Posted in Cooking

B: Beetroot Brownie

When I suggested beetroots for B (for our eating through the alphabet) some people told me that they don’t actually like beetroots. But keeping with the spirit of the endeavour, we agreed to try it, because we knew that we would be having beetroot in a new and interesting way.

If you love dark chocolate, these deliciously gooey and thick brownies are for you.

Yield: 12 gooey squares of deliciousness

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

What you need:

  • 200g beetroot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 175g butter, chopped
  • 255b brown sugar
  • 200g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 75g plain flour
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g walnuts, chopped (optional, but highly recommended as these brownies are very rich)
  • Icing sugar to dust

What you do:

  1. Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper, allow the sides to hang over the edge of the pan.
  2. Finely chop the beetroot. Alternatively you can use a food processor, or if you don’t want beetroot chunks, you can grate your beetroot.
  3. Place a saucepan over medium low heat, combine the beetroot, butter, brown sugar, and dark chocolate. Stir until the butter and chocolate is melted and the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Transfer into a bowl and stir in the egg.
  5. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  6. Sift the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  7. Stir in the walnuts.
  8. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  9. Pour the brownie batter into a prepared pan.

  10. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the centre is firm.
  11. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
  12. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

beetroot-brownie

Posted in Cooking

A: Artichoke & Sweet Pea Lasagna

Recently a lovely friend of mine made a comment about eating through the alphabet. I thought that this sounded like a super cool idea! So while her passing idea did exactly that, pass, I was brainstorming.

It was decided that the recipes would be vegetarian to ensure that the entire group of interested people could take part entirely, and the intention was to either eat food that you have never eaten before, would not normally eat, or eat them in a new way.

So A was decided to be artichoke.

I personally have only ever had artichoke as a part of an antipasto spread, so this was definitely something interesting for me to try. I conceded early however, that these recipes were not going to be eaten by Le Hubby. True to form he turned his nose up at the idea of a lasagna with no meat. However, when I was eating it, he walked past and took a mouthful, then came past again and simply took my entire bowl, demolishing the remainder of my lasagna. Evidently he liked it.

Yield: 8 – 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

What you need:

  • 450g marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 500g whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1kg frozen baby peas, thawed
  • 3/4 cup grates Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g pre-cooked (soft) lasagna sheets
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

What you do: 

  1. Prepare a 30cm by 20cm baking dish, by spraying with oil.
  2. Combine the artichokes, 1/2 cup of cream, and basil in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Puree the remaining 1 cup of cream, ricotta, peas, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and salt together in a food processor.
  4. Heat the oven to 200°C.
  5. Spread 1 cup of ricotta mixture over the bottom of the preparing baking dish. Layer a single layer of lasagna sheets over the top.
  6. Spread half of the artichoke mixture over the lasagna sheets. Spread 2 and 1/2 cups of the ricotta mixture over the artichokes. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top. Top with lasagna sheets.
  7. Repeat the previous step again.
  8. Spread the remaining ricotta mixture over the top, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top.
  9. Tent with foil and seal the edges. (Easiest way to tent, is to place tooth picks in the lasagna, and lightly lay the foil over the top, then seal at the sides. You don’t want the foil touching the lasagna otherwise the cheese will stick to the foil rather than your lasagna!)
  10. Bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue baking for another 25 minutes.
  11. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.

artichoke-sweet-pea-lasagna

Posted in Cooking

Heart Healthy Tandoori Lamb Burgers

Burgers are absolutely DELICIOUS! And something has to be said about a burger that looks and tastes fresh. You sometimes get burgers that are just so… heavy and dull. Some places seem to think that the more meat floating in gravy that you can put in a burger the better. But when I can see the lettuce… when I can see the egg and the beetroot… *drool*.

Now as this is tandoori lamb burger, not an Aussie burger, there is no egg and beetroot. BUT this is still a very fresh and delicious tasting burger!

Yield: 4 to 6 burgers, depending on the size of the buns

Prep Time: 20 minutes (with lots of multi-tasking, 35 minutes with out multi-tasking)

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 large red capsicum, quartered and deseeded
  • olive oil spray
  • 2 tbs tandoori paste
  • 1/2 cup low fat natural Greek-style yoghurt
  • 400g lean lamb loin fillet, trimmed of fat
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh mint
  • 4 to 6 wholegrain rolls, split and lightly toasted
  • 1 cup mixed salad leaves

What you do:

  1. Heat your grill to high.
  2. Spray the capsicum with olive oil spray, and place skin down on the grill, and grill for 8 – 10 minutes until the skin is charred.
  3. Transfer to a plastic ziplock bag and seal. Set aside for 5 minutes so the skin will lift.
  4. Peel the skin from the capsicum and discard. Cut the flesh into strips.
  5. While preparing your capsicum, combine the tandoori paste and 2 tbs of the yoghurt in a cermaic bowl.
  6. Coat the lamb in the tandoori mix, set aside in a bowl, and cover in the refridgerator for 15 minutes.
  7. Combine the remaining yoghurt, the cucumber and the mint in a small bowl. Set aside in the refridgerator until ready to serve.
  8. Heat a large non-stick pan over a high heat. Lightly spray with olive oil, add the lamb and cook on each side for 4 – 5 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
  9. Transfer to a plate, cover loosley with foil and set aside for 5 minutes.
  10. Thinly slice the lamb.
  11. Spread a little of the cucumber mix on the base of the bread roll.
  12. Top with salad leaves, capsicum, lamb, and a dollop of the remaining cucumber mix.
  13. Sandwhich together with the top of the roll, and serve.

Heart Healthy Tandoori Lamb Burger

 

Posted in Cooking

Birthday DogCakes!

I interrupt your regularly scheduled noms by sharing with you something a little bit special on today, my birthday!

In a semi-related way, I wanted to share with you how we celebrated my adorable little woofers first birthday, and the delicious (to him) cupcakes that I made for him.

This is him as a young woofer, dressed in his finest bow tie.12651308_10153488927747842_8383790371454748553_n

This adorable young man had his first birthday, and of course, I spoiled him with some cake. Just quietly, I think he loved them because he look off very quickly to eat them!

Yield: 4 large, or 6 medium cupcakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup quick cook oats
  • extra peanut butter for icing

What you do:

  1. Prepare a cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, honey, and shredded carrots in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and oats.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the carrot mixture and stir until fully combined.
  5. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  6. Pour the cupcake mixture into the prepared tin.
  7. Bake for 15 – 25 minutes, or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  9. If desired, melt some extra peanut butter and use to ice the cupcakes.

Here is our boy enjoying his birthday cupcake. Sitting patiently while we sing happy birthday to him.

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Posted in Cooking

Heart Healthy Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie. NO! It is NOT the same as Shepherd’s Pie. Let’s make things completely clear from the start.

What animal do shepherd’s look after? Sheep! So shepherd’s pie is made with LAMB!

AND… the other is cottage pie. I was going to try to think of some witty memory device to remember cottage pie with, but I couldn’t. What animals do cottages look after? What animal lives in a cottage? I don’t know, both of those options leave me with the answer of Humans, therefore Human Pie. Please note, Cottage Pie is NOT made with human meat. It’s beef. Cow. Moo Cow. Moo Cow Beef Meat. Definitely not human meat.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes (or a whole lot quicker with a nicer dicer)

Cooking Time: 20 – 30 minutes

What you need:

Filling:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tbs salt reduced tomato paste
  • 600g lean beef mince
  • 800g canned salt reduced diced tomatoes (or 2 400g tins, but you guys are brainy enough to figure that out!)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pepper to taste

Topping:

  • 600g pontiac or desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbs margarine spread
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk, warmed slightly (do not boil)
  • salad or steamed greens to serve

What you do:

Filling:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery and cook for 8 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables soften slightly.
  2. Add tomato paste, and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Turn heat to high and add the mince. Cook using a wooden spoon until all the mince changes colour. (Wooden spoons do not transfer heat, so you wont risk burning the meat as you use the spoon to break up the mince.)
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, sugar, and water.
  5. Season with pepper and bring to the boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook while occasionally stirring, for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and simmer while uncovered for a further 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced slightly.

Topping:

  1. Meanwhile, place the potato in a saucepan and cover with cold water (if the food grows under the ground, cover with cold water and boil. If the food grows above ground, boil the water first, then throw the food in – HOT TIP!). Cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Drain well and return to the hot pan.
  3. Add the margarine and mash until smooth.
  4. Stir in the milk and beat until smooth, season with pepper.
  5. Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Celsius in a fan-forced oven).
  6. Spoon the meat into a 4 cup capacity oven proof dish.
  7. Top with mashed potato.
  8. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the potato starts to turn golden, and it is piping hot.
  9. Serve with salad or steamed vegetables.
  10. OR if you are in Australia, serve with a healthy amount of tomato sauce!

 

 

Heart Healthy Cottage Pie

Posted in Cooking

Heart Healthy Banana and Blueberry Bread

Yay! Yet another recipe that uses up old overripe bananas. And to top it off, it is a heart healthy recipe too! I do hope all you internet stalkers have super healthy tickers now. I’m being considerate, I’m being thoughtful, I am thinking about the longevity of my lovely internet stalkers!

Yield: 1 loaf (slices achieved depends on how fat you like your banana bread, so for me I get… 4 slices haha).

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

What you need:

  • Canola oil spray
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup reduced fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

What you do: 

  1. Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray and line with baking paper. (I’m not sure if I’m the only person who does this, but I save the foil from the blocks of butter that I buy, and I use these as baking paper. This is a tip my mother taught me, works fantastically!)
  2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and mixed spice into a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, milk, eggs, and banana.
  4. Gently stir into the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. (Or 170 degrees Celsius for a fan forced oven. Or simply be vigilant.)
  6. Spoon mixture into the prepared loaf tan. Scatter blueberries and gently poke them into the batter. Smooth the top of the batter.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Stand for 10 minutes in the pan before lifting onto a wire rack.
  9. Serve warm, toasted, or at room temperature.

Heart Healthy Banana Blueberry Bread

 

Posted in Cooking

Heart Healthy Egg and Bacon Pie

First I must make a disclaimer, please do not confuse and egg and bacon pie with a quiche! Two completely different things. This egg and bacon pie is a delicious breakfast meal. Healthy, heart hugging, tummy filling, taste bud tantalising, drool worthy.

I can hear your little internet stalker souls crying out “But how is bacon good for your heart!?” It is all in the way you use it. Use it moderately, and ensure that you are using a lean peace with all the fat and gristle cut off. Also, use the saltiness of the bacon to season the dish, so no additional salt.

Yield: Makes 4 egg cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

What you need:

  • Cooking oil spray
  • 4 rashers bacon, short cut, eye part only
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 tbs extra light sour cream
  • 4 spring parsley, chopped
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • Spinach, mushroom, avocado (really any breakfast vegetable/leaf you like to accompany it. No hash browns!)

What you do:

  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Spray a baking tray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Place bacon on a baking tray, and bake in the oven for 4 minutes.
  4. Drain on paper towel.
  5. Meanwhile, cut the pastry into quarters, and gently press into a muffin tin. (Depending on the size of your muffin tin, you may need more or less pastry. My six hole muffin tin was the perfect size.)
  6. Place a rasher of bacon in each pastry shell.
  7. Combine sour cream, parsley, and pepper in a bowl. Spoon over the bacon.
  8. Crack and egg over the sour cream mixture.
  9. Place in the oven to bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the egg is cooked through.
  10. Serve with your desired sides.

Heart Healthy Egg & Bacon Pie

Posted in Cooking

Heart Healthy Chicken Biryani

Usually Sri Lankan and Indian foods are known to be full of creams, coconut creams, butters, and other heavily fat laden foods. However, THIS recipe means you are still able to have your curry, and look after your heart too!

No why not eat delicious food and look after yourself at the same time! The beauty of this recipe is that you may through whatever steamed vegetables as you would like with it. Do you have potatoes that need to be used, cut them up and throw them in. Green beans? Great, throw them in too!

You may be wondering why I am suddenly posting heaps of recipes that are good for your heart. Well I wanted to attempt meal planning, for the purpose of making cooking easier for myself, and to attempt to eat healthier. Meal planning has allowed us to do JUST that. So I highly recommend taking an hour to sit and plan what you will have for dinner to eat that week. This way you can do one shop, have all the food that you need, ensure that you are eating healthy, avoid over buying food that will ultimately go out of date, and save money! Best decision I ever made.

Yield: 4 main meals

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes (plus 10 minutes standing time)

What you need:

  • 1 tbs canola oil
  • 1 red onion, halved then thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick (hot tip, don’t store cinnamon sticks and star anise together… WOW is star anise strong!)
  • 500g of chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and diced into 2cm squares
  • 2 tbs red curry paste (personal preference here. You want it hot, use a hot paste, you want it mild, use a mild paste. Just try to use one that is low in salt.)
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbs currants (some people love these *ME!* some people hate these *Le Hubby* so do with this ingredient as you please.)
  • 2 cups salt reduced chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 2 bunches broccolini, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • plain yoghurt to serve

What you do:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick. Cook while stirring for 8 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add chicken pieces and curry paste. Cook while stirring for 5 – 6 minutes or until aromatic.
  4. Stir in the uncooked rice, cauliflower, and broccolini.
  5. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil.
  6. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and allow to stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  8. Add coriander, and stir to combine.
  9. Serve garnished with coriander if desired, and a side of reduced fat yoghurt.

Heart Healthy Chicken Biryani

 

Posted in Cooking

Heart Healthy Chocolate Strawberry Cake

I’m sorry, did you say “heart healthy” and “chocolate” in the same sentence?

Why, yes I did! The heart healthy aspect of this, is that it uses less artificial sugars and fats than a standard cake. It also doesn’t have a sugar and butter filled icing. It is still deliciously soft and moist. Amazing to eat warm, topped with natural yoghurt (not cream) and chopped up strawberries! The trick is all in the substitution. No need to substitute flavour, just use a healthier alternative!

Yield: 8 pieces (cut smaller or bigger pieces as you please!)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

What you need:

  • Canola oil spray
  • 3 eggs
  • 75mL sunflower oil
  • 200mL buttermilk (alternatively make your own, pour 200mL of milk, remove 1 tbs, and add 1 tbs of vinegar, wait 5 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 220g self  raising flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g fresh or frozen berries (I used strawberries, but you can make it with raspberries or blueberries, or a combination of berries if you please)

What you do:

  1. Lightly spray a 20 x 25cm cake tin with spray oil.
  2. Beat together the eggs, oil, buttermilk and sugar until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and bicarbonate of soda.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  5. Carefully fold through the berries. Be wary not to over beat.
  6. Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 for a fan forced oven).
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Serve warm with natural yoghurt and extra berries.

Heart Healthy Strawberry Chocolate Cake

 

Posted in Cooking

Heart Healthy – Beef and Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese

I have made spaghetti bolognese before. The last time that I made it, I also made a note that bolognese is a perfect dish to hide vegetables in for your non-vegetable eating friends, OR a great way to get rid of vegetables that need to be used before they grow legs and walk out of your fridge. NOW, we have a heart healthy version of this recipe!

It can still be used to utilise extra vegetables too!

Yield: 4 – 6 depending on how much pasta you like to eat. (6 my size meals, 4 Le Hubby sized meals).

Prep Time: 10 minutes (or two if you have a fancy nicer dicer thing!)

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

What you need:

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
  • any other vegetable you feel like finely dicing
  • 500g extra lean beef
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 700mL passata (this is different to tomato paste, and again different from pasta sauce)
  • 2 and 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp reduced salt beef stock powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • 500g spaghetti

What you do:

  1. Spray a pan with oil spray.
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery, and capsicum (and any other vegetables) to the pan. Saute for five minutes, or until the vegetables are softened slightly.
  3. Add the mince and cook on high until the mince is browned all the way through and there are no large chunks.
  4. Stir through the lentils, passata, water, stock and oregano. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for ten minutes.
  5. Begin to cook your pasta according to packet instructions. (Remember, salt the water AFTER it has boiled, and salt it so it tastes like the ocean).
  6. Remove the lid and let simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir occasionally.
  7. Stir through the basil.
  8. Serve hot, ladled over the pasta, and garnish with parsley and parmesan if you please.

Heart Healthy- Spaghetti Bolognese