Saturday, 29 July 2017

Beef Chow Mein

I am constantly on the look out for new recipes that can be pre-prepared and cooked at the last minute. This is one of my favourites, not least because my nearly 3 year old likes it, but because I chop everything up the night before and then all I have to do is throw it in the wok when I get home from work - 20 minutes later and dinner is on the table.


 
Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 500g beef mince (sometimes I use pork mince)
  • brown onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbls curry powder (or less if you prefer)
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
  • 150g mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tbls soy sauce
  • 450g thin egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen beans (or any other vegetable)
  • 1/2 small chinese cabbage, shredded
Method
Heat oil in a wok and stir-fry the mince, onion and garlic until mince is browned. Add curry powder and stir-fry for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add all the vegetables and stir-fry until vegies have softened. Add stock, sauces and noodles and stir gently until combined. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, tossing occasionally for about 5 minutes or until vegies are soft enough.
 
Serve and EAT! Yum!

I'll let you in on a secret - the other week I asked my mum to make this for me while she was looking after my little girl. And I tell you what, no matter how old you are, there is no subsitute to your mum's cooking. She made it much tastier than I ever have.

If you don't have the luxury having someone who can cook for you, the key is to chop up all the vegies the night before. Whether you work or not, a little planning and preparation goes a long way and can reduce a lot of the stress about dinners.
 

Friday, 9 June 2017

Zucchini Slice Muffins

I love zucchini slice and I love muffins. Why not combine the two? Here's a quick and easy recipe for just that. These would be perfect for lunch boxes. They can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months if you need and easy for small hands to hold.

This recipe makes approximately 6 muffins, depending on how big your muffin tray is. Simply double the recipe if you want more muffins.

Ingredients
2 rashers of bacon, finely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 zucchini, grated
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup cheese, grated
2 eggs, lightly whisked
3/4 cup milk
60g butter, melted

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a muffin pan.
2. Heat a frying pan, add the bacon and onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion softens. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Combine zucchini, flour and chedder in a large bowl. Add the onion and bacon and stir to combine. Whisk the egg, milk and butter in a jug then add to the zucchini mixture and gently stir until just combined. Spoon evenly among the muffin pan holes.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer, inserted in the centre, comes out clean.

ENJOY!

Monday, 29 May 2017

"Nude Food" lunchboxes

Does a sandwich stay fresh without cling wrap?

If you ever asked that question, the answer is YES! It does. I haven't used cling wrap on my sandwiches for the last 7 years, and they have always stayed fresh until lunch time. I've never had the filling fall out either. The trick is to find a sandwich box that will keep everything secure.

Below are a range of different sandwich and lunch boxes that either I have used, or I see TMPS students using. Choose something that fits in with your lunch style.
 
1. I saw this set at Big W. You could put a sandwich (no clingwrap!) in the big one, yoghurt in one of the small ones, fill the other small one with grapes or other fruit and away you go! Don't forget to include a small freezer pack to keep the yoghurt cold.
 
 
 
 
2. I have seen this Sistema lunch box a few times at school and am inpressed by its compartments. You can easily hold a sandwich in one section and separate fruit and muffins or biscuits in another section. I know these are also at Big W or anywhere that sells Sistema.
 
 
 
 
 3. Check out this Yoghurt Mover I found on smashenterprises.com.au! You put the inner section in the freezer over night and then add your yoghurt in the morning. The yoghurt will stay nice and cold - especially during the summer months!
 
 
 
4. Smash Enterprises also do a great lunch box that can fit everything. For more ideas on using Smash products visit http://www.smashenterprises.com.au/nude-food-movers/ to watch a quick video. Smash products can be found at Big W, Officeworks, Coles and online through the smash website.
 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Apple and Spice Biscuits

I tried out a new recipe this weekend. As I was pouring rice bubbles into a Tupperware container I noticed this recipe on the back of the pack. My 2 and a half year old and I made them together and she managed to lick more of the mixture than I would have liked, but it was fun. There's nothing better than teaching your kids new skills like cooking, in the hope that they will be able to cook for you one day. This was quick, easy and very tasty. They also made plenty of cookies!


 
Ingredients
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine (I used butter)
1/4 cup apple puree ( 1 apple peeled, cored and cooked in a little bit of water will do)
1/4 cup honey
2 egg whites, beaten lightly
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
3 cups rice bubbles crushed to 1 cup (this was the fun part!)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (to your taste - 2 tsp was a little too strong for me)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
 
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Beat sugar and butter in a small bowl with an electric mixer until combined and light in colour; transfer to a large bowl. Stir in apple puree, honey and egg whites (the mixture will appear curdled at this stage). Stir in combined rice bubbles, flour and spices; mix until well combined. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls; place 5cm apart on lightly greased oven trays. Press down lightly with a fork (or your fingers as my daughter did).
3. Bake in oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.

Happy baking!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Easy Banana Cake

I was at a 4 year old birthday party recently and this was the birthday cake. It was so delicious I had to ask for the recipe. My friend made it with a few minor adjustments such as halving the sugar and using some honey instead, but whether you make it as it's listed here or make your own adjustments, I don't think you will be disappointed.

Recipe found on http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/easy-banana-cake/3e88aa70-df01-411e-9f27-b25bf850d6eb

Ingredients

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup caster sugar
50g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup (60ml) milk
1/2 cup mashed banana

Method

Step 1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Spray a 7cm-deep, 10 x 20cm (base measurement) loaf pan with oil. Line base and sides with baking paper, extending 3cm above rim.                
 
Step 2. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Make a well in the centre. Add butter, egg, vanilla, milk and banana. Stir until just combined.                
 
Step 3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Set aside in pan for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm or transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Zucchini & Corn Fritters

I found this recipe on www.mygreenlunchbox.com.au. I often make a version of this at home and then freeze the fritters separating them with baking paper so I can take one out of the freezer at a time.

Ingredients
310 grams corn kernels (or just cut all the kernals off a fresh corn cob)
150 grams zucchini, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup your choice of milk
1 cup SR flour - or gluten free option - rice/buckwheat flour with 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch Himalayan salt
Cracked black pepper

Method
Whisk together corn, zucchini, eggs and milk. Gradually mix in sifted flour, cumin, salt and pepper.
Heat a little coconut/olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat.
Using a tablespoon place heaped spoonfuls of mixture in the pan and cook in batches. Using a spatula, turn them once, until golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel.
Serve warm with a big green salad. They can be refrigerated and served cold the next day for a tasty lunch.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Super Easy Scrolls

I finally got around to trying out a recipe given to me by a friend. And I'm so glad I did. I made the scrolls as a snack for my daughter, but I've got to be careful not to eat them all myself!

I thought it would be easy as the only ingredients in the base are self-raising flour and natural (or greek-style) yoghurt. How much could go wrong? Well, if you don't write down the recipe properly you might get as frustrated as me at first. My recipe said 1 cup natural yoghurt and 1 cup self-raising flour. After mixing the two together you are supposed to knead them until a dough is formed, but all I had was a sticky mixture that I couldn't get off my hands. I just kept adding flour until I was able to knead the mixture. I think I must have added another whole cup of flour! So while it could have ended with everything thrown in the bin I managed to save it.

After I had formed the dough I rolled it out in a rectangle (about 2cm thick). This is where the fun can really start. For my first attempt I spread some vegimite on and grated cheese over the top. Next time I will add ham and cheese and maybe a tomato based sauce. Your imagination is the only thing that will limit you here.

Once the toppings are on, roll it up and slice into 2cm slices. Then bake in the oven at 180°C for 25 minutes (or until golden). I ate two slices when they came out of the oven and am holding myself back until my daughter is ready for her afternoon snack (then I'll have some more 😃).

Share your favourite topping. I'd love to get some more ideas.

Super easy  Scrolls

Ingredients
1 cup natural or greek-style yoghurt
2 cups self-raising flour (add 1 1/2 cups at first and be ready to add more if you need it)

Toppings
* Vegimite and cheese
* Ham and cheese
* Tomato base sauce with herbs and garlic, ham and cheese

Method
1. Mix the yoghurt and flour in a bowl until it forms a ball.
2. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until a dough is formed. Be ready to add more flour if the mixture is too sticky.
3. Roll the dough into a 2cm thick rectangular shape.
4. Add toppings to the whole surface of the dough.
5. Roll into a sausage shape and slice into 2cm thick slices.
6. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 25 minutes (or until golden).