Sweet Potato Nachos

Not going to lie, sweet potato is on permanent rotation in my kitchen. Fries, mash, accompaniment to salad… you name it. Substitute base for corn chips in your nachos? Heck yes!

This is a great light meal option or something for entertaining (small gatherings only people, keep safe).

Sweet Potato Nachos (serves 2)

What you’re going to need

1 large sweet potato, evenly sliced into circles

150g mince (whatever type suits your fancy)

1 clove garlic

1/2-1 teaspoon cumin

1/2-1 teaspoon paprika

1/2-1 teaspoon oregano

1/2-1 teaspoon onion powder

salt and pepper to season

50g grated cheese

handful cherry tomatoes, chopped

sour cream to serve

Method

  1. On a lined baking tray, lay out the sweet potato, drizzle with oil and lightly salt. Bake in the oven at 180 c for 20 mins or until cooking through
  2. Whilst the potato is baking, prep the mince mixture. In a fry pan, heat up some olive oil on a high heat. Once hot, add the mince to brown off.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the garlic, herbs and spices (cumin, paprika, oregano, onion powder, salt and pepper). Also add 1/2 cup water. Stir well and leave to simmer.
  4. Once potatoes are cooked through, place in a oven proof tray/dish. Top with the cooked mince and cheese. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted.
  5. Serve with sour cream and fresh tomatoes. Splurge and get some guac too if you’re feeling it, why not.

Lamb Stew

Winter is well and truly here now folks. To add to that, it’s been pretty rainy and grim generally. One way to warm things up a bit is to tuck into a warm comforting meal such as my lamb stew!

I got inspired to create a stew after visiting Harris Farm supermarket for the first time ever and discovering their discounted meat and veggie shelves. Picked up a “soup mix”* for $2 which has just enough of everything to make a good base for usually a soup but I adapted a bit and made a stew instead. They also had some heavily discounted lamb about to reach its expiry date (passed the smell test when I cooked it, don’t worry).

Alas, I now had majority of the things I needed to make a warm bowl of delish. There is a little bit of prep in the beginning but this is very much a set and forget dish.

Lamb Stew (serves 3-4)

What you’re going to need

500 g diced lamb (shoulder cut)

2 small potatoes/1 large potato, chopped into medium sized pieces

1 large carrot, cut into 1cm thick pieces

1 stalk celery, roughly chopped

1 tin tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup chicken stock

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon oregano powder

cracked salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. In a large fry pan with a lid, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add in the lamb and onions to brown off.
  2. Once browned, reduce the heat to low and add all other ingredients.
  3. Stir well and then allow to simmer on a low heat for at least 2 hours.
  4. Serve with your choice of sides e.g. grains (rice, quinoa, couscous), greens (beans, broccolini) or on its own with some fresh bread.

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*Soup mix packs generally contains the following ingredients – potato, onion, celery, carrot, parsnip, suede, parsley. I opted to use the parsnip and suede for other dishes as their flavour can be quite overpowering in a dish if used in incorrect quantities.

Lamb and Feta Meatballs

It’s been a hot minute since I last wrote and the world has changed. Alas, all this time at home is helping bring back my creative flair. I’ve recently moved house and being home-bound for the foreseeable future, I have plenty of opportunities to cook new dishes.

I had the cravings for meatballs and I picked up some lamb mince during my last grocery shop (let’s be honest, grocery shopping at the moment is a bit of a lottery). These are easy as to make, basically just chuck everything in a bowl then cook ’em up!

Lamb and Feta Meatballs (makes 11-12)

What you’re going to need

500g lamb mince

1 egg

1 slice bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces (less than 1cm squares)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/3 cup tasty cheese, grated

30g feta

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1-2 tablespoons milk

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for cooking

Method

  1. In a small bowl, place the bread and milk to soak.
  2. Whilst the bread is soaking, add the mince, egg, parsley, grated cheese, garlic, salt and pepper into a bowl.  Once all the milk is absorbed/the bread is soaked, add the bread to the remaining mixture.
  3. Mix the bowl contents with your hands (I find this is the best way to mix everything and break up the mince properly. I usually wear disposable gloves for ease of cleaning my hands afterwards)
  4. Once mixed, take a portion of the mince mixture in your hands to roll into a ball shape. Press your thumb into the top to make a hole and place the feta inside. Cover the hole with mince from the other side of the ball. Repeat step until all the mince mixture and feta are gone. Mixture yields approximately 11-12 meatballs.
  5. In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil to a medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook through (~15 minutes depending on size).
  6. Serve hot with your choice of condiments. I chose to have them with hummus and salad for a light dinner.

Tagliatelle with Napoletana Sauce

I just love the versatility of using a tomato based sauce. It works beautifully on its own as simple passata with seasoning or you can amp it up and throw a heap of veggies in, or pretty much any kind of meat and maybe even some cheese!

So the Sunday night ritual continues and the dilemma of how can I make an amped up sauce that suits one who doesn’t like cheese, one who won’t eat a non meat dish and the other who wants more than “just” bolognese.

I’ve over killed it with mince at the moment so decided not to use it and went with chorizo instead as the meat option. I love the flavour it gives the dish and it’s a bit more substantial than bacon or pancetta. I also used Barilla Napoletana Sauce as my tomato base and added in a heap of veg to make it an even more nutritious meal.

To make this a complete dish, I used Barilla Egg Tagliatelle as the base and to mix through the chunky sauce! I love the texture it has and it holds the sauce really well. It also cooks really quick (5 minutes in boiling water).

So if you’re salivating and to want to give this dish a go, keep on reading for the recipe!

Tagliatelle with Napoletana Sauce (serves 4-5)

What you’re going to need

250g pack Barilla Egg Tagliatelle

1 jar Barilla Napoletana Sauce

125 g chorizo, sliced evenly (1 sausage)

3 medium cup mushrooms, sliced thinly

generous handful baby spinach

1/3 medium zucchini, finely grated

1/3 medium carrot, finely grated

handful pitted kalamata olives

6 basil leaves, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to season

1 tablespoon olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Prepare a large saucepan with salted water and place on a low heat.
  2. In a large frypan, add the olive oil and bring up to a medium heat. Once hot, add the carrot and zucchini and fry for 2-3 minutes. Once softened, add the napoletana sauce. Before discarding the jar, half fill with water and shake with the lid on to get the extra sauce stuck to the sides of the jar. Add the water from the jar to the sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once simmering, add the sliced mushrooms and spinach and reduce to a low heat.
  4. In a small frypan, fry the chorizo until cooked. Drain on some paper towel and set aside.
  5. Once water is boiling, cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Whilst the pasta is cooking, add the chorizo and olives to the sauce. With 1 minute to go, add the basil.
  6. Serve immediately on warmed plates. (your choice if you want to mix the pasta through the sauce or serve the sauce on top)

Disclaimer: The Barilla Pasta and Napoletana Sauce were provided as a gift. I only support and endorse products that I have used or cooked with myself. 

 

 

 

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

I love a good Sunday roast and since I cook dinner at home every Sunday, guess what was on the menu tonight. Lamb! Served up with roasted veggies, it is a treat. It is a all round crowd pleaser at my house and it is easier to cook than you think!

I’m just providing the recipe for the lamb rack. Feel free to serve this with any sides that you like but simple roast veggies always do the trick if you get stuck!

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

What you’re going to need

1 frenched lamb rack roast (~400g)

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/2 loaf bread, crust removed (I used pane di casa)

zest of 1 lemon

handful fresh parsley

handful fresh thyme

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Remove lamb rack from packaging and trim any thick excess sinew. (a bit of fat is good so don’t cut it all off, just the harder bits that won’t render down in the oven)
  3.  On a lined baking tray, place the lamb in the centre and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Whilst the lamb is browning, prepare the crumb. In a pulse blender/food processor, place the crust-less bread, herbs, lemon and seasoning and blitz until well combined and a creates a chunky crumb.
  5. Once the 15 minutes have elapsed, remove the lamb from the oven and spread the dijon mustard over the top and sides. Add the crumbs evenly and cover as much of the lamb as possible leaving the bones exposed.
  6. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Pull out of the oven and leave to rest on the tray for 8-10 minutes before slicing.

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

Chicken Sausage Casserole

It’s the long weekend, it’s cold and I am being especially lazy. Alas, I still wanted to cook something delicious and healthy for dinner tonight. I went with an adaptation of my mum’s sausage casserole.

Let’s get straight into it

Chicken Sausage Casserole (serves 4-5)

What you’re going to need

8 medium chicken sausages (mine were parsley flavoured)

1/2 cauliflower, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped evenly

1 potato, chopped evenly

1 potato, sliced thinly using a mandolin

50 grams fresh green beans, chopped evenly

500 mls/2 cups reduced salt chicken stock

2-3 tablespoons cornflour

1 tablespoon cream

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Place mandolin sliced potatoes in water and bring to a boil. Once boiling for 30 seconds, remove from heat and strain. Set aside.
  2. In a large cooking pot that can be used on the stove top, add some olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until lightly brown. Remove from pan, slice into even pieces (~1cm each) and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  4. In the same cooking pot, add an extra drizzle of oil and add all the vegetables. Fry the veggies for 2-3 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, cream and cornflour. Leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce begins to thickens. Add the sausages back in. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. In a large baking dish, add the casserole mix and top with the mandolin potato slices. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and spread with a pastry brush. Season with salt and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until potatoes on the top are golden brown. Serve hot*.

*Recipe is freezer friendly, save your leftovers!

 

Pesto Chicken Pasta with Extra Veg

Want to up the veg but are craving carbs big time and you want more variety than just more baked potatoes?

To make this dish a quick one (~25 mins), you need to choose vegetables that cook quickly in a fry pan. My new favourite kitchen technique for cooking things quickly is ribboning your vegetables! It almost feels like you get more yield per individual vegetable as opposed to slicing them up. Easy as, all you need to do is peel your veggie of choice (usually carrot, eggplant or in this case zucchini) and peel and peel and peel to get long thin slices that will cook in about 2-3 minutes. Amazing!

Next, to pump up the veg even more i threw in some cherry tomatoes and chopped green beans! I added in chicken as well to satisfy the family taste buds but for work lunches i’d probably omit it for cost and longevity in the fridge reasons. This dish is also conveniently dairy free.

Anyway, let’s get into the recipe!

Pesto Chicken Pasta with Extra Veg (serves 4)

What you’re going to need

3 cups spiral/fusilli pasta (I use Barilla)

1 small chicken breast, sliced into strips

1 medium zucchini, sliced into ribbons with peeler

handful fresh green beans, chopped into even pieces

handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthways

Pesto

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup baby spinach

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I use Cobram Estate)

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 clove garlic, grated with microplane/crushed

zest of 1/2 lemon, grated with microplane

salt to season

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook based on packet instructions.
  2. In a pulse blender, add all the pesto ingredients and blitz until at the desired consistency (not a paste but not too chunky). Set aside
  3. In a lightly oiled fry pan on a medium heat, cook the chicken until 90% cooked. Remove from pan and place in a bowl.
  4. Add the beans and tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini ribbons, cook for 1 minute.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add the chicken and pesto. Stir well ensuring the pesto coats all ingredients.
  6. Strain cooked pasta and add to the fry pan of ingredients. Mix well to coat pasta in pesto. Serve immediately.*

Chicken Pesto Pasta

*Can be served cold. Will keep in the fridge for ~3 days (with chicken) and ~5 days (without chicken).

 

Sausage Pasta Bake

Even though the weather is getting warmer, I am still persistent on baking most of my meals! Especially coming towards the end of the year with my first accounting exam and last colour belt grading for martial arts, I am willing to do just about anything to make the cooking process more efficient. I would love to spend hours in the kitchen but at the moment, I just can’t. Alas, I still want to create tasty meals for my family and keep up with my Sunday family dinner routine.

If you trawl back through some of my older posts, you’ll see I have already shared a few pasta bake recipes however this is my first tomato based one. I kept it simple and whipped up the sauce and ingredients all in one pan! (separate saucepan for boiling pasta though). If you’re super hungry and want to eat it quicker, you can skip the baking step! However if you’re all about the gooey cheese factor, then would strongly recommend finishing it off in the oven. It also makes it easier to portion for leftovers (which I accidentally catered for 6 people instead of 4 so now I have enough for lunches, yay!)

Sausage Pasta Bake (serves 4-6)

What you’re going to need

300 grams large spiral pasta (I used San Remo)

6 medium sized beef sausages

1 400g bottle Passata

1/2 zucchini, finely grated

1/2 carrot, finely grated

1 clove garlic, grated with Microplane or minced

4 small cup mushrooms, thinly sliced

handful basil leaves

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for frying

grated cheese for topping

Method

  1. Boil a large pot of water with salt and cook pasta until just under al dente (still a bit firm as it will further cook in the oven). Set aside.
  2. In a large fry pan, heat up the olive oil on a medium heat. Brown the sausages in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside on a chopping board.
  3. Reduce the heat in the pan to low, add a bit more olive oil and then add the carrot, zucchini and garlic. Stir and leave to become fragrant. Whilst this is happening, go back to the sausages and cut them into 2 cm sliced chunks.
  4. Once pan is fragrant, add the Passata, sausages and mushrooms. Mix well and season. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Whilst simmering, turn on your oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  5. Once the Passata has reduced, add the cooked pasta and basil. Stir well to ensure all pasta is adequately coated in the sauce.
  6. In a large baking dish, carefully spoon all the pasta mix into the dish and spread evenly. Top with a generous helping of grated cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve hot. *

Sausage Pasta Bake

*Recipe is freezer friendly if there are leftovers.