Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicken and Ginger Patties

Tonight the kids had asked for "party food" (some dim sims, nuggets, etc) as they wanted to watch a movie, after all it was a Friday night....
However I wasn't excited about the thought of dinner being frozen from boxes and as I had some chicken mince that needed using but for some reason all I could think of was "fish cakes" - go figure? Anyway so basing my thoughts on the idea of fish cakes I replaced the fish with the chicken mince and went from there. These patties turned out to be very quick and easy to prepare.
I love the flavour combination of chicken, ginger and spring onion. It is quite a refreshing and unique taste. You could even add some chillies to this if you like.

They must have been okay as there was none left... I think I managed to get 2 or 3 of them.

Chicken and Ginger Patties

Serves: 20
Points per serve: 1/2

500 grams chicken mince
4 spring onions finely sliced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a large bowl mix chicken, onions, ginger, salt, pepper, sugar and soy sauce together until well combined.

With wet hands shape spoonfuls of mixture into small patties. Place on an oven tray that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Once all patties have been made spray with cooking spray again. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat a large non stick fry pan over a medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Working in batches cook the patties for 2 - 3 minutes each side or until browned and cooked through. Drain on paper towel and keep warm. Repeat until all patties are cooked.

Tip: Freeze patties prior to cooking.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lamb Tagine

This is a recipe that I wanted try the minute I saw it's picture in the Weight Watchers Magazine (July 2009 issue) and have read many reviews about it on the Weight Watchers Forums since.

The ingredients fascinated me (especially cooking meat with fruit) and my love for exotic flavours drew me to the recipe. The morroccan seasoning and cumin smelt beautifully aromatic when preparing this and best of all once organised it went into my slow cooker for 10 hours whilst I went ahead with my day.

Lamb Tagine
(recipe source WW Magazine July 2009)

Serves: 6 large or 8 average
Points per large serve: 6
Points per average serve: 4.5

cooking spray
1 kilogram lean diced lamb
1 large brown onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons Moroccan Seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 large red capsicum, cut into 3 cm pieces
400 grams pumpkin, peeled and cut into 4 cm chunks
1 cup dried apricot halves
2 cups of chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water (extra)
3/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Cook lamb in batches for 3 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to slow cooker bowl.

To the same pan, add the onions and garlic, cooking 3 minutes or until softened. Add the cumin and Moroccan Seasoning and cook while stirring until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to the boil. Place onion mixture in the slow cooker bowl.

Add the capsicum, pumpkin, apricots and stock, stir to combine. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 - 10 hours or on high setting for 4 - 5 hours.

STOVE TOP: Preheat oven to 180 deg Celcius. Cook in a large covered casserole dish in the oven for 2 hours.

Blend the cornflour with 2 tablespoons water. Stir into the tagine and cook on high for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the coriander and serve.
Serve with couscous allowing 2.5 points per 1/2 cup.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vegetarian Pizza

A homemade pizza never seems to fail at our place.... You cannot beat the freshness, the flavours and the amount of toppings you put on unlike the light sprinkle that the pizza shops tend to offer when you buy a pizza.

All of us are lovers of a thin base and from time to time make our own dough (using our bread machine of course) but when it comes to a quick and easy pizza you can not pass on using Pita Breads as the base. Plus these are lower in fat than dough... bonus!!

Pizza night at our house is a family affair with us all normally making our own pizza, topped with what ever we want and however much we want, so you are guaranteed a laugh in the kitchen and four different pizzas to try once cooked. Alexandria loves tandoori chicken, Oliver tends to make a meat lovers, Noel is normally a supreme with a asian influenced bbq sauce and me, well mine are varied dependant of my mood.

I have blogged about homemade pizza once before where I have listed quite a few toppings that we are known to use but if you are like us, you can try anything on your pizza - well you can try it at least once!

Tonight's pizza for me was just what I wanted to curb my cravings for vegetables - a vegetarian pizza.

Vegetarian Pizza

Serves: 2
Points per serve: 4

cooking spray
1 large pita bread
2 tablespoons tomato paste
100 grams baby spinach leaves
1/2 brown onion, sliced
1/2 red capsicum sliced
1/2 green capsicum, sliced
100 grams button mushrooms, sliced
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
40 grams black olives, sliced
1/4 cup tasty cheese, grated
1/4 cup mozeralla cheese, grated
dried oregano flakes
chilli flakes, optional

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.

Spray pizza tray with cooking spray. Place pita bread on the pizza tray. Spread tomato paste all over the pita bread.

Top with spinach, onions, capsicums, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and olives. Combine cheeses and sprinkle evenly over pizza. Sprinkle with oregano flakes and chilli flakes, if using.

Cook in oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and vegetables are cooked through.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Linguine with Lime and Chilli Prawns

I have been fancying a pasta dish for awhile but I am actually bored with the usual suspects, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Penne Boscaiola, Creamy Lamb and Tomato Fettucine, Lasagne and Macaroni Beef so it was time to find something different.

This recipe definitely fit the bill perfectly. Prawns tainted with chilli and lime in a fresh tomato sauce was different and definitely worth giving a go. The chilli wasn't intense, however I will add more next time to suit Noel and I.
As this dish contained prawns and chilli the kids decided they would have their favourite... Pasta Carbonara... this never fails to please!!

Linguine with Lime and Chilli Prawns

(recipe adapted from WW Pure Taste)
Serves: 2
Points per serve: 6.5
200 grams dry linguine
2 teapsoons olive oil
3 kaffir lime leaves (fresh), finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 - 2 small red bullet chillies (or to taste), deseeded and finely chopped
3 medium vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
450 grams green king prawns, peeled
2 tablespoons coriander leaves

Bring a large saucepan full of water to the boil, add pasta and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan. Add the lime leaves, garlic and chillies, cook stirring over medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes or until garlic has become aromatic. Add the tomatoes, white wine, water and tomato paste, bring to the boil and simmer over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes or until the mixture reduces slightly.

Add the prawns to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes, turning once, until the prawns are just cooked. Add the cooked pasta and toss to combine completely.

Serve garnished with the coriander leaves.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Peanut Pork Schnitzel

We have an extreme love of satay sauce but I have found that you can only eat the same flavour so many times before you tire of it. When I first came across this recipe in 2004, I fell in love with the idea of a variation to the normal spicy peanut sauce that our family loves.

Incorporating honey and cumin this recipe definitely is a change from the norm.

Peanut Pork Schnitzel
(recipe adapted from WW Simply The Best 2004)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6

4 tablespoons lite crunchy peanut butter
4 tablespoons low fat natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 small pork schnitzels or leg steaks
cooking spray
1/2 cup low fat thickened cream

Combine the peanut butter, yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, honey and cumin in a large shallow bowl or snap lock bag. Add pork schnitzels and mix ensuring they are fully coated. Allow to marinade for at least 2 hours.

Spray a frypan with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Add schnitzels, removing from marinade and reserving. Cook in batches, brushing with marinade if needed, until browned on both sides and cooked to your liking. Remove and keep warm.

In a small saucepan or frypan, add reserved marinade and heat. Once boiling remove from heat and stir through the cream.

Serve pork schnitzels drizzled with sauce.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Singapore Noodles

One dish we always order when we go out to a Chinese restaurant, especially to Quality Wok in Frankston, is Singapore Noodles. Either as a main meal or a side dish it never fails to please.

We all enjoy the dish from it's mild curry flavour, the crunchiness of the vegetables and of course the prawns. However when it's just Noel and myself ordering we get chilli added to give it that extra kick of heat.

I have used chicken but traditionally Chinese Roast Pork would be used. There is actually no limit to the amount or type of vegetables you could put in this dish - I have once heard this dish refered to "as the asian way clear out the fridge".

Singapore Noodles

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 4

1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour
few drops of sesame oil
300 gram chicken breast fillet, thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
cooking spray
250 grams rice vermicilli
300 grams raw prawns
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
200g bean shoots
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mild curry powder

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, salt, sugar, cornflour and sesame oil. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let stand.

Soak the noodles in hot water for 10 minutes.

Spray wok or small frying pan with cooking spray, over a high heat add eggs and scramble. Remove on to a plate. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel.

Spray wok and reheat. Add marinated chicken and cook, tossing, for 3 minutes or until just cooked. Remove to another plate.

Drain noodles.

Heat wok, respray with cooking spray add the onions and carrot and cook for 3 - 5 minutes. Add capsicum, continuing to toss for a further 2 minutes. Add the prawns and toss for 2 - 3 minutes or until pink in colour. Return chicken and eggs to the pan. Add the noodles and bean shoots. Combine water, stock powder, soy sauce and curry powder and add to pan. Cooked until heated through.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Acapulco Chicken

I have to confess that this is becoming a huge favourite amongst our family, even gets more votes than "Chicken in Pyjamas" (otherwise officially known as Chicken Parmigana) which is saying something in itself as that has long been a firm favourite.

I guess this recipe has somewhat of a mexican twist on the Chicken Parmigana using taco seasoning mixed with the tomato paste and a combination of vegetables and avocado before topping with cheese. The flavour is magnificent and once again this is another dish that is quick and easy to prepare and cook.

Confession time though.. as per usual I have adapted this recipe and not in a bad way, it's good trust me! I add extra vegetable quantity to the topping than what the recipe calls for. The reason I do this is to make it a meal in itself.... therefore I feel I do not need additional side serves of vegetables but have at times served it with a nice salad.

Acapulco Chicken
(recipe adapted from Symply To Good To Be True #4)

Serves: 4
Points per serves: 6.5

4 x chicken breasts fillets (125 grams each)
cooking spray
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
1 green capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup reduced fat tasty cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Place a chicken fillets between two sheets of baking paper. Using a mallet flatten chicken breast to an even thickness. Repeat with remaining fillets. Place on a lined baking tray that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In a small bowl combine tomato paste and taco seasoning, mixing well. Spread an even amount on each chicken fillet.

In a medium bowl combine onion, capsicum, tomatoes and avocado. Mix gently to combine. Evenly distribute mixture on top of fillets. Sprinkle with chilli powder if using. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until chicken has cooked through and cheese has melted and browned.

The original recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of each diced onion, diced capsicum and diced tomatoes and 1/2 avocado. By following the original recipe this would only be 4 points per serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Honey Mustard Pork Cutlets

I have to admit that I was a little worried about how these pork cutlets would turn out. It wasn't the fact that the cutlets were marinated as I often marinade meat but I think it was the fact that the marinade itself called for orange rind.

Why was I worried about the orange rind of all things?

Because my family are not lovers of fruit and meat cooked together and there would have been mass disappointment if the orange flavour was too intense and overpowering. I think I have mentioned this little issue before, I can get away with cooking Ham Steaks with Pineapple and more recently managed to cook Sweet and Sour Chicken without any complaints.

Thankfully, the flavour was magic - sweet yet tangy. The combination of the honey, mustard and orange flavours was powerful yet delicate against the pork.

Basically this is a must cook recipe that is quick to prepare, easy to cook and the proof of it's worthiness... nothing left on the plate except for the bone itself. Needless to say I can cook this again!

Honey Mustard Pork Cutlets
(recipe adapted from WW Recipe Collection 2001)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6

4 medium lean pork loin cutlets
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
1/4 cup wine
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup light thickened cream

In a shallow dish (or a snap lock bag) combine pork, honey, mustard, rind and wine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, longer if time permits.

Coat a pan with cooking spray, heat and cook pork chops, reserving marinade, until browned on both sides and cooked through. Remove from pan and keep warm.

In the same pan add the marinade and water, bring to the boil. Reduce heat and stir through the cream until combined, simmer for 4 - 5 minutes. Thicken with cornflour if you prefer a thicker sauce.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Basil and Zucchini Soup

Basil and Zucchini Soup is a soup that I cook if I want something homely, comforting not to mention quick, total time under 30 minutes.

It is a creamy soup however it is still very low in fat and has an amazing flavour that makes the soup not only great for a lunch or a snack but for an entree at a dinner party that I guarantee will generate some great feedback.

Basil and Zucchini Soup
(recipe source WW Quick Eats)

Serves: 6
Points per serve: 1

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minched garlic
7 green zucchini, chopped
3 teaspoons chicken stock powder
4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 x 375 ml can Carnation Light and Creamy Evaporated Milk

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and lightly cook the onion and garlic until golden. Add the zucchini and cook for a further 3 - 4 minutes.

Add the water, stock powder and basil. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes of until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat.

Allow to cool slightly and process in a food processor or with a stick blender until smooth. Return to the saucepan, add the milk and heat through. DO NOT BOIL. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Requested by the children and lovingly agreed upon by the chef, last night's dinner was Sweet and Sour Chicken.

I love the fact that my kids ask for such dishes when I am in the mood for taking requests. They don't ask for fish fingers or two minute noodles or anything simple and I am REALLY proud of them for that. To be honest, I don't think I would cope that well with children that are fussy eaters especially considering both Noel and I love to cook a diverse range of foods.

This is the first time that I have ever cooked Sweet And Sour sauce from scratch. I have to say that in the past when making this dish I have used the sauce premade in a bottle. I was happy with the outcome and have a sneaky feeling that the kids did also as there wasn't a great deal left!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 7

500 grams chicken breast fillet, diced
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/3 cup cornflour
1/3 cup water
oil for deep frying
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 onion, diced
1 440 gram can pineapple pieces, drained and reserve juice
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour, extra

Combine sugar, soy sauce and sherry in a bowl and stir well. Add diced chicken, stir to coast and leave to marinade for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Drain meat from marinade, reserve liquid.

Mix the cornflour and water in a bowl to make a batter. Add chicken pieces. Heat oil in wok or large frying pan. Cook chicken, several pieces at a time, cooking until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and keep warm.

Drain oil from wok, leaving about 1 tablespoon of oil. Return over high heat, add the capsicums and the onions. Stir fry for 2 - 4 minutes. Mix together tomato sauce, vinegar and reserved pineapple juice. Add to the wok, tossing through the vegetables. Add the pineapple pieces. Mix the remaining cornflour with water, add to the wok, stirring continuously until boiling and starting to thicken.

Place chicken on a plate and cover with sauce and vegetables.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1 year of food blogging ... WOW who would have thought?

I cannot believe that I have been blogging about food for 1 whole year..... I have to say that it has been a year that I have enjoyed very much. In the last year I have learnt a lot about food, techniques, ingredients, cuisines and my camera! Funny how that sounds but prior to trying to take the perfect food photo using the camera was hit and miss for me.

Now my kids have to wait to eat until I have finished photographing the food! And when I mean photographing the food it could be 20 to 30 shots just to make sure it's a good picture (and some still aren't). I am experimenting with light and I am now even the proud owner of a light box, that Noel made for me. I actually had to laugh the other day as upon dishing up a meal, my eldest, Oliver, said to me "well aren't you going to take a photo of this before we start?" LOL!!!

What can I say? This blog started out as a little hobby.. my little secret!!

I didn't tell anyone for fear that people would actually laugh at me (as I have a fear of failing). Of course Noel knew from the beginning. Seriously me taking photo's of everything we were eating was a dead giveaway that something was up!! Then I told my mam, my friend Sharon and my sister, Clare. After realising that it wasn't corny and receiving some good feedback I joined "The Foodie Blogroll" which put me and "A Dash Of Flavour" out into the world. Now I have told a few more of our friends and some work colleagues, however I am still a little selective about who knows.

Actually the thing that amazed me the most though is all the other foodies out there. There are so many of you, I read that many food blogs that one year ago I didn't even realised existed. Many I have had contact with via email and through our blogs and I appreciate you all taking the time to encourage and assist me (especially when asking for ingredient help). So to you all I extend my thanks!!

I have always had a pipe dream of writing my own cookbook and owning my own restaurant. In a sense I am living my dream..... I journal our cooking in this blog and after all, I am a chef in our kitchen!! LOL!!

Happy cooking,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chicken with Balsamic Glaze

I get quite excited when I have this dish on the menu. Not only is it super easy but the flavour of the balsamic glaze is delicious. To be honest this dish is not only a nice comforting meal but also a crowd pleaser that I have served at many a dinner party. In fact, this meal gets rave reviews when entertaining.

Served with mashed sweet potato and spinach there is no need to add anything else whatsoever, unless of course you do not like sweet potato or spinach!!
Chicken with Balsamic Glaze
(recipe adapted from WW Easy Entertaining)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6

cooking spray
4 chicken fillets, 140 grams each
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
500g sweet potato, peeled
pinch nutmeg
400g baby spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.

Spray a non stick frying pan with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes each side or until browned. Line a baking tray with baking paper and add the chicken in a single layer. Combine the vinegar and sugar. Brush the chicken generously with the glaze.

Bring a saucepan full of water to the boil, add sweet potato chunks and cook for 10 - 12 minutes or until sweet potato is tender. Drain, add nutmeg and mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.

Bake for 8 minutes or until cooked through, brushing occasionally with glaze. Stand for 5 - 10 minues to rest.

Place spinach in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 2 minutes or until wilted.

Bring the remaining glaze to the boil. Slice chicken and serve with sweet potato, spinach and drizzled with glaze.

(Total points for the Chicken and the glaze alone is 4 points)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni

This would have to be one of the whole family's favourite vegetarian meals... one that we have quite often and one that definitely fits the bill of quick and easy to make.

I must say that when I read in some recipes that they are "quick and easy" I often worry about them having a lack of taste or that they are just too good to be true... this was one of those recipes that when I first read it my immediate reaction was very negative. But after taking the plunge, I have never regreted cooking it.
Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
(recipe adapted from WW Secrets of Success)
Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6.5
250 grams frozen chopped spinach, thawed
400 grams reduced fat ricotta
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
pinch grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
12 cannelloni tubes
500 grams jar tomato pasta sauce
30 grams low fat mozarella cheese, grated
30 grams low fat tasty cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Squeeze as much excess liquid out of the spinach as possible. Combine in a bowl with ricotta, nutmeg and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Us a piping bag to fill the cannelloni tubes with the ricotta mixture, or use a teaspoon to spoon in from each end. Spread about 1/4 cup of pasta sauce over the base of a 18cm x 26cm ovenproof dish. Arrange cannelloni tubes in the dish.

Cover the cannelloni tubes with remaining pasta sauce, and sprinkle with combined mozarella and tasty cheese. Bake for 50 minutes or until pasta is cooked and top is golden.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Roast Beef

I remember as a little girl every Sunday was traditionally "roast dinner" day and without fail I think my Mam cooked a roast every week, not just for my family but for the whole family. At times there could be 18 or more people sat around the table, ranging from aunties and uncles to close family friends.

Now I am grown up and have a family of my own, Sunday's roast dinner is not a 100% regular occurance at our house mainly due to social commitments but it is a tradition that I too want to set up so my children understand family values and have happy memories to look back on.

However, I do have a confession regarding tradition..... we cook most of our meats in the Weber. I cannot remember the last time we cooked a joint of meat in the oven. The Weber gives it such a magnificient flavour.

Anyway (another brag) tonight, Noel spoiled me by cooking a yummy roast beef as I spent all day up at the football club. It was such a nice surprise to come home to and I enjoyed every mouthful.

Roast Beef
(recipe courtesy of Noel)
Serves: 12
Points per serve: 3
2kg beef silverside
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Prepare Weber as per directions, ensuring that all heat beads are heated up (no black remaining).

On a tray, drizzle olive oil over the peice of beef, season generously with salt and pepper, rub in to ensure fully covered.

Place on Weber rack, cover and cook for 1 hour or until meat is cooked to your liking. Allow beef to rest before carving.

Alternatively preheat an oven to 180 degree Celcius. Season as above and place on a rack over an oven tray and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is cooked to your liking.

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

I have had quite a busy week and Noel decided that he would cook on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend just to give me a break, isn't he sweet? And boy did he step up to the plate.

Noel, like me, enjoys the challenge of trying something new and when he puts his mind its sure to be a winner. What can I say - these were delicious and he can definately cook them for us any time he likes.

The lamb was delicately cooked, still nice and tender and was complimented by the crunchiness of the herbed breadcrumbs. I am positive that this would make an impressive main at your next dinner party.

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
(recipe courtesy of Noel)

Serves: 2
Points per serve: 7

200 grams fresh rich white bread
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
100g unsalted butter
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 lamb racks
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
500 ml lamb or beef stock
1 large sprig of rosemary

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
Remove all visible fat from lamb racks.

Blend bread until fine, add herbs and garlic and blend for a further 30 seconds.

Heat oil and butter in a large frying pan until foaming. Season the lamb racks with salt and pepper. Add racks to pan, placing meat side down first, cook for 3 - 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and rest for 5 minutes.

Brush mustard onto the meat side of the racks ensuring you generously cover. Press herbed breadcrumbs onto the meat side, pressing firmly to form a crust. At this point, you can cover the bones with foil to reduce burning.

Place on a rack on a foiled lined baking tray. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove foil prior to serving.

While lamb is cooking, place stock and rosemary in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half. Strain before serving.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Spaghetti with Salami and Capsicum

Spaghetti with Salami and Capsicums (or peppers as they are also know) is another stand by never fail dinner that is not only filling but very tasty.

The best thing about this recipe is that it can be suited to your tastes. The kids requested this last night so it kept on the milder side by using mild salami. When I have made this for Noel and myself I have been known to use hot salami, such as calabrese, and also add some chilli flakes to give it that extra zing.

Spaghetti with Salami and Capsicums

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6.5

cooking spray
100g mild or hot salami, cut into strips
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 red capsicum, diced
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 x 440g can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
freshly ground black pepper
250 grams spaghetti, dry

Coat a non stick frying pan with cooking spray, add salami, onion and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add capsicum, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Remove lid, add tomatoes, white wine and water. Stir and replace lid. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes or until sauce is at desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente and drain.

Mix 3/4 of the sauce mixture with the cooked spaghetti and place in a serving bowl. Top with remaining sauce and serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Honey Dipped Crunchy Chicken Nuggets

I have to say my kids LOVE these nuggets.... they are so much better than shop bought nuggets for sure.

For the extra crunchiness this recipe calls for using Cornflake crumbs, which can be bought in the supermarket or you can crush some Cornflakes using your blender. Normally breadcrumbs can be used but they are not as crunchy.

Quite easy to prepare, which is always a good thing, knowing that they are homemade and full of good ingredients makes the little effort required well worth it.

Honey Dipped Crunchy Chicken Nuggets
(recipe adapted from WW Secrets of Success)

Serves: 10
Points per serve: 3

cooking spray
1 tablespoon honey
1 eggwhite, lightly beaten
1 kg chicken fillets
1 cup Cornflake crumbs

Preheat oven to 200 deg C.

Line a baking tray with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix together the egg white and honey. Add chicken pieces and toss in the mixture. Place in a colander over a sink or bowl and allow excess to drain.

Place cornflake crumbs in a bowl. Roll chicken pieces in crumbs, one at a time ensuring they are fully coated and place on baking tray.

Lightly spray with oil and bake in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until cooked.

Serve with Honey Mustard Mayonnaise.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Honey Mustard Mayonnaise

This is just a quickie of an accompaniment or a dipping sauce and tastes wonderful especially with the Honey Dipped Crunchy Chicken Nuggets I cooked last night. Would be nice also on grilled chicken or even a chicken sandwich.

The beauty about this mayonnaise/sauce is that it can be manipulated to suit your tastes and/or to suit the food it's accompanying. There are many different mustards available and could be used to replace the American. Dijon Mustard actually works quite well also. For desired heat you can increase the quantity of mustard that you use.

Honey Mustard Mayonnaise
(recipe adapted from WW Secrets of Success)
Serves: 10
Points per serve: 1
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon American mustard

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until completely combined.

Refrigerate until needed.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Mongolian Lamb

Last night a quick dinner was in order and a stir fry is always a good answer. Mongolian lamb, as exotic as it sounds, is always a hit with us as it is not an overly spicy nor sweet dish but has such a unique flavour.

You could quite easily substitute the lamb with beef or chicken. Also omit the sesame seeds if there is someone with an alergy. If I am just cooking this for hubby and I, we like it spiced up a little more so I use hot chilli sauce instead of the sweet chilli sauce, but this would depend on your family's tastes, of course.

Served with plain steamed rice, this saucy dish is quite filling plus very easy to make.

Mongolian Lamb
(recipe adapted from Symply To Good To Be True # 3)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 4.5

500g lamb strips
cooking spray
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons crushed ginger
1 brown onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 green capsicum, sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vegetable stock powder
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Coat a wok or large non stick frying pan with cooking spray, fry lamb, garlic and ginger for 1 - 2 minutes until lamb is sealed and almost cooked. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion, carrots, capsicum and broccoli to the same pan and stirfry for 3 - 4 minutes. Add hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sweet chilli sauce and combine water, cornflour and stock powder stirring well. Bring to the boil, return lamb to the pan and add most of the sesame seeds, reserving some to sprinkle on top.

Place on a serving plate or bowl and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Asian Style Chicken Noodle Soup

Honestly every now and then I fancy vegetables. Short of eating a full plate full of steamed greens I am always on the lookout for a quick fix for my vegetable urge.

Saturday was no exception especially as we had been out for lunch and what I ordered was quite a heavy meal. And as we all know, normally when you go out for lunch you can guarantee come dinner time you want something to eat but you definitely do not anything heavy. By 6pm I fancied something that would not only excite my taste buds, but give me a vegetable fix, a vitamin boost and wouldn't make me burst from fullness.

This Asian Style Chicken Noodle Soup fit the criteria beautifully. Light, full of vegetables and definitely had that zing I was looking for!!

Asian Style Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves: 8
Points per serve: 4
500g skinless chicken fillet, sliced
cooking spray
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons crushed ginger
1 brown onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 green capsicum, sliced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 3 cm strips
200g snow peas, trimmed and sliced
2 bok choy, rinsed and thickly sliced
6 litres water
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 cups of hokkien noodles (or noodles of your choice)
200g bean sprouts
1 bunch of fresh coriander chopped
2 bullet chillies, sliced, if desired

Spray the base of a large saucepan with cooking spray and cook chicken, garlic and ginger over a high heat until chicken is brown and completely sealed.

Add the onion, capsicums, carrots and mushrooms and saute for 2 mins.

Combine water with stock and add along with fish sauce and soy sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add noodles, stir to seperate. Stir through snow peas, bok choy and bean sprouts.

Serve garnished with coriander and chilli slices, if desired.

(For a vegetarian option - remove chicken and replace chicken stock powder with vegetable stock powder.)

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)