Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gestational Diabetes - Time to change!!!

So yes, I have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and my cooking habits take on a new turn. But it's a good way to experiment!!! Last night I made a bolognaise which was pretty good.

500g lean beef mince
1 onion
crushed garlic
1 or 2 carrots
tin of diced tomatos
1 red capsicum
1 cup red lentils (though any will do)
Tomato paste


In a pan put the carrot, onion, garlic and capsicum (all chopped finely, grate carrot)
Add meat, brown.
pour over tomatos and use the tin to add about 3/4 of the tin of water
Add in maybe a heaped table spoon of tomato paste or more if you wish
Add lentils
Season to taste
Allow to simmer for a good 45 minutes or so to allow the lentils to absorb the fluid. Mix occasionally and check the liquid levels. If it starts to look too thick before the lentils are soft, add a bit more water as you go.

I served this with wholemeal spiral pasta and a small amount of parmesan cheese. The lentils give it an interesting flavour and texture, but it's not bad and my 18 month old ate the whole lot (though he eats anything so that's not really much to go by).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Slow Cooker Meatballs

I have had my slow cooker since christmas but have not used it as much as I would like. So I have decided to make at least 1 meal per week. I don't have any recipes to follow but I thought I would give a tomato meatballs and pasta a go and it came out rather well I thought. I have a rather large slow cooker so this recipe is just a guide (as usual) and you can work out your needs from there.

- 1 onion, sliced and placed in the dish.
- About half a bag of frozen stir fry veggies but you can use any type, fresh or frozen.
- Meatballs - Made in my usual way with bread crumbs, eggs and seasoning (though I did not use onions in it this time due to the onions being in the dish already).
- I used 2 tins of diced tomato but you may only need one if it's a smaller cooker.
- I filled up about half the tin with hot water and added a cube or 2 of stock.
- Salt, pepper and seasoning to taste (a bay leaf would go well)
- I think I used around half a bag of spiral noodles.

Cook for around 3 hours on high or 5 - 6 on low I guess... Done!!! Entire meal in a pot!!

Afterward I decided that next time I will add some tomato paste as well just to thicken it up a bit. I served with parmesan cheese and it made quite a few meals.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chili Con Carne

Yesterday was the first time I have made this so it was a bit of an experiment. I admit I used a packet seasoning for this but as it's really just flour and seasoning with no added preservatives, colours or flavours I consider it more a time saver. Though if you want to use your own seasoning it's quite simple too, especially if you wanted to tone down the heat of it. Things like dried chillis, fresh chillis, coriander, cumin and cardemom are usually a good selection. Still for less than $1 for these saches at Aldi it's much less fiddly.

It was a simple enough recipe and has stretched quite a long way I must say I added a bit more than what the packet suggested which I found toned the heat of it down a bit as well as added more flavour and of course, healthier.

500g beef mince (I always use lean)
1 onion
1 capsicum
1 grated carrot
1 tin of diced, peeled tomatos
1 tin of red kidney beans washed, though I admit to using washed baked beans instead as I had this in my cupboard already
1 sachet of con carne seasoning.

Brown onions, capsicum and carrot for just a few minutes and add beef. Brown nicely, add tomatos, beans and then the seasoning and then let simmer for a good 10 minutes. Really the whole thing took me no more than 20 minutes including chopping.

For myself I had it on toast with some melted cheese. I gave it to my husband on top of nachos with cheese and sour cream. Today I had a small amount on some nachos and now I have stuffed the remainder into caneloni shells and topped with a simple white sauce and it's now baking and I still have enough for another piece of toast or a serve of nachos tomorrow. I made some extra pasta for my son which I will mix with a little left over white sauce and vegies and that makes a pretty reasonable dinner for him.

One thing I will try next time with this chilli though is something I caught on TV the other day. It was technically for a pasta sauce (bolognaise style) but to add more of an earthy flavour to it, more body and also more healthy good stuff you can add a few tablespoons of red lentils. You need to add some extra liquids to it as the lentils do absorb quite a bit but I plan to try it out next time I make a pasta sauce. I can't say I have ever cooked with lentils before but at times like these when we're trying out best to eat healthier I am happy to add what ever I can to make it just that bit better for me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chocolate Coconut Dream Bars

This recipe is the best for a really quick slice with minimal work. Most of these ingredients are a staple in my pantry these days even though they usually sit there for months. But occasionally you do get a call from someone saying they want to come around and if you're anything like me, you want something sweet to serve up. This is just the thing.

3/4 cup of butter, melted
1 packet of granita biscuits
2 cups dessicated coconut
1 packed of choc drops
1 tin condensed milk


Blend the biscuits to a pulp and mix through melted butter. Spread and press over a lined slice tin.

In a bowl mix coconut and choc drops together. Scoop onto the biscuit base and spread evenly.

Pour over the condensed milk and make sure it covers the top completely.

Bake in a preheated oven at approx 175 degrees celcius for around 25 minutes. Make sure it doesn't go too brown on top or bubble over the edges.

Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into small squares and serve.

Simple as that!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Another chicken recipe

If you haven't noticed by now, I enjoy chicken. Plus as I have said before, 1 chicken can stretch a long way so I use them for economical value as well.

I tried something a little different today and must say, I was very happy with how it came out. It's a sun dried tomato based chicken.

Not long ago we had a bbq and I bought a jar of sun dried tomatos. I absolutely love the ones from Aldi I must say, they are so soft and easy to eat. But in this case I did not use the tomatos but the oil they were stored in.

I used this as the base for my chicken skin seasoning. A few tablespoons of the oil from the jar, a bit of garlic oil, a grushed garlic clove, a good heaped tablestoon of curry powder, salt, pepper, mixed seasoning and that's done.

I know it sounds like quite a bit of curry but the one I use is quite mild and it does cook out a lot when roasting and it really balances out the sweetness of the tomato oil.

For the stuffing I used a sun dried tomato and fetta bread loaf I bought on the weekend at the markets. I used a slightly more american method of making the stuffing where I chopped it into small cubes rather than blending to a crumb. I used about 4 thick slices, perhaps a little more and about a cup of beef stock, though this can change depending on how much bread you use. Just pour it in and mix it around until the bread is nice and moist, having absorbed all the liquid. Add some salt and seasoning and half a finely chopped onion.

I mashed the bread up a bit with a fork so it wasn't too lumpy and then stuffed my chicken. Coat it with the oil mix you made previously and cook for the recommended time. I used my turbo cooker and it came out PERFECT. Really moist with a nice crunchy and very tasty skin.

Don't stuff the chicken too much as the stuffing does expand in cooking and the extra moisture goes into the chicken.

It really came out with a fabulous flavour and no doubt the fat drippings could make a lovely unique tasting gravy.

In other news, I bought myself a great little tool! I cook a lot with onions and bought an Alligator Slicer. Pop in half an onion, press down and you get beautifully fine little squares of onion. Also great for making what is sort of like a shoestring fry but a bit shorter. It was $35 from the King of Knives website and they had a free postage deal going at the time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


As per usual, cooking with chicken leftovers.

I did my chook in the flavourwave and it was spectacular. What was left on the bones I put in a pot with water (about half way up the carcas), vegies, a garlic clove, some salt, pepper, a chicken stock cube and some spiral paster.

I then just let it simmer until almost all the liquid was absorbed and it made a really nice pasta dish. The meat falls off the bones quite easily so just remove the carcas and put all the loose meat in with the pasta.

Made 2 days worth of meals for my household.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back again!!

I have returned!!!

Sorry it's been so long between entries but with christmas etc. I have not had much time for posting.

But now that the majority of the silly season is over, I am back to a more stable routine and cooking up my usual goodies.

Today I made an interesting chicken curry using the leftover from Christmas (and a chicken I cooked yesterday).

I tried an artichoke dip for Christmas which was not overly budget friendly but turned out quite nice. Perhaps a bit too cheesy, but not bad.

The artichoke dip recipe is as follows:

Artichoke Dip

· 8 oz artichoke hearts (approx. 1 tin)
· 8 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese (not Kraft) (around 400g)
· 8 oz whipped cream cheese - 250g light philly is what (I used)
· 8 oz mayonnaise - Can't recall sorry
· 2 tbsp Hungarian paprika (sweet variety)
Mix in large bowl. I don't recommend blending this in a food processor, as artichoke heart leaves are best in larger pieces.
Spread in baking pan, up to 3" deep.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbling with brown edges.
Cool and serve with sliced baguette, carrots and celery, or crackers.

The dip was nice and well received, but it makes a lot of dip. You could easily cut the recipe in half which would also make it less expensive.

For the chicken curry I simply lightly fried half an onion, added in my left over chicken from the roast yesterday and the left over dip! A little curry, some salt and pepper plus some water to thin out the sauce and it was done. A few minutes cooking time and a really interesting meal.

I served it with turkish dipping bread but it would be great with rice as well. You could use any other meat in this too. Left over pork or lamb roast perhaps. Some cooked sausages chopped into small pieces would also taste good.

A vegetarian version could involve a nice selection of vegies to make a vegetable curry. Definitely not something you'd do every day but if you happen to make the artichoke dip it's a good idea for later.