Thursday, April 26, 2012

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake with Spinach & Semi-Dried Tomatoes


Serves 4

Get This -
  • 250g dried pasta
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped 
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • 300ml light thickened cream
  • 3/4 cup semi-dried tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Do This -
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a 5cm-deep, 20cm x 28cm (base), 8-cup capacity baking dish.
  2. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes or until tender.
  3. Drain pasta and return to saucepan. Add chicken, spinach, cream, tomatoes and 1 cup parmesan. Toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Top with mozzarella and remaining parmesan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Spoon pasta bake onto serving plates. Serve.

Recipe from

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crispy-topped Cottage Pie


Serves 4

Get This -

  • olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 750g beef mince
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour 
  • 2 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 500g Desiree potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 100g tasty cheese, finely grated

Do This -
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring, for 8 minutes or until soft. Add tomato paste. Cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to high. Add mince. Cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until browned. Add stock, water and tomatoes. Bring to the boil. Stir in flour and carrots. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add peas.
  3. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a 10-cup capacity ovenproof dish. Spoon in mince.
  4. Combine potatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper. Arrange one-third potatoes over mince. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat layers, finishing with potatoes. Drizzle with a little oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Increase heat to 230°C. Remove foil. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden. Serve.

Note - to hide the vegetables from Miss 4, I grated the carrot and swapped frozen peas for grated zucchini.

This recipe is from

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Carrot Cake

This morning my Miss 4 saw Timmy from Timmy Time baking a carrot cake.

So of course she wanted to bake one, too.
I hate to bake, but she is very persuasive, so I went to my go-to recipe website, and found this recipe. By some miracle I had every ingredient needed (but only 1/2 the amount of cream cheese for the icing).

So, we baked it.

She looks so cute in the apron I made for her

The best thing about baking...licking the bowl!
And it fell to bits when I tried to get it out of the tin. Next time I won't skip the baking paper lining!!

It still tasted amazing!

Ours did not look this good
(as you will see below)

Serves 12

Get This -

  • Olive oil, to grease
  • 2 (about 300g) carrots
  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) oil
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) golden syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • Icing

  • 250g spreadable cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup (80g) icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

  • Do This -
    1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a 20cm (base) round cake pan lightly with oil, and line with non-stick baking paper. Peel and grate the carrots, and set aside. Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a large bowl.
    2. Put the brown sugar, oil, golden syrup, eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl. Use a balloon whisk to mix until combined.
    3. Pour the oil mixture into the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to stir gently until just combined. Stir in the grated carrot.
    4. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 1 hour. Set aside for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
    5. To make the icing, place the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix until well combined.
    6. Spread the icing over the cake.

    This is our cake.
    The icing is green because she likes green.
    And it's not her birthday, but really, what is a cake without candles?

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    Spaghetti Bolognese

    I know the really simple way to make this is to brown some mince, add a jar of prepared sauce and add to pasta, but it's so easy to make your own. It tastes heaps better and you know exactly what you're eating, too.
    With illnesses, ailments and disorders on the rise I have to wonder if it has something to do with the mountains of processed foods we eat with all the additives, preservatives & chemicals. I don't like to use any bottled sauce bases anymore.

    Serves 4

    Get This -

    500g beef mince
    1 brown onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    2 cans diced tomatoes
    4 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 beef stock cubes
    a shake of dried oregano
    a shake of dried thyme
    a shake of dried tarragon
    a pinch of cinnamon
    a pinch of nutmeg
    1/4 red lentils
    1/2 to 1 cup vegetables, eg carrot, zucchini, cauliflower, capsicum
    1/2 cup water (I swish out a can of tomatoes & use that)
    salt & pepper
    fresh parmesan, shaved/finely grated
    fresh basil
    spaghetti or other pasta

    Do This -

    • Heat oil in large pot.  Saute onions & garlic until translucent.
    • Add vegetables, stock cubes & herbs.
    • Add mince and stir until browned.
    • Add tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute.
    • Add all other ingredients and simmer.
    • Sauce will be ready in about 20 minutes, but I love it after a few hours of gentle simmering...much tastier! 
    • Just before you're ready to serve, cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
    • Drain pasta, serve in bowls with the bolognese sauce on top and finish with fresh shaved parmesan and chopped basil.