Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chorizo and Smoky Beef Enchiladas

I went back to work for 3 days this week and now I am on leave until next Thursday - it's a hard life really LOL!! I promised my nephew Wesley over Christmas that he could come over when I was on annual leave to sleep the night and to do some cooking with us. He is only 11 but has the passion to be a wonderful cook or chef should he choose to follow that profession. So Wesley didn't forget about my promise (I hadn't either) and made sure his dad rang me to confirm.. bless him.

Tonight he was picked up by Uncle Noel and was patiently awaiting my return from work so he could start his adventure. Although he is only young I knew Wesley tends to bake a lot of sweets and cakes so it was my mission to cook different foods so I decided to start with a Mexican dish for dinner.

This dish was very easy and I know that Wesley enjoyed making it. A few new techniques for him but he did very well. We all enjoyed the flavour (even Grandma who says she hates Mexican due to her first experience at a Mexican restaurant where apparently it looked like slop!) The smokiness of the paprika teamed with the subtle spiciness of the Chorizo was perfect enveloped in a tortilla and baked smothered in tomato sauce and melted cheese - what is there not to like.

Any way as you can see by the photos my little nephew was in heaven in the kitchen at the House Of Murray.

Chorizo and Smoky Beef Enchiladas
(recipe adapted from

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 15
1 chorizo sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 kilogram reduced fat premium beef mince
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
400g can kidney beans, drained
8 Mission 96% fat free Tortillas
200 grams 50% reduced fat tasty cheese, grated

Place a large frying pan over high heat, add oil, when hot and chorizo, cook for 3 minutes or until chorizo is caramelized then turn the heat down to medium and add onion and garlic, cook for 3 minutes.

Add mince, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt to the pan, break up the mince and cook for 5 minutes, or until mince is coloured.

Add half the amount of tomato paste and one can of tomatoes, and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Finally add red kidney beans and stir to combine.  Allow to cool.

When you are about to start making up the Enchiladas preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Fill the end of a tortilla with beef mixture, roll to form a log shape, then place in a baking tray, seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beef mixture.

Mix the remaining tomato paste and can of tomatoes together in a bowl, spread over the top of the tortillas and sprinkle over grated cheese. Bake in middle level of the oven for 30 minutes or until heated through and  cheese is golden.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Classic Roast Chicken with Sage and Onion Stuffing

I spent last week away with work - not something that I do now with my new job role but nice to do something again that I have realised that I really did enjoy doing. After 7 months now working in the Technical division at work, which I find challenging and my reward is paid in knowledge, training is my real passion! Being away again, training and working with other people, has cemented that I wish to return to the training world and have decided that I will do so at my next given opportunity.
While away, I managed to eat well, in fact I always seem to eat well!!  Bendigo has some wonderful restaurants - it's a city filled with a diverse range of food offerings basically a Foodies Paradise.  I enjoyed Italian, Spanish, Mexican and Indian in my week long stay but there was so much more I could have eaten but I did have to work during my stay.  LOL!!
Coming home is always wonderful but by this time I am usually craving something "plain Jane" and comforting - you know that homely meal that just hits the spot.  Roast chicken sprung to mind so that's what we cooked.
I love the smell of a roast chicken especially when it's been filled with stuffing - Sage and Onion is my favourite.  The aroma fills the house and I can say this as chicken is the only roast that I actually cook in the oven.  All of our other roasts are done in the weber.
Crispy skinned, moist and juicy chicken meat served with Sage and Onion Stuffing - perfect.  Accompanied by roasted and steamed vegetables the taste buds danced once again with every mouthful. 

Classic Roast Chicken with Sage and Onion Stuffing

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 10

1.6 kilogram whole chicken
6 slices wholegrain bread
2 onions, peeled and finely diced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried sage leaves
1 egg white, lightly beaten
extra fresh ground black pepper for seasoning
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Prepare a baking tray with a cooking rack inside.

Clean chicken in cold water, removing any additional skin/fat and inners.  Remove from water and drain.  Place on workbench and pat chicken skin dry using paper towel also wipe out chicken cavity of any extra water. 

Using a food processer make breadcrumbs using the bread.  Pour into large bowl.  Add onion, pepper and sage.  Mix to combine.  Add egg and mix to bind together.

Place stuffing mixture into cavity of chicken.  Pushing in firmly to ensure it stays put.  Tie legs together if you wish with cooking string.

Season the outside of the whole chicken with salt and pepper.

Place chicken on the cooking rack in the baking dish.   Put water in bottom of baking tray.  Cook in the oven for 1 hour or until cooked to your liking and juices run clear.

Serve with your favourite vegetables and gravy if desired.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Creamy Garlic and Chilli Mussels

Tonight we needed something quick and simple to make without too much fuss but as always we wanted maximum flavour.  The first thing that sprung to mind was mussels as they are such a versitale ingredient and cheap here in Australia.
A quick garlic and chilli sauce and we were in business.  One kilogram demolished in no time with some crunchy bread to soak up the juice.

Creamy Garlic and Chilli Mussels
Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 8
1 kilogram mussels
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons crushed chilli
1 onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low fat cream
freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander leaves, for garnish

Clean mussels removing all barbs and dags from the outer shell.  Rinse.

Heat oil over medium- high heat in a deep frying pan, saucepan or wok.  Add onion and capsicum and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened.

Add garlic and chilli, stirring for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add the mussels and toss for 2 minutes.

Add the wine and the cream, stirring until combined completely, season with freshly ground black pepper.  Cover with a lid and let steam for 5 minutes.

Remove lid and transfer to a bowl, if desired, and serve garnished with fresh coriander.

Add extra ProPoints should you wish to serve with crusty bread (bread type depending).

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A 'Better" Burger with the Lot

Well when asked where I wanted to go for my birthday dinner celebrations I replied that I actually didn't want to go anywhere I simply wanted to stay home and have homemade hamburgers.  Little did my family know that I had been eyeing of the recipe in the January Weight Watchers Magazine which allows me to have a "guilty" meal without all the guilty baggage.  Finally they all relented and I got my wish.
A few minor modifications to the recipe and I had, enjoyed and was defeated by my chosen dinner.  It was yummy and oh so filling - it was magnificent. 
We cooked on the barbecue as it was a nice night here in Melbourne but stove top would do just fine. The burger pattie itself was very moist and tasty - the paprika giving it a hint the pattie a hint of smokiness without be as overpowering as liquid smoke or the like. 
But as usual "the lot" component hit the comfort zone perfectly... LOL.

A "Better" Burger with the Lot
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine January 2015)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 14
500 gram lean beef mince
70 grams fresh breadcrumbs (made from 2 slices bread)
1 egg white
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
2 tablespoon barbecue sauce
freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
125 grams Weight Watchers Bacon
4 eggs
4  slices 50% less fat tasty cheese
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 wholegrain bread rolls. 50 grams each, split
tomato slices
8 slices canned beetroot drained
lettuce leaves

Combine the beef, breadcrumbs, egg white, paprika, tomato and half the barbecue sauce in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix well to combine and shape into 4 same sized patties.
Heat a barbecue flat plate and spray with cooking spray.  Cook the patties for 5 - 10 minutes each side or until cooked through or to your liking.  Cook the bacon and the pineapple for 4 - 5 minutes each side or until browned.  Place the cheese on patties to melt.  Cook eggs, to your liking
Meanwhile, spray a saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Cook the onion, stirring, for 5 - 7 minutes or until lightly golden.  Add the vinegar and cook for a further 1 minute or until the liquid evaporates.
Grill cut sides of the rolls.  Top with lettuce, tomato, beetroot, patties, cheese, bacon, pineapple, onion and egg.  Top with remaining barbecue sauce and roll tops.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Jo's Made Up Butter Chicken

After trawlling through many recipes for low fat butter chicken recipes to satisfy a craving I was having and was surprised actually how many there are.  Sadly a lot of them claim to be low fat or healthy but just didn't fit the bill after reading the ingredients list.
I eventually settled on making up my own while using all the knowledge I had gathered.  So here is my very non authentic recipe.
Most butter chickens call for the chicken to be marinated in the yoghurt and spices before hand but I didn't have time to do this as it was for dinner tonight.

To my surprise a nice flavour - well balanced with a mellow hint of sweetness and a tingle of heat.  I personally would have it a bit hotter by adding more chilli but for a first go I was impressed.  The family thought it was pretty good too.

Butter Chicken
Serves: 6
ProPoints per Serve: 12

2 large onions, diced
2 tablespoon Weight Watchers Canola Spread
1 teaspoon turmeric ground
1 teaspoon cardamom ground
1 teaspoon garam masala ground
1 teaspoon coriander ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon crushed chilli
2 teaspoon crushed ginger
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/4 cup cooking cream light
1 cup natural low fat yoghurt
140 gram can tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
800 grams chicken thigh fillets, fat trimmed and diced
1 cup raw rice
fresh coriander, to garnish 

In a large saucepon over a low heat melt butter and oil together.  Add onions, cook stirring for 5 - 10 minutes until softened and are translucent. 

Place turmeric, cardamom, garam masala, coriander, cloves and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix. Set aside.

Add the chilli, ginger, and garlic to the onion mixture and stir 1 minute.

Add tomato paste to the onion mixture and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Add the combined spices to the onion mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 - 2  minutes or until fragrant.
Add the canned tomato, sugar, salt and water, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ensure the saucepan is over a low heat and add the cream and yoghurt, stirring, ensuring that it's all mixed through.

Add the chicken into the simmering sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Mealwhile cook the rice as per packet instructions.
Serve with rice and garnished with coriander leaves.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mustard Maple Chicken Fillets (aka World's Best Chicken)

So chicken fillets in hand (well out defrosting for dinner) and I really needed some inspiration.  So I turned to good old Google.  Typing in "Chicken Fillet Recipes" and praying that something would catch my eye and inspire me.
One of the google hits was called 60 Awesome Ways to Spice Up Boring Chicken Breasts (yep of all the eye grabbing titles to choose). Of course me being me that was the first link I clicked on - and gee was I amazed!!  After having a look at several of the recipes via links I got down to number 45 and it was hook, line and sinker for me.  I immediately thought that is what we are having for dinner.
Oven baked with minimal ingredients always is a win win - often these recipes are quick, simple and involve the least amount of washing up.  There was no need to marinate before hand and all the ingredients I had on hand.
The title of "World's Best Chicken" of course is quite bold.  But it's an understatement.  For such a truly easy and foolproof dish the flavour was magnificient.  The chicken was tender and juicy.  The sweet tanginess of the mustard, maple syrup and vinegar combined was out of this world. 
Infact, for the first few mouthfuls the table was silent savouring every mouthful each of us took but at the same time we were looking around the table to see if others were having the same experience....
You MUST try the Worlds Best Chicken....

Mustard Maple Chicken Fillets (aka World's Best Chicken)
(recipe adapted from Rachel Schultz)
Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 8
cooking spray
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, syrup, and vinegar.

Place chicken breasts into a large rectangle casserole dish or a lined baking dish. Season with salt and lots of pepper. Pour mustard mixture over chicken. Make sure each breast is coated. Sprinkle with some more pepper.  Sprinkle with chopped rosemary.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Place fillets on serving platter or individual plates.  Drizzle remaining sauce evenly over chicken.  Serve.

 (Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Turkey Ham and Vegetable Pot Pies

Merry Christmas to you all
and best wishes for the New Year.

Thank you all for your support and patience with me and my blogging in 2014.  As I have mentioned many times it has been a hard year in the Murray house - one of many changes, one that found me time pour and one where I was just lost and finding things very difficult.  I am now at the end of the year and looking forward to a better 2015 and wishing you a prosperous and creative New Year.

My first post of the year is brought to us by the dreaded Christmas leftovers.... everyone has them.  Some us of us end up with lots of them - in our case it was only some turkey slices but a whole leg of ham on the bone.

I love turkey but once it's cooked and served the first time it tends to get dry really quickly.  Ham on the other hand doesn't change when stored correctly but you must keep an eye on the used by date.  My favourite use of left over ham, especially ham on the bone, is Pea and Ham Soup which I normally make a long time after Christmas when the cooler months start to make their way in.  Tonight something different was called for and to be honest everyone in our house loves Pot Pies so it was a no-brainer.

These flavours work so well together - the turkey, the ham, the creamy thyme flavoured sauce and of course being packed so full of vegetables made for a perfect one dish wonder that everyone loved.  All individually portioned up so no there was no arguments over "he got more pastry than I did" - oh the dramas!!

Turkey, Ham and Vegetable Pot Pies
(recipe adapted from

Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 10

cooking spray
150 grams button mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 carrots, peeled and thinly diced
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
60 grams Weight Watchers Canola Spread
1/2 cup plain flour
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup light (reduced fat) thickened cream
320 grams chopped cooked turkey
90 grams chopped leg ham
freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets Reduced Fat Puff Pastry
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray, add mushrooms, carrots, spring onion, corn, peas and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes or until carrots have softenend. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until mixture bubbles. Add chicken stock and wine, then cook for a further 2-3 minutes, whisking to remove any lumps. Add the thickened cream and cook for a further minute or until the mixture boils and thickens. Season to taste, then stir in the turkey, ham and mushroom mixture. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, defrost pastry sheets. Cut into quarters.
Divide mixture evenly amongst 8 x 1 cup capacity ramekins.  Spray ramekin dish rims with cooking spray and place 1 piece of pastry on each dish.  Trim if required and use remaining pastry as decoration.  Place on baking tray and spray pastry top with cooking spray.

Bake the pie for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden.