Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - June 30

Happy Monday! That must mean I know what we're eating....

Sausages, salad and potato bake
Lamb shanks, green beans and more potato bake
Spicy tomato prawn soup (yay for Donna Hay)
Warm Chicken salad (I am really liking it at the moment)
Dinner at Craig's

I think that will do.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Free prawns from Coles

We went grocery shopping this morning, and bought some frozen prawns from Coles. Did you know that if an item scans incorrectly at Coles, they will give it to you for free? The shelf sticker for the prawns said $12.10, but they scanned at $14.29.
Ryan checked the docket, and got the money back. Free prawns! So this is just a reminder to always check your supermarket docket. You never know what you could get for free : )

We took our extra $14 to High Country Meats and bought Irish sausages, mince and some lamb shanks.

I thought I'd share two blogs I've been reading lately:
Cheap Healthy Good
$40 Gourmet
Full of healthy goodness!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Warm Chicken and White Bean salad

I've been eating lots of beans and lentils lately. Beans are lovely in winter comfort food - but I've discovered they are pretty good in salads too. This is loosely inspired by a recipe on Taste, but by the time we ate, it was pretty different.Warm Chicken and White Bean salad
300g chicken thigh fillet
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 ripe tomatoes, cut in thick slices (maybe three slices each)
2 good handfuls of lettuce leaves
1/2 red capsicum, sliced
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
Season the chicken, then marinade in the garlic, mustard and vinegar for at least 20 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on high, then sear the chicken for one minute on each side. Turn the heat down to low, and cook the chicken for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Meanwhile, grill the tomatoes until cooked to your liking. Combine all ingredients and serve with the lemon wedges.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Love Food Hate Waste: Pumpkin and Feta Risotto

A Slice of Cherry Pie recently alerted us to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign. It's a scary thought, that a third of all food bought is thrown away. I am big on left-overs. Not the same meal three nights over, but one night's dinner becoming a ingredient for the next. This week, pumpkin soup became pumpkin and feta risotto with pine nuts.
The recipe is fairly inexact. Chop an onion finely, and saute with 2 cloves of garlic. Add 2 cups of arborio rice, stirring until translucent. Then add leftover pumpkin soup, thinned with veggie stock and a little water. Keep stirring over a low heat, until the liquid is absorbed by the rice, and the rice feels completely cooked. Top with crumbled feta and pine nuts to serve.
Yum : )
I cook risotto quite a lot. If you're inspired, check out my Beetroot Risotto, or my Chicken and Pumpkin Risotto recipe.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My sister cooks too!

When we were in France, I abdicated from my cooking throne. Both sisters were staying, and a friend, so I thought they could each cook one night - and then we could go home!
My sisters are great cooks - even in a strange kitchen, and buying ingredients in a foreign language. When it was her turn, Jo cooked this casserole, which is absolutely brilliant. It's flavoury, and has a good range of textures. And the sauce is the best thing for mopping up with French bread. So here you go, Sausage and Bean Casserole, courtesy of Jo and the BBC.

Menu Plan Monday - June 23

I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. This week's grocery bill was pretty big, as we stocked up on all the things we used up before we left. After spending big on peanut butter, tomato sauce and powder for the dishwasher, there wasn't all that much left for actual food. Despite that, I'm trying a couple of new recipes which I'm looking forward to:

Pumpkin risotto with feta and pine nuts (made with leftover pumpkin soup)
Balsamic Chicken and White Bean salad
Spicy Coconut soup (a la Donna Hay)
Roast chicken and veggies
Home made pizza

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My favourite vegetarian lasagne recipe

There are some meals I make that haven't yet ended up on the blog. Some are too boring, some are completely un-photogenic, and some are too fiddly. Then there are a couple that are healthy, cheap, yummy, beautiful - but just take a lot of effort to make. This is one of those very long recipes. It comes from Australian Women's Weekly 'Food We Love'. It takes longer to make than nearly every other recipe I've posted, but it's definitely worth it. I've added my variations at the end. I hope you like it.
Vegetarian Lasagne
2 medium eggplants (600g)
2 Tbsp coarse cooking salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium red capsicums (400g)
1 1/2 cups (390g) bottled tomato pasta sauce
250g instant lasagne sheets
3/4 cup (75g) grated mozzarella
1/2 cup (130g) pesto
1/2 (40g) finely grated parmesan
1. Oil 2-litre (8 cup) rectangular baking dish.
2. Cut eggplants into 1cm slices. Place in colander, sprinkle with salt; stand 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to moderately hot (200C/180C fan-forced)
4. Rinse eggplant under cold water; pat dry with absorbent paper. Brush eggplant with oil; place, in single layer, on oven trays. Roast about 40 minutes or until tender.
5. Meanwhile, quarter capsicums, remove seeds and membranes. Roast under grill, skin-side up, until skin blisters and blackens. Cover capsicum pieces with plastic or paper for 5 minutes; peel away skin, cut capsicums into thick strips.
6. Make white sauce.
7. Reduce oven temperature to moderate (180C/160C fan-forced).
8. Spread one-third pasta sauce into baking dish. Top with one third lasagne sheets, another third of sauce, half the eggplant and mozzarella; repeat layering using another third of the lasagne sheets, remaining sauce, all the capsicum, remaining mozzarella, lasagne and eggplant. Spread pesto over eggplant; top with white sauce.
9. Bake, covered, 30 minutes; uncover, sprinkle lasagne with parmesan, bake further 30 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven; stand, uncovered, about 5 minutes before serving.
white sauce Melt 60g butter in small saucepan; add flour, stif over heat until bubbling and grainy. Remove pan from heat, gradually stir in milk; return to heat, stir until mixture boils and thickens. Remove pan from heat; stir in cheese.
Ryan doesn't like eggplant, so I have substituted sliced roast pumpkin, steamed spinach, and sauted mushrooms and onion. They all work - you could use any vegetables - but you have to cook them first. Because I don't usually buy bottled pasta sauce, I sometimes blend up tinned tomatoes and basil instead. The one in the picture used roast beetroot.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - June 16

I survived my first day back at work. I thought I'd sneak in early and keep my head down, but everybody kept coming to ask me about my trip. Not that I minded - it's always fun talking about holidays! But I didn't even manage to find my coffee cup until 10.30. So now we are getting back into the routine of things, starting with meals. Here's the plan for this week:
sausage sandwiches
fish pie
pumpkin soup
veggie curry
butter chicken soup

Apple Pie from Red Dirt Mummy

It's definitely soup weather. Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

There and back again...

Well, we've made it home in one piece. All our luggage made it too. Now we just have a few hundred photographs to sort and a heap of new foods to try to cook. I may have brought home some extra kilos, too.
We are both incredibly tired. But I'm glad to be back in my own kitchen, and our own bed.
I hope this Sunday night finds you warm and comfortable as we are.
Stay tuned for many more posts in the near future!