Saturday 28 September 2013

Italian Baked Chicken

I have had a bit of a craving for some sort of baked chicken for a while now. I usually do chicken breasts but I thought I would change it up a bit and use boneless, skinless thighs instead.

Very easy to make and it tasted pretty good too!

Sorry about the picture.. I forgot my camera so had to use my phone and it was pretty shadowy but I was impatient to eat!

 Italian Baked Chicken

Serves 4

about 500 g boneless chicken thighs (or a mixture of thighs and drumsticks)
1 Onion, diced
3 Cloves garlic, crushed and finely diced
12 white button mushrooms, sliced
1 Cup spinach (didn't actually measure it out, just grabbed a big handful)
400 g can of tomatoes
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
a handful of grated mozzarella
Italian Parsley for garnish
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Heat a fry pan and a bit of oil over a high heat.

2. Coat the chicken with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook for about 5 minutes, turn and cook for a further 2 minutes (doesn't need to be cooked through, it will finish cooking in the oven). Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. 

3.  Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the spinach to wilt (only about a minute, or less). Add the tomatoes and mixed herbs and combine.

4.  Place chicken and vegetables in a casserole dish, sprinkle with mozzarella and bake for about 20 minutes, until nice and golden and chicken cooked through.

5. Serve chicken over pasta (or rice, or with a garden salad and garlic bread, however you like!).

Nutritional Informatin

Calories 336
Carbs    19 g
Fat        16 g
Protein   33 g
Fibre      2 g

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

Peanut butter is always awesome in baking and I just couldn't resist not baking again until the weekend (to be honest, I already have my recipes planned for the weekend!) ...

So I made cookies, again. Just using stuff I had laying around in the pantry. But they are totally different to the ones I posted last week, promise.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

Makes approx 16 cookies

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
45 g brown sugar
3 Tbsp plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
50 g Chocolate, cut into chunks (I used Cadbury Dairy Milk)
110 g peanut butter (I used no added salt or sugar PB)
2 Tbsp apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and combine.

2. Put the peanut butter, apple sauce, and vanilla in another bowl and mix well. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix to combine into a dough

3. Roll the dough into teaspoon size balls and put into the fridge for about half an hour.

4. While the cookie dough is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 180°C. 

5. Place the cookies onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 10 minutes. After you take them out of the oven leave them alone for ten minutes to get as they will be VERY soft and delicate straight from the oven. 

6. Store in an airtight container (glass for crisp cookies, plastic for a softer cookie)

Nutritional Information (based on 16 cookies)

Calories 76
Carbs    7 g
Protein  2 g
Fat        4 g

Sunday 22 September 2013

Strawberry Milk Chocolate Mousse

Mousse has to be one of my favourite desserts and it's pretty simple to whip up and just as simple to make it a "healthier" version than a normal mousse, and you will honestly not taste the difference.

As soon as I tasted the new Whittakers Milk Strawberry block last week I just new I had to make something with it. It's absolutely delicious. This recipe is what I came up with. I also reckon it would be pretty good in a cheesecake so I think that will be next weekends project.

If you cannot get hold of the chocolate I used here but still want the strawberry and chocolate combination I would go for a good quality milk or dark chocolate (whichever you prefer) and about a teaspoon of strawberry essence.

Strawberry Chocolate Mousse

Serves 6

1 tsp gelatine
2 Tbsp boiling water
2/3 Cup light and creamy evaporated milk (chilled)
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 Cup sugar
80 g Whittakers milk strawberry chocolate

1.  In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatine in the boiling water.

2. In a medium (microwave safe) bowl, combine 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk with sifted cocoa and sugar. Stir well to combine and make sure there are no lumps.

3. Break the chocolate into squares, add to the bowl and microwave to melt the chocolate (a minute or two should do it). Stir until smooth.

4. Add the gelatine mix to the chocolate mixture and stir well. Cool to room temperature (about 15 minutes).

5. While the mixture is cooling, take the other 1/3 Cup of chilled evaporated milk and beat until peaks form that can stand up on their own. Fold into cooled chocolate mixture and divide into 6 serving dishes/cups/ramekins.

6. Chill in the fridge until set. Serve with fresh strawberries and chocolate shavings.

To make chocolate shavings, take a block of chocolate, turn upside down (so the flat surface is facing up), take a sharp knife and touch it to the chocolate and pull the knife towards you (carefully!) to scrap up the chocolate.

Nutritional Information

Calories 134
Carbs    20 g
Protein   3 g
Fat         4g
Calcium  90 mg

Friday 20 September 2013

Berry Crumble Muffins

I had some left over apple sauce from the cookies the other day so I decided to make some muffins with it. This is what I came up with. Berry muffins with a crumble topping.

I used raspberries but they would be awesome with mixed berries.

Berry Crumble Muffins

Makes 15

1 Cup berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries...) Fresh or frozen
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 Cup wholemeal flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100 g apple sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 Cup trim milk

2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp rolled oats

1. Preheat oven to 220°C and grease a muffin tin.

2. Combine all the ingredients from the top list in a large mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Don't over mix of the muffins will be tough.

3. Spoon into the muffin tin.

4.  Combine the 2 Tbsp brown sugar and oats in a small bowl and sprinkle a little bit over the top of each muffin.

5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the muffins spring back when pressed lightly.

Nutritional Information:

Calories 110
Carbs    20 g
Fat         1 g
Protein   4 g
Fibre      2 g 

Lamb and Feta Meatballs

I don't know what it is about meatballs. They are always just so good no matter what you put in them. Especially when made with lamb. This is one of my go-to recipes. Really quick and easy to whip up and they taste amazing.

I made them for my boyfriend once and served with penne and arrabiata sauce and he LOVED it. I'm sure he will be pleased when I pack the leftovers in his lunch tomorrow!

Lamb and Feta Meatballs

Serves 4

400 g lamb mince
100g reduced fat feta
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 Cup wholegrain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (basically as much or as little as you like!)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (dried is fine too!)

1.  Put everything in a large bowl and combine.

2. Split the mixture into four even chunks, take each chunk and roll into four meatballs (if you do it this way, one serve is four meatballs).

3. Set the meatballs aside for about 15 minutes.  During this time, preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

4. Put the meatballs onto the tray and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, turning once during cooking. The cooking time will depend on your oven, you will be able to tell when they are cooked and they should be nicely browned on both 'sides'.

5. Serve in wraps, with rice, pasta, quinoa, in a sub... however you like!

I had mine with quinoa and a chilli-balsamic sauce

Nutritional Information:

Calories 285
Carbs    7 g
Fat        12 g
Protein  36 g

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Butterless Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie. But there is soooo much butter in them that the energy and fat content are through the roof. As I was sitting in a seminar this afternoon (that was completely over my head so it was hard to concentrate) I was thinking about how I could make some choc chip cookies, healthy style.

I was pretty nervous about completely inventing a baking recipe. It's one thing to create a breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipe but baking is all about correct volumes and measures. Had no idea how this was going to turn out. 

This is what I came up with. No butter. Reduced sugar. Surprisingly delicious. Seriously, they turned out soooo much better than I could have ever imaged. Think I prefer these to normal, butter containing cookies! YAY!

My handsome taste tester and everyone in the office approved =)

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 25 cookies

180 g apple sauce (I used Barkers Apple Sauce)
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/4 Cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200 g dark chocolate chips (I used Cadbury Dark Chocolate Baking Chips)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper (if you just have one tray just cook in a couple of batches).

2.  Place the apple sauce and sugar in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Stir in the egg and vanilla.

3.  Sift the flour and baking powder over the sugar mixture, add the chocolate chips and mix well to combine.

4. Scoop out tablespoon volumes of mixture, roll into balls, press down slightly and place on baking tray.

5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Nutritional information per cookie

Calories 115
Carbs    20 g
Protein   2 g
Fat        3 g

(I also calculated what the info would have been with butter instead of apple sauce: 170 calories, 9 g of fat per cookie!)

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Raspberry Vanilla Overnight Oatmeal

This is what I have for breakfast pretty much every week day. It's so easy to do, really tasty, and healthy too! And with summer just around the corner this makes a nice cold breakfast. A great variation to traditional porridge.

All it takes is 5 minutes in the evening to throw it together in a jar, chuck it in the fridge overnight and that's breakfast done for the morning.

Now my lab mates will finally know what the heck I am eating out of a jar every morning. I must look like such a weirdo, sorry about that guys!

There is no reason that you have to stick to raspberry and vanilla (those just happen to be my two favourite things). As long as you keep the base the same you could add whatever flavours you like.

Raspberry Vanilla Overnight Oatmeal 

Serves 1

1/4 Cup Rolled oats
1/4 Cup Light Greek yogurt
1/3 Cup Trim milk
1 tsp Chia seeds
1/4 tsp Vanilla essence
1 Tbsp Raspberry jam
1/4 Cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1. Chuck everything except the raspberries into an old jam jar or something similar. Give it a good stir or put the lid on and shake.

2. Add the raspberries, refrigerate overnight. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.

That's it. Simple.

Nutritional Info:

Calories 230
Carbs    51 g
Fat        4 g
Protein  11 g
Fibre     8 g
Calcium 20% RDI

Chicken and Bacon Gnocchi Bake

My guy had to work late last night so I thought I would make something a bit different and (hopefully) delicious for him to have for dinner when he got home. He liked it, so I will consider it a success and share the recipe with you guys.

If you haven't had gnocchi before I would definitely recommended that you try it! It's an Italian dumpling made from potatoes. You can pick it up in the fresh pasta section of the supermarket or if you have more time on your hands you can make your own, quite time consuming but not very difficult.

I didn't take a photo but it looked something like this:


I will remember to take a picture next time I make this and upload it here then.

Chicken and Bacon Gnocchi Bake

Serves 4

2 Tbsp Canola oil
6 white button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, finely diced
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
300 g boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
4 rashers streaky bacon
1 Red capsicum, diced
400 g can chopped tomatoes
handful of  fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
400 g potato gnocchi
Handful of grated mozzarella

1. Heat half the oil in a large fry pan over a medium to high heat. Preheat oven to 200ÂșC

2.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, onion, and chilli to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion appears soft and clear. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Return the pan to the heat, add the other half of the oil and add the chicken and bacon. Cook until the chicken in cooked through.

4. Return the mushrooms etc to the pan and add the capsicum, tomatoes, parsley and mixed herbs. Add a little bit of water into the bottom of the tomato tin, give it a swirl and add this to the pan. Add the gnocchi. You need a bit of excess liquid to allow the gnocchi to cook.

5. Mix everything together and bring to the boil, stirring

6. Transfer to an oven proof casserole dish, spread mozzarella over the top and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is golden.

Nutritional Info (1/4 total recipe/1 serve)

Calories 462
Carbs    48 g
Fat        12 g
Protein  42  g
Fibre     2 g

Monday 16 September 2013

Lemon and Coconut Brownies

I had some lemons left over from the dinner last night and I didn't want them to go to waste so whipped up a batch of these. Also decided to make these as I am sure my honey would love them! Nice and easy to make and always go down a treat.

Super Easy Raspberry Coulis

I am posting this recipe first as I am excited and want to post something and I know this one off the top of my head.

This raspberry coulis (syrup) recipe is really quick, easy, and delicious! It would work well with any sort of berry, both fresh and frozen. I used frozen raspberries here.

3 Cups Raspberries (Fresh or frozen)
1/2 Cup Caster Sugar (Normal sugar would work too, just heat the syrup more to make sure it dissolves)
2 Tbsp Water

1. Put everything in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

2. Simmer for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved

3. Pass through a sieve to remove the seeds (Seeds? Pips? I don't know what to call them!)

4. Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for about two weeks

You could find all sorts of uses for this. Over desserts, ice cream, pancakes, waffles... Be careful not to just eat it as is! It's so tasty that you may be tempted!

Dinner Party!

Last night I cooked dinner for my friends: Beer and mozzarella bread, grilled portobello mushrooms, wild mushroom spaghetti, lamb and rosemary cannelloni, and strawberry cloud cake with raspberry coulis.
They all thought it was great and there were a couple of suggestions that I should start a cooking blog so here is my attempt at a blog!

I will have to try and remember to actually take pictures of my food inventions now so that I actually have something to share =)