Easy Peasy Potato Salad

When I was a uni student and flatting with mates, whenever one was required to bring a salad or a dessert to a BBQ, I had my two standard dishes that I would bring.  Every single time.  Most likely because I had no idea how to do anything more elaborate and complicated and that these dishes required no effort whatsoever.

Those dishes were Chocolate Ripple Cake and this Cheat’s Potato Salad.

I got this recipe from a dear friend of my mothers who always makes the best salads!  I have been making it for almost twenty years and I still bring it to almost every BBQ that I attend and it’s always a winner! The beginning of daylight savings here in Victoria seems to herald in the BBQ season so I dare say it’ll be getting a good run in the coming months.

Lee-Ann’s Cheats Potato Salad

chat/small/mini potatoes
mayonnaise
bacon pieces, fried 
spring onions, thinly sliced

Boil the potatoes on the stove top in boiling water until the potatoes are cooked.  Let it cool down a little before popping them in a bowl and spooning mayo over the top.  If the potatoes are still too hot, the mayo goes a little yellow and it won’t stay on the top of the spuds.  Sprinkle the bacon and spring onion over the top of the mayo and you’re done.  

No need to put in the amounts, because it really doesn’t matter.  It’s all personal preference really.  I will say however that I have always used Kraft mayo because it has such a great tang, but you can use whatever mayo you like!



You can find plenty more simple recipes over here where I’m building a collection of 
my favourite easy peasy recipes.  

Do you have a staple food that you always bring to parties?

Is there a dish that you’ve been making forever that you’ll never get tired of?



EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS … & lunchbox dilemmas

During a conversation about lunchboxes and Goose’s ‘like it one day, but not the next’ approach to school lunches, it was realised that Mr FGB and I are both actually the same as her when it comes to eating! If a meal is served up twice in a fortnight it just feels a little boring…we are not so enthusiastic. We need a bit of variety. While Mr FGB and I are a little more grown up and will eat it anyway (and Goose needs to suck it up girlfriend and do the same) I feel that it may be time to broaden and expand the mealtime repertoire.

I found this hard for most of last year and just too much pressure as quite frankly, if you’re on your own with three kids, you’re exhausted, your brain feels like mush and you’re trying to do a thousand other things at the same time it is much easier and peasier to prepare something you’ve done many times before and just go on autopilot. Preparing something they might like, as opposed to something you know every one does like, has much more appeal! Now that Mr FGB is around a little more I might be able to manage one new recipe a week. That’s the aim anyway.

With the abundance of basil in our garden, I was inspired this week to make homemade pesto. Super easy and so delicious. Head over to Alice Becomes for simple instructions on how to make your own pesto and ideas on how to use it in different meals. I can still smell the basil in the kitchen as I type and the thrill of using lemons and basil from your own garden is priceless.

I have a few more easy meal posts in the pipeline, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you’re after easy dinner inspiration, and you’ve checked out all of mine, a blog that I like to frequent is Crumbs – they even list recipes by the time it takes to make them. Check out their pesto with a difference in the 5 minute recipe section.

If you’ve written a post about an easy peasy recipe – leave a link in the comments.
How often do you try new recipes?
Do you have any ideas for healthy lunchbox sandwich alternatives?
All suggestions gratefully received!


Easy Truffles

I’ve been making these deliciously simple truffles* since my childhood. They are probably the easiest recipe that I have ever put on this blog. They don’t need any baking and it’s fun for the kids to help out with. Careful though as they’re very morish…
 
 
EASY TRUFFLES
 
1 pkt marie biscuits, crushed
1 tin condensed milk
1 cup coconut
2 tbspns cocoa
(1/2 cup coconut extra)
 
Mix dry ingredients, add condensed milk and mix well. Roll into balls and roll in extra coconut.
 
 
I was going to link up this post with the lovely Lucy, The Kitchen Maid. Sadly, no more linky :( but I’d highly recommend that you do go and look at her blog… She has such a way with words and some truly great recipes. I have bookmarked too many to count!
 

 
* or rumballs as we used to call them. They don’t have any rum….but you could always add some!

GENTLEMAN’S RELISH

A while ago I purchased a tiny jar of homemade ‘Gentleman’s Relish’ for Mr FGB at my friend’s regular little backyard market made by my sister’s friend Kat. The ingredients of butter, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and anchovies had me intrigued and I knew it was the perfect gift for a man who fancy’s himself as a bit of a gentleman.*

It is a form of anchovy paste which is eaten on nice warm toast.

After polishing the whole jar off in about 5 minutes flat, he was practically licking the inside of the small jar when he said “WHAT was THAT…and where can I get some in larger quantities!?!”

As we happened to have a jar of anchovies in the cupboard (doesn’t everyone?!), he set about experimenting and making up some of his own. We discovered later that this is the recipe that she used.**

GENTLEMAN’S RELISH

  • 150 g butter
  • a few pinches cayenne pepper
  • a few pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tin/jar anchovy fillets, drained and mashed roughly

1. Put the butter, cayenne pepper and a little grated nutmeg into a medium-sized pan and melt over a gentle heat.


2. Add the anchovies and stir for a couple of minutes until they have melted, but don’t let the mixture boil.

3. Pour the relish into a ramekin. Put in the fridge to set.


4. Serve spread thinly on nice warm toast.

Have you heard of something like this before? Could it be the perfect, quick and easy handmade pressie for the gentleman in your life this Valentine’s Day? …… although on second thoughts maybe fish breath is not quite what you’d be after….. it is apparently quite delicious though!


* And rightly so!
** Mr FGB just blended the ingredients together with electric beaters to get the look you see in the photo instead of melting the butter. We’ll melt the butter next time.

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #19


I have been finding it even harder than usual to find time to blog, so I actually don’t have a recipe for you all this week. Photos of meal times just didn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t do with some more from you all!

If you haven’t already, I recommend you go and have a look at some of the recipes from previous weeks that people have linked in. There are some great recipes. I am building my repertoire constantly, thanks to you generous people! I haven’t tried them all, but I’m on my way! Last week, we made this roast chicken and we’ll definitely be repeating that one – easy and delicious!

Link in below with your easy peasy dinner winners! Please! I’m always desperate for inspiration. Don’t forget to link your post back to here so that others can join in the fun!

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #17


ORIENTAL BURGERS
adapted from here.

1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbspns milk
1 tbspn soy sauce
1 tspn garlic powder
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 small can corn kernels
1/4 cup diced capsicum
1/4 cup finely chopped spring onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
500g chicken or turkey mince
bottled plum sauce to serve

Mix together all ingredients. Shape into patties and roll in breadcrumbs. Place in oil in frying pan until cooked.


Addition 10/11: We have been wrapping the burger in iceberg lettuce which has been a big hit with everyone.  If there are any leftovers Goose takes them to school (with lettuce too) for lunch the next day!

You could serve it in some bread or a roll with salad or just with a side salad. Yummy either way. Or you could go the extra mile…

This fun plate, that Bear got for his birthday, has provided endless entertainment most nights… this was my husband’s effort tonight.

Now it’s your turn!
Link up those easy peasy recipes that you’ve been meaning to link up for weeks. You’ve got all week.

P.S. Next few weeks I promise some vegetarian recipes, as I know a lot of readers of this blog are vegetarian.

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #16


These days if we ever have anyone over for dinner (sadly not as often as we used to) I do a roast lamb. Mainly because it is the easiest meal I can think of that’s still impressive. Better than a date with Tom Cruise after all!*

There are many other fancy ways of doing roasts but this is the most simple. Put your roast (rolled, leg, whatever) in a moderate oven (180C) for about an hour, depending on the size of your roast. The general rule of thumb is it takes about 30 mins per 500g of lamb or beef, chicken 25 mins per 500g and 45 mins per 500g for pork. Chuck some chopped vegies in at the same time with a bit of oil and salt and they’ll take the same amount of time.

If you are not a carnivore, my Mum makes the best roast vegetable salads. Here is one of her many recipes….

ROAST VEGETABLE SALAD

Put the following vegies in a slow oven (150C) for 20 mins.

3 medium potatoes
1/4 butternut pumpkin (cut in 2cm cubes)
1 small sweet potato (cut 2cm cubes)
6 halved Roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon (sea salt)
3 tbs olive oil.

Then add, for another 20 mins:

3 red capsicums (grilled & peeled)
1 corn cob (kernels only)
2 red onions (chopped into small pieces)
2 sprigs of rosemary (leaves only)
1 tspn sea salt
1/2 tbs olive oil

Now it’s your turn…. what easy meals are you cooking up? Link in below and share!
Special mention to Cat for last weeks chicken & apple meatballs link in at just the right time – saved the day!

*Not sure if that is quite the call that it used to be……

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #10

As promised, this weeks’ easy peasy dinner winner is from my beloved ‘Nursing Mothers Cookbook’ circa. 1975.

The subtitle says it all – Recipes for Busy Mothers.

My copy was a gift from my mother when I left the nest at the tender age of 18. I have spoken to many others who were gifted the same book for a similar departure. The recipes that I use are easy for me to find as they are covered in the splatters and spills of regular usage.

This weeks’ recipe is a little like Lou’s delicious salmon in foil recipe that she linked in a couple of weeks ago.
STEAK IN FOIL

500g rump or oyster blade steak
butter
1 packet brown onion sauce mix
1 tablespoon each chopped onion & green pepper
125g mushrooms, chopped
salt & pepper

Grease foil with butter. Sprinkle half the mix over. Place the steaks on foil. Chop green pepper & onion & put on top. Add mushrooms & rest of sauce mix. Put dob of butter on each steak. Sprinkle with pepper & salt. Fold up into parcel & cook in moderate oven for approx. 40 mins.

The recipe must have been adapted by my mother as her recipe was even more simple:

some oyster blade steaks
cover with a couple of tbspns of ‘mushrooms in butter sauce’ (see photo)
sprinkle with some brown onion sauce mix &
1 onion, diced.

Wrap in foil.

Bake at 180C for approx. 40 mins.

I wrap each steak in it’s own individual parcel, but you could do them all in one.
Meat comes out beautifully tender (if not overcooked) and is great served with mashed potatoes & vegies.
I found a similar recipe in this funny, yet perfect book &
Mum’s version may just fit into the ever popular 4 ingredients cookbook too!

And just when you thought you’d seen the end of this ‘farm’ party…this book even comes in handy at party time!

Apart from being the source of the shortbreads and mini egg & bacon pies (that we’ve had at every party since I was born!)….

…for the first time I tried the classic and all time favourite ‘Simplicity Chocolate Cake’ from the same book!
My mother-in-law has used this recipe for every birthday in her family for the last 35 years!
True to it’s name – it is very simple.

As a side, and on the topic of easy….this year, after nabbing the idea from one of Goose’s friends birthdays, instead of using icing, I just whipped some cream with a little bit of castor sugar and a dash of green food colouring. Much quicker and easier to ‘frost’ and much easier to eat!

I have a ridiculous amount of reasons to bake this week. Both Goose’s school and our church are being polling booths for this weekend’s election and have asked for baked goods to sell at their obligatory cake stalls and sausage sizzles. A cake for a family function on the weekend and I also need to produce something celebratory for Bear’s birthday at playgroup and creche at ‘craft’ this week so I think this ‘simplicity chocolate cake’ recipe page may just get covered with the spills of regular usage also. I’ll post this simple recipe in a day or so when I get a chance, so stay tuned.

Anyway, off my little soap box.
No, I was not paid by NMAA to advertise their book.
(Or the Australian Breastfeeding Association as it is now known).
It’s just that it did seem to fit so well into the easy peasy theme ….
I’m sure some of you have a copy of this book – surely! If you don’t it is actually still in print (now that says a lot!) and you can buy it here. Or ask your Mum, she may just have one on the shelf that you can borrow.

Now it’s your turn!
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! Thanks to all those who have posted in the last few weeks. Go and check them out if you haven’t – there are some real winners there!

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 #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.

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