Main Courses

Zoodles with avo pesto cream and haloumi

 

I got home from exercising after work one night last week and the cheesy aroma of toasties hit me as I walked in the door.  “Hi”, hubby said. “Want toasties for dinner?” Whilst I was rapt he’d been proactive, thanks, but no thanks, I didn’t want toasties. I’m trying to avoid bread and starchy carbs at the moment. Why? Oh, you know…. I had a bloody good holiday and ate (and drank) with reckless abandon.  I refuse to weigh myself so I have no idea of the damage: I gauge my weight by the fit of my clothes.  Unfortunately my jeans and I to have momentarily parted being friends and, hell, a new skirt I got at the start of the December is saying “yeah nah, you can’t wear me!” Holy moly, it staggers me how quick I can do damage to my waistline.  Anyhow,  somewhat predictably, I’m on that post New Year’s health regime (and I’m motivated, so long may that continue) so no toasties weren’t really on my dinner cards.  With a rumbling tummy I rummaged in the fridge, fighting off cravings for bread or pasta. Then, out of nowhere, healthy, creative and delicious inspiration struck!  I love it when that happens.   This zoodle with avo pesto cream and haloumi dish was the result of that inspiration and cured me good and proper of my pasta and cheese cravings.   Conveniently I was aided by having a perfectly ripe avo on hand that needed devouring and I’d made a batch of basil pesto I’d made a few days previously.  FYI My stock standard pesto recipe is here by the way, noting the recipe is actually is for coriander pesto, but to make basil pesto just replace the calling for coriander with basil, easy as!

I posted a photo of this dish on my blog’s Facebook page and it got a bit of interest.  In fact, by the time I woke up the next morning, my UK foodie Aunty, Angie, had been to Tescos, made the recipe and eaten it and sent me a message of the finished dish with claims of “Delicious! We loved it and we’ll be making this again!”   Cool!  Since then two of my colleagues have made it for dinner and they’ve given me raving feedback.  Lastly, I’ve also made it again and this time I served it up to my vege-dodging husband.  He declared it “beautiful and delicious” (he’s not known for his compliments, so this is a revelation).

I know the recipe is on Facebook, but experience has taught me it’s not easy to re-find recipes I post there, so here it is, blogged, you know, all proper like. (more…)

Thai Chicken Cakes with Peanut Satay Sauce (kid friendly dinner!)

thai chicken cakes with peanut satay sauceMonday morning struck, I’m totes out of cooking inspiration.  I grabbed two chicken breasts out of the freezer to defrost and vowed that, by the time 5.30pm rocked around, I’d have thought of something vaguely creative and appetising to feed the family.  To be brutally honest, whilst I adore cooking, I don’t enjoy mid week cooking. Time is at the essence, we are all hangry and usually I’m cooking two meals to appease two foodie adults and one gorgeous, but bloody fussy eating, nine year old.   I don’t have enough time during the week, frankly, to faff around preparing two meals. But I usually do. Aggh.

But this is a good news story: Inspiration did strike in the form of these Thai Chicken Cakes – and – talk about hit the jackpot!  Despite my reservations, my boy scoffed this dinner!   Bear in mind my expectations were low: I didn’t have any hopes of him eating them with salad (or the satay sauce – and he didn’t… But it was easy to sub these out for carrot sticks and sweetcorn. I can deal with that without blowing a valve.  Anyway, dinner was totally delicious, it was a 30 minute dinner and it was EASY.  So easy, in fact, we’ve had this dinner twice this week!   (more…)

Tomato and Coconut Soup with Fish Dumplings

Tomato and Coconut soup with fish dumplingsI found this little ripper of a recipe in Cuisine magazine years ago.  I used to make this all the time when I was at uni and my (fellow foodie) buddy Ants would come over for dinner on a Sunday night. More often than not, I’d make this and we’d devour it. I also used to make this for the family I used to nanny for (I’d trek to work with my food processor tucked under one arm as they didn’t have one).  The kids used to polish this off.

I have also successfully made it substituting the fish with chicken (thighs or breasts, both work!). If you stay true to the recipe and use fish, be aware that the fish really takes hardly any time at all to cook. Note, you will need a food processor to make this. (more…)

Chorizo, chicken & bacon casserole

I’ve been trying to get a bit more organised with week night dinners lately and, at the same time, I’ve been getting creative with my slow cooker. The creativity for this dish started when I scored a six pack of chorizo sausages from Countdown on sale for $4 and figured I’d try my luck with them in the slow cooker. This was the result, purely trial and error – with, ha ha, no error. We’ll be having this warm and hearty dish again!

chorizo chicken and bacon slow cooker

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Slow cooker BBQ Pulled Pork with Kicked-up Slaw

We’ve been having a fair bit of pork in our house, largely as I’ve been doing a bit of dinner prep in the morning and engaging my slow cooker in an attempt to eradicate ‘6.00pm dinner madness’.   So, as a lover of my slow cooker, pulled pork, and anything with a BBQ sauce (coz everything is better with a sauce, as I’m sure Manu from MKR would agree) I’ve been trying to perfect a slow cooker pulled pork recipe, accompanied by a BBQ sauce that’s got no refined sugar (Sugar Free September last year has changed how I view sugar for life).

Anyhow, I’ve been faffing around in my kitchen trying to perfect this recipe to get it to the point where it’s blogworthy. TAAA DAAA:  My kitchen play time is done: This is a mighty fine dinner I’m rapt to be sharing with you!   Bonus too: The delicious BBQ sauce is ‘sugar free’, though I have used honey to sweeten it (I wonder if apple puree would work? I’ll try that next time).   The addition of kicked up slaw is a must in my opinion: I can’t get enough Broccoslaw (as mentioned in my recent March favourites blog post) or Sriracha Hot Sauce at the moment.

Give this a go – I reckon you’ll rate it as much as we do!

PS: Do I need to mention that a great mayonnaise to use in the Kicked Up Slaw is this one?

PPS: This meal is delicious with cauliflower mash, roast potatoes, or good old fashioned mashed spuds.  Knock yourself out.

slow cooker pulled pork with kicked up slaw

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Pesto Crusted Salmon

Pesto crusted salmonI’m a little bit excited about this recipe. Salmon is easily my fish of choice – I just can’t get enough of it. Add pesto into the same sentence as salmon and you’ve got me grinning like a Cheshire Cat.  Bonus too – this has sod all ingredients (I know my recipes can get a tad lengthy – so enjoy this!). This definitely falls in the ‘easy mid week’ dinner category – despite looking like it’s something you’d cook for a flash dinner party (that’s my kind of dinner!). (more…)

Speedy Spaghetti and Meatballs

spaghetti and meatballs recipeI put a call out on my Facebook page a while back to see what recipes you lovely blog readers would like to see: Speedy savoury dinners seemed to be a bit of a popular theme! Well, you said, I’m delivering.

This speedy meatball recipe totally fries my burger as I can get this dinner on the table within 25 minutes, while multi-tasking with those those tedious domestic activities like supervising homework and getting lunches ready for the following day.    This recipe is also really versatile: Haven’t got pesto? Add a sauce (sweet chilli sauce, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, hell, tomato sauce if you like). Don’t like/haven’t got cheese? Leave it out.  If you want to speed things up, use a pre-made pasta sauce (I make pasta sauce in bulk from scratch and keep it in the cupboard in sterilised jars…  Since Operation Sugar Reduction I find pre-made pasta sauces like Dolmio far too sweet).

Lastly, here’s a tip: Make double the meatball recipe (get the kids to help you with the rolling) and keep them to cook the next night. Stuff them into wholemeal pita breads, or roll them up in tortillas. Add salad and your favourite sauces/dressing (mayonnaise, pesto, hummus, sweet chilli sauce, you get the idea). This is another speedy, popular, tasty and healthy mid week dinner.

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