Tag Archives: quick dinners

November cook-a-long: recipe reveal

Hello friends!

Here is the recipe you have all been waiting for – the November cook-a-long is here!

This time of year is just busy, busy, busy.  With Christmas just around the corner, the last few weeks of school playing out and the silly season already upon us, I am really looking forward to a couple of quiet weeks.

The recipe this month is for Chilli beef on avocado. Given most of us are time poor (and generally just poor!) this time of year, I have chosen something that is quick, easy and cheap to make. Not only that, I highly recommend that you double the recipe and freeze half. That way you will have another dinner sitting in your freezer over Christmas for one of those nights when you don’t feel like cooking and your kids still insist on eating dinner!

The full recipe and shopping list for the November cook-a-long can be found here.

Don’t forget to mark Wednesday 20 November in your calendar and invite your friends.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo of your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

Happy cooking,

X Bree

 

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Celebrating 100 recipes!

Pop the champagne cork! I’ve cooked 100 recipes!

Actually, I’ve officially cooked 107 recipes (if you count tonight’s dinner).

The 100th happened a few weeks ago, on the second of May, and honestly, I didn’t even realise until just a few days ago. Things have been a bit crazy lately.

So who wants to know what the 100th recipe was?

It was Roast lemon chicken with Sicilian olives, the cover recipe from May 2008.

I’ve made it before, back in May 2008 probably. It was yummy then and it was still yummy now.

There is something about the smell and taste of slow-cooked onions. Add thyme to the equation and I am in heaven.

Keeping with this month’s Italian theme, I served the roast lemon chicken on spaghetti which had been lightly tossed in butter. A little bit extravagant, but indeed delicious.

If there is one piece of advice I can give you when making this recipe, it’s make double. You’re gonna want to eat this meal again!

Enjoy!

X Bree

IMG_20130503_211400

Roast lemon chicken with Sicilian olives 

Serves 4

delicious. magazine, (May 2008, p. 125) – Cover recipe

1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
4 large onions, halved, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 heaped tbs fresh thyme leaves, plus 8 small thyme sprigs
8 skinless chicken thigh cutlets
Plain flour, to dust
1 – 2 lemons, scrubbed, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 1/2 cups (375ml) chicken stock
1 tbs chopped preserved lemon rind* (white pith and flesh discarded), optional
24 Sicilian olives or other large green olives

Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a large frypan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 20-25 minutes until soft and pale golden. Season, then stir in thyme leaves. Spread onion over the base of a roasting pan that will fit the chicken snugly in a single layer. Sprinkle over the thyme sprigs, then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius. Heat remaining oil in the same frypan over medium-high heat. Dust chicken in flour, shaking off excess, then cook in 2 batches for 3-4 minutes each side until golden-brown. Arrange chicken over onion, then overlap 2 lemon slices on each. Squeeze over the juice from any remaining lemon slices.

Meanwhile, bring stock to the boil in a saucepan, stir in the preserved lemon rind if using, then pour around the chicken. Cook in the oven, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes – adding olives after 30 minutes and basting with stock 2-3 times – until chicken is golden and cooked. Stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer chicken, onion, olives and juices to a deep platter to serve.

* From delis and gourmet food shops.

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Filed under easy, family friendly, May, Pasta

Good riddance April!

Oh me, oh my. Thank goodness April is over. What a month.

I have to confess. I really struggled to stay motivated this month. REALLY struggled. Fussy kids and unappreciative husbands nearly made me want to quit. It made me think “why? why? why?”

The other thing that I was overwhelmed by was my need to cook every single cover recipe. What was I thinking when I set that as a ground rule? This month I was good – I didn’t leave them all to the last two days. But I was totally overwhelmed by all the chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE chocolate as much as the next person. But out of the twelve April cover recipes to cook, nine were sweets and eight of those included chocolate (the other one was caramel). Blah!

Here’s a little secret. I’ve taken to halving the dessert recipes. Why? Because the cover recipes are often so decadent (cream, chocolate, sugar etc) and I am very conscious of only consuming these types of things in small quantities. Otherwise my hips and my health can’t handle it! They also often have a very short shelf life and as a family, we just can’t get through them quick enough, even after sharing the leftovers with our extended family.

And here’s a confession. I actually didn’t cook all twelve covers this month! I know. I know. What a disappointment. But I really couldn’t bring myself to do it. (I only skipped one) Please forgive me? It won’t happen again…

Here's the cover I skipped this month...

Here’s the cover I skipped this month…

On to the fussy kid saga…

Pretty much every night B4 asks me “what’s for dinner?” His usual response is either tears, or hysteria, or running screaming from the room, or a combination of the three. It turns out he’s more of a meat and no veg kind of guy. Like that is ok… Yes, there are nights that he goes to bed hungry.

After more than my fair share of these shenanigans this month, I took him aside one night and asked him what he really wanted to have for dinner. Turns out it was lasagna. A simple request, and one that I will fulfil sometime in May. Until then, he has to keep trying the new stuff I am making.

On another occasion, after a week of very poor dinner eating on B4’s behalf, I was driving to my parent’s house where B2 and B4 were to have dinner and a sleepover. Around the corner from my parents house B4 piped up with “I wonder if grandma is going to make me something yummy for dinner?” I replied with something like “well of course honey. Grandma always cooks yummy dinner.” B4 then replied “yes and I will love it and eat it all up!” (Because I never cook anything you love. And breathe…)

Sure enough, grandma produced the trifecta – roasted chicken, roasted lamb and roasted potatoes. The boys proceeded to inhale their dinner like they hadn’t eaten for a week. (sigh)

So, in honour of the sh#ttiest month ever, I present you with my high’s and low’s – what I loved to eat, what I didn’t and what I’d make again:

The High’s

  1. The cook-a-long. How freaking awesome was it? I was completely overwhelmed by how much people really got into it. I can’t wait for May. Thank you so much, everyone!
  2. Meat-free Monday – I have really enjoyed going meat-free on a Monday and have found that it is a pleasure to create delicious, flavoursome, meat-free meals. My children may disagree!
  3. Huevos Rancheros (Apr 2008, p. 86) – definitely recipe of the month. Simple. Tasty. Delicious. A great Saturday morning brekky. Give it a go.

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The Low’s

  1. Chocolate fondants – COVER (Apr 2008, p. 74) or as someone so politely commented on Facebook “steaming poo”. Thanks Paul. LOL. Something went terribly wrong. Not sure I care enough to try to correct it and make them again.
  2. Pear & ginger crisp (Apr 2002, p. 114). Another dessert disaster. Curdled, eggy, grossness.  May we never speak of it again.
  3. Pearl barley risotto with roast pumpkin, capsicum & rocket (Apr 2009, p. 126). There was a huge uproar in the house when I served this up for meat-free Monday. I think the concept is good, but the execution was not so good.

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More please…

  1. Mascarpone, prosciutto & rocket pizza – COVER (Apr 2007, p. 12). Homemade pizza. Yum!
  2. Roast pork steaks with tomatoes and pine nuts (Apr 2005, p. 139). A few simple ingredients packed with flavour. It was a winner.
  3. Mushroom carbonara (Apr 2012, p. 84). Another recipe with a few simple ingredients that translated to a delicious, easy, weeknight dinner.

Did I mention that neither B2 nor B4 ever complain when offered dessert, or pizza?

Here’s a link to the full list of what I cooked in April.

And to end the month of April, here is the most memorable piece of feedback I got from Mr Picky Palette during April, which pretty much sums up the month:

Me: How was your dinner honey?
Mr Picky Palette: I ate it didn’t I?

The end.

X Bree

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April cook-a-long: Wrap-up

Wow! What a week. Thank you so much to each and every one of you for participating in our very first My delicious year cook-a-long! I am overwhelmed and humbled by the enthusiasm and support you have all shown towards this initiative.

Thank you to those who had the courage to share your dinner with us on the Facebook page. What a great effort! In honour of braving the social media critics, I wanted to share a summary of some of the pictures and feedback shared.

“Yum!! It was a huge hit in our house…” – Denica

“Needed a bit more soy sauce……but yummy!!!!!  Oh and we used a coconut curry paste……more for our taste!!!!” – Melissa D

“I used red curry paste instead of korma (less sat. fat). Advice is to have everything out ready to go, as it doesn’t take long to cook. Yummy!” – Sherry

“Yummy, quick and easy… Thanks for organising tonight’s cook-a-long Brig. So nice not to think about what to cook!! What’s for dinner next month?? Everyone check out my delicious year for inspiration!” – Lisa

“Just had ours, really yummy, even my 14yr old had seconds!!…already started eating before I realised I should of taken a photo. Looking forward to next week Wednesday….thanks Brigitte. This is a really great idea!!!” – Meegan

“Really enjoyed this dish. Very tasty. Added capsicum for colour. Kids enjoyed this dinner …” – Daniel & Jodie

“Thanks for the inspiration Bree…that was yum!!! The only thing I changed was not adding coriander…I’m not a fan.” – Melissa O

“Here’s my version. Have never cooked green prawns before and was pleased it was a success. Was extremely tasty but would tweak it next time to halve the noodles and stock and add more prawns. Looking forward to May’s cook-a-Long.” – Alina

My goal for the cook-a-long was to:

  • give you the night off from planning what was for dinner by providing you with a recipe and a shopping list
  • inspire you to try something you many not have cooked before
  • provide you with a recipe that was flexible, one that could easily be modified to suit all tastes
  • provide a platform to share your experience .

Reading through the feedback I am so thrilled to see people cooking with ingredients that they haven’t used before, modifying the recipe to suit the tastes of your family (lots of different types of curry pastes used) and lots of children who happily ate their dinner. What a winner!

Now April’s cook-a-long is over, it is time to start thinking about next month. The date for the May cook-a-long will be Wednesday 8 May. Lock it in your diaries. I would love to hear from. What you would like to cook? Or maybe what wouldn’t you like to cook? Perhaps you’d like to suggest a “core ingredient” a la Masterchef-style?

Ultimately though, the cook-a-long will always remain affordable, achievable and delicious!

Tell your friends!

X Bree

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Roast pork steaks with tomatoes and pine nuts

Roast pork steaks with tomatoes and pine nuts

Love a quick weeknight dinner. This one is a winner. Only five ingredients: lean pork steaks, a punnet of cherry tomatoes, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a handful of pinenuts and a handful of basil. So much flavour from just a few ingredients. So easy to adapt for one person or ten. Serve it with your chosen carb. Here’s a link to the recipe.

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04/04/2013 · 9:37 am

April cook-a-long: Recipe reveal

Hello friends,

Here is the moment you have all been waiting for. The details for the April cook-a-long are here.

I have chosen a recipe that I hope you will find easy, fast and affordable.

The possibilities are endless. If you are not particularly fond of prawns, feel free to swap them for something you enjoy. Try chicken or a firm fish fillet or even fried tofu.

Don’t forget that this month’s cook-a-long will take place on Wednesday 10 April.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

I can’t wait to see how you all go.

X Bree

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Filed under April, Cook-a-long

Pizza + cake = amazing pizza cake!

“Oooooh, I love a bit of cake. Oooooh, cake. Oooooh, cake. Cake. Cake. Cake. Cake. I’m just one of these people. I come home and I need a piece of cake.”Marjorie Dawes, Little Britain.

There’s no secret, I do love a bit of cake. I do love a bit of Little Britain too. Eating cake while watching Little Britain? Now you’re talking.

I have been known to be a bit partial to all things sweet when it comes to cake.

  • Honey sponge roll (a classic from my late grandma)
  • Chocolate cake for a crowd (the cake I’d make most weekends when I still lived at home with my parents)
  • No-bake cheesecake (which I perfected, and then somehow forgot how to make, much to my father’s disappointment)

But now, the greatest invention to arise from my kitchen is the pizza cake, the savoury alternative. 

But of course it’s not actually called a pizza cake. It’s really a wonderful, easy, upside-down tomato & basil pie from the March 2007 delicious. magazine. A recipe from Belinda Jeffrey’s.

Clearly my taste buds have changed over time.  Back in 2007 when this recipe was printed, I was not drawn to it nor its author. But now, some six years later, I came across this recipe and knew I had to make it! It was something about the simplicity of the ingredients – tomatoes, basil, cheese. I instantly knew it would be a winner. But what I didn’t realise was how awesome it really was or the endless potential for this cake.

Let’s begin. This cake, in all its rustic beauty, is only as good as the ingredients you use. My suggestion is buy your tomatoes a couple of days before you are ready to use them and leave them on the bench to ripen further. Smell them. If they smell like tomato, use them. I also like to use organic tinned tomatoes. Don’t judge me. I think they are affordable and that you will taste the difference. As for the basil, grow your own. Or not. Basil. Yum. I can almost smell it while I am typing this.

Of course, in the pursuit of shortcuts in the kitchen, I broke all the rules, and chose to ignore Belinda’s carefully written instructions by placing all the “cake” ingredients into the food processor at once. No harm done. Amazing pizza cake!

Once you have carefully sliced your roma tomatoes and made a pretty pattern on the base of the pan you have chosen to use, carefully spoon the tinned tomatoes over the top. Next time I think I will actually mix the basil through the tinned tomatoes rather than sprinkling it on top. I think it will only improve the flavour.

When choosing your pan, don’t do what I did and use a springform pan. Big mistake. All the juicy goodness from the tomatoes kind of oozed out of the bottom of the pan and out into my oven. What a waste. Use a pie dish or something similar, but don’t forget to grease it and line the base with baking paper. Even if it is non-stick.

Spread the cake mixture over the tomatoes and bake in the oven as suggested. Check it after the cooking time is up to make sure it is completely cooked through. Bring it out of the oven, flip it onto your serving plate. Slice it up and devour! Amazing pizza cake!

After consuming more than our fair share of our newfound favourite amazing pizza cake, Mr Picky Palette and I slothed on the couch devising a list of the endless possibilities and potential for improving the already amazing pizza cake. Some of the combinations we thought of to stir through the cake mixture before baking included:

  • shredded ham and pineapple
  • shredded hot salami, sundried tomatoes and olives
  • jalapenos  (Mr Picky Palette’s idea, not for me thanks!)
  • small chunks of fetta and dried oregano
  • anchovies and oregano.

Let it be said that you will see this cake again this month.

When you make this cake it will be the most amazing, mind-blowing, wonderful, easy, amazing pizza cake you have ever tasted!

And I owe it all to Belinda Jeffrey’s. Thank you!

Eat it!

X Bree

Amazing pizza cake!!!

Amazing pizza cake!!!

A wonderful, easy, upside-down tomato & basil pie

Serves 6

delicious. magazine, (Mar 2007, p. 79)

This is one of my great stand-bys when I want something delicious that looks special but doesn’t take forever to make

800g can diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
1 tsp dry mustard powder
100g parmesan, freshly grated
50g good cheddar, finely grated
125g cold unsalted butter, chopped
2 eggs
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
A couple of shakes of Tabasco sauce
6 ripe tomatoes (preferably roma), thinly sliced
1/3 cup finely shredded basil
Basil leaves, to serve

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Butter a shallow 26cm round ovenproof dish and line the base with buttered baking paper. Set it aside.

Pour canned tomatoes into a sieve over a bowl. Leave to drain for 5-10 minutes. Give it a stir occasionally to make sure as much liquid seeps away as possible.

Meanwhile, whiz flour, mustard and 1 teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Add cheeses and whiz to just combine. Scatter butter over the top and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. (if you don’t have a food processor, you can do this in a bowl and rub the butter in by hand.) Tip mixture into a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and Tabasco. Make a well in the cheese mixture and pour in the egg mixture then stir to make a fairly stiff batter.

Lay the sliced tomatoes in overlapping circles in the base of the buttered dish so the bottom is completely covered. Spread drained tomatoes evenly over the top and sprinkle with the shredded basil. Dollop spoonfuls of the batter over the tomatoes, then, with lightly floured hands,pat it out with your fingers to spread it evenly. (Don’t worry if there are a few little gaps – they will fill out as the pie cooks.) Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pie is risen and golden. (The time will vary a bit depending on how thick your dish is.)

Test it by inserting a fine skewere into the pie, if it comes out clean the pie is ready. Remove teh pie from the oven and leave it to settle in the dish for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a warm serving platter. Mop up any juices that seep out onto the platter and scatter over basil leaves.

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Filed under easy, March