Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sesame Beef with Noodles

If you would like a quick and easy stir fry that's as tasty as they come this is your new mid-week wonder.

Minimal ingredients does not mean that it is minimal in taste. The sweet chilli mellowed by the oyster sauce with the hint of sesame from the seeds made tonight's dinner very enjoyable. Paired with boiled noodles and broccoli this dinner wasn't as colourful as most Asian dishes but it was definitely a hit in our house.

Sesame Beef with Noodles
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Simply The Best 2004)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 10

200 gram packet egg noodles
300 grams broccoli, chopped
cooking spray
500 grams beef strips
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce

Cook noodles as per packet instructions, drain.

Cook the broccoli in the microwave on high for 2 - 3 minutes or until tender but still crisp.

Coat a pan with cooking spray, heat over high heat and add beef and garlic. Stir fry until beef is tender - about 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from pan.

Add the sesame seeds to the same pan and cook until golden. Return the beef to the pan with the sauces. Gently stir fry until heated through.

Serve the broccoli and noodles topped with the beef.

(click here for a printable version of the recipe)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Creamy Leek Chicken and Bacon Pot Pies

There is nothing more homely that a pot pie no matter the filling but on my favourites list this Creamy Leek Chicken and Bacon Pot Pie would be at the top. Not only was the filling creamy but it had all the right flavours with the combination of bacon, leeks and mushrooms.

With a few extra vegetables hidden in the mix it makes for a perfect individual one dish dinner with the only problem being you always want some more. A little on the high side propoints wise but well worth it.

Creamy Leek Chicken and Bacon Pot Pies
(recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Weeknights Fast and Fabulous Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 13

cooking spray
500 grams chicken breast fillets, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
175 grams reduced fat shortcut rindless bacon
1 small leek, trimmed and sliced thinly
150 grams mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 broccoli head, cut into florets
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 375ml can light and creamy evaporated milk
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water
2 sheets reduced fat puff pastry, defrosted
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Spray 4 11/2 cup capacity ramekins with cooking spray and place on oven tray.

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray and cook chicken over medium heat until browned all over. Season with salt and pepper and remove from pan.

In the same pan cook the bacon, leek and mushrooms, stirring unitl leek softens.

Meanwhile steam or microwave the carrots and broccoli until almost tender. Add to bacon mixture.

Add wine to pan, cook stirring until liquid is reduced by half.

Add evaporated milk to pan, reduce heat to low and stir. Combine cornflour and water together in a small bowl/jug. Increase heat slightly and add combine cornflour, stirring continually until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

Cut out pastry slightly larger than the ramekins, keeping a little of the leftovers for decorations if desired.

Divide mixture amongst ramekins. Press pastry shapes over dishes and spray with cooking spray. Cut a slit in each pastry top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if using.

Cook in oven for 20 minutes or until browned.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Spinach, Pancetta and Ricotta Cannelloni

We love a good filling pasta dish and this was no exception... the added saltiness and richness of the pancetta made this cannelloni not only a pleasant change but delicious. It was devoured with quietness which is always a good sign at our table.

Using lasagne sheets instead of cannelloni tubes reduced the time it takes to prepare normal cannelloni - the ease of this element made this an easy dish to prepare on a week night!

Spinach, Pancetta and Ricotta Cannelloni
(recipe sourced from WW Cook Simple Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 10

8 slices pancetta
250 grams frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, coarsley grated
420 grams low fat ricotta cheese
2 cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
4 individual fresh lasagne sheets
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place pancetta on prepared tray. Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp. Set aside to cool slightly. Finely chop.

Place spinach, shallots, zucchini, pancetta and 1½ cups (360g) ricotta in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine.

Lightly spray a a large ovenproof baking dish with oil. Place puree, basil and garlic in a bowl. Stir to combine. Spread 1⁄3 cup tomato mixture over base of prepared dish.

Cut lasagne sheets in half to make 8 rectangles. Place 1⁄3 cup spinach mixture along the centre of each sheet. Roll to enclose filling. Place cannelloni, in a single layer, in prepared baking dish.

Pour remaining puree over cannelloni. Crumble over remaining ricotta and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes before serving.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Balinese Chilli Lamb with Fried Noodles

Balinese Chilli Lamb with Fried Noodles took my fancy from the minute I read the recipe... a combination of chilli, nuts, lime juice, nuts and fresh mint intrigued my taste buds from the word go.

I have to say it didn't disappoint either. The lamb cooked nice and tender in the rich tantalizing sauce was magnificent and had a definite appeal of the asian influence in cooking.

Balinese Chilli Lamb and Fried Noodles(recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Stir Fry Cookbook)
Serves: 6

ProPoints per serve:8
440 grams fresh thin hokkien noodles
1 tablespoon sambal oelek
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
750 gram lean lamb strips
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/3 cup coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts
2/3 cup beef stock (made from stock powder)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
150 grams snow peas, trimmed
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 fresh small red chillies, chopped finely

Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, seperate with a fork. Drain.

Combine sambal oelek, soy sauce, fish sauce and garlic in a large bowl. Add lamb and mix to combine.

Heat half a teaspoon of oil in the work, stir fry nuts until browned lightly. Remove from wok.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in wok and stir fry lamb, in batches until browned but not overcooked. Remove from work to a plate or bowl.

Heat remaining oil in wok, stir fry noodle until lightly brown. Add stock, oyster sauce, juice and sugar to the wok and simmer for about 3 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

Return lamb to work with peas and stir fry until hot. Serve noodles topped with lamb mixture and sprinkled with nuts, mint and chilli.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Margherita

There is something to be said about a stuffed chicken breast - whether it be a simple Chicken Kiev or as fancy as Chicken Pomodoro Parcels, I love the moment that it's cut open to reveal the filling and savour the first mouthful to ensure that the flavours work well together.

This dish, Chicken Margherita, takes the classic pizza topping of tomato, cheese and basil to another level. I fell in love with the flavour especially using the fresh basil and the roasted capsicum.

Served with Crunchy Hassleback Potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes and steamed vegetables this dish was a huge success and will be on the menu again in the not to distant future. Oliver, not a huge chicken fan, loved it requesting more but none of us were about to give up our serve!!

Chicken Margherita
(recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Weeknights Fast and Faboulous Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 9

1 red capsicum, cut into 4 strips
cooking spray
4 chicken fillets, 800 grams, skin removed
8 tablespoons extra light spreadable Philladelphia cream cheese
100 grams sundried tomatoes, not in oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto

Preheat grill.

Place capsicum on a foil lined baking tray, spray with cooking spray and place under grill cooking until blackened, turning once. Remove and place in a snap lock bag allowing capsicum to cool and skin to sweat. Peel of blackened skin.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Cut a pocket in each of the chicken fillets from end to end ensuring that filling will be able to spread throughout the chicken fillet.

Spread 2 tablespoons cream cheese in each pocket.

Top with capsicum strip and sundried tomatoes.

Place 1/4 cup of basil in each pocket.

Close each pocket and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Wrap each fillet tightly but carefully with prosciutto.

Place on prepare oven tray and cook in oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Slice and serve with desired sides.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sticky Pork with Asian Greens

The kids get excited about any dish that has the word "sticky" in it's name so there was no surprise that when they saw this on my menu planner for the week they were waiting with anticipation for dinner that night.

Concerned a little that this dish would be overpoweringly sweet I was pleasantly surprised by the balanced elements of the flavours. This was a impressive dish that we enjoy on it's own but squeezing the lime juice on it was nice also. It could be served with steamed rice (don't forget to add addition ProPoints for the rice).

Sticky Pork with Asian Greens
(recipe adapted from Women's Weekly Winter Favourites)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 9

2 tablespoons hoi sin sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon five spice powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
600 grams lean pork, diced
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
3 bunches baby bok choy
4 spring onions, cut into 4 cm lengths
1 lime, quartered

Place hoi sin sauce, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, five spice powder and Garlic in a large bowl, mix well. Add pork and toss to ensure pork is covered.

Steam or microwave broccoli until just tender.

Heat oil in a work, stir fry pork in batches, until browned all over.

Return pork to the work, stir fry until pork is cooked. Add bok choy and broccoli, stir fry unti boy choy is slightly wilted.

Remove from heat, stir in the onions.

Serve with lime wedges and steamed rice, if desired.

(click here for a printable version of the recipe)

Baked Pasta Fritatta

This was definitely a hit in our house with requests of "can we have this again?" Not only does it match my criteria of incorpating as many vegetables as possible without overkill it was such an easy dish to prepare.

This fritatta was so full of flavour considering the amount of ingredients not to mention it was quite filling. The bacon could even be omitted making it a suitable vegetarian dish also.

A great lunch or dinner, delicious both hot and cold but more importantly enjoyed by one and all!!

Baked Pasta Fritatta
(Recipe adapted from WW Cook Tasty)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 7

cooking spray
80 grams spiral pasta
2 teaspoon olive oil
125 grams Weight Watchers Bacon, chopped
1 small brown onion, finely diced
1 small red capsicum, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
125 grams canned corn kernels, drained
25 grams parmesan cheese, grated
4 eggs
2 egg whites
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Lightly spray a 19cm square cake tin or baking dish with cooking spray. Line the base and sides with baking paper, if required.

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water as per the packet instructions, or until just tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Drain on paper towel.

Add remaining oil to the same pan and cook the onion, stirring, for 3 – 5 minutes or until softened. Add the capsicum, zucchini and carrot and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring. Place the vegetable mixture in a large bowl along with the corn, parmesan and pasta. Toss to combine. Spoon the pasta mixture into prepared tin.

Lightly beat the eggs and whites in a small bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour egg mixture over the pasta mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until set and golden. Divide into squares to serve.

(click here for a printable version of the recipe)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Caramel Chicken with Rice

I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting when I chose to cook Caramel Chicken with Rice for dinner last night. Knowing it was a Vietnamese dish the recipe was quite simple and was missing many basic ingredients for that cuisine such as lime or chilli.

However this easy dish was surprising a winner in the flavour stakes. The caramel wasn't overpowering but was slightly sweet and hinting towards the creaminess of caramel mixed with the usual hint of fish sauce as with all Vietnamese dishes. The fresh coriander complimented and rounded all the flavours together.

The changes I made were brown sugar instead of caster sugar and the quantity of fish sauce as we find it quite strong (origial recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of water). Next time this is on the menu planner I will also thicken the sauce using a little cornflour combined with water).

Served with steamed rice and a plate of stir fried mixed vegetables with sesame the meal was very filling and satisfying.

Overall, this dish was a huge success in the Murray residence last night and it was confirmed again this morning when both the kids got up reciting how much they enjoyed the chicken last night!

Caramel Chicken with Rice
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine May 2011)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 7

1 cup basmatic or jasmine rice
1 tablespoon peanut oil
500 grams lean chicken breast fillets, fat trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add rice and cook according to the packet's instructions. Drain and keep warm.

Heat wok over high heat. Add half the oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add chicken, in batches, and stir fry for 2-3 mins or until browned.

Add remaining oil and onions, then stir fry for 2 mins or until softened. Transfer to a plate.

Add sugar to wok and cook over high heat, without stirring, for 2-3 mins or until begins to melt and turn golden. Add fish sauce and 2 tbs water and stir fry for 1 min or until combined.

Return chicken and onion to wok and stirfry until heated through.

Serve with rice, sprinkled with coriander.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pork with Cider Cream Sauce

Another recipe with an interesting sauce that intrigued me and my tastebuds so I knew that it had to be made. I am normally a fan of the traditional apple sauce with pork. The pork cutlets in this dish were not only accompanied by the Cider Cream Sauce but with pear wedges adding yet another delicately flavoured element.

As we are not fans of the taste of celery I omitted the celeriac from the mash, serving our meal with full potato mash and also thickened the sauce slightly with cornflour overall making the meal higher in ProPoints but plated with point free vegetables it made for a filling and well balanced meal.

Pork with Cider Cream Sauce
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine May 2011)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 11

800 grams potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon reduced fat butter/spread
cooking spray
2 medium pears, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
4 x 200 gram pork cutlets, all visible fat removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 small brown onion chopped
1 garlic cloves crushed
1/2 cup sparkling apple cider
1/2 cup chicken stock (made with stockcube)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons thickened light cream
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Boil, steam or microwave potatoes until very tender. Drain. Add milk and butter. Mash until very smooth.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Lightly spray a large non stick frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Cook pear wedges for 5 minutes or until browned. Place on an oven tray and cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes or until softenend.

Add pork to the pan and cook for 3 - 4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Heat oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add cider and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 1 - 2 minutes or until reduced slightly. Add stock and mustard and simmer for 4 minutes or until reduced slightly.

Add combined cornflour and water, stirring continuously, until thickened slightly. Stir through chives.

Divide mash and pears among serving plates. Top with pork, drizzle over cider sauce and stir.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)