Monday, August 31, 2009

Creamy Tomato & Onion Gnocchi

One of the easiest, and tastiest things I've cooked in ages. And only 3 ingredients!

Creamy Tomato & Onion Gnocchi
800g gnocchi
250g French Onion dip
1/2 cup tomato based pasta sauce (approx)

Cook pasta as directed on packet. Drain. Put the dip in the pasta pot, and add in the tomato pasta sauce to your taste. (I used a very strong herby one, so I didn't want much). Mix together, then return gnocchi to the pot and mix thoroughly. Serve with a bit of shaved parmesan, or just plain old tasty, like us.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Creamy Tomato & Onion Gnocchi
Tuesday Pizza
Wednesday Freezer Suprise
Thursday Lasagna
Friday Macaroni with Meatballs
Saturday KFC
Sunday Sandwiches

It was a very busy week this week, with lots of going out, and lots of people dropping past, so not a lot of "real" cooking got done again. Not Happy Jan. I feel terrible with all this rubbish in me. On the plus side, lots of cool link posts for you this week.

As usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and don't forget to come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Creamy Tarragon Chicken with Leek Risotto

Creamy Tarragon Chicken with Leek Risotto
4 chicken thighs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 leek, sliced thinly
1 cup aborio rice
maggi, liquid stock or stock cubes

Place the chicken, tarragon and buttermilk in a zip lock bag, and remove as much air as possible. Leave in the fridge to marinate for 20 minutes, longer if you have the time. Gently sautee the leek in the butter until just starting to wilt, then add in the rice. Cook over low heat until the leek is cooked, translucent and collapsed. Then transfer the rice and leek into a microwave container with 2 cups of stock, or water with maggi or stock cubes in it. Cook for 5 minutes on HIGH in the microwave, stir, and return for another five minutes. Keep stirring and cooking for 5 minute intervals until the rice is done. You may need to add more stock if the rice has absorbed all the liquid but the rice is still hard to the bite.
Fry the chicken in your buttery, leeky frypan. Add the leftover buttermilk once the chicken has browned, but not fully cooked. That will give it enough time on the heat to kill any bacteria, but not so much that it will all boil away. Serve with the cooked risotto.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vegetable Hokkien Stir Fry

Adapted from Curtis Stone's Chinese egg noodle & vegetable stir fry recipe which you can find on cards in your local Coles, or on their website

Vegetable Hokkien Stir Fry
1 onion, sliced
1 large carrot, julienned finely
150g snow peas, topped and tailed and sliced into 4 or 5 diagonal strips
1 red capsicum, sliced finely
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
800g Hokkien noodles
vegetable oil
your favourite stir fry sauce

Boil the kettle, and place the noodles in a large bowl.
Fry the onions over high heat until starting to turn translucent. Add carrot strips, snow peas, capsicum and broccoli. Stir fry until vegetables are cooked slightly just past crisp.
Pour boiling water over the noodles, and let stand for a few minutes. Then separate the noodles with a fork, and drain.
Take your wok off the heat, and add your sauce, stirring thoroughly to coat. Then toss through the noodles and serve. Voila!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicken Parmagiana, Spaghetti Carbonara with Spinach, and Garlic Bread

I wanted to have a recipe here for you tonight, I really did, but our menu conspired against me. Bought crumbed chicken, fried, topped with bought pasta sauce, shaved ham, and cheese, baked. Bought garlic bread, baked. Spaghetti, boiled, drained, coated in bought carbonara sauce, and then a bag of baby spinach thrown in to wilt from the heat of the pasta. Served.

It was kinda real cooking, and I won't belittle anyone by saying you are all too smart to need an exact recipe for this, but I'd feel like I was cheating if I gave an exact recipe for this. Photo or not, this is a lazy dinner, and really therefore deserves linkage.

The 5 Most Embarrassing Failures in the History of Terrorism
Make sure you read on to the second page, there is a picture of a newspaper headline that deserves some kind of award. I'm not sure if there is such a type of award, but if there is, I'd vote for it!

Flash Game Friday

Crimson Room

Be careful... it's tricky!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kids Cooking Thursday: Strawberry Oreo Cheesecake Truffles

Strawberry Oreo Cheesecake Truffles
2 pkts Strawberry Oreos
250g Philadelphia cream cheese (1 block)
400g (approx) chocolate for coating

That's two of these

Put the biscuits in a food processor

Process to an even, but not fine crumb. Add the cheese and process until the whole lot comes together. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Roll teaspoons of the chilled mixture into balls, and place on a baking paper lined baking tray. Chill in the freezer for preferably an hour, overnight is better.
Once really, really cold, jam a skewer into the center of a ball, and using the skewer as a handle, dunk into melted chocolate until evenly coated.

Use a spoon to scrape the excess chocolate off the flat side (bottom) of the truffle. This will help you get a nice neat edge. Return the truffle to the baking paper (and that nice cold tray). Use the spoon to hold the truffle down while you gently pull the skewer out, and cover up or fill in any hole with chocolate.

Don't forget sprinkles!

Sprinkles need to be adding while the chocolate is wet of course. We used pink sugar crystals, (out of the dollar 5s fairy pack) but any sprinkles would do. Alternatively, you could dip the truffle in cocoa or coconut while the skewer is still in, but it will be more fussy to patch the hole.

Please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mince, Tomato & Onions with Mashed Spuds

You'd be suprised how delicious this simple meal really is. I had it fairly regularly growing up, in fact I remember one time my parents were out, and it was just the three youngest children at home. My sister and brother are 11 and 9 years older than me, respectively, and my brother decided he would cook this dish for us. I think he might have been about 17 or so? Anyway, he started out with Mum's big square Sunbeam electric frypan full of mince and tomatoes and onions, but by the time it reached the table it was only a quarter full. Now, sure, you could blame it on the natural shrinkage of the tomatoes as they cooked, but it turned out my brother was seasoning as he went along. Of course, every time he adjusted the seasoning, he had to taste it again didn't he? My sister and I didn't get much dinner that night, but for some reason my brother didn't mind the small serving...

Mince, Tomato & Onions
500g mince
1-2 onions, diced
4-5 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
mashed potatoes to serve

Fry onions until just starting to turn translucent. Add mince and brown. Add tomatoes. Fry until tomatoes are almost starting to break down, or until your mashed potatoes are ready. Don't let them get too mushy, this is not a ragu, and you aren't making pasta sauce here.

See? Not mushy.

You can of course season this to taste, but learn from my brother's example and wait until the end to do so. Not only is it very hard to stop eating this once you have started, every addition of salt will draw more water from the tomatoes, making it effectively less tasty. But don't go overboard with your seasoning, a little salt, a bit of freshly ground pepper is all it really needs. All your favourite Mediterranean herbs and mixes will taste nice with this of course, but the essence of this dish is how the three ingredients create so much flavour with so little. Especially if it is Summer, as you in the Northern hemisphere have now, with the fresh garden ripe tomatoes that must be in abundance. I had to go with canned, as the hard, white-inside, imported tomatoes available at the supermarket as staple winter fare here didn't tempt me. But you guys have no excuse.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You know what they say about good intentions right?

Good intentions and a certain road?

Well, it's only Tuesday, and already I'm dragging out the lazy dinner night label. "Freezer Suprise" is a polite way of saying the first frozen leftover container I dig out of a drawer, is what we are eating. Or what the kids are eating. Most of the time there is only enough for the kids. Which is fine, because when DP gets home we'll either have a sandwich or he'll just order pizza. Eh, he's underweight, the pizza will do him good.

Subservient Chicken
For all those mothers out there that will appreciate someone doing what they are told ;)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
4 chicken thighs, diced (guess you could use any diced chicken really)
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into florets
2 small carrots, sliced
1 stick celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 zucchini, chunky diced
3 shortcut rindless bacon rashers, sliced
1 jar Chicken Tonight Creamy Lemon Chicken sauce
500g pasta
tarragon, maggi, salt and pepper (optional)

Place the pasta on to cook, putting the carrots in with pasta (large pot of boiling, salted water, you know the deal).
Fry the onion, celery, bacon and zucchini until almost golden. Add the chicken, and brown well on all sides. Then add the sauce and simmer until everything is ready. (Like the pasta, the table setting, the baby's nappy changed etc ;) )Add the broccoli to the pasta and carrots a few minutes before the pasta is ready, you want the broccoli to cook, but still be bright and vibrant green.

Don't over cook it. Don't over think it. We had no tarragon, but I wish we did, it would have been great in this. I added a few splashes of Maggi, and then a sprinkle of salt to my serve only (I hate my arteries, but that's no reason for everyone else's to suffer). Miss Three cleared her plate - a rarity, because I always seem to over serve her, but it was quite tasty. I'm going to buy Tarragon tomorrow, and another jar of this sauce, to sit on standby in the cupboard, it was make-again good, and made a nice change from the usual tomato based pasta.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
Tuesday Freezer Suprise
Wednesday Mince, Tomato, & Onions, with Mashed Spuds
Thursday Pizza
Friday Chicken Parmagiana, Spaghetti Carbonara & Garlic Bread
Saturday Vegetable Hokkien Stir Fry
Sunday Creamy Tarragon Chicken with Leek Risotto

I'm really disappointed with last week's effort of 5 lazy dinner night posts. I'm resolving to do more bloggable cooking this week. The return of Flash Game Friday went smoothly, and I hope to bring back Kids Cooking Thursday soon too, if not this week, then next week. So get those mini aprons out and hide the good china, because the wee ones are coming back to mess up the benches! Remember KCT has a Mr Linky - we'd love to see what your kids are cooking!

Just a note for my MPM visitors, I actually write my blog a week in advance, so that every night's dinner is documented, no matter how rushed that night is, as I can always get to it the next day. So if you see a recipe on this menu plan, just come back on that day for the recipe. It'll be there, I promise. And on every day when I cook something like microwaved dim sims, or a heat-and-eat fresh lasagna from the deli, I'll give you a link to something interesting.

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Do do do dobedobedo...

I was going to make a 'real' dinner tonight, and therefore have a recipe and photos to post, but DP requested hot dogs. Since DP almost never even has a vague suggestion of what he might like for dinner, I was not going to quash the impulse by refusing.

A return to 'real' cooking tommorrow. But since it's Sunday, and no one expects you to think too hard, look what nerds can do with Big ass expensive equipment: Play the Super Mario Theme!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What is there to say about premade lasagna?

Little People A Tiny Street Art Project.

And for those lazy people interested, I've found the ReadyChef brand fresh lasagna is the one best received by my family out of all Coles sell, fresh or frozen.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chicken Hokkien Noodles

Super simple recipe tonight, only five ingredients, plus sauce.

Chicken Hokkien Noodles
1 bbq chicken, meat removed from bones
1 red capsicum
2 pak choy
200g sugar snap peas
500g hokkien noodles
your favourite stir fry sauce

Slice the capsicum and pak choy, setting aside the leafy tops of the pak choy for later. Top and tail the sugar snap peas. Spray your wok with a bit of oil, and heat.
Toss in all your vegetables, stir briskly, then add in the chicken. Normally I'd add the chicken first, but as it is already cooked, it doesn't need as long. Put the noodles in the wok and stir to break up. Pour the sauce over, and add your pak choy leaves. Stir for a minute longer then serve.

Since everything is either edible raw, or already cooked, essentially all this recipe requires is the heating of the ingredients. Which makes it great Friday fare don't you think?

Flash Game Friday


Flippin' good fun!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

˙ʇsod ʇɥƃıu ɹǝuuıp ʎzɐן ɹǝɥʇouɐ ʇǝʎ

Tonight we had Pizza. It was just one of those days. I'd gone shopping first thing this morning, and had everything all set for a great stir fry, but forgot to buy sugar. Only thing is, I didn't discover this fact until lunchtime when I went to make myself a coffee. Then I had to take Miss Three to kinder, and after that Master One well and truly needed a nap, so I didn't get to go and buy sugar until after school and kinder were both out for the day. Running all day on only one coffee up to 5pm is not conducive to a happy cooking type of mood.

Now, I know you copped a lazy dinner night post yesterday as well, but I promise tomorrow I'll be back with real food, and a recipe.

In the meantime, astound your readers and facebook friends (ʇuoɹɟ oʇ ʞɔɐq puɐ) ¡uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıʇıɹʍ ʎq - it's great in statii (statuses?), especially when none of your friends have learned that trick.

Speaking of things everyone but you knows how to do on facebook, <3 is how you make the heart thingy too. ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lazy Dinner Night Link Love.

If you need me to tell you how to bake oven wedges, or microwave peas and dim sims, I'm afraid you're out of luck. But behind the ordinary can sometimes lie the extraordinary, and the beautiful.

Secret Wall Tattoos

Makes you wonder what we miss everyday doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

French Onion, Mushroom & Zucchini Risotto

Another cheats risotto. I've found that simply using aborio rice the same way I used long grain still ends up with a passable risotto. Of course, the only risotto I've ever had that didn't come from a packet, or wasn't cooked by me was at a pub, and wasn't even made with aborio rice, so I'm not the best judge of what could reasonably pass as a "real" risotto.

French Onion, Mushroom & Zucchini Risotto
1 cup aborio rice
2 cups hot water
1 packet french onion soup mix (the type that makes up litres, not a cup-a-soup)
100g chopped mushrooms (about two large flat ones)
1 zucchini, chopped
50g butter (give or take)

Place the first three ingredients in a microwave proof container, and cook on high for 3-4 minutes. Stir, and then repeat as many times as necessary until the rice is cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile throw everything else in a frypan, and cook gently until the rice is done. Stir the rice into the vegetables until coated in all that lovely buttery goodness. If you have cream, now would be a great time to add it. I didn't, so I added milk instead, but that's totally optional.

Monday, August 17, 2009

See back of pack for instructions.

Tonight we had Carbonara Pasta Bake. From a packet. Cooked in the oven with dry pasta.
I did make the powder out of the packet into a sauce by boiling milk, but that's about it. So in the time that you would have spent reading tonight's recipe, or cooking the dinner, why not throw a packet mix in the oven yourself and then kill some time with Virtual Bubblewrap.

Try it in manic mode for more fun!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Carbonara Pasta Bake
Tuesday French Onion,Mushroom & Zucchini Risotto
Wednesday Steamed Dim Sims, Sugar Snap Peas, and oven bake Wedges
Thursday Pizza
Friday Chicken Hokkien Stirfry
Saturday Lasagna
Sunday Hot Dogs with Fried Onions and Slaw

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Who says I can't have TimTams for dinner?

We spent most of the day at DP's parents house today, an hour and a half drive away. Actually, we were only there for about two hours, for lunch. The rest of the day we spent travelling to and fro.

They fed us some delicious homemade hamburgers, the recipe of which I unfortunately do not have to share. But that left all of us in no mood for a full sized dinner tonight, so the children had sandwiches. (Except for Master One - gotta love those Heinz Little Kids non-baby food cans in the cupboard as standbys! They are great for Pizza night too! lol)

I'm off to make some lunches for Master Five now, our stock of frozen rolls in the freezer is getting low, and he does so love getting his lunchbox ready every night himself. (A post for another night perhaps). But while we are talking about school lunches, check out the dedication here!

Lunch Bag Art

I tried doing this, with sharpies, on the ziplock bags my son got his sandwiches in. Thought it would be cook if I could do it from Prep onwards. I got two weeks in and gave up. Perhaps if I worked in an office and had a lunch break too, then I might have had the time. Also, the lack of talent didn't help.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas

Master Five requested KFC for dinner tonight, specifically the new Melts, so I thought I'd indulge him since it's the weekend. Miss Three had a birthday party to go to this afternoon, at one of those kids indoor playground type places, and that was loud and draining, so I was in the mood for some easy cooking.

Take some chicken, fry it up. This can be anything from crumbed tenderloins to spiced breast or thigh, whatever your taste and budget requires. Slice the cooked chicken into bite sized pieces.

Lay out a tortilla (or two) for each person. Top half the tortilla with diced tomato, a big handful of cheese and some salsa. Don't be skimpy with the cheese, this is essentially a toasted cheese sandwich after all (just mexican style). Top with a fair share of the chicken pieces, and fold the top over.

Now comes the tricky (!) bit. Place the folded tortilla into the frypan - make sure it's well oiled. (Spray oil comes into it's own here!) It may be easier, or quicker at least, to do two at once. Fry till golden on one side, the flip over and do the same on the other. This takes a little manoeuvring to make sure the fillings don't fall out. Watch for stray bits of cheese, they are a pain to scrub off the pan afterwards.

Then, simply serve and enjoy. May be a little trickier than baking them in the oven, but this way, instead of brittle, dry tortillas, you get a lovely criispy outside, with a soft inside, without it getting tough. Perfect. Take that Old El Paso... $6.49 for a quesadilla kit? I can do better on my own!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Odds and Ends Pasta

If you take a 59 cent bag of pasta, and add a $1.59 jar of no name pasta sauce, you have the perfect base to clear out anything out of your fridge or cupboards that needs to go.

Example: tonight's pasta featured celery, onion, rinsed off baked beans, mushrooms, some chopped artichoke hearts, a dash of non-alcoholic red wine, bbq chicken cup-a-soup mix, and a teaspoon of mustard. Sounds strange, but it all got eaten, and for once Master Five didn't complain about being hungry afterwards (thank you baked beans!). Throw some shaved cheese on the top and voila, aren't we fancy? (Vegetable peelers make great thin "shaved" slices of cheese)

So for just over $2, you can clear out your fridge, and still rest easy knowing that it was a "proper" meal before you started.

Flash Game Friday

Mayan Mask Mayhem

A twist on the Collapse/Same game type clickers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Look into the eye!

The pies we had tonight were frozen leftovers, from about a month ago, when I wasn't yet back into the level of diligence I push myself to now with blogging. I know the recipe involved a bbq chicken, a packet of baby spinach and rocket salad and a food processor, along with cheese sauce and some sheets of puff pastry, but I can't quite remember in specific detail.

So to make up for my stupidity, a video. Entitled Stupid people are dumb.

The interwebnet makes teh stoopid.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tomato & Basil Chicken with Spinach and Soba Noodles

Seems a meal doesn't always have to be complicated or include fancy ingredients to create a real plate cleaner, like tonight's dinner tossed together from items on sale today.

Chicken with Noodles
1/2 Tomato & Basil roast chicken from Safeway Deli (any roast chook would do, but it's tasty!)
270g pk soba noodles
160g fresh spinach leaves
1 onion
5-6 drops Maggi liquid seasoning
1 tsp black bean sauce
1-2 tbsp water

Chop the onion, and slowly sautee in a pan. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken, and chop the flesh. When the onion has gone translucent, add the chicken, frying over medium heat.
Cook the noodles in a pan of rapidly boiling water for about 3 minutes, then drain and rinse with hot water (not cold like the packet says).
Add the seasoning and sauce to the frypan, and use the water to deglaze the chicken bits off the bottom if necessary. Add in the spinach, and allow to wilt down before adding in the drained noodles. Fry rapidly over high heat until the noodles are hot again, then serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jazzing Up Mac Cheese, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Packet Mixes.

Macaroni Carbonara
410g pkt Kraft Macaroni Cheese
175g rindless short cut bacon
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 head broccoli, chopped

Boil a large pot of water and cook macaroni as directed, adding the broccoli in the last few minutes of cooking. Chop the bacon, and fry over low heat until crisp.
Add the milk and butter, and while the mixture is still cold, add the eggs quickly, stirring vigorously to avoid the eggs firming up. Add in the cheese powder, and stir to remove all the lumps. Turn off the heat, and drain the pasta, then add to the sauce. Add a light sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.

Great for nights when you can't be bothered with "real" cooking, but don't want to feed the kids something completely devoid of nutrients or protein. Tastes pretty good too!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tuna Risotto of Awesomeness

Tuna "Risotto"
1 cup Aborio rice
2 cups water
splash Maggi
2 sticks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
125g tin tuna, drained
125g corn kernels
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tsp good quality tomato sauce or chutney (we used Outback Spirit Bush Tomato sauce)

Place the rice, water and Maggi in a microwave safe bowl. Cook on medium (600w) for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Lightly spray a frypan with oil, then brown the onion and celery. Add the corn and tuna, and allw to heat through.
Once rice is cooked, tip the whole lot into the pan, and finish with the sour cream and sauce. Season to taste and serve.

Hardly a recipe for purists, but my kids didn't know the difference, and it tasted great!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Tuna Risotto
Tuesday Macaroni Carbonara w/ Broccoli
Wednesday Chicken with Spinach and Soba Noodles
Thursday Homemade Chicken & Spinach Pies
Friday Odds and Ends Pasta
Saturday Chicken Quesadillas
Sunday Sandwiches

I've got a heap of posts scheduled for this week, including recipes, and the return of Flash Game Friday. Be sure to check back daily, all of the meals this week have been low budget masterpieces!

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flash Game Friday


Monday, August 3, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Pasta
Tuesday Freezer Suprise
Wednesday Party Pies and steamed vegies
Thursday Beef & Black Bean Stir Fry
Friday Lasagna
Saturday Slow Cooker Sausage Stroganoff
Sunday Chicken Kiev with Chips and vegies

Check out The Happy Housewife for a guest hosting of literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My monthly reads - July

Blue Dragon - Kylie Chan
The Puzzle Ring - Kate Forsyth
Lily Quench and the Dragon of Ashby - Natalie Prior
Green Boy - Susan Cooper
Mac Slater, Cool Hunter: I ♥ NY - Tristan Bancks
Watchmen - Alan Moore
Dragon's Tear - Sue Lawson
White Crane - Sandy Fussell
The Secret - Jan Scherpenhuizen