Mushroom Meatballs

People are choosing to decrease meat consumption for many reasons; ethical, environmental, health and budgetary.

Whatever your reason, one of the ways you can decrease your consumption is by not always focusing on meat as the centre of your meal. Thinking about it as the side instead.

For me, it’s a juggle between my preference for a largely plant based diet and my husband’s preference to live as a carnivore!

These meatballs were a pretty good compromise and they were very well received.

  • a dozen  medium button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • half a brown onion, diced
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 500g beef mince
  • 200g cooked chick peas (about 1/2 a tin)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • olive oil to cook

Place the garlic oil in a hot frying pan, fry the onion until it begins to soften, then add in the mushrooms.

Fry the mushrooms until they begin to soften and then add the grated carrot.

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Mix well, add in salt and pepper to taste, thyme and the coconut aminos.

Fry, stirring regularly, until the carrot is soft.

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Into your food processors, place the beef mince, the mix from the frying pan and the chick peas.

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Process until well combined and fairly smooth. (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat)

Place mix into the fridge for at least half an hour but up to a full day – this will help the mix tighten and hold together better when you cook it later on.

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Form teaspoons of the mix into small balls and then place into a frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil – don’t have the frying pan searing hot or you’ll burn them before they cook properly. Cook on each side until golden brown and cooked through.

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Next time I make them, I will bake them after spraying with olive oil instead of frying  – I’ll update when I do.

Makes about 24. Serve with your favourite sides – pasta, veggies, salads, or even in a sandwich!

These don’t freeze particularly well (the tend to fall apart a little bit) but they are delicious for lunches over the next couple of days. I had mine with salad and avocado – yum!

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Enjoy

 

Pumpkin pastry parcels

I guess this one isn’t so much as recipe as an idea or a suggestion!

We do our very best to reduce waste from our kitchen.

So many ways to make some little changes that help –

  • We menu plan,
  • Cook in bulk,
  • Freeze leftover for work lunches,
  • Make soup to use up veggies that are past their best
  • All veggie peelings and scraps go to our worms and so back to the garden,
  • Do a swap – we give out overload of veggie scraps to friends with chooks (and sometimes get eggs in return!)

One of the other ways to reduce waste is to get a bit creative when you’re down to the last few bits of veg before shopping day!

I had about 1/4 of a butternut pumpkin, a couple of handfuls of spinach, a small handful of left over roast chicken and the dregs of my walnut container left. Together with a few basic pantry staples – that sounds like weekend lunch!

My husband reckons they are better than a bought pie (and his body feels better afterwards) and he says they’re much nicer than the ones he can buy at a cafe in the city – for an obscene price!

We used: Pumpkin, spinach, walnuts, cooked chicken, puff pastry, Italian herbs, salt pepper, olive oil (garlic infused) and coconut aminos.

But use whatever left overs you have and enjoy and get creative!

*If you don’t eat meat – we often us about half a tin of butter beans or cannellini beans instead – just pop them in the oven together with the pumpkin in the last 10 minutes of roasting time.

*If you don’t eat nuts – pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds work really well here too – use them in exactly the same way as the walnuts.

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Dice the pumpkin into small pieces.

Then roast the pumpkin with some garlic olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian herbs (about 200C for 35-40 mins).

Place pumpkin in a bowl together with the chopped chicken, walnuts and spinach and then add about 2 tsp of coconut aminos. Mix well so that the pumpkin gets a bit mashed up.

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Place mixture into the centre of pastry squares (obviously – use whichever pastry suits your diet)

Fold the pastry over the mix to form a parcel and then use the fork to press the edges of the pastry together.

Bake in a 200C fan forced oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden, puffed and flaky.

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Enjoy 🙂

 

Roasted Garlic Mushroom Stacks

Last night we celebrated 17 years together.

Kid free – but we had to do our tax …. ah well, at least we got to have a yummy dinner!!

Peter says that if I had presented him with this kind of meal 15 years ago, he might have run … but he has gradually learned that you can have delicious flavour and texture without meat. So if you’re looking to add a meat free dish to your repertoire – this might be a very simple place to start – and it has 2 enthusiastic thumbs up from the carnivore!

  • Butternut pumpkin, two discs, about an inch thick
  • olive oil to brush
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 tsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 large ripe avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Handful pine nuts OR pumpkin seeds

Peel your pumpkin discs, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle the nutritional yeast over them. Place on a lined baking tray and into a 200C oven. After about 25 minutes, turn the pumpkin over and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

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While the pumpkin is cooking dry fry your pine nuts/seeds in a hot frying pan until they are golden – be careful… it doesn’t take long! Then set them aside.

Melt together the butter and garlic olive oil and brush it over both sides of the mushrooms. Place these on the baking tray with the pumpkin discs (that have now been in the oven for about 35 minutes). Sprinkle over the thyme and return to the oven for about 15 minutes.

Mash together the avocado with the lemon juice plus the salt and pepper.

Place the salad greens on the plate. Top with the roasted pumpkin, then spread a thick layer of the avocado on to the pumpkin. Top with the mushrooms and then add the pine nuts over the meal.

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When you remove the mushrooms from the baking tray, you’ll see that they have produced a dark juice … don’t waste it – drizzle it over the salad leaves!

 

Sprinkle the top of the mushroom with a little extra thyme and salt.

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Serve immediately.

Enjoy 😊

 

Simple egg slice

This is such an easy way to get in some extra veggies. It’s fast to make, really flexible and works well to use up veggies that might otherwise be past their best.

It does contain egg so this is not a meal that we can eat as a family … but the biggest little one loves to take it in his lunchbox and I like it on standby in the freezer for days when I’m really rushed and need to grab something to take to work for breakfast.

  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup flour (spelt or GF)
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3-4 cups chopped/grated veggies*
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds (optional)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

*We use up what we have in the fridge. Mostly it is a mix of carrots, zucchini, corn, capsicum, tomato, sometimes asparagus and sliced mushrooms

Place flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl and use a whisk to combine evenly.

Add in grated/chopped veggies and seeds.

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Fold through veggies and seeds so that they are evenly coated in the flour mix.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and the oil.

Pour the wet mix into the veggie mix and fold through until there is no dry flour visible.

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Pour into a lined baking dish, smooth out and place into a preheated moderate oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked through.

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Eat warm, or slice and freeze.

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Serves 8

Enjoy 🙂

 

Thai pumpkin soup

Hello soup weather!

I’ve been making this delicious, comforting soup for the past couple of years.

It is an absolute winner with Peter and I and Will. I’ll be honest though … It isn’t a favourite with the other small ones. 2 of them tolerate it … One of them will have a taste but that’s as far as it goes. 🤦

Ah well, you can’t win ’em all … And I’m delighted to have a freezer stocked with lunches!

  • 1.5kg butternut pumpkin
  • 400g sweet potato
  • 2 heaped tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp red thai curry paste (I like the Ayam brand)
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • 2L hot veggie stock

Place the curry paste into a hot saucepan and stir until fragrant.

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Home grown veg plus curry paste home made from homegrown lemongrass, chillies, onion and garlic – makes me SO happy!!

Add in the diced pumpkin and sweet potato and stir to coat the veggies in the paste.

Add in the stock and bring to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the coconut cream and the seed butter.

Use an immersion blender to blend until silky smooth.

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We like to serve with fresh damper 😋

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Makes about 10 serves and it freezes and defrosts well.

Enjoy 😊

Chicken, black bean and carrot burgers

Building your own burger is always a fun, messy, dinner.

Mostly we go with a veggie burger patty but we mix it up sometimes with this chicken burger.

The beans and carrots work to bind the patty without egg and they also mean you can spread the meat further and significantly boost your fibre intake too.

  • 4 large chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 420g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • olive oil to cook

Chop and steam the carrots until they are soft.

Place the chicken thighs in your food processor and process until chicken is evenly minced (speed 5, 10 secs)

Add in beans and carrots then aminos and thyme. Process further until well combined (speed 4, 10 secs)

Add in the nutritional yeast and hemp seeds and process until just combined. (Speed 4, 5 secs)

If you have the time pop the mixture in the fridge for half an hour before you make patties. It will help them hold together better when you cook them.

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Ready for the frying pan

Form heaped tablespoons of the mixture in to patties and place into a hot, greased pan.

Cook until golden on one side, then flip and cook on other side until cooked all the way through.

You can also spray with a little olive oil and bake in a 200C oven for about 20 minutes, flip them over and cook for a further 10 mins or until cooked through (keeps the stove top much cleaner! 🤣)

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Serve on your bread of choice with your favourite burger toppings.

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He likes his with pineapple, tomato, capsicum, lettuce, cheese and egg. The lot!

I like a leftover patty on its own topped with avo for lunch.

Makes about 12

Enjoy 🙂

Butternut butter bean sausage rolls

Sausage rolls are a massive favourite with my kids … and husband!

They are easy to make in bulk, and freeze and they are perfect for hiding veggies, so it is nice to know that they can be a slightly healthier option for my family – Obviously they’re still wrapped in pastry so they’re definitely a ‘sometimes’ food!

This is a simpler version of my veggie loaded sausage rolls and are Harry’s current favourite 🙂

I use Chevup sausages in my mix. They are a skinless, gluten free, Aussie beef sausage with about half the saturated fat of normal sausages – I feel much happier about using them than the questionable sausage mince that is commercially available. You can find more details about them here.

The sausages I use have great flavour, so if you are using regular beef mince, there is a note below the main ingredients for a couple of extra things for you to add.

Gluten, egg, dairy, nut and soy free pastry is the next issue. There are many GF pastries out there but they are often really disappointing. Obviously use the one that suits your diet and that you enjoy.

I have used this pastry from the Gluten Free Bakery:
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And it does a pretty good job. But ….

if you live in WA you really, REALLY have to check out Busy Bees Gluten Free pastry (I buy from Weigh n Pay in Woodvale)! It is amazing! It comes in a long roll and it handles just like wheat based pastry. It is soft and easy to work with and even non GF people have been happy to eat it!

  • 8 Chevup sausages
  • 250g butternut pumpkin
  • 400g tin butter beans (drained)
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 4 sheets of your puff pastry (1 used 3 regular and 1 ‘everything free’)

If you are not using the Chevup sausages, use

  • 450g beef mince, plus
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp mild paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic flakes
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos

Finely blitz the pumpkin. (Speed 6 for 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat).

Add the additional flavourings and oil, if not using chevvups and process again (Speed 5, 8 seconds)

Add the sausages or mince, to the processor and process until it is quite smooth (Speed 6, 10 seconds at a time, scrape down in between).

Add the butter beans and process until well combined (speed 5, 10 seconds, scrape and repeat)

Add the nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, salt, aminos and herbs and then process again until evenly combined and fairly smooth (speed 6, 10 secs, scrape and repeat)

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Cut the pastry sheets in half and divide the mixture up between the sheets.

I find it is best to place it in a thin line down the middle of the pasty.

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Roll the pastry over the top of the mix to form long cylinders.

Lay on a lined baking tray with the join side facing down (helps the join to hold together as it puffs).

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Cook in a preheated 210C oven until meat is cooked and pastry is puffed and golden brown. (Use a short burst under the grill to get them extra golden and flaky). Takes about 35-40 mins in my oven.

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Enjoy 🙂