Friday, October 27, 2017

Chipotle Mayonnaise

Have you ever been addicted to something?  Well my kids have been addicted to Aioli ever since I can remember - they have it with chips, burgers, chicken, even bacon sandwiches that was until they found Chipotle Mayonnaise.  Now that is the new favourite.
As everyone knows we cook with a lot of herbs and spices so this new found love wasn't at all surprising.  What was more surprising when the kids read the weekly menu only to see that Friday night's menu plan was Homemade Hamburgers with Coleslaw and Chipotle Mayonnaise.  It was an awesome reaction and I knew that no shop purchased Chipotle Mayonnaise would cut the mustard, so to speak.
I had recently taken a trip to USA Foods, an American Food Store, in Moorabbin and during that visit purchased some Chipotle Chilli Powder along with some dried Chipotle Chillies so I was already in possession of the most important ingredient - now to work the rest of the ingredients out.  Of course my next step was Google and once again an overload of mayonnaise recipes presented themselves.  After reading quite a few, obviously every single one different with a different spin on this humble spicy mayonnaise, I decided to wing it and make up my own. 
Now some recipes called for the Adobo Chilli and it's sauce others used chilli and paprika powder.  Having no Adobo Chilli I of course had no other choice than using the powders.  So as you can imagine some recipes had similar ingredients so gathering a list of commonly used ones wasn't too hard and knowing the flavor I was actually trying to achieve made it easier.  I did not make my own mayonnaise but you can do it you wish.
Mixing each individual ingredient together I could only think to myself - Jo you cannot fail on this one... there will be a mutiny and it won't end well.  My teenagers have now become my harshest food critics and there is generally no forgiving for offering up something substandard. And I am being serious.
So here is my take on Chipotle Mayonnaise - a version that is somewhat smoky and creamy with the right amount of heat and kick to it.  You can taste the traces of lime and garlic making this mayonnaise perfectly balanced.  Best of all the flavours just kept developing while we were waiting for dinner.
The outcome..... I passed.  It was smothered all over the hamburgers tonight and I made enough that there is some left for lunch tomorrow.  I am presuming that sealed this will keep in the fridge for at least a week as there is no milk products as ingredients - who knows maybe even longer.  Saying this I know there won't be much left by tomorrow afternoon.
Chipotle Mayonnaise
Makes: approx. 1 cup
SmartPoints per 2 teaspoons: 2 
1 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
juice of half fresh lime
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Store in refrigerator in a sealed jar.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Alice Springs Chicken

It's kind of funny when you see something on Facebook and it sits in your head until you do some research on it.  The other day a recipe popped up in one of the many foodie forums I belong to and I thought "WOW that looks different" as I read a recipe for Alice Springs Chicken and then the next thought was "what is the Outback Steakhouse?"

The Outback Steakhouse is an Australian inspired steakhouse restaurant in the States. Many items on the menu are similar to meals found at most bistro or steak restaurants in Australia however the menu items are "Aussie-ied" to reflect meals that we would eat out here in the Aussie Outback.  I guess the Outback Steakhouse is very similar to the Lonestar and Hogsbreath Chains. 
On the menu of very interesting dishes is The Bloomin' Onion.  The Bloomin' Onion is a signature Outback item. It is a one-pound onion cut to 'bloom' open, breaded, deep-fried and served with mayonnaise-horseradish sauce.    However I had to try Alice Springs Chicken!  Described as a wood-fire grilled chicken breast topped with sautéed mushrooms, crisp bacon, melted Monterey Jack and Cheddar and honey mustard sauce I knew it would be a winner at our place.
The copycat recipe for Alice Springs Chicken I found looked easy enough so it made up my mind to make it even though I have never been to an Outback Steakhouse.  All the ingredients just sounded so delicious together.  In fact the first this I thought was how it was similar to a gourmet chicken parma - just without the breadcrumbs and the tomato sauce and we all know how well a parma goes down in this house.

A juicy chicken fillet, marinated in honey mustard, smothered in mushrooms, bacon and cheese was presented to the family last night and it was really tasty.  A further drizzle of honey mustard mayonnaise added another sweet yet savoury dimension to the chicken temptation. 

This dish was really easy to prepare and cook, even easier to eat and as always, it was a really nice mid week wonder for our ever busy lives. However, I think I need to tweek the recipe a little more as it's quite high in SmartPoints but if you have a day where you can accommodate this dish you will enjoy it.

Alice Springs Chicken
(Recipe adapted from
Serves: 4
SmartPoints per serve: 16

1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
juice of half a lemon
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
freshly ground black pepper
200 grams sliced button mushrooms
cooking spray
200 grams short cut bacon, thickly sliced
100 grams shredded low fat tasty cheese
100 grams shredded low fat mozzarella
In a small bowl, combine Dijon mustard, honey, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Pour half the sauce into a small bowl, cover and reserve for later.

Place the chicken in a large zip lock bag. Pour the remaining marinade in the bag and toss the chicken to coat. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours, overnight if time permits.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Spray a small frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and just starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from pan.

Using the same frying pan, add bacon and cook until crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towel.

Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat. Coat with cooking spray.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding marinade. Place the chicken in the pre-heated pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, then when the chicken is golden brown, flip the chicken and cook for an additional 4 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to an oven safe casserole dish.

Top chicken evenly with mushrooms and bacon.

In a small bowl mix the two cheeses together and sprinkle evenly over each piece of chicken.

Place the chicken in the oven and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese has melted.

Serve chicken drizzled with remaining honey mustard sauce or serve the sauce on the side.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Old Fashioned Sausage Casserole

The clock is ticking so fast this year and of course, as always, we are busy with both work and family life.  Seriously another few blinks of our eyes and Christmas will be on our doorsteps.  Yikes - another busy time of year.
Sausages are something we always seem to have in the freezer ready for the next barbecue but they are something that we don't normally cook with otherwise.  Do you?  How do you all enjoy sausages?
Deciding that we need to eat through our very full freezer I sat down and menu planned our meal out for the next 3 weeks - YES 3 WEEKS!  So I did it - I put sausages on the menu.  Not destined for the barbecue but in a casserole.  My family were very surprised.
So armed with low fat beef sausages and a recipe I found online from the Hairy Bikers I prepared a casserole dinner for the family and it was bloody nice.  The Hairy Bikers have been a long time favourite cooking partnership that both my husband and I have always enjoyed watching.  However many of their recipes have been very stodgy and not great for those watching their waistlines.  Their cooking shows however were always entertaining and often did get one drooling to try what they did cook.  This recipe was shown in an episode called "Mums Know Best Recipes", where they cooked family loved and trusted recipes.

This dish has a really nice and thick tomato based sauce infused with smoked paprika, thyme and bay leaves was perfect to cook these sausages in.  I did change the original recipe a little to reduce the calorie count, not that you would really notice and all up the meal was on the table within the hour.
I served this Old Fashioned Sausage Casserole with mashed potatoes and a fresh crusty French Breadstick.  It was definitely a hit.  So if you are looking for something quick and easy here you go..... 
Old Fashioned Sausage Casserole
(Recipe adapted from BBC Food - Recipes)
Serves: 6
cooking spray
12 reduced fat beef sausages
6 rashers rindless streaky bacon, cut into 2.5cm lengths
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 x 400gram can chopped tomatoes
300ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
2 bay leaves
3–4 sprigs of fresh thyme
100ml red wine
100 ml water
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Spray a large non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and fry the sausages gently for 10 minutes, turning every now and then until nicely browned all over. Transfer to a large flameproof casserole dish and set aside.

Fry the bacon pieces in the frying pan until they begin to brown and crisp then add to the sausages.
Place the onions in the frying pan and fry over a medium heat for five minutes until they start to soften, stirring often.
Add the garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes more until the onions turn pale golden-brown, stirring frequently.

Sprinkle over the smoked paprika and cook together for a few seconds longer.

Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and herbs.

Pour over the wine and water and bring to a simmer.
Tip carefully into the pan with the sausages and bacon.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cover with foil and place in the oven.  Cook covered for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with mashed potato, steamed rice or slices of rustic bread.