EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #15

CHICKEN BASIL & LEMON PASTA

250g short pasta
2 small chicken breasts
200ml creme fraiche or mascarpone
1/3 cup shredded basil, plus extra leaves to serve
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
finely grated rind & juice of 1 lemon
200g of one or mixture of broccoli, peas or green beans, trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces & blanched.

1. Cook pasta in large saucepan. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, poach the chicken fillets in a medium saucepan of simmering water for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Drain & set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche, shredded basil, parmesan and lemon rind & juice. Season to taste.
4. Combine the pasta, sliced chicken, vegetables & basil sauce in a large bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with extra basil to serve.
If the almost 2 year old steals more than a few frozen peas during the preparation, all the better.

but if the 3 year old decides to take some funny photos with his Mum pretending to eat straight from the extra large bowl Mum has decided to place ALL of the pasta in so that everyone can serve themselves…….

beware of the ensuing small tantrum because he thinks the giant bowl of pasta is all for himself and the throwing of his own small plastic bowl of pasta all over the floor.
(why do my meals always involve so much mess!)

We compromised with a bigger than usual adult sized bowl on a special table mat designed by his little sister (who of course then needed her own special big adult sized bowl too)…. oh the joys. *

Now it’s your turn!
Share your easy peasy dinner winner down below!
I know you’ve got them – if you forgot to take a photo, just take one of the ingredients, the cookbook or find one on the web. Not sure how many more weeks of recipes I have in me… so now is your time!



* I must add that I am one who likes to stand my ground when necessary, but in this instance it really was not worth it – “Choose your battles” is my common mantra – there are far too many other bigger battles that I fight throughout the rest of the day and the size of the pasta bowl was certainly not going to be one of them! Not today when we were all sick and not feeling our best.

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #13

As embarrassing as this may sound, as it’s not the most gourmet of meals, this is such a favourite of mine that before moving in with my husband one of my previous housemates put their hand on his shoulder and said in the most serious of voices –
“Mate, I hope you like tuna casserole.”
It turned out that he didn’t like tuna casserole!!
What was I to do??
Would this relationship actually work after all??

Thankfully, after going back to the source of the recipe, the good old ‘Cookery the Australian Way‘ from High School Home Economics class, I discovered that instead of just stirring the sauce through the pasta, if you alternated the layers of sauce and pasta and then sprinkled it with some breadcrumbs, (and served it with a little parsley sprig & lemon wedge – he’s sucked in by the presentation that man) that it made all the difference – he LOVED it and we are still happily married almost 11 years later!
I will be forever grateful that my children like this meal also as they may just have been disowned and put out for adoption if they didn’t. What’s not to love?

There are many ways to make tuna casserole, but quite frankly, mine is the best.
TUNA & NOODLE CASSEROLE
(source – adapted slightly by me)

425g can tuna
250ml cheese sauce (see below)
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 tspns lemon juice
1 cup cooked noodles
1 cup frozen peas
440g can pineapple pieces
1 tablespoon fresh breadcrumbs

1. Set oven at 190C. Brush or spray casserole with oil (I actually don’t).
2. Make cheese sauce (see below).
3. Combine tuna, cheese sauce, pineapple, peas, chopped parsley & lemon juice (I add a bit of pepper here too).
4. Place noodles and fish mixture in layers in the casserole.
5. Top with breadcrumbs, spray with oil. Bake at 190C for 30 mins.
6. Garnish with lemon & parsley.

CHEESE SAUCE:
1. Melt 1 tbs butter in saucepan & remove from heat.
2. Add 1 1/2 tbs flour & stir with wooden spoon.
3. Cook slowly for 30 secs, stirring continuously. Remove from heat.
4. Gradually add 1 cup milk and stir until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons of grated cheese & a dash of pepper.
5. Return to heat & stir until boiling.
6. Reduce heat & stir for 1 min.

It can be made in 20 mins flat to get it on the table, unless you do the full bake version…. which for the sake of marital harmony, we now do!

Now it’s your turn!
Do you have an easy peasy meal to share? We’d all love to know it!

AT MY HOUSE…


















Not much time to write a post today, but I always like to play along with Lou’s ‘At my house on a Monday, so I thought I’d leave you with some pictures of my house, well, my garden. My favourite part of this house would have to be the fruit trees! These are the ones that I see as I pull into the driveway each day. My citrus trees. Mandarines, oranges & lemons. There is also a small lime tree around the back. The oranges & (tiny) mandarines are just starting to be edible now, which is just perfect as our fruit bowl seems to empty itself far quicker than I can keep up with these days! Should probably juice some for the eldest who is home from school sick today.
Last Christmas (as they are still ripe then) I had visions of dried or candied oranges dipped in dark chocolate as gifts for people, maybe I’ll get around to it this year…. My husband did have a go at making marmalade last year…. didn’t quite work out as planned, but worth another crack at it this year I’d say …

Any orange recipes, or of course lemon recipes, would be very very welcome if you have any!

Come back tomorrow for my weekly easy peasy dinner winners & you might just see oranges feature in one of the meals.

To see what is going on at other houses, head on over to Lou’s house!

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


AT MY HOUSE…



Recovering at my house today, after a big day at the market yesterday. Unpacking the car from yesterday and dealing with the large pile of dirty clothes, dishes, etc. etc. that did not get done over the weekend. A couple of days off the washing and it just seems overwhelming!

We had a wonderful day yesterday at a gorgeous little community market at the back of a friends house. 10 stall holders, soup, tea & sausages available for a gold coin donation with all money raised for the day going to a charity. This was the second one they had organised and they did a wonderful job! Really well attended by so many wonderful friends – thanks for your support!

Lou & I had stalls next to each other and it was a fun day! I don’t normally sell stuff at markets, this was a one off, but I really loved it! Such a great, relaxed, community vibe and I really enjoyed being a part of it.

myself and Lou behind our stalls.
You might recognise the soups, alfalfa kits, aloe vera & lemons as well as fresh herbs & eggs from our garden, handmade cards, homemade muesli, bundles of material scraps & my dress-up magnetic dolls.

My 6 year old helper, who had picked all the lemons, and convinced me to let her have the profit from them!

Why not play along with Lou & let us know what is happening at your house today?

THEY CALL ME MELLOW YELLOW

Hello Owl’s ‘My Place & Yours’ theme this week is YELLOW.
In an effort to keep the kids occupied tonight while I cooked dinner I sent them off on a ‘mission’ to find as many yellow things as they could around the house and put them on the table. This is a small corner of what they came up with…

I could not post about the colour yellow without including our current favourite friend Tomy!


Interestingly enough, our dinner tonight was also bright yellow and no, it did not involve lemons.

(I’ll send a ‘yellow’ prize to anyone who can guess what our yellow dinner was – don’t forget to leave an email address if you don’t have a blog).

Our bath for this evening might just have to be a yellow one too…..

THOSE LEMON RECIPES

Photo by Ben Dearley on taste.com.au

I have been meaning to post some more lemon recipes for a while.

I am by no means a good cook. In fact I made sure that I married someone who loved to cook. However, as he does not get home in time these days I am the chef in this house. Within that I have actually grown to quite enjoy it (although I could do with a night off every now and then….) So, the meals that I cook are super quick and easy as I really don’t have time to do anything fancy. These following 2 recipes are ones that each member of our family like – quite the feat in our house! Absolute winners in my opinion.


I would LOVE to know your top weeknight meals….. please! I am always keen to expand the repertoire.

Creative Space with a twist of lemon

My husband’s creative space is the kitchen.


As previously posted, we have given ourselves the challenge of trying to use as many lemons as possible from our over laden tree. My husband was quite creative over the weekend and offered the following:


Number one – Lemon Meringue Pie.


It is an absolute winner and so very simple and delicious. The recipe was given to me by my lovely friend Kate, where all my best recipes come from, and I hope that she won’t mind that I share it with you all now…..



LEMON MERINGUE PIE

1 tin condensed milk
½ cup lemon juice
3 egg yolks (lightly beaten)
3 egg whites
½ cup castor sugar
½ pkt marie biscuits (I use a whole packet coz I love a good thick base)
90g butter, melted (double if you use more biscuits)

1. Crush biscuits, add butter and press into pie dish. Chill.
2. Combine condensed milk, lemon juice and egg yolk. Mix and pour into base. Chill.
3. Beat egg whites, adding sugar gradually to make meringue. Place on top of other layers.
4. Bake in moderate oven for approx. 15 mins.


Number two – Limoncello.

He was actually given the ingredients and the recipe for this lovely Italian liqueur as a $10 kriskringle present one year, but didn’t end up making it. Finally, a few years later, he was determined to give it a go.

You can find the recipe for this Limoncello here - my absolute favourite recipe website.

To check out how amazingly creative other people have been this week, head on over to Kirsty’s blog.

AN ODE TO THE LEMON


We have lots of fruit trees on our little block and my favourite is our lemon tree. Apparently there are varieties of lemon trees that fruit a few times a year, but we sadly have the variety that happens only once a year. That much awaited time has come! It is a BUMPER harvest and I now must find many things to do with lemons as quickly as possible! I shall be sharing some of these with you in the weeks to come, but would also LOVE to hear your favorite things to do with lemons. The possibilities are endless no doubt!

My friend Kate (the knower of all ‘foodie’ things) has told me that you can actually freeze lemons whole. My Mum always squeezed the juice and froze it in ice blocks, which I have done also, but many of my recipes call for lemon zest, therefore freezing the lemon whole is something I shall be doing this year!

An Ode to the Lemon’ by Pablo Neruda has long been a favourite poem of mine. I first saw it written on a cafe chalkboard and have loved it ever since.
Ode To The Lemon
Pablo Neruda
From blossoms
released
by the moonlight,
from an
aroma of exasperated
love,
steeped in fragrance,
yellowness
drifted from the lemon tree,
and from its plantarium
lemons descended to the earth.
Tender yield!
The coasts,
the markets glowed
with light, with
unrefined gold;
we opened
two halves
of a miracle,
congealed acid
trickled
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
concentrated,
born of the cool, fresh
lemon,
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.
Knives
sliced a small
cathedral
in the lemon,
the concealed apse, opened,
revealed acid stained glass,
drops
oozed topaz,
altars,
cool architecture.
So, when you hold
the hemisphere
of a cut lemon
above your plate,
you spill
a universe of gold,
a
yellow goblet
of miracles,
a fragrant nipple
of the earth’s breast,
a ray of light that was made fruit,
the minute fire of a planet.

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