ProPoints per 1/2 cup steamed rice.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Chicken Peanut Curry (Peanut Butter Chicken Curry)

I love the fact that people experiment with ingredients and the possible flavour combinations.  From my own experience I can tell you that some work well and some should never be repeated. 
Well, while I am not quite sure where the original recipe came from and who thought that this combination of ingredients would produce what can only be described as a flavour party for the tastebuds.  But I thank them.....  Who would have thought one of the worlds' most favourite sandwich spread, Peanut Butter, yes Peanut Butter, could be such an integral ingredient.
The Jalepeno Chilli gave the creamy flavour a nice little kick of chilli which was really only evident in the aftertaste, use more or less of these to suit your chilli threshold.
This dish, now known humbly as Peanut Butter Chicken Curry in our house, will be a regular on the menu.  Not only are the flavours magnificient, I don't think I have mentioned that, but it's incrediably easy considering there is no pre-prepared curry paste or packet mix used at all. It's cooked from scratch and can be on the table within the hour.

Chicken Peanut Curry
(recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.com) 
Serves: 8
ProPoints per Serve: 9

1.2 kilograms skinless chicken thigh,  cut into 2 cm cubes
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns
1/4 cup cup oil
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
4 - 6 fresh Jalepeno chilli, seeded, de-veined, minced
6 - 8 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup light (low fat) peanut butter
1 teaspoon ground coriander
8 spring onions, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped mint
1/3 cup finely chopped coriander
3 tablespoons lime juice

Rinse chicken and pat dry. In a large bowl or large zip lock bag, combine the flour, curry powder, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken pieces to coat.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot or frying pan on medium high heat. Add chicken pieces in batches, being careful to not crowd the pan. Cook 2-4 minutes per side, or until the coating sets and browns a little. Remove the chicken from the pot as it cooks and set aside in a bowl.

To the same pan add the ginger, garlic, chilli and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to the saucepan. Cook for a minute or two, scraping the pan with a spatula and stirring to combine everything well. Whisk in the peanut butter, and the remaining chicken stock slowly, stirring continuously to maintain an even texture.

Return the chicken to the pot and simmer for 15-25 minutes. Right before serving, add the ground coriander, spring onions, mint and coriander. Add lime juice to taste.
Serve with rice. (Add 3 ProPoints per 1/2 cup of steamed rice.)

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Creamy Curried Chicken Pasta

My mam used to make this for me and my sister using a Continental Packet Mix and I inturn used to make it for my children.  It was always such an easy and tasty comfort dish - perfect for a mid week dinner.

Struggling to change meal plans at the last moment with the fact that I gained 2 extra children due to a student free day on Wednesday (not that I mind at all having extra people at anytime) I decided to try and re-create this dish that I always remember getting excited about as a child.

Surprisingly enough - it turned out ok.  Ok enough that the four teenagers were sitting at the table devouring mouthful after mouthful without hesitation.  The combination of the mild curry powder and coconut flavoured evaporated milk with simple vegetables chicken and of course the ultimate comfort ingredient pasta.

Creamy Curried Chicken Pasta
Serves: 4
ProPoints Per Serve: 7
250 grams pasta
cooking spray
500 grams chicken breast, diced
1 brown onion chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup Lite and Creamy Coconut Flavoured Evaporated Milk

Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling water as per packet instructions.  Drain.

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray and cook chicken, in batches, over medium heat until browned.  Remove and repeat with remaining chicken.

Recoat frying pan and add onion and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 - 8 minutes or until softened.  Return chicken to the pan.  Add peas and cook for a further 5 minutes. 

Sprinkle mixture with curry powder and sugar, cook stirring until well mixed for 1 - 2 minutes.  Add evaporated milk and mix to combine.  Add pasta to mixture, gently tossing to combine, cook until pasta is heated through.

Serve immediately.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Coriander Chilli and Cashew Mussels

I cannot actually say this is my dish, proudly the contents of this post are brought to you by my husband, Noel.
Mussels are a fairly new ingredient that we use in our kitchen, our tastebuds only developed to liking them over say the last 5 years prior to that touching them was only done by using a long stick LOL.  For me it was the same with oysters.... Oh well they do say flavours develop with age!
One of the perfect things about mussels is that they cook in next to no time meaning that any dish can be on the table in literally under 15 minutes depending on how decadent or basic you wish the flavourings to be.
We had recently purchased a carton of a favourite dip (I guess you could use any flavour dip of course) and forever looking for new flavours to cook with it was decided that the dip mixed with coconut milk would be an interesting taste on gathering many flavours that we love together.
Whilst these were very nice and would definitely be a hit as an entree or casual dinner with friends I still prefer a tomato maybe tomato chilli flavour base for my mussels. 

Coriander Chilli and Cashew Mussels
Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 7
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup Coriander Chilli and Cashew Dip
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 cup lite coconut milk
1 kilogram Blue mussels, bearded and rinsed

Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok until just about smoking.  Reduce heat to medium and add onion cooking for 3 - 4 minutes or soft.

Add coriander dip, stirring, and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the chilli and coconut milk stirring for a further 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Increase heat to high.  Add mussels and quickly toss to coat.  Cover and steam for 2 - 3 minutes or until the majority of mussels have opened.  Remove lid and toss continuously for a further 2 minutes..

Serve immediately.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Massaman Beef Stir Fry

As you can see I am getting back into blogging... it's always something that seems to miss out when I get busy and excess time is just not available.
Thai is an amazing cuisine... it produces flavoursome food in matters of minutes using very fresh ingredients and having a wide variety of thai concentrated pastes available to purchase in supermarkets.  While I am not a fan of premade and much prefer to make my own pastes, especially for curries, I will be the first to admit that they make cooking so much easier for someone that has been time poor of late - ME!!
Massaman is a milder yet robust curry sauce, one of the thai curries that my kids enjoy as it's not fiery.  Normally as a curry it would have a thicker sauce and be made with beef and potatoes.  But as stir fry it was still full of flavour and of course, a quick dish to prepare.
The garnish of toasted coconut added a little extra crunch and enhanced the spice flavours of this delicious sauce. 

Massaman Beef Stir Fry
(recipe adapted from Taste.com.au)
Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 7
1 tablespoon peanut oil
750g beef rump steak, cut into thin strips
1 red capsicum, cut into thin strips
1 large red onion, halved, cut into thick wedges
½ cup Massaman Curry Paste
½ cup water
125ml light coconut milk
60g baby spinach leaves
125 grams bean sprouts
30 grams Shredded coconut, toasted
fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
Heat half the oil in a wok over high heat until just smoking. Stir-fry half the beef for 2 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef.

Add remaining oil. Stir-fry capsicum and onion for 3 minutes or until onion softens slightly. Transfer to the bowl.

Stir-fry curry paste for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Add water, Stir in the coconut milk for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the beef mixture, spinach and bean sprouts. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until spinach just wilts.

Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Serve with steamed rice, adding 4ppts per ½ cup serve.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Asian Pork Chops

I have another secret love and that is asian food with pork as the main meat.  These Asian Pork Chops totally hit that spot as not only were the flavours asian inspired but they were wonderful tender and very easy to prepare, cook and plate.
I have a love of sesame and ginger infused soy - it just screams basic Asian cuisine.  Served simply with steamed rice and vegetables this was a perfect mid week wonder.
Asian Pork Chops
(Recipe adapted from WW Cook The Classics Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 6

1 tablespoons kecap manis
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 x 200 gram lean pork cutlets, fat trimmed
Cooking spray
chopped coriander for garnish

Combine kecap manis, marmalade, ginger and oil in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Add pork and turn to coat. Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours.

Spray a large non stick pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium heat.

Remove pork from marinade and reserve. Add pork and cook for 3 – 5 minutes each side or until browned and cooked through (to your liking). Remove from

To the same pan add remaining marinade and cook, stirring, for 1- 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Drizzle pork with pan juices, sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with 0ppt steamed vegetables and rice. Add 4ppts per ½ cup serving of cooked rice.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sweet and Sour Jalapeno Poppers

I know I have mentioned this before but I, we, both of us LOVE Poppers.

This recipe from Taste of Home not only intrigued me but definitely intrigued my tastebuds from the first mouthful.  Sweetness of the brown sugar, saltiness of the proscuitto and the tingle from the chilli combined make for a delicious mouthful.

The best things about Poppers is that they are not only easy to make, they are quick and perfect for entertaining or even just a quick snack. 

Sweet and Sour Jalapeno Poppers
(Recipe adapted from Taste of Home)

Makes : 16
ProPoints per Popper: 1

8 Jalapeno peppers
125 grams Philadelphia Extra Light Cream Cheese
60 grams grated tasty cheese
1 teaspoon dried thyme
freshly grated black pepper
8 thin slices (100 grams) prosciutto or parma ham, cut in half lengthways
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon chilli powder

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove seeds, set aside.

In a small bowl beat cheeses, thyme and pepper until well blended. Spoon into pepper halves. Wrap a half strip of prosciutto around each pepper half.

Combine brown sugar and chilli; coat peppers with sugar mixture.

Place on prepared baking tray. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and prosciutto crispy.

Serve immediately.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Chicken Parma Meatballs with Pasta

I love it when anyone in my family tag me on food that they have seen posted on Facebook.  I know why they do it as it's like waving a red flag to a bull... it's like "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED".
Alex tagged me in a post by 4 Ingredients from one of their non-4 Ingredients books ""4 Play" in the recipe Chicken Parma Meatballs and I am glad she did.  This was such a novel concept - not unlike the meatballs that you get on a Sub at Subway but obviously made with chicken mince.
The original recipe is for bite sized balls perfect for entertaining but I wanted to make this into a meal we could have for dinner so what better to go with Parma meatballs than to serve it with pasta.
The meatballs were very tender, in fact melt in your mouth tender.  The slight flavour of cheese in each mouthful of meatball was delicate but enticing especially being smothered in a thick tomato sauce and molten cheese.
Winner winner chicken dinner I say..............

Chicken Parma Balls
(Recipe adapted from 4 Ingredients - 4 Play Cookbook)
Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 12

1 kilogram lean chicken mince
4 slices wholegrain bread made into breadcrumbs
1/2 red onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
700 gram bottle Passata
250 grams spiral pasta or pasta of your choice

Preheat oven to 180°C.

In a large bowl mix the mince, breadcrumbs, onion, parsley and half the cheese. Season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Using your hands shape into 30 balls and place on a lightly greased ceramic baking dish.  Brush each ball with Passata.

Bake in oven uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water according to packet directions.  Drain and keep warm.

Remove dish from oven and brush meatballs with more sauce and pour remaining Passata around the baking dish.  Scatter with remaining cheese and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

Serve with pasta and 0ppt steamed vegetables.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pork Cutlets with Pear and Maple Sauce

I know that the tradtion is to serve Apple Sauce with pork dishes especially Roast Pork but pears are becoming a very popular replacement. 

Many recipes have roasted pears, using the nice Beurré Bosc pears which become very soft and creamy flavoured when roasted.  I saw this recipe which combined pears, maple syrup and fresh thyme and was immediately excited by the thought of combining all three flavours - three of my favourite flavours.
The pork cutlets, were easy to cook so the hero of the dish was the Pear and Maple Sauce.  And a hero it was... tasty and also very easy to make.  The recipe called for the sauce to be blended at the end of the cooking time but I was impressed with the chunky rustic look and left it that way.

Pork Cutlets with Pear and Maple Sauce
(Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Cook The Classics Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 8
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
3 pears, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup chicken stock
cooking spray
4 x 150 gram pork cutlets, fat trimmed
4 carrots, cut into batons
2 cups frozen peas
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add pears, maple syrup and stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until pears have softened.  If desired, process pear mixture in a food processor until smooth.
Lightly spray a large non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium heat.  Cook pork for 5 minutes each side or until browned and cooked through.  Remove from pan and allow to rest.
Meanwhile, boil, steam or microwave peas and carrots until tender.  Drain.  Serve pork with carrots, peas and pear sauce.  Add an addition 3 propoints if served with a medium baked potato.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tomato and Chilli Jam

I really enjoy Chilli Jam, especially served with a nice juicy steak!!  As I mentioned we have been having some really enjoyable steak recently so I thought I would try my hand at making my own chilli jam.
Variations of this relish are numerous, some actually resembling jelly and others being more relish like.  I love The Gourmet Sauce Company's Chilli Jam which is relish like and would buy jars of it every time I went to Tasmania with work.
I came across this recipe on Taste.com and it looked basic enough to experiment with.  To my surprise it was nice. Slightly sweet but a nice consistency however I woulf prefer more of a chilli kick so next time I am thinking that I would add one small bullet chilli also.


Tomato and Chilli Jam
(recipe sourced from Taste.com)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 2
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 long red chillies, finely chopped
400 gram can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoons fish sauce

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and chilli. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion has softened.

Add tomato, sugar, vinegar and fish sauce. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low.

Simmer for 15 minutes or until mixture has thickened.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Creamy Potato and Bacon Bake

We have been buying some really nice pieces of steak of late so nothing better than it being chargrilled and served with some yummy accompaniments. 
Potato Bakes, are a perfect side dish, one that so many people enjoy.  There are many variations, one of our favourites is a non creamy potato bake with also has carrot as a layer, Potato Carrot and Onion Bake which my mam used to make when I was a child and I still make to this day.
This Creamy Potato and Bacon Bake sounds sings comfort food.  Right down to the last morish mouthful of soft potatoes mixed with bacon and onions enveloped in a thick creamy sauce this dish is a legend in it's own casserole dish. 

Creamy Potato and Bacon Bake

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 5

cooking spray
175 grams Weight Watchers Bacon, diced
6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 brown onion, diced
300 mls reduced fat thickened cream
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
freshly ground black pepper
60 grams grated reduced fat tasy cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and cook bacon for 2 - 3 minutes until slight crisp.  Remove from heat and drain on paper towel.

Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.

Combine potatoes, onions and bacon in a large bowl.  Place mixture into casserole dish.

In a small jug combine cream, mustard, stock powder, thyme and pepper to taste.  Pour over potato mixture.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Cover casserole dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for a further 20 - 30 minutes until potatoes are cooked through and golden on top.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cheesy Jalepeno Poppers

My first experience with Poppers was in a restaruant called the Drunken Admiral where they are called "Depth Chargers" on the menu. "Depth Chargers - guaranteed to kill all your seamen! Fresh fat chillies, seeded, filled with garlic n' herb cheese, crispy fried with a sticky blackberry dip" I was in heaven and have to say these are ordered everytime I dine there.

Jalepeno poppers would have to be one of my favourite yet guilty pleasures - the ultimate party food, entree or even sneaky snack. There are so many variations for these little tasty morsels - some are battered and deep fried, some have various fillings but this recipe is what I consider to be the ultimate flavour combination.

The three cheeses mixed together with a hint of garlic and chilli enveloped in a fresh softened jalepeno which is baked not fried so has a clean crisp flavour without all the grease.

Definitely a brilliant flavour explosion for your tastebuds.... if you haven't tried one I am sure you will be surpised... not only are these quick and easy to make but these little poppers do pack a punch!!

Cheesy Jalepeno Poppers
Serves: 6 (2 poppers)
ProPoints per serve: 3 
cooking spray
250 grams Weight Watchers bacon cut into strips
115 grams reduced fat cream cheese, softened
60 grams grated 50% reducted fat tasty cheese
60 grams grated Colby cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
freshly ground black pepper
6 larg fresh jalapenos, halved lengthwise and seeded
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and cook bacon over medium-high heat until crispy.

In a large bowl, combine the bacon, cheeses, salt, garlic powder, chilli powder and black pepper, mixing well.

Spoon about 2 tablespoonfuls into each pepper half.   Roll gently in bread crumbs.

Place on a prepared baking tray. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes for spicy flavor, 25 minutes for medium and 35 minutes for mild.

Serve immediately.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)