Basic Beef Burgers

Burgers aren’t a very frequent meal in our house. I’m not sure why. Peter and the kids adore them and serving themselves makes for a very happy family meal.

It’s been several weeks in isolation now, and our local supermarket is still very low on many things (totally empty shelves in many aisles) so our grocery shopping and planning has looked a little different. We’ve needed to be a little more creative and adaptive with what we can access – that’s ok by me!!

When my biggest boys asked for Cheeseburgers, we went back to the style of burger patties that we haven’t made in a long time. Very simple, quick to make and not many ingredients. Devoured by everyone. Winning.

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme (or dried Italian Style herbs)
  • 4 tbsp Nutritional Yeast*
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated (or 1/2 tsp dried garlic flakes)
  • ground salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp hemp seeds

*You can add in 2 tbsp of suitable breadcrumbs here if you’d prefer.

Grate the onion and carrot and mix together with all other ingredients, except the beef.

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Break up the beef mince and add to the carrot mix.

Smoosh (yes, that’s the technical term!) the mince in until well combined. You can do this with a spoon, your hands,  or even a short burst in the food processor.

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Using your hands, for the mix into patties and lay on a lined baking tray.

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Place into a preheated 180 oven for about 30 minutes, turning them over after 20 minutes. You can also fry them in  a pan with a little olive oil if you’d prefer.

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Makes 6-8 burger patties (depending on their size)

We like to have this as a ‘serve yourself meal’. Some add only cheese and cucumber, others add EVERYTHING!

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They are delicious in  a bunless burger ….

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Or with your favourite bun – We particularly enjoy them with fresh spelt/hemp buns!!!

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Enjoy 🙂

Basic Bikkies In A Hurry – 2 ways!

So – the food landscape looks pretty different at the moment.

People are panicking, the shelves are bare in many shops and we are all a little unsure about what lies ahead.

Well to start – please take a deep breath. Let’s try to keep calm. Wash your hands well, stay away from others if you’re at all unwell and keep an eye out for reputable updates.

And please – be kind. Be patient and take care of those who are vulnerable or isolated.

It terms of food – let’s get back to basics!

Here are some simple bikkies you can make for lunchboxes or afternoon tea, in a hurry, with your pantry basics. Plus they fit vegans and most food allergies too!

There is a vanilla almond version and a choc muesli version

The basic recipe for both starts with:

  • 125g butter/plant based butter
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar (if you’re a sweet tooth you can boost this to 1/2 cup)
  • 1 egg OR 1 quantity of egg replacer

Preheat your oven to 180C

Allow the butter to soften to room temperature.

Whisk into the butter the sugar and egg until smooth and well combined.

For the vanilla almond version, now add in:

  • 1.5 cups plain flour (OR 1 1/4 cups GF flour and 1 tsp psyllium)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (OR seed meal)*
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Fold all dry ingredients into the butter mixture until well combined into a stiff dough.

*1/2 cup of roughly crushed cornflakes works well here too.

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For the choc muesli version, now:

Place 1/2 cup rolled oats (OR shredded coconut) and 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds into a blender/processor/nutribullet etc and blitz into a coarse flour.

Then, to the butter mix, add:

  • 1 1/3 cups plain flour (OR 1 cup plus a flat tbsp GF flour and 1 tsp psyllium)
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1 rounded tbsp cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • the ground oat mix
  • a handful of diced dried fruit (sultanas, cranberries, dates, apples all work well)

Fold all dry ingredients into the butter mixture until well combined into a stiff dough.

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For both versions of the bikkies, once you have the stiff dough, use a teaspoon of dough to form small balls.

Lay on a lined baking sheet and press down gently. Leave some room for spreading.

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until well risen and golden. They will be soft to touch when you remove from the oven but will harden as they cool on the tray.

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Each batch makes about 18-20. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to a week

 

 

Simple Mushroom Soup

You already know how much I love soup!

With Mr 11 having just got his braces on, I have had a weekend of making soft food … and soup certainly made the list!

As well as being quick and inexpensive to make, nutritious and filling, allergy friendly and comforting – it is also very kind to sore mouths!

  • 1 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 medium sticks celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 450g mushrooms (I like portobello)
  • 1 tsp each fresh chopped rosemary and thyme
  • 1 tbsp (40g) tahini (or seed butter to keep it sesame free)
  • 1/2 cup (40g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp pink flaked salt
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1.2L boiling water

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Heat oil in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add in finely diced onion  and cook for 2 minutes. Add in finely diced celery and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or starting to soften and get a little colour.

Add in finely diced carrots and combine well. Add in herbs plus salt and pepper, stir well and cook over medium heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are golden.

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Slice and add in the mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally for a further 5 minutes until mushroom are reducing and releasing their liquid.

Add the chopped zucchini to the saucepan and then the boiling water. I start with 1.2L and then add more if it’s needed.

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Bring to a gentle and simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes or until the carrot squashes easily with the back of your stirring spoon. If it still crunchy then you won’t get a smoothly blended soup.

Add in the tahini and nutritional yeast, stir, and then use an immersion stick blender to blend until smooth.

Add in more water and blend again if it is too thick.

Taste test and add a little more salt if required. Serve hot.

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Delicious …. but I just can’t make it pretty!

Serves 6.

If macros are important to you – here are the details per serve:

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Enjoy

J x

Chicken Cannellini Casserole

Quick and easy comfort food that is delicious and filling 👌👌

Enough meat to satisfy the carnivore and still enough veg, beans and mushrooms for my preference.

In the spirit of full transparency … Only 1 of my 4 kiddos was happy to eat this one…  🤷🤷 ah well. 3 of us loved it and 2 of us are delighted to have some leftover for tomorrow!

  • 700g chicken thigh, skinless
  • 400g field mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • Medium brown onion
  • 400g tin Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 rounded tsp pure corn flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 cups chopped green beans
  • Carrot noodles to serve

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan.

Dice the onion and cook until soft. Add in the mushrooms and thyme. Cook until the mushrooms start to soften.

Remove from pan and set aside.

Add sliced chicken to the hot pan and brown. Then sprinkle in the corn flour, stir and then add the stock and aminos.

Add in the Cannellini beans and return the mushroom mix to the pan.

Mix until evenly combined and bring to a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through.

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Add in the green beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking … You want them to still have some crunch!

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Serve on a bed of carrot noodles (use a veggie peeler to create the long strips)

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Makes about 5 serves.

Enjoy 😊

P.S – If macros are important to you here are the details for 1 serve (without the carrot)

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Spicy Green Chicken Patties

I live in a house with multiple small boys who are obsessed with both the Marvel universe and body parts …. I won’t tell you what they wanted to call these green balls … you can use your own imagination 😉

Whichever cheeky name you choose to call them – they are very yummy and were happily devoured by all 6 of us!

  • 750g chicken thighs (approx 6 thighs), skinless
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 tsp garlic flakes (or 2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed)
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • Good pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1-2 birdseye chillies (depending on the heat you like)
  • 70g bean shoots
  • 2 tightly packed cups of chopped spinach
  • 50g hemp seeds

Roughly dice the onion.

Place all the the ingredients, except the bean shoots, spinach and seeds in your food processor.

Process until well combined (speed 4, 15 seconds, scrape down and repeat)

Add in the bean shoots, process to combine (speed 4, 10 secs), then add the spinach and repeat.

Start processing again (speed 3) and pour seeds through open top chute.

Process until well combined and smooth.

Scrape mixture out into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight. This helps them to hold together well without the addition of egg or breadcrumbs.

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Using a spoon and damp hands, form patties with the mixture.

Lay on a lined baking tray and spray with a little olive oil before placing into a preheated 200C oven.

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Cook for 30 mins or until golden and cooked through. (I flip them after about 20 minutes)

Makes 20 patties.

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Serve with cucumber and ribbons, topped with sliced avo and drizzled with extra coconut aminos.

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And if macros are important to you – here are the details (per patties – and not with the salad accompaniment):

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Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Moroccan Black Bean Chicken on Seared Eggplant

This is such a simple meal – quick to throw into the slow cooker in the morning and then a few extra minutes to finish in the evening when you get home from work. But it is delicious and filling – I guess ‘hearty’ is a good way to describe it!!

It makes a large batch too which is great for big families and for the freezer 🙂

5 out of 6 thumbs up at my place (number 6 is waaay over tired and went to bed so I’m not sure that I’m counting his vote this time 😉 )

  • 8 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless (approx 1.2kg)
  • 2 tbsp Moroccan spice blend (I make this one)
  • 2 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 800g tin diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup hot chicken stock (Massel for store bought)
  • 1 rounded tbsp tomato paste
  • Eggplant (aubergine) slices, Approx 200g per person
  • Olive oil
  • Pink salt flakes
  • Grated cheese of choice to top

Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker, sprinkle the seasoning over the top.

Add in the black beans and tomatoes.

Stir together the tomato paste and stock before pouring it over the contents of the slow cooker.

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Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Lift lid and use a couple of forks to shred the chicken.

Slice eggplants long ways (I cut a medium one into 4 slices) then pat dry of any water.

Spray with a little olive oil and place into a hot frying pan. Cook each side for a couple of minutes until soft and golden.

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Sprinkle eggplant with a little salt, then transfer to a lined baking tray.

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Top the eggplant with the slow cooked chicken mix and a little grated cheese (dairy or plant based). Put under a hot grill for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.

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Serve immediately.

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SO very full after dinner!

This quantity of chicken mix makes about 12 adult serves. If you’re not serving 6 like me, a half batch cooks exactly the same.

We portion out and freeze the left-overs ready for another easy family meal – just need to cook the fresh eggplant each time.

Full disclosure ….. 3 of my 4 kids cried on being told that they were having eggplant  – they had theirs on a little GF pasta instead!!!

P.S. I have been asked about the macros of this recipe – so if you need them: The serve as pictured above is 1/12 of the mix, roughly 1 ladle, with 2 x 100g slices of eggplant and 15g total of Tasty cheese. It is 282 calories, 10g fat, 30g protein and 20g carbs.

P.P.S I haven’t made a vegan version yet, but next time I intend to give it a go and I’ll update. I think I’ll use 2 cans of cannellini beans to replace the chicken and use stock paste or powder for the flavour, but not use the water.

Pear, Pomegranate & Date Overnight Oats

Every year in January our extended family gathers at the beach for breakfast to remember my Grandad on his birthday.

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It’s always a bring and share affair; fruit, savoury muffins, bacon and eggs, pancakes … And I’m pretty well not allowed to attend without bringing some form of fruity overnight oats.

This is the one I took this year.

It’s a super simple way to make a delicious, filling, summer breakfast when you are short on time in the mornings (ok – so every morning then?!).

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large very ripe green pear, grated
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 6 medjool dates, quarted
  • Small handful of dry roasted almonds (or sunflower seeds), roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp each pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds
  • Several mint leaves, torn

Place the oats, milk and cinnamon in a bowl and mix together. Cover and place in the fridge over night, or for at least 2 hours.

In the morning, fluff up the oats with a fork, then grate the pear and stir it though.

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Top with the fruit, nuts and seeds and then mint and serve.

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Add a spoon of your favourite yoghurt (dairy, soy or coconut) if you’d like too.

Serves 8

Enjoy 🙂