Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Marsala and Mushroom Pork Cutlets with Creamy Polenta

Two in a row - this is getting exciting and I am feeling how I used to when my blogging was more frequent. 

Tonight's meal is an Italian inspired dish - pork in nice rich and creamy mushroom sauce accompanied by creamy and a little cheesy polenta.  The original recipe called for Veal Cutlets but I quite fancied it with pork instead.
 Not only was this dish very easy to put together, the flavour in the sauce was magnificent and very mourish... I could have just actually had a bowl of the sauce... spoon please?  And as with any polenta dish you are guaranteed a good arm workout LOL!

Marsala and Mushroom Pork Cutlets with Creamy Polenta
(recipe adapted from Weight Watcher Magazing August 2013)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11
1 tablespoon olive oil
4  (500 grams) lean pork cultlets, all possible fat trimmed
freshly ground black pepper
1.125 (4 1/2 cups) chicken stock
1 cup instant polenta
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 brown onion, finely sliced
200 grams Swiss Brown mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons Marsala
2 tablespoons light thickened cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Heat 1 teapsoon of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Season the pork with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes each side or until browned and cooked to your liking.  Set aside and cover to keep warm.
Reserve 1/4 cup stock.  Bring the remaining stock to the boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the polenta and stir over low heat for 8 minutes or until thick and creamy.  Stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium-high heat.  Cook the onion and mushroom, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softenend.  Add the reserved stock and the marsala.  Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes or until the sauce reduces.  Stir in the cream and boil for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the creamy polenta with the pork and the sauce.  Top with chives.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Country Chicken Pie (Pies)

YES finally I am back in the kitchen and I must say I am enjoying myself.  I am actually home all this week so hopefully you will be able to read a few posts from little ol' moi!
The weather has started to change and Spring is starting to make her presence know however I still fancied a hearty dinner.  Country Chicken Pies perfectly hit the spot and I must say that they tasted amazing.
Originally the recipe is for a family sized pie but once the smell was drifting from the kitchen children were hovering around the kitchen so I knew it would be easier and fairer (yes fairer) if I made individual portions.
The filling, jam packed with tender chicken and vegetables, was enveloped in a thick creamy sauce which just left my taste buds wanting more.  Topped with a yummy crunchy pastry top it was a pleasure to eat.

Country Chicken Pie
(recipe adapted from WW Magazine June 2012)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 10
1 tablespoon olive oil
500 grams lean chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 brown onion,  finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn kernals
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
1 sheet frozen reduced-fat puff pastry, just thawed

Heat half the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.
Heat remaining oil in pan.  Add carrots, celery and onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until stoftened.  Add chicken and any juices and flour.  Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add stock, stirring to combine.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir in milk, then cover and cook for 3 - 5 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens slightly.
Stir in frozen corn and peas, then parsley.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Transfer to a 20cm round ovenproof dish.  Set dish aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 1 hour to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Celsius fan forced.  Top dish wity pastry, allowing excess pastry to overhang.  Cut a small cross in the centre.  Spray with cooking spray.  Place dish on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slow Cooked Beef Stew with Cheese and Caraway Dumplings

Junior football weekly competion has finally but sadly finished for the 2013 season.  I have enjoyed this year even though I overcommitted not only myself but Noel and sacrafice special time with my family.  This year as well as being Treasurer I moonlighted as Registrar decided to be canteen manager and also put our (yes mine and Noel's) hands up to cook Sunday night dinners for 80 - 100 people each week.  14 rounds the Junior football season runs with 4 weeks of finals which this year are at another club.  I officially hung my apron up last Sunday finding myself lost this past weekend with no additional shopping, no mass cooking and no deep frying of chips etc on Sunday morning.  I am definitely a football mam and felt like something was missing on the weekend.

Anyway while that part of me has gone for the rest of this year, I can say I should have time to focus on my blog even though my work commitments remain the same.  I am seriously wondering whether I should blogging about my restaurant meals while I travel especially while I have a massive amount of travel ahead in the next few months.  Thoughts please??  I value your opinions.......

Needless to say I spent time in the kitchen cooking for the Murray family.....  and have thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Tonight's menu consisted of a slow cooked beef stew - very basic in ingredients but full of flavour.  Topped with herb packed cheesy dumplings this meal was a perfect dish for a cold evening.

Slow Cooked Beef Stew with Cheese and Caraway Dumplings
(recipe sourced from WW Magazine August 2013)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11
200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
550 grams gravy beef, fat trimmed
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 dried bay leaf
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup skim milk
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup 50% reduced fat grated tasty cheese
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
pinch smoked paprika, to serve

Preheat oven 180 degrees Celsius. 

Lightly spray a large shallow ovenproof saucepan with oil and heat over high heat.  Cook the mushroom, stirring, for 4 minutes or until golden.  Set aside. 

Lightly spray the pan with oil.  Season the beef with salt and pepper.  Cook the beef, in 2 batches, for 2 minutes or until browned.  Set aside.

Cook the onion, garlic and bay leaf, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile, whisk the stock, wine and tomato paste in a jug until combined.  Return the beef to the pan along with the wine mixture.  Bring to the boil.  Place in the oven and cook, covered, for 1 hour.  Add the mushroom and cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until the beef is tender.

Meanwhile place the four and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.  Combine the milk, oil, parsley and 2 tablepoons of the cheese in a jug.  Stir the cheese mixture through the flour until it forms a sticky dough.

Discard the bay leaf from the stew.  Drop tablespoons of the cheese in the jug.  Sprinkle with caraway seeds and remaining cheese.  Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the dumplings sre cooked through.

Serve with 0 ProPoints value steamed vegetables.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thank you all sooooo much for your patience with my spasmotic blogging....... cross fingers for a better last few months of the year xxx