What We Ate ~ Week 4 ~ 2012

I am so loving this ! I love looking back on the week that was ... Would love to see what the rest of you are eating too ! How 'bout it ? Anyone want to join me ?

Often at the end of a shopping week, we will just have something simple. This was not only the end of the shopping week, we also had been away for the weekend and needed something easy. We thought omelets because we had plenty of eggs. Well, we thought we had plenty of eggs. But the second dozen, which I had gotten from someone at work who has chickens, was less than pleasing ! Every egg had two yolks and something that looked like blood in it ! We were grossed out and not sure what the deal was so we didn't use them. That meant we had to split the one omelet we had ... I put a big chunk of feta and avocado on the side and called it good. This omelet has spring onion, black olives, pine nuts, feta and tasty cheese in it.

Oops ! Totally forgot to take a photo ! I had been at Zumba while this was in the oven, came home to a bowl already served up, sat down and ate ! Unfortunately that means I had to draw the picture ... drawing is not my strong suit ! What I ate, not that you can tell from my drawing, is my Mom's mac and cheese !

This was another throw together meal. Just using up what we had. It's garlic and coriander chicken (minus the beans sprouts, didn't have any of them), jasmine rice, and some zucchini that I sliced (kinda thickly) and them sauteed in a tiny bit of olive oil, sprinkled with lots of garlic powder and a little bit of rock salt. I LOVE zucchini this way !

These Low-Fat Chicken Enchiladas were delicious but SUPER SPICY !! We fed the kids earlier because I suspected they would be over the top hot ! We smothered them with Greek yoghurt and iceberg lettuce to dull the spice to an edible heat !

I loved these black bean stacks ! So yummy ! Originally found them here but I did a few things different ... here's what I did.  I served these with these yummy steamed carrots with garlic-ginger butter (only 69 calories per serve!!).  I couldn't find baby carrots so I just chopped up normal carrots ... they were tasty.

We love this salmon with pepita-lime butter. It's so easy to make too ! You just grill or pan fry the salmon with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toast 2 tbls pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Melt 1 tbls butter and then add a bit of lime zest, 2 tbls (or the juice of a small lime) lime juice and a pinch of chili powder. Drizzle this on top of the cooked salmon. SO GOOD !

Served it with this Fresh and Delicious Quinoa ! (my new favorite quinoa dish !!)

Went out to dinner last night ! So yummy ! I had "Creamy Prosciutto and Wild Mushroom Carbonara" with a side of creamy garlic prawns that I added to it.

Fresh and Delicious Quinoa

I found this delicious looking recipe on pinterest and had to try it. I'm glad I did too ! It's amazingly delicious !  I did almost everything the same ... really, the only things I changed were that I roasted the red bell pepper, how I added the garlic, a few measurements and a bit of the how to assemble.  Here's my version ...

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tbsp coconut oil (but I think any oil would do)
1 & 3/4 cup water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, chopped into chunks
a punnet of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper
small handful coriander/cilantro, diced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste

Roast your red bell pepper, set aside.  Here is a little tutorial on how to roast peppers, if you need it.

Put the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s hot add the rinsed quinoa and toast for a minute or two. Add water, stir once, cover, and simmer with a lid on for about 20 minutes.  Watch it though and turn it off as soon as the liquid is absorbed ! (I like my glass lid for this !)

Mix the lime juice, oil, cumin, minced garlic and salt. Stir. Set Aside.  This is the dressing.

In a big bowl ~ tomatoes, beans, & onion.  Remove skins from red bell peppers, chop and add to bowl. Chop avocado but don't add it yet.

When the quinoa has finished cooking, remove it from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool for a few minutes, then add to the bowl with the other ingredients and stir.  Add dressing.  Stir.  Add avocado and coriander/cilantro, gently stir.

Black Bean Stack

I saw this recipe on pinterest and had to try it. 
I made a couple of changes ... here's how I did mine.

4 flour tortillas (as close to the same size as your springform pan as possible)
a blub of canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (I took out the seeds and ribs)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces of beer (I used Little Creatures Pale Ale)
2 cups frozen corn
3/4 cup spring onions, thinly sliced
2 & 1/2 cups tasty (or cheddar) cheese, shredded

So, if your tortillas are bigger than your springform pan, use the bottom of the pan as a guide, and trip them to the right size. Set aside. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir and cook til soft ... maybe 5 minutes. Throw in your beans and beer. Increase heat and bring to the boil. (About now you should turn your oven on to 400F/200C.) Reduce heat back to medium and simmer, about 10 minutes or until most of the been has evaporated. Add corn and spring onions. Simmer a bit longer to reduce liquid just a bit more. Maybe only another minute or two. Layer like this ... tortilla, beans, cheese. Use 1/2 cup cheese for the first three layers and then finish the top layer with 1 cup cheese. Bake about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove side of springform pan and voila ... black bean stack ! I had a bit of cilantro left from the carrots I made as a side dish, so sprinkled that one top !  Served with a bit of Greek yoghurt too.  Delish.  I had this for lunch the next day and it was just as good leftover !! 

Asian Dinner

I'm not sure this fits into the catagory of necessity being the mother of invention...but invent tonight I did - and it was a grand success! I have this little quirk that I have a hard time eating something I have recently thrown up...its been YEARS since I've eaten alphabet soup. But I digress. Tonight's menu plan was just a little too close to my Thanksgiving Eve puke-fest prior to emergency gall bladder surgery...ANYWAY. I invented the following...and boy was it yummy!!

Asian Broccoli/Cauliflower
Bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Cook per package directions. Sprinkle on a little bit of soy sauce and a small dab of butter. Melt the butter and serve.

Asian Roasted Carrots
Preheat oven to 375. Peel enough carrots for your family. Cut into short, thin sticks. Line cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray (regular would probably work fine too). Lay carrot sticks out in one layer...I tried to not have them touch so they would cook quicker. Spray the top of the carrots lightly with the cooking spray and then drip a tiny line of sesame oil over the carrots. Sprinkle top of carrots with sesame seeds then mix the carrots up a bit and lay them flat again. Bake the carrots until they are soft enough for you. I baked mine approximately 20 minutes, shaking the pan after the first 10 minutes. Serve.

Asian Grilled Fish
Place fish (I used swai) on a double layer of tin foil. (one piece of piece per foil packet) Mix a small amount of sesame oil and peanut oil and spread over the top of the fish. Flip fish over so oil gets on the tin foil. Flip fish back over so bottom of the fish gets a coating of the oil. Slightly fold up the edges of the foil layers so that the next bit of sauce doesn't spill onto your counter. Mix a bit of (the amounts are dependant on how many pieces of fish you have) rice vinegar and soy sauce together. Spread enough on the fish to thoroughly coat. Flip fish and coat the other side. Sprinkle top of fish with sesame seeds. Fold two sides over the fish and then fold the remaining two sides to create a packet. Grill on high for approximately 10 minutes. Open the packet(s) and put the whole thing in the oven on broil. Broil for a few minutes until the sesame seeds have toasted a bit. Serve. The fish basically steamed in the packets on the grill, so the fish was very moist and yummy.

Chicken Florentine

In an attempt to find yummy recipes that fit the diet we are currently one - we redesigned a chicken florentine recipe...it was SO yummy that we put it on the menu for a second week in a row! This is an easy, must try!

Chicken Florentine

Chop red peppers into tiny pieces (about the size of pimentos). I used 1 1/2 peppers because we had a half that needed using, but it wasn't enough. 1 would probably be fine though.

Layer fresh baby spinach into a baking dish with the red peppers. We use a round, glass baking dish. The spinach will cook down a lot, so pack in as much as you can (if you like spinach as much as we do!). The layers go: spinach, red pepper, spinach, red pepper, sprinkle of feta cheese, spinach, red pepper, spinach, red pepper, sprinkle of feta cheese.

Trim fat from five, boneless chicken thighs. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the spinach layers. The five pieces are enough to completely cover the top of the baking dish, basically sealing in the spinach layers. Spinkle the chicken with seasoned salt.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes (or until the chicken is done), uncovering the dish for the last 20 minutes.

The spinach will cook down to almost half the size and there will be LOTS of yummy juice. Serve over rice or eat as is. This serves 3 to 4.

Pumpkin Dessert Squares

This is Uncle Larry's current favorite dessert. I chose it for my birthday "cake" this week.

For crust: 1 pkg yellow cake mix (take out 1 cup)
1 egg
1/2 c melted butter

For filling: 1 can (about 1 1/2 cup) pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
2/3 c evaporated milk (I use fat-free)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

For topping: reserved cup cake mix
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp melted butter
(optional) 1/4 c chopped pecans

Grease bottom of 9" x 13" pan. Mix crust ingredients and press mixture into pan.

Beat filling ingredients together. Pour over crust mixture.

Combine topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling layer. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven about 45 minutes.

Adapted from Jana Brummett's recipe in Loaves and Fishes and Other Fancy Dishes, cookbook of the Greencastle (IN) Christian Church.

How to cook Quinoa

Maybe this is not a problem for you, but I always have to look up how to cook quinoa if I want to cook it as a side to accompany dinner. Here is my favorite recipe.

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
optional: 1/4 tsp salt

There are two variations in the beginning.

1. Heat a skillet and put the dry quinoa in there. Toss and shake until the quinoa browns a bit and begins to pop.

2. Soak quinoa in water for 5 minutes, then rinse and drain.

Choose which of the two you would like to do. Option number one makes the quinoa taste nuttier and stronger. I think option number two makes the quinoa puff up larger.

After you have prepared your quinoa in one of the two ways, Put the quinoa in the cup and a half of water in a pan and bring to a boil. Then turn down to simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook for 15 minutes.

At the end of the cook time, fluff with a fork and serve.

Asian Spinach Salad

I know that some of you will not be able to believe that I am posting a Spinach recipe, but I am. To fill the rest of you in, let me tell you that until my adult years, spinach was one of the foods I could not keep down. In my family if it was on the table, you had to at least try a bite... even if you had "not handled it well" last time. So, I have many a messy story about me, the dinner table and spinach. That being said, I still don't really eat cooked spinach, and if it comes out of the freezer... I'm not getting anywhere near it. But, fresh baby spinach raw, or ever so lightly wilted, I can handle. Enjoy, even.

So, I found and adapted a spinach salad recipe. The original recipe is here on the food network site.

Ingredients for salad:
Baby spinach. original recipe says 2 lbs. I used a store bought package that I think was less.
Mandarin oranges
Toasted sesame seeds

I start with the dressing in a large bowl that I will then use for tossing the salad.
Mix and let set until you're ready to toss the salad.
Then I warm up a skillet and throw the spinach in there. If you've just cooked bulgogi in the pan, then throw the spinach on top of the leftover bulgogi sauces. If not, throw a tiny bit of sesame oil in the pan. Toss the spinach in the pan until it is wilted to your satisfaction. I usually stop when I have some leaves that are not really wilted a bunch. Then I give the wilty spinach to my husband and boys, and I eat the more raw leaves. Take from pan and toss in the dressing.

Using tongs, serve it onto plates. I usually have a lot of dressing left over... maybe next time I should try making less... maybe.

Place a few mandarin oranges on top of the spinach.

  • Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and voila: a gorgeous and tasty side for whatever you're eating. (If you don't have toasted sesame seeds on hand, then throw a handful of regular sesame seeds in a hot frying pan and toast until browner...)

Roast Garlic & Chicken on Cream Cheese Pizza

This was delicious. Rory says he's not convinced about cream cheese on pizza but the kids and I are ! We loved this !! I found this recipe that I wanted to try but rather than go buy extra stuff, I decided to use what I had. This is the resulting pizza ...

Use your favorite pizza dough.

2 heads of garlic
cream cheese mixed with cream
parsley, thyme, basil, oregano ... all fresh, chopped small
provolone and mozzarella cheese, grated
a cooked chicken, pulled apart
red onions, sliced

Roast 2 heads of garlic. Get that started before anything else as it takes a bit of time. I just wrap the heads in tin foil, into a hot oven for about 30 minutes or until soft and smelling amazing !

I didn't really measure anything else.  I had some cream cheese in the fridge,  I used a couple of spoonfuls, mixed it with some cream that I also had in the fridge just to soften up the cream cheese and make it a bit more spreadable.  I didn't use much cream.  Maybe a tablespoon ?   It won't matter how much you use ... cream cheese and cream, you can't really go wrong !

I spread that on the bottom of the pizza and then sprinkled the herbs on top of that.  Top that with as little or as much chicken as you want to pull off of your cooked chicken.  We froze the rest of our chicken to make Trina's chicken casserole later.  Top with onions and then cheeses.

Bake in 425F/220C oven for about 10 minutes ... or until cheese is melted to your liking. 

What We Ate ~ Week 3 ~ 2012

Apricot Chicken
with A Nutty Cous Cous

This was a healthy fish taco out of one of the Biggest Looser cookbooks. We didn't like the corn tortillas and ended up just eating it like this ... sort of like a salad. It was ok. Probably won't make it again so won't bother posting a recipe !

We ate out this night ! YUM YUM YUM !! This is a beef rogan josh with saffron rice and garlic naan.

Will totally make this again ! This fish was amazing ! Again, we only ate half a serve for dinner so had it for lunch as well ! Both of these recipes come from the low calorie section of the Eating Well website. The fish is Salmon with Pepita Lime Butter (pepitas are pumpkin seeds). The pumpkin is based on the Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes but we obviously used pumpkin. The potato we just coated with olive oil and roasted. The peas were frozen and we steamed them.

Salad ... from memory it was rocket, lebanese cucumber, roma tomato, pine nuts, fetta, avocado, sauteed mushrooms, and a bit of fried bacon. Topped with olive oil, garlic chive flower vinegar and flaky sea salt.

Homemade pasta. Roasted tomato, garlic and onion sauce. Will post recipe soon ...

We were at a family get together last night and I totally forgot to take a photo of dinner ! So .... you get a fabulous drawing. No, the children didn't draw this, I did. They would have done a better job. Their sausage would have been bigger than the corn on the cob ... like in real life !!

On this plate is ... sausage with ketchup, potato salad, onigiri, peas, corn on the cob, green salad, and I think that is it.

Apricot Chicken

This was easy and delicious !!

This technically should serve four but we served it with A Nutty Cous Cous and only ate 1/2 a serve of chicken so had it for dinner and lunch the next day !

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
olive oil

Apricot Sauce:
a blub of oil, I used olive
3/4 cup dry white wine, I used Chardonnay
1/4 of a red onion
4 fresh apricots, pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons apricot jam, I used St. Dalfour
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)

Here's what you do ...

Rub the chicken with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook on the BBQ. Or you could pan fry if you wanted.

To make the sauce ... Saute onion in oil over a medium heat. Add wine. Reduce ... maybe 3-5 minutes. Add apricots. Cook for a couple of minutes ... the fruit will break down. Stir in jam, tarragon and a pinch of salt. I kept it on the heat and stirred until it was combined and a thickness I was happy with. Take off heat and let sit til chicken is done.

When chicken is finished, top with apricot sauce and serve.

Delicious !!

Pollo Encebollado

I'm not really sure how to translate the name of this dish exactly. Onionfied Chicken? Beonioned? Oniontastic? Let's just call it Chicken Covered in Onion Glory. Whatever you call it, it is mighty tasty. The original recipe is here, but I modified it quite a bit according to my own personal preference and what I actually had in my kitchen.

2 lbs of chicken (I usually use drumsticks)
2-3 T oil
2 onions sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 cup water
The juice of one lime
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional but highly recommended)
Seasoned bread crumbs

Rinse the chicken, pat dry; season with salt and brown in oil. Once browned, remove from pan and set aside. Pour off excess oil and add the onions. Cook over med-low heat for 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook another 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and starting to brown.  Add the chicken back in along with the chicken stock, water, lime juice and Tabasco. Increase heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

Thicken sauce with seasoned bread crumbs just before serving. 

Serve with rice.

A Nutty Cous Cous

I've been wanting to use the pistachio dukkah that I made the other day but we've been trying to eat lower calorie meals.  Sitting down to a bowl of dukkah, olive oil and turkish bread doesn't really qualify.  Then I saw this recipe over on Taste, I had to try it !  It is so yum.  I love the flavor that comes through from the dukkah !  And the subtle hint of lemon ....

**This is way too much couscous for our family.  After making it a few times and eventually throwing away leftovers, I decided to come put a note in here ... Next time I make it, I will halve the stock and couscous.  I will keep the same proportions of everything else.

4.5 cups chicken stock
500g couscous, I used whole wheat
2 lemons, halved
100g slivered almonds, toasted
2 tbs pistachio dukkah
a handful of parsley, I used flat leaf, chopped

Bring the chicken stock to the boil.  Add cous cous.  Cover and remove from heat.  The liquid will absorb in about 5 minutes.  Gently stir with a fork to separate the grains.

Cook lemon on grill (or in fry pan like I did last night when it was pouring down rain !) for 2 minutes each side or until charred.

Put cous cous in a large serving bowl.  Add the almonds, dukkah and parsley to the couscous and stir. Squeeze lemon on top.  Serve.

(just for our records ... this serves 8 and is 205 calories per serve)

What We Ate ~ Week 2 ~ 2012

Asian Chicken Salad

Chicken Curry cooked by my 10 year old (and his Grandma)

Mini Pastry Wrapped Sausages made by my 8 year old, with stir fry veggies

Tempura Battered Fish with green salad (spinach, avocado, tomato, cucumber, red onion, sauteed mushrooms, shredded carrot, olive oil and garlic chive flower vinegar !!  so yum !! )

Pad Thai w/Lumpia

Out to eat. 
I had a marinated chicken salad (it was rocket, goats cheese, pine nuts, red onion and roast pumpkin) and cajun calamari on the side.

~ Garlic ~ Funky Lime ~ Roasted Garlic Chicken ~ Pesto Mushroom ~

I'll post a few recipes this week as a couple of those pizzas are new ones.
Also ... I'm going to try and get the kids to do guest posts on what they cooked !

In the Kitchen with Grandma

We may have another guest post from Jono !

He and Grandma cooked an amazing Chicken Curry the other night ...

So yum !

What We Ate ~ Week 1 ~ 2012

It's a New Year and time to make a change. Instead of posting our menu before we eat it, I'm going to post WHAT WE ATE each week, after the fact. I'll simply snap a shot on my iPhone at dinner time and then can link to recipes from there ...

I find our menu chops and changes so much and I want a true representation of what we actually eat each week so I'm going to give this a try !

You are welcome to join me ! If you post on this blog ... I'd love to see what you are eating ! If you have your own blog ... link in the comments !

I'm going to post Sunday to Saturday each week ....

Here we go !

Buffalo Boneless Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower/Broccoli

Dukkah Crusted Pomegranate Marinated Cod with Greek Quinoa Salad
and Sauteed Silverbeet (from our garden !)

The fish and the quinoa were new recipes. They were both very tasty. We decided not to bother trying to 'crust' the fish next time as the dukkah all fell off. We will just use the remaining marinade and some dukkah to make a nice sauce (we did that this time too ... just simmer together for a few minutes and then top the fist with it ... as you see in the photo) The quinoa I will make again and again. Such good flavor. The only thing I did different was roasting the red bell pepper ... and I didn't add a green one.

Toast, vegemite, dill pickle slices, fried egg. Mmmmmmmmmm !