baking, BBQ accompaniments, cafe food, Cardioprotective food, Easy Recipes, Healthy dinner ideas, Home cooked, Mid week lunches, Prepare ahead of time, vegetarian

My Cheat loaf … not for cheat days!!

This thing, this loaf, is not a cheat day meal – its a vegetarian meat loaf comprised of chickpeas, black eye beans and vegetables. I know I make a lot of loaf style things and its just because they are easy to make. Baking something is so easy to do in between emails and laundry, it basically cooks itself once the oven timer has been set!

I came across this recipe on the Connoisseurus Veg blog and its become popular with my home crew who usually love their meat. I didn’t have all the ingredients that Alissa used so this one is more basic that her recipe, I didn’t have flaxseeds or the liquid smoke either – it was a bit fancy for me. But still successful – particularly with the brothers and my mom who are usually huge meat fans. I also substituted out one of the cans of chickpeas for black eye beans which Edgell have finally started to be sell here in Aus now. I first tried these when I lived in the states and I loved them. They are a good source of protein and fibre and mix in well with the chickpeas in terms of flavour and legumes are usually quite economical as well. The other thing I like about this recipe is that it is super simple; all you have to do is fill your food processor and blitz until everything is a bit crumbly and broken down to a mince consistency.

You’ll need:

Food processor – large capacity – or you could use a small one but just blend it in batches.

1 x400g tin of chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 x400g tin of black eye beans drained and rinsed

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 onion, 2 carrots & 2 celery sticks … all diced. I chop my veggies a bit larger so that some of them are still visible in the loaf once its cooked.
Salt & Pepper to season – you could add in extra paprika or other herbs if you like.

2 Tablespoons each of Olive Oil, Worcester sauce, Low Sodium Soy, Tomato Paste
1/4 cup Soy Milk or dairy alternative – increase to 1/2 cup if mixture is too dry after blending.

Maple Glaze Ingredients – in a small bowl, mix together
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika

Once the mix is blended, place into a lined loaf tin, top with tomato maple glaze and bake for 40 mins at 180 degrees. This will be quite soft so I would recommend eating it when its cooled for awhile, you could bake it in the morning and let it sit for bit.

I’ve taken to serving it with my other side dishes like some stirfried tofu or asian greens or sometimes have it with a green salad. Its even nice cold. My little brother who I think is actually a genius has taken to shallow frying it for an extra crunchy element, and served with polenta. And I also think it might be good with a serve of sweet potato fries *drools*!

Overall, its versatile. Give it a go and let me know your thoughts on it.. on a meatfree monday perhaps?

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baking, BBQ accompaniments, DIY, Easy Recipes, Healthy dinner ideas, Home cooked, Prepare ahead of time, vegetarian

Lentil and Quinoa Stuffed Capsicums

These make a good veggie lunch or can be a side to any roast dinner.

You’ll need:

5 or 6 traffic light capsicums all around the same size
3/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup aborio rice
1/2 cup French (blue) lentils
1 medium onion, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 -3 cups chicken or veg. stock
salt and pepper

This is an absorption method recipe. You could also use a rice cooker for this mixture.
Heat up 1 Tablespoon of oil in a heavy based deep pan. Fry the onions in the oil until they are translucent. Make sure the heat is not high as you don’t want to brown the onions. Then add the rice, quinoa and lentils. You could rinse these in a sieve before you add them in if you like. Mix to combine with onion and add in the stock. Place the lid on top and let simmer for 5 mins. Stir the pot every 5-6 mins. it should take around 15 mins to cook.
You can vary this recipe by adding different seasoning or combinations like bacon and onion to fit the occasion. You could also add toasted almond slivers, sultanas or walnuts in the rice.

When cooked, allow to cool for 5 mins or so while you prep the capsicum.

Line a deep baking tray with greaseproof paper. Wash the capsicums and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the tops off about 1 inch from the stalk and remove the seeds inside and in the top. Place them on the tray.

Stuff each capsicum with the quinoa and lentil mixture.
Replace the lid of the capsicum.
Spray with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper.
Baked in a mod. oven (180 deg) for 15-20 mins, or until the outer skin of the capsicum has cooked.

Serve with a side of your favourite protein or salad.

Enjoy!

 

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#winter, DIY, Easy Recipes, Healthy dinner ideas, Home cooked, Money Saving

When you don’t really feel like cooking

Lately its been quite crisp and the wintery weather has made me feel like warm food.

Last month I posted a mexican bowl as some of you will remember. I probably make this about once a month but the mixture lasts awhile if you add a couple of beans and other extras to it. It freezes nicely too which is handy when you have a mid week work disaster and can’t cook, just get it out and defrost it. This recipe is a healthy source of protein and iron, and the addition of the legumes, rice or vegetables plus salad provides a valuable source of fibre.

1 pack of lean, reduced fat/heart healthy mince, about 600gms
1 tin of red kidney beans, or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 white onion, diced
1 Mexican seasoning mix (or if you don’t have any or don’t want to buy it, you can use a mix of paprika, cumin and chilli powder, I would use equal parts cumin and paprika and a small amount of the chilli powder)
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons water

Method
Gently cook the onion until soft. Add in the seasoning mix or herbs and the mince. Cook mixture until brown. Add in the tomatoes and water and simmer..

To Serve – my favourite suggestions

  1. bake a plain potato – leave the skin on and make a cross mark in the top. Heat in the microwave or oven it if you have time – when cooked, top with some cheese and the mix. Enjoy. You could also use a sweet potato cut in half, with some of it scooped out – like a souped up potato skin. Alternatively, you could get a large courgette – halve it lengthwise and scoop out a small canal in the middle – add the mix, top with vegetables of your choice and add some grated cheese – and bake in a 180deg oven for 15 mins.
  2. in a small bowl place a cup of cooked brown rice. top with 1/2 cup of the mince mix, and about 1 tablespoon of chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, 1 tablespoon of rinsed and drained corn kernels, coriander leaves, grated tasty cheese and a generous dollop of natural yoghurt. Top with sriracha sauce.
  3. Make nachos  – but especially serve the mince with corn chips and a freshly made guacamole – take one ripe avo and mash it with a squeeze of lime, chilli flakes, and a tablespoon of finely chopped red onion -assemble and serve. Enjoy with friends!
    For more recipes including a lasagne recipe from the Womens Weekly NZ site click  Here  or the Foodtolove.com.au site  Here
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DIY, Healthy dinner ideas, Salads, Summer eating, What to eat when

Brown Rice Vermicelli Salad… Vietnam dreaming

Its been super hot in Sydney lately and I’m not able to take the heat!!  Having to wear an air cast in the heat is not so comfortable either – I’ve had it on for three weeks now and am starting to get a bit more used to it.
I have started a bit of pool walking so thats been really nice in between physio and developing recipe content from my couch. So I have been staying out of the heat and I posted a few simple leaf salads last week, but I decided to up the anti today and try to make a favourite salad of mine – Vietnamese vermicelli salad ( or BUN Bo –  which translates to  lemongrass beef .. ) but with a twist instead. So normally this is a beef or pork dish, and traditionally chicken mince is not really used. But it was on special at the shop so I decided to use it. If you’re a traditionalist and you would like the original recipe using steak, click on this link here from Taste.com.au to check it out.

Also, I am sort of craving a bit of Vietnamese food, mainly because I am supposed to be on a trip there right now. Due to an accident whilst attempting to run a trail in the National Park in Waterfall a couple weeks back, I was grounded by my Dr and had to stay behind. My awesome team left yesterday and I am looking forward to their updates. You can read more about my group who are on the trip here that raised $40,000 for primary school education programs in Cambodia and Vietnam and see my own page about why I was involved here – and then make this for your family or friends – its economical, refreshing, and yum!

Vietnamese chicken mince vermicelli salad
Time: allow about 60 mins, you may need one helper in the kitchen

Ingredients:
Meat – organic chicken mince 400- 500gm pack – if the organic is too expensive any (free range or other) chicken mince will be suitable
1/2 red onion finely diced
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 spring onion, white and green part, sliced and chopped
3 Tablespoons Fish sauce
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
White pepper 1/2 tsp

Mix these ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside for 10 mins for seasoning to soak in.

Salad
1 x200gm packet of pandaroo brown rice vermicelli
3 lettuce leaves, shredded
1/2 cucumber, cut into sticks
2 carrots, spiralised

Dressing
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 medium lemon)
2 tablespoon lime juice  (1 lime)
1 clove garlic
1 small chilli, deseeded and sliced (I didn’t have this so I used chilli jam)
3 tablespoons grated palm sugar

Topping (for the table, to serve 4-6 people)
1/2 cup Mint
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
1/2 cup shallots, sliced and fried (or you could use prep prepared ones from the asian grocery store), for sprinkling
Put these into small dishes and place on the table.

Step 1.
Prepare the pandaroo vermicelli according to directions on the packet. Drain and wash with cold water., for a few minutes until the heat of the noodles reduces or place in a bowl of iced water for 5 mins.
This will prevent the noodles from becoming soggy and help them to stay nice and crisp. Drain and set aside.

Step 2.
While the noodles are cooling, take the mince which has been marinated and stir fry in a hot pan or wok. I used rice bran oil as that is the oil I use at home predominately and also the fish sauce in the meat has a strong aroma. Sunflower or another vegetable would also be a good one to use. I wouldn’t use EVOO for this salad as the heat can be quite high and if its a nice grassy one, it might not complement the fish sauce flavour. Cook the mince in batches (I had to do two separate ones), until it is light brown. Cooking the mince in batches can reduce the water that comes out of the meat and gets it a bit brown rather than soggy but that is my preference for the meat to be dry and little crispy. Place in a dish and set on the table.

Step 3. Salad Plate
In a bowl or on a plate, placed shredded lettuce, spiralled carrot and cucumber sticks next to each other.

Step 4.  The dressing
In a small bowl combine 1 chopped garlic clove, fish sauce, chopped chilli and brown sugar. Add lemon juice to taste (I added extra as I like more of that, and wanted to have a less salty overtone). Its important to taste the dressing as you make it so you can adjust it to your taste.

Step 5. Assembly
In your bowl, layer the brown rice vermicelli at the bottom and add the lettuce, cucumber, and cooked meat pieces., Top with the mint leaves and peanuts and shallots, and the spoon over 2 teaspoons of dressing. Mix your bowl up, ensuring the dressing covers everything well, and enjoy!!!

Hope you like it – let me know how you go by placing a comment below.

 

 

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