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Posts Tagged ‘meal planning’

You can feed a family of four a satisfying meal for $5 in less than 15 minutes. It’s not sexy, it’s not fancy and you may not want to serve it at a dinner party…but it is:

1. Healthy

2. Cheap

3. Filling

4. Quick to prepare.

5. Easy to conceal vegies.

5. Passes the trifecta baby/toddler/adult tastebud test.

Tuna Pasta is our ‘go-to’ meal. The quickest, easiest, mid-week meal in my cooking repertoire. It’s the meal I go to if I’m considering ordering take-away, as the ingredients are always in my pantry. Works just as well with any vegies!

Tuna Pasta

Ingredients

1 x 700g jar homebrand pasta sauce

1 x 400g tin homebrand diced tomatoes

1 x 185g tin homebrand tuna, drained

1 packet of homebrand thin spaghetti

1 brown onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small zucchini, grated or blitzed in food processor

1 small carrot, grated or blitzed in food processor

Cheese to serve

Instructions

1. Cook 3/4 packet of pasta in a large pot of boiling water.

2. Brown onion and garlic in a large saucepan.

3. Add sauce, diced tomatoes, vegies and tuna. Simmer while pasta cooks.

4. Serve with cheese.

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Warning: There is a confession at the end of this post.

I had never made a carrot cake up until recently. I always thought there was a token gesture of carrots in a carrot cake, but was amazed to discover that this cake has five whole carrots in it! That’s no token gesture…that’s dinner. This is the tastiest, most moist, addictively delicious cake I have ever made. It was so good I made a second one a few days later…which turned out just as great.
Here is the recipe, from Donna Hay’s website:

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  •  1¼ cups (220g) brown sugar
  •  ¾ cup (185ml) vegetable oil
  •  3 eggs
  •  1½ cups (225g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  •  1½ teaspoons baking powder
  •  1 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  ½ teaspoon ground ginger (see my confession below)
  •  2½ cups grated carrot (about 5 carrots)
  •  ½ cup (60g) chopped pecan nuts (I didn’t include these)
  •  ½ cup (80g) sultanas (I didn’t include these)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  •  250g cream cheese, softened
  •  ⅓ cup (110g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
  •  1½ tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

Place the sugar and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2–3 minutes.

Add the eggs gradually and beat well.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger over the sugar mixture.

Add the carrot, pecans and sultanas and mix until just combined.

Pour into a greased 22cm-round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 55–60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Cool in tin.

For the cream cheese frosting, process the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth.

Add the icing sugar and lemon juice and process until smooth.

Spread frosting on the cooled cake.

Serves 8.

Confession time

Now…cough…this is the part of the post where I must make a small confession. When I made this cake, I kinda made a little mistake. I used ground coriander instead of ground ginger. Both times. The two jars looked so similar except that a few days later I realised the ground ginger still had its seal on it! Now it may sound crazy…but this was cake was un-freaking-believable with ground coriander. And hopefully there is some foodie out there that can explain to me why these flavours worked so well. So while I can completely vouch for this cake with ground coriander…I have yet to make it with ground ginger.

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I have a fussy toddler with a very discerning vegie-detecting palette. Consequently I’ve become quite skilled at hiding vegetables in his meals.  These homemade sausage rolls have lots of vegies in them and are so delicious that they feel like a naughty treat.  The mixture freezes beautifully, so it’s easy to wrap any leftovers and have an emergency stash in the freezer.

Healthy Sausage Rolls

Ingredients

500g lean, premium or heart smart beef mince
Puff pastry sheets (I use 25% reduced fat Pampas puff pastry. As a guide, one sheet makes 6-8 small sausage rolls.)
1 brown onion, finely diced
A mix of fresh vegetables (ie 1 carrot, 1 zucchini, 1 capsicum and a few green beans)
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
Herbs and seasoning (I use oregano, salt and pepper)
1 egg (to glaze the puff pastry)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Lay out several sheets of puff pastry to defrost on the benchtop, then cut in half.
  3. Cut all vegetables into small pieces then blitz in the food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate and/or finely dice the vegies).
  4. Place beef mince, bread crumbs, onion, diced vegies, tomato sauce and seasoning into a bowl and mix thoroughly (using your hands is best!)
  5. Shape the mince mixture into a long tube shape and place along the centre of the puff pastry.  Fold puff pastry over so the mince mixture is completely covered.
  6. Beat egg lightly then brush over the top of the puff pastry.
  7. Cut the sausage roll tubes into desired size and place onto an oven tray that is lined with baking paper.
  8. Bake in oven for approximately 20 – 30 minutes or until sausage rolls are golden brown.
  9. Roll any leftover mince mixture into long tube shapes and wrap individually in gladwrap to freeze.  This will make defrosting and preparing your sausage rolls next time quick and easy.

Enjoy!

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