Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lamb with Minted Spring Vegetables

There is no lying when we say that lamb is always a huge hit at our house - you can actually feel the excitement in the air around our house when lamb is on the menu. The original recipe was for lamb racks which we have cooked before but this week I was lucky to get some really nice lamb sirloins so I thought I would give these a try.

This is definitely a great meal as it is so quick and easy to make.  The lamb itself is very simple to prepare as were the vegetables that were delicately laced with the taste and aroma of fresh mint.

The redcurrant infused light gravy balanced the whole meal.

Lamb with Minted Spring Vegetables
(recipe adapted from WW Eat & Enjoy Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11

480 grams chat potatoes, halved
cooking spray
4 x 250 gram lean lamb sirloins (thick back straps)
1 bunch of asparagus, halved
3 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1 bunch baby carrots, peeled and halved
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
2 tablespoons small fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Heat a large flameproof baking dish over medium-high heat.  lightly spray lamb with oil and cook, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned.  Transfer lamb to the oven and bake for 15 minutes for medium-rare or until cooked to your liking.  Remove from oven and transfer to a plate, cover with foil and rest for 5 minutes before cutting cutlets from racks.  Reserve pan juices.

Meanwhile boil, steam or microwave all the vegetables, seperately, until tender.  Drain.

Heat baking dish with pan juices over medium heat.  Add stock and redcurrant jelly and cook, stirring, until jelly disolves.  Bring to the boil and cook for 4 - 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. 

Divide vegetables among plates and top with lamb.  Drizzle with reducrrant sauce and sprinkle with mint to serve.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bangin' Good Prawns (Bangin' Good Shrimp)

I was trawling (pardon the pun) for a recipe for prawns... something out of the normal, something totally new to excite my taste buds.  I love visiting Gina's webite site,, as it is an amazing site and she is such a good cook not to mention photographer.

Gina had recently posted a recipe for Bangin' Grilled Shrimp Skewers which made my mouth water but then I found this recipe!

Bangin' Good Prawns (Shrimp in the USA) are stir fried prawns mixed with a creamy sweet and spicy chilli sauce served on a bed of shredded salad topped with spring onions. OMG this recipe was amazing.... Gina has transformed it into a low fat version of another take of a dish called Bang Bang Shrimp served in an American restaurant called Bonefish Grill.  Looking at the menu I can see that they crumb and deep fry their prawns and serve with the sauce.

This dish, very much similar to a prawn salad, yet served warm was exactly the kind of dish I was looking for.  I will be making this again and would make a great entree or lunch - it is definitely a light dinner meal though.

Bangin' Good Prawns
(recipe sourced from

Serves: 4 
ProPoints: 6

5 tablespoons light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha (or to taste)
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 carrot,  grated
2 spring onions, chopped
500 grams large prawns, shelled and deveined (weight after peeled)
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon canola oil

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, sweet chilli sauce and Sriracha. Set aside.

Combine lettuce, carrot and half on the spring onions. Place on serving plate.  Set aside.

Coat shrimp with cornflour, mixing well with your hands.

Heat a large skillet or wok on high heat, when hot add oil. When oil is hot add the prawns to hot pan and cook tossing a few times until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and combine with the sauce, coating well.

Place prawns on lettuce and top with remaining spring onions.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

NOTE: You will find Sriracha in asian grocery stores or a well stocked supermarket.  Otherwise use a hot chilli sauce in this recipe.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Middle Eastern Beef Meatballs

I love Middle Eastern food and really don't eat that much of it.  I love the simplicity, the use of different spices and its, at times, unusuallness of their dishes.  Not to mention the smells that waffled from the kitchen when cooking.... cinnamon, cumin, harissa all combined filling the air with comfort.

These meatballs, small in size, were all of the above.... plus not mention easy to make.  Cooked in a sauce packed with vegetables with a hint of spice they really pleased the Murray household.

Middle Eastern Beef Meatballs
(recipe sourced from WW The Complete Meal Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11

cooking spray
2 brown onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500 grams lean beef mince
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons harissa powder (or 1 1/2 tablespoons harissa paste)
400 gram can chopped tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
2 carrots, grated
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup tabouli
2 cups baby rocket leaves
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup low fat Greek style natural yoghurt
2 x 80 gram rounds wholemeal Lebanese bread, torn

Lightly spray a medium non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add half the onion and half the garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 - 4 minutes or until onion has softened.  Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.

Place mince, onion mixture, cumin, cinnamon, allspice and parsley in a bowl.  Mix to combine.  Roll tablespoons of mixture into meatballs.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add remaining onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion has softened.  Stir in harissa, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.

Add carrot, zucchini and meatballs.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 - 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has thickened.

Place tabouli and rocket in a large bowl and toss to combine.  Divide meatball mixture among plates and top with pine nuts and yoghurt.  Serve with tabouli salad and bread.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Slow-cooked Sticky Pork

This dish was very easy to make and was more than flavoursome.  In fact the pork was so tender almost melting in your mouth and the Oriental overtones tantalised the taste buds.

The overall spiciness from the sweet chilli sauce and ginger was evident but it was not too spicy, mind you saying this Alexandria thought it was too spicy for her.

Served with steamed bok choy and rice this mean was delicious and very filling.

Slow-cooked Sticky Pork
(recipe sourced from WW The Complete Meal)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 8

2 tsp sesame oil
500 grams pork scotch fillet or neck, fat trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
3 medium carrots, thickly sliced
1 medium red capsicum, (cut into 3cm pieces)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup water

Heat oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add carrot, capsicum, soy, garlic, ginger, stock, chilli sauce, hoisin sauce and water. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil.

 Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, uncovering for the last 30 minutes of cooking, or until pork is tender and sauce has thickened. Serve.

Serving suggestion: Serve with 0 ProPoints value steamed Asian greens such as gai lan (Chinese broccoli), choy sum or bok choy, plus steamed jasmine rice. Add 3 ProPoints values per serve for ½ cup rice.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bacon and Corn Polenta Muffins

Something quick to make and oh so very very tasty.  These will fit the bill for a lunchbox treat if you can manage to stop others from eating them when they come straight out of the oven.

The combination of the bacon and corn, always a wonderful combination on their own, partnered with cheese and polenta makes a satisfying flavour hit that are delicious whether they are served hot or cold.

Only 2ppts each but very morish - I could eat quite a few.  Freezable so you can control how many you have for lunch :)

Bacon and Corn Polenta Muffins
(recipe adapted from WW The Complete Meal)

Serves: 24
ProPoints per Serve: 2

cooking spray
1/2 cup (80 grams) yellow polenta
2/3 cups (160 mls) skim milk
80 grams Weight Watchers Bacon, finely chopped
4 green shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups (220 grams) self raising flour
2 x 125 gram cans corn kernels, rinsed, drained
2 x 125 gram cans creamed corn
1/2 cup (60 grams) extra light grated tasty cheese
100 grams Weight Watchers Canola Spread, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Line two 12 hole mini muffin tins with paper cases.  Spray with cooking spray if needed.

Combine polenta and milk in a bowl.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile lightly spray a small non stick frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Cook bacon, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until bacon is crisp.  Remove pan from heat.  Cool for 5 minutes.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Add corn kernels, creamed corn, cheese and bacon mixture and stir until combined.  Add spread, egg and polenta mixture and mix until combined.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each paper case.   Bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.  Cool muffins in tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.  Serve warm or cold.

Note: for a mini muffin this mixture can make 48 muffins by using small paper cases and 1 tablespoon of mixture per case - the ProPoints value per muffin would then be 1 ppts each.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ham, Cheese, Tomato and Avocado Toastie

I rarely blog a breakfast or a lunch but I do realise that this blog cannot just be about mains, it does need to cover other meals that we cook and eat.

Coming home from work early due to Alex being sick all night (long story) I wanted to ensure that I made myself something for lunch that fit into the ProPoints plan and was quick.  I decided on a "toastie".. or as many know the dish - a toasted sandwich.

I love a good toastie.. and any filling normally hits the spot.  Today I went for something basic... a combination of ham, cheese, tomato and tomato and I really enjoyed it.

Ham Cheese Tomato and Avocado Toastie

Serves: 1
ProPoints per serve: 8

2 slices wholegrain bread
1/8 medium avocado, sliced thinly
1 small tomato sliced
30 grams sliced ham
1 slice reduced fat cheese slice
cooking spray

Preheat a sandwich press or similar.

Assemble sandwich on work area having a slice of bread, avocado slices, tomato slices, ham and cheese.  Top with second slice of bread.

Spray hot plates of sandwich press with cooking spray, add sandwich and close lid.

Cook until golden and cooked through.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spicy Beef, Vegetable and Rigatoni Bake

Needing another quick mid week meal and the kids wanting lasagne I decided that I would make a pasta bake.  One I didn't have to stand there layering the dish and two it was full of vegetables.

As with all pasta bakes, once all the ingredients are prepared it's just a matter of popping it in the oven and waiting for it to finish cooking itself.

This is quite spicy with the chilli flakes - should you wish to reduce the heat either reduce the amount of chilli flakes or omit completely.

Spicy Beef, Vegetable and Rigatoni Bake

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 10

500 grams rigatoni or pasta of your choice
cooking spray
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic,  crushed
2 teaspoons red chilli flakes
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 green capsicum, sliced
2 zucchini, chopped
125 gram corn kernels, drained
500 grams extra lean beef mince
2 cans 400g diced tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
150 grams reduced fat grated tasty cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Bring a large pan of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook as per instructions on packet until almost tender.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, spray a large frying pan with cooking spray.  Heat on medium high heat.  Add onions, garlic and chilli, cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onions are tender.  Add capsicum and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes.  Add zucchini and corn, cooking for a further 2 - 3 minutes or until zucchini softens.  

Add beef, breaking up with wooden spoon, and cook until browned.  Add tomatoes and season to taste with salt and freshly ground.

Add meat sauce and basil to pasta, stir to combine.  

Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread pasta mixture over dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. 

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hainanese Chicken

After a huge day at work, mentally more than physically, I really wanted to cook something with minimal effort but wanted something with maximum flavours.

This easy version of a Singapore specialty, similar to a soup, was magnificent. Tender poached chicken served with vegetables and rice in a fragrant broth was really what I wanted tonight.

Hainanese Chicken
(recipe sourced from WW Cook It Quick)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 8

2 cups chicken stock
1 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
1 cup boiling water
600 grams lean chicken breast fillets, fat trimmed
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 green shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
2 long fresh red chillies, deseeded, thinly sliced
3 baby bok choy, trimmed and separated
2 cups steamed rice

Combine stock, star anise, cinnamon, soy sauce, wine and 1 cup boiling water in a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.  Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.  Remove chicken and thinly slice. Reserve stock.

Meanwhile, heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat.  Add half the oil and heat for 30 seconds.  Add shallots, bean sprouts and chilli.  Stir fry for 1 minute.  Transfer to a bowl.  Reheat wok over high heat.  Add remaining oil and heat for 30 seconds.  Add bok choy and stir fry for 2 minutes or until stems are tender and leaves have just wilted.

Divide rice among serving dishes.  Top with bok choy, chicken and bean sprout mixture.  Ladle over some stock.  Serve.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gambas ~ Garlic and Chorizo Prawns

Tapas is becoming very popular here in Melbourne especially in restaurants.  Tapas is a wide variety of smaller dishes, similar to appetizers, in Spanish cuisine.  Either hot or cold combinations of flavours plated up to make a full meal.

Called Gambas in Spanish, prawns team up with spicy sausage for this tapas-style dish was not only very tasty but  absolutely moreish.

After a busy day at the junior football this was an easy dinner dish, quick enough to prepare and sit down and enjoy while getting ready for the working week ahead.

Gambas ~ Garlic and Chorizo Prawns
(recipe adapted from

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 7

  • 1 chorizo sausage (125 grams), thinly sliced
  • cooking spray
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500 grams raw tiger prawns, peeled
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • lemon wedges, to serve

  • Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chorizo to a plate lined with paper towel.  Wipe oil out of pan with paper towel.

  • Reduce heat to low. Spray the pan with cooking spray, add garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the prawns and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until the prawns curl and change colour. Add the chorizo, coriander and sherry to the pan and stir to combine.

  • Place on serving platter and serve with lemon wedges.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Quickie" Nachos

Back from a week away in Tasmania for work - entirely eating out for the whole time.  Saturday after shopping and football I thought I would make an early afternoon snack for the crew prior to cooking dinner. I called on a favourite of ours, "Quickie" Nachos!

These, while not traditional, are very easy to make and always a crowd pleaser - here is my quick version that never fails.

No sooner are the nachos out from under the grill they are gone - serve these with guacamole or sour cream but be quick especially in our house!!

"Quickie" Nachos

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 4

cooking spray
175 grams Natural Corn Chips, Salted
375 grams tomato salsa
100 grams low fat grated tasty cheese

Preheat grill on high heat.

Spray a quiche dish or microwavable shallow dish with cooking spray.  Cover with half the corn chips.  Top with half the salsa.  Repeat layers finishing by sprinkling cheese over top of final layer of salsa.

Microwave on high heat for 2 - 3 minutes or until cheese starts to melt.

Place under grill for 2 - 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)