Thursday, April 26, 2012

Curried Chicken Pies

Although we had Indian during the week to celebrate Noel's birthday I had menu planned a quick and easy Curried Chicken Pie to ensure we ate at a normal time.

I have never used coconut milk powder before (which can be found in the Asian/International section of the supermarket near the tinned coconut milk).  Even though it was a curry pie the curry sauce was creamy like a asian style curry not an indian. The fact that there was no vegetable chopping to be done was an added bonus also.

This dish reminded me of a chicken curry my mam used to cook using curry powder and a can of Cream of Celery Condensed Soup.... it was delish and very comforting.  The crisp and crunchy filo pastry topped this pie off in a way that other pastry wouldn't.  To be honest I believe that any other thick pastry would not have had the same outcome on this dish.

For a dish that only has 9 ingredients it was not only very tasty, but it was so quick and easy. Result:  "You mean we cannot have seconds - please cook again?"

Curried Chicken Pies
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Cook It Quick)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 10

cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
600 grams chicken breast fillet strips
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons coconut milk powder
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups (240 grams) frozen vegetable mix, thawed
6 sheets fresh filo pastry

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Lightly spray 4 x 1.5 cup ramekins or pie dishes.

Heat oil in a large non stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook, stirring, in batches, for 2 - 3 minutes or until browned.  Stir in curry powder and cook, stirring for a further 1 minute.  Combine cornflour, coconut milk powder and stock in a jug.  Add to pan and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

Remove from heat.  Stir in vegetables.  Spoon mixture evenly into each ramekin or pie dish.

Cut filo pastry sheets in half.  Scrunch up 1 piece of filo at a time and place on top of chicken curry mixture, using 3 pieces of filo per serve.  Spray with cooking spray.

Bake in oven for 12 -15 minutes or until pastry is crisp and golden.  Serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pork, Mushroom and Sage Lasagne

My blogging has fallen victim to lack of time once again.  With school holiday recently occurring, a camping getaway which we as a family thoroughly enjoyed and then of course I have gone on a few road trips from work we seem to fall back into cooking quick and easy favourites, most that have already been blogged.

Today is Anzac Day so a mid week day off to remember the soldiers, past and present, their efforts fighting for world peace and their continuing protection of not only our country but many other countries.

Being home from work meant I could put a little more effort into preparing a Wednesday night meal.  I spotted a version of lasagne in a magazine recently, Women's Weekly Food for Friends, which I instantly knew I wanted to cook.  But also knew that it had to be modified to make it ProPoint friendly.

It took a little manipulating but it has been reduced to 14ppts per serve which is quite good for a rich lasagne. Strangely I didn't miss the tomato flavour of normal lasagne.  Infact this had such a unique flavour I am guessing not only from the sage but from the chorizo sausage as well.  The mushroom and white sauce mixture layered throughout the lasagne added moistness and creaminess.

I have to say like most lasagne this was quite fiddly getting all the elements sorted before putting all together but well worth it in the end.

Pork, Mushroom and Sage Lasagne
(recipe adapted from Women's Weekly Food for Friends)

Serves: 8
ProPoints per Serve: 14

cooking spray
1 small brown onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Chorizo sausage (125grams), finely chopped
500 grams pork mince
500 grams veal mince
1/4 cup marsala
1 cup chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh lasagne sheets (Latina)
100 grams grated reduced fat tasty cheese
12 fresh sage leaves
mushroom mixture
cooking spray
1 small brown onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
200 grams button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 tablespoon coarsely shredded fresh sage leaves
freshly ground black pepper
white sauce
30 grams reduced fat butter or margarine
4 tablespoons plain flour
5 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Heat a large frying pan coated with cooking spray, add onion, garlic and chorizo,.  Cook, stirring, until onion softens.  Add minces, cook stirring until browned.  Add marsala and stock, bring to the boil.  Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, until reduced by about a third.

Meanwhile make:

Mushroom mixture: Spray a medium saucepan with cooking spray, add onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens.  Add mushrooms, cook stirring until mushrooms are browned.  Add sage, season to taste.  Remove from heat.

White Sauce: Melt butter in a non stick saucepan.  Add the flour, cook stirring, until mixture bubbles.  Gradually stir in the milk, cook stirring until mixture boils and thickens.  Stir through dijon mustard and simmer for 2 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spray a large ovenproof dish.

Mix 2 cups of white sauce with mushroom mixture.

Place 1/3 meat mixture in base of dish.  Top with 1/2 of the mushroom mixture.  Top with 2 sheets of lasagne. Repeat using another third of meat mixture and remaining mushroom mixture.  Top with 2 sheets of lasagne.  Spread remaining meat mixture and top with third layer of lasagne sheets.

Spread white sauce over lasagne sheets.  top with sage and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes or until browned lightly.  Stand for 5 minutes before serving.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Boston Baked Beans with Sausages

We recently spent some time camping with good friends of ours at Blue Pools, Briagolong State Forest.

While we were away though I did manage to capture some camp cooking.  I have to say cooking on on open fire in the middle of the bush is sometimes a challenge. The hardest thing was controlling the heat of the fire.. lol!!  So there was some improvising done.  Cooking on a stove top would have been a lot easier but probably not as much fun.

Saying this, cooking Boston Baked Beans with Sausages was interesting - but producing such a comforting meal made it all worthwhile.  I know the kids will want this again for breakfast when we return to civilisation.

Boston Baked Beans with Sausages

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 5

cooking spray
600 grams extra lean beef chipolata sausages
2 brown onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red capsicum, diced
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 x 400 gram tins baked beans
2 x 400 gram tins diced tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper

Spray a camp oven or heavy based saucepan with cooking spray.  Add sausages, onions and garlic and cook over a hot part of the fire (or high heat) until sausages are sealed and onions start to soften.  Add capsicum, paprika and oregano and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Stir in the beans and tomatoes.  Move to a cooler part of fire (or lower heat) and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with toast if desired.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pork with Chilli Lime Noodles and Cashews

For a quick and weasy mid week meal this dish was amazing.  The flavours were vibrant and the meal itself was very comforting.

Another meal with a Thai influence, although I change the recipe a little, it was delicious. The original dish was more like a noodle salad using pork fillet but having only pork cutlets at home the switch was acceptable.

The lime had a strong character while the chilli wasn't overpowering - a great combination topped with the crunchiness of the cashews.

Pork with Chilli Lime Noodles and Cashews 
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Australia)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 11

40 grams raw cashews, unsalted
4 x pork cutlets, 200 grams each, fat trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
200 grams fresh egg noodles
1 medium fresh lime, rind finely grated, juiced
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sambal oelek
1 bunch broccolini, cut into 5cm lengths

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Place cashews on a lined baking tray.  Roast in oven until slightly golden and toasted, approximately 5 - 7 minutes.  Remove and chop roughly.  Set aside.

Brush pork with ½ teaspoon of the sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray add pork and cook over high heat  for 2-3 minutes each side or until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil and set aside for 5 minutes to rest.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions.  During the last 1-2 minutes of cooking add broccolini to the noodles and cook until bright green and tender.  Drain noodles and broccolini and return to pan.  Add the remaining oil, rind and juice, soy sauce and sambal oelek. Toss to combine. Taste and season with salt.

Divide noodles among serving bowls or plate, top with pork and sprinkle with cashews. Serve.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lemongrass, Coconut and Chilli Mussels

We are home from camping for 3 days before returning for the Easter long weekend.  I love getting away and this weekend was no execption especially when with great friends.  It was relaxing sitting around the camp fire and cooking with the camp ovens etc.  But I do miss my kitchen!!

Walking through the supermarket to get supplies to last us the next few nights I spied mussels in the fish section of the deli... knew we had to have some as they are so easy to prepare and cook - definitely on the quick list also.

We have also been experimenting with Thai flavours so I thought I would try out another Thai inspired dish.  I don't normally use a lot of coconut milk in cooking but the combination of the milk, the lemongrass and the chilli was balanced and smooth.  Needless to say both Noel and I enjoyed.

Lemongrass, Coconut and Chilli Mussels

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 8

1 kilogram mussels
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 lemongrass stalks, white only, finely chopped
6 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
4 red bullet chillies, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
375 ml Lite Coconut Milk
extra kaffir lime leaves, chilli and coriander for garnish

Rinse mussels and remove beards.  Disregard any open shlls that do not close when tapped on the bench.

Heat oil in a wok or a large pan.  Add lemongrass, lime, chilli and garlic.  Stir fry for 1 - 2 minutes until fragrant.  Add fish sauce, oyster sauce and wine.  Add mussels and coriander, toss to combine.  Cover with a lid and steam for 5 mins, stirring once.

Remove from heat and stir through coconut milk.  Return to heat and bring broth to a simmer.

Serve scattered with additional lime, chilli and coriander.  Crusty bread is also an optioanl extra.