EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #9

Thanks so much to all of you who joined in last weeks inaugural
I was so excited that people actually linked up!

I’d like to tell you that all of my meal times are now easy peasy as well, now that I have so many fantastic recipes – & they are fantastic! But to be honest, I am still struggling. As of yesterday my husband has started a new 6 month rotation at work where he will be rostered on from 6am – 8pm every week day. That means “dinner, bath & bed” routine on my own 5 nights a week (and more when he works a weekend every 6 weeks). So I’m dragging a little in the enthusiasm for preparing dinner at the moment. Sometimes I do wish I had not decided to serve my children (somewhat) healthy homemade meals every night and to not use the prepackaged, highly processed stuff…

I have high hopes for some improvement though. Thanks to Kim from Cuggles!Creations I am now armed with some ideas to have a fortnightly menu rotation thing going on that also links up with the shopping list. I will try to make the meal earlier in the day and I will try to allow myself to acknowledge that I’m still a great Mum even if there are meals of omelettes, sausages in bread or a jar of pesto stirred through some pasta on more than the odd occasion.

Did manage this yummy easy pasta this week though…

My eldest said “Mum, is this easy?” When I replied “Yes”, she answered “Well, it’s a winner! You should definitely put that one on your blog!”
Now that put a smile on my face!


CREAMY CHICKEN, BACON & SPINACH PASTA

1 tbspn olive oil
175g bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup of thickened cream
(or light evaporated milk)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 small BBQ’d chook, meat shredded
100g baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
375g pasta of your choice

1. Heat oil in medium saucepan on high. Add bacon & onion and cook, stirring, for 4-5 mins or until onion is tender.
2. Add peas, cream & stock, then bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 mins or until the sauce is reduced and thickened slightly. Season to taste . Stir in the chicken, spinach & parmesan.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. When cooked, return pasta to pan.
4. Toss sauce through pasta and serve.

MY OWN ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS:
- light evaporated milk has much less fat. I use this as I always have tin in cupboard.
- I just boil a couple of chicken breasts & shred it. Healthier & more readily available in my freezer.
- I ran out of spinach (& my kids pick it out anyway), so none in this photo!


Now you can get in on it too! Take a photo of your dinner tonight,
or sometime this week & link your easy peasy recipe down below, so that we can all give it a go! Don’t forget to link back to here in your post so others can join in the fun and have access to some great new easy dinner recipes!
Alternatively, feel free to just link up an old post that you’ve written if it contains what we’re after!


* As there are so many great recipes being linked in now, I have decided to no longer include the guest recipe section.

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #8

Welcome to number 8 of my weekly posts – I’ve got some great recipes from you guys so far and I am looking forward to seeing more as this week we are introducing a linky for the very first time!

Today’s recipes both include rice. Something my kids are not huge fans of, unless in these formats! Go figure.


YUMMY & HEALTHY FRIED RICE

2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 chinese cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1 small red capsicum, diced
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tbs light soy sauce
2 tbs ketjap manis (indonesian sweet soy)
1/2 cup cashew nuts, lightly toasted
6 spring onions

Heat oil in large wok over high heat.
Add cabbage, carrot & capsicum & stirfry for 1-2 minutes.
Add soy, ketjap manis & cashews & half spring onions & toss to combine.
To serve , garnish with spring onions & extra ketjap manis.

My own changes:
I leave out the last 2 ingredients until after I have served the kids and then add some sweet chilli sauce as well.
- I also like to add peas & mini corn
(novelty with kids).
- I often substitute the cabbage for bean shoots (the kids think they are noodles).
- It is meant to have brown rice to make it super healthy, but I think it takes too long to cook & the kids don’t touch it, so I just use jasmati rice. If you are feeling super healthy – go for it!

This recipe was originally from Sanitarium – they have some fantastic recipes that are easy to follow, Aussie & all vegetarian!


GUEST RECIPE:
Thanks to Sonia from Lioness Lady

My mince porcipine recipe is simply:
500grams mince, 1/2 cup rice, grated onion, salt and pepper.
Mix together well and roll into small balls.
Pop into a casserole dish and pour over a tin of tomato soup and a tin of water.
Cover and cook for an hour or so.
Careful, they are super hot when they come out!

Exactly the kind of recipe we are after. Simple and easy peasy!

Now you can get in on it too!
For the very first time I have decided to give the old Linky a go! So today, or sometime this week, link your easy peasy recipe down below, so that we can all give it a go! Don’t forget to link back to here in your post so others can join in the fun and have access to some great new easy dinner recipes! Feel free to just link up an old post that you’ve written if it contains what we’re after!

The I HATE TO COOK Book

source

The forward reads:
(along with many other humorous words)

“This book is for those of us who want to fold our big dishwater hands around a dry Martini, instead of a wet flounder, come the end of a long day”.

Apparently it was first published in 1960 and was a runaway success.

For a full description read here and for a sneak peak of some recipes see here.

It’s worth a look!

This fits in perfectly in my search for easy dinners !

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #7

Got this quick & easy vegetarian curry recipe from my sister quite a few years ago.
Back when I, who hated cooking and had a VERY small repertoire, needed some easy recipes to pop on the table.
Being forced to cook a meal every night for kids has given me a whole new confidence in cooking – forced experience really.
My (slightly annoying) children don’t like the same meal to be repeated within a two week period, so I had to move beyond the tuna casserole (learned in Home Economics in year 10) & spag. bog. every few nights.
I, unfortunately, don’t actually make this one any more because none of my kids eat pumpkin any more. None of them. :( But they all love pumpkin soup – what is with that?!
PUMPKIN & LENTIL CURRY

1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 clove crushed garlic
1 cup pumpkin, diced
1 cup potato, diced
400g can lentils, undrained
400g can tomato pieces, undrained
2 tbspns chopped fresh coriander leaves

1. Heat oil in large frying pan. Add cumin, tumeric & garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in diced pumpkin, potato, lentils and tomato pieces, combining well. Cover & simmer over a low heat for 20 mins or until pumpkin & potato are cooked through.

3. Add coriander leaves and salt to taste and serve immediately.

GUEST RECIPE:
from Simoney at Great Fun 4 Kids

SPEEDY CHICKEN NACHOS

Ingredients:
500g chicken meat, diced
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can mild chilli beans
1 cup frozen corn

PLUS:
corn chips (large bag)
grated cheese
lite sour cream

Method:
brown the diced chicken in a little oil until cooked through
tip in can of beans
tip in can of soup
tip in cup of frozen corn

On individual plates arrange the corn chips and sprinkle grated cheese over. Microwave each plate on high for 30secs or until cheese is melted.
Spoon chilli mixture onto chips and top with a blob of sour cream.

Enjoy the fact that you have a delicious meal full of goodness ready in 10 minutes flat, fifteen tops.
(serves six)

Simoney’s blog is always full of honest, down to earth posts about herself & her family.
She also runs Kids Click which is well worth a look if you parent some budding photographers!


Next week I am hoping to set up a linky to this post, so think about those easy dinner recipes that you whip up every week, pop it on your blog and link it up next Tuesday!

For more easy peasy dinner winners click here.

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #6

This week’s Easy Peasy Dinner Winner is…
‘make your own’ pizzas!
You can make pizzas on anything really – I usually use tortillas. Wholemeal pita bread is a great healthy option, you can buy premade bases, make your own or just use a slice of bread or a bread roll! There is no limit to what can go on a pizza, but I usually just go the easy option using ingredients my kids like & that I have in the house.

Perfect meal to get the kids to help with and if there is a little bit of eating of the ingredients, and some mess, along the way so be it! There’s always the hope that if they’ve made it themselves, they’ll be more likely to eat it…..?

The following recipe is one that has been handed down from my Mum . It freezes very well and doubles very, very well as a pasta sauce. In a nice jar it is a great gift for a new Mum. Mini pizzas are a great party food too! Our Mum always made them on thick slices of a long stick of french bread for parties.

PIZZA SAUCE

1 cup sliced onion
1 tspn crushed garlic
3 dspns oil
1 tspn oregano (dried or fresh)
1/4 tspn basil (dried or fresh)
1 large tin tomatoes
1 1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn sugar
1/4 tspn black pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste (optional)
Heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until golden. Add other ingredients.

Simmer for 45 mins, stirring occasionally.

Sonia from Light Shade of Green has a delicious looking simple ratatouille pizza recipe that doesn’t use sauce, but involves making your own dough. I’d like to give that a go sometime too!

GUEST RECIPE:

KATE’S KEBABS
from Kate at Loose Change

“Winter (4) is quite adamant that she does not like meat. I try and tell her that sausages, ham & dim sims (three of her favorite foods) are all meat but I am fairly half-hearted as I feel they only just scrape in to the meat category. The only way I have ever convinced her to eat any kind of unprocessed meat is by putting it on a stick. She eats drumsticks and she will sometimes try skewers. I think they are a winner not only because of the visual appeal and novelty of being on a stick, but the meat is pre-cut so the child is not presented with a slab of red flesh, and it can be marinated to be sweeter and more tender for the childish palate.

I tried this recipe last night and it was yum. I often use pork, particularly scotch fillets, as they are hard to stuff up and are nearly always quite tender. Enjoy!”



STICKY PORK SKEWERS
(with Orange & Spinach Couscous)

2 tbspns olive oil

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 500g boneless pork rib steaks, cut into 2cm cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 oranges, peeled, segmented
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 50g baby spinach

  1. Combine oil, juice and sugar in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Add pork. Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  2. Thread pork onto skewers. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil over medium heat. Add skewers. Cook, turning occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes or until just cooked through.

  3. Meanwhile, place couscous in a heatproof bowl. Add boiling water. Stand, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until water has absorbed. Stir with a fork to separate grains. Stir in orange segments and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach. Toss to combine. Serve pork skewers with couscous mixture.

Thanks Kate!
I’m keen to give this a go, but I’ll have to wait until my husband is home to cook because I seem to have a knack for overcooking meat beyond comprehension no matter how hard I try!

If you have an easy dinner recipe, please email me or forward me the link to your blog, if you’ve already posted one and I’ll add it as a guest recipe (& try it at home) soon!


EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #5

After a very haphazard start, I am going to aim to post these Easy Peasy Dinner Winners (for want of a much better name…!) every Tuesday. This week we have a bit of a baked dinner theme.

ZUCCHINI SLICE

375g zucchini, grated
1 large onion, finely chopped or grated
3 rashers bacon (optional)
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup SR flour
1/2 cup oil
5 eggs
salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients. Put in greased dish & bake at 180C for 30-40 mins.

* I also add finely chopped capsicum, grated carrot & canned corn to mine to add some more vegies. Great for lunch boxes the next day too! It works really well in muffin form as well. Just put the ingredients in a muffin tray using some baking paper in each muffin hole.
GUEST RECIPE:
A dinner that Cooks Itself:
Baked Mushroom, Bacon & Spinach Risotto
from Kim of Cuggles! Creations
I LOVE any dinner that can be thrown in the oven and forgotten about until it’s time to eat. This recipe is a favourite in our house, there is a little bit of prep on the stove and then it all goes in the oven.


Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
300g button mushrooms, roughly chopped
4 rashers bacon, rind removed, roughly chopped
1.5 cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock
2 big handfuls of spinach leaves
1 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tablespoons butter
sea salt and cracked black pepper

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add garlic, mushrooms and bacon and cook for 5 minutes/ until browned.
Place in a ovenproof dish with the rice and stock, stir to combine. Cover with lid/ aluminum foil
Bake for 40 minutes or until most of the stock is absorbed and rice is al dente.
Stir through the spinach, parmesan, butter, salt and pepper.


Be sure to check out Kim’s ‘tips to streamline’ the above recipe and
while you’re there, check out her Mum’s easy recipe for Chowmein also. It looks just like the one my Mum used to make when we were young. Thanks Kim!

If you’ve got an easy peasy recipe – let me know and I’ll post it as a guest recipe! No recipe is too easy!
Yes Louise, even if it is a can of flavoured tuna stirred through some pasta with a bit of cheese sprinkled on top – it is perfect and one that we can all certainly use!

P.S. Just as I decide to have my regular easy peasy dinner winner post every Tuesday, I discover the Tasty Tuesdays bloghop where people post their recipes every Tuesday. Not all easy peasy, but they all look yummy. I’ll be linking up there each week too.


EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #4


This week’s recipe is a similar concept to the roast lemon chicken that I love to do and can also be a super easy, yet an impressive enough looking meal for guests. We like those.

FRENCH STYLE ROASTED COD
source – very old delicious magazine
450g potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 garlic bulb
4 roma tomatoes
4 rosemary sprigs
3 tbs olive oil
4 x 150g thick boneless cod fillets
(or any soft fish)
4 tbs white wine
Salt & Pepper
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves to Garnish

Preheat oven to 220C.
Cook potato in large pan of boiling water for 10 mins until almost tender & starting to crumble slightly around edges.
Drain potato well and transfer to large roasting dish.
Break garlic bulb & nestle between potatoes.
Roughly chop tomatoes & scatter over the top with the rosemary. Season generously, then drizzle over 2 tbspns of the olive oil. Roast for 15 mins.
Add the cod fillets to the pan, allowing them to rest on top of the vegies. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top, season the fish & cook for 5 mins. Splash in the wine & cook for a further 5
mins until the fish is just cooked.
Tear over the basil leaves & serve straight from the pan.

GUEST RECIPE:

THE MANY FACES OF BOLOGNAISE
from Sonia at Light Shade of Green.

My bolognaise is not runny, so my meat sauce lends itself to many things. My bolognaise also hides many vegies including diced carrot, celery, onion and grated zucchini (remember to squeeze the excess liquid before adding the grated zucchini).

I use the bolognaise with:


- Baked potatoes. Bake whole potatoes, cut open and spoon in bolognaise. Add corn, shredded cheese and light sour cream. When I have it, I like to add coleslaw as well.

- Roast potatoes. Cut potatoes into large wedges. Toss with olive oil, salt, 1 teaspoon mild paprika and half teaspoon ground tumeric.

- Pasta of course. Sometimes, I make baked pasta which entails cooking the pasta only halfway then putting the pasta into a large baking dish, toss through the bolognaise and mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

- A cheat’s shepherd’s pie. Cook and mash potato. Spoon bolognaise into individual ramekins, spoon a layer of mash on top and sprinkle with grated cheese. Grill or bake until cheese is melted through.


… or you could always wrap it in pastry… Brilliant ideas – thanks so much!

OTHER IDEAS I’VE FOUND…

*Sanitarium sends weekly recipe emails with great meal ideas that are always super healthy. Check out healthy recipe ideas for kids on their website, as well as other great dinner recipes on their website. The recipes even have a difficulty scale and tells you how long it takes to prepare and cook each meal.

*This is one of my sons favourite books and it struck me that it might be a nice subliminal (or more deliberate) tool for a fussy-eating, dinosaur-loving child.

I’d love to know your quick, easy regular “go-to” meals. No need for anything fancy. Stuff we can all do and has worked for you & your family. Email me or write your recipe or link in the comments section below and I’ll add your recipe as a guest recipe next week. We’ve had some great ones so far – thanks!



P.S. I’m loving this food shaping idea from Kate over at Loose Change. Sometimes it is just all about presentation – I am definitely going to give this a go!

AT MY HOUSE…

I am breaking the rules and entering not one but TWO times in Lou’s At my House! Mainly because my husband is home today so I have more time to indulge – a rarity in itself – and because she broke the rules on my blog ;-).

Doing a little baking for my monthly craft night on tonight. I never really actually have time for baking, but I make time for it because I enjoy it – it is an expression of creativity that I can do with kids (albeit a little slower) and gives me a sense of satisfaction quite different to that of having a clean house (the other option for the use of my time today). The washing remains unfolded, etc, etc. but I think it’s become important as I try and bring myself back.

Something else that gives me a huge sense of satisfaction
(and I need those moments to save my sanity amongst the mundane, repetitive tasks of motherhood)
is my vege garden (another kid friendly pastime) and nothing makes me more proud at the moment than baking using ingredients I have grown in my very own garden! In this case eggs, lemons and rhubarb.


A very, very delicious recipe, that I was given by my wonderful foodie friend Kate, containing sour cream, lemon rind and salt….. intrigued?

RHUBARB & CINNAMON CAKE

60g butter
380g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
300g plain flour
250ml sour cream
1 tspn bicarb soda
1 tspn salt
1 tspn cinnamon
500g rhubarb (sliced into 2cm pieces)
grated lemon rind

topping :
80g dark brown sugar
1 tspn cinnamon

1. beat butter with brown sugar
2. add eggs & vanilla.
3. stir in sifted flour, bicarb soda, salt & cinnamon.
4. add rhubarb, lemon rind & sour cream.
5. stir with wooden spoon.
6. grease & line a round 22cm cake tin.
7. pour in mixture & sprinkle with topping.
8. Bake in preheated oven (180c) for 1 – 1&1/4 hours.


I have just found out that a lovely friend has started a new blog! Apart from the fact that she has written some very touching things about me, her blog is just gorgeous!! Fun, honest, down to earth, beautifully written and thought provoking. I am very much looking forward to being inspired by it on a regular basis and I think you will too, why not head on over to Loose Change


EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #3

Please do not think that you need to be some perfect 1950′s housewife to be cooking these meals, in fact, quite the opposite! I just liked the picture. This weeks recipes are, as per usual, easy peasy! I got this one from adelicious magazine years ago and often pull it out when I can’t be bothered putting too much effort into dinner, but the husband is always impressed. It’s all about presentation, baby – a sprig of parsley and a shave of parmesan can go a long way ;-)
TOMATO & OLIVE SPAGHETTINI

500g pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
250g black olives
2 tbs pesto or 1 tbs baby capers or 2 tbs olive paste (optional)
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
freshly grated parmesan.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large frypan over low heat, then add garlic & cook gently for
about a minute or until fragrant. Add the tomato & olives, increase heat to medium, season to taste & cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.
Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce, then add any of the optional ingredients (I use pesto & I use more than 2tbs sometimes), parsley & parmesan.


GUEST RECIPE:

BOUNTIFUL MEATBALLS
from Tracee at Bountifully.

Get a simple tomato sauce going by chopping an onion and garlic, frying gently then adding 600ml passata (or chopped tinned tomatoes if that is all you have), finely chopped carrot (I do mine in the food processor) and a good splog of white wine. Bring to a gentle simmer and get on with the meat balls.

Grab about 400 g each of pork and veal mince (I make my own veal mince from veal schnitzel as it is cheaper and less fatty), mix with about a cup full of fresh bread crumbs, a quarter cup of grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, whatever herbs you have about (I used oregano and parsely tonight), and an egg. Mush it all up together with your hands, then roll into balls and plop into your simmering sauce. Allow it to all simmer together for about 15 min or so, or until the meat balls are cooked through. You can serve them up with pasta, couscous (nice with a bit of mint tossed through) or Italian bread. This is one of my favorite fugal food recipes!



For some great meal ideas for fussy eaters check out Sonia’s post at Light Shade of Green.

I’ll need a guest recipe for next week, so if you’ve got one – send it this way!

DIY BUBBLES

What could be better on the first day of the school holidays than to still be in our pyjamas at 10am?

The kids are currently out in the back yard blowing bubbles.


DIY BUBBLE MIXTURE

3 parts dishwashing liquid
(Morning Fresh works well)
7 parts hot water
1 part glycerine

Stir thoroughly.
(without making it too frothy)

N.B. - You may need to experiment a little bit with the amount of detergent.
- It works better if you make it the day before or even a week before!
– Glycerine can be found at the supermarket (in the medicine section).

Tips:
- Apparently bubbles don’t like dry weather so they work better at night, in the shade or in rainy weather.
- You don’t need store bought bubble wands, use things from your kitchen drawers, twist some pipecleaners or a coathanger.

I have 3 buckets (from the kids sandpit) permanently sitting on our back windowsill.
One filled with bubble wands & a bottle of mixture.
One filled with sidewalk chalk.
One filled with old paint brushes for ‘water painting’ on hot days.


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