Chicken and eggplant stew

This is simple, delicious comfort food.

Packed with veggies and flavour. We love this dinner because we both leave it thick and chunky for the adults, and also put some through a quick spin in the food processor to give a ‘chicken bolognese style sauce’ for the less, ah, amenable kiddos!

It’s a pretty forgiving and flexible dish so the quantities are pretty rough!

  • 5-6 Chicken boneless thighs, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp garlic flavoured olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh thyme, basil and rosemary, finely chopped (or about 2 tsp dried Italian Style herbs)
  • 1/2 tsp dried chill flakes (optional)
  • 1 large eggplant (about 800g), diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12-15 button mushrooms, or 6-8 larger field mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup passata
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • ground black pepper to taste

Start with the eggplant – it needs some time to draw out the moisture to stop it going rubbery when you cook it.

Dice the eggplant, and place it in a draining sieve. Sprinkle it with the salt and leave to sit for 30 minutes. You will see lots of moisture on the surface and dripping down into the sink. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add in the onion and cook over medium heat until it starts to brown. Add in the diced chicken, sprinkle with herbs and chilli then cook over a medium heat until the chicken starts to brown.

Add in the eggplant and stir well to combine.

Now add in the mushroom and stir them through. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the eggplant and mushrooms cook down.

Now add in the passata and paste, stir well and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add in the spinach and stir well to combine.

You only need to cook down the spinach for another 2 minutes before you’re ready to serve.

Serve the stew on its own, over pasta or zucchini noodles. Our kids eat this best when we pop in in the food processor and roughly process it so it is less chunky and more of a sauce. They enjoy it with pasta and little bit of grated cheese.

Makes about 6 adult serves. It freezes and defrosts fairly well, but also keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days for left over lunches.

Enjoy 🙂

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms

Super simple, speedy comfort food.  That cooks in bulk and while I am at work – winning!

  • 900g-1kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 4 large carrots (about 350g) chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion (about 140g), diced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic flakes
  • 150g button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 cup hot chicken stock
  • 2 large handfuls of chopped green beans
  • 100g cream cheese (dairy, soy or cashew based) OR 2tbsp coconut cream if you’d prefer

Roughly chop the carrots and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil then add in the onion and cook gently until translucent. Add in the garlic, thyme and mushrooms and cook for 1 further minute, stirring well to coat the mushrooms.

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Place the chicken thighs in to the slow cooker on top of the carrots.

Add the stock to the frying pan with onions and mushrooms, stir and then scrape into the slow cooker on top of the chicken.

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Place lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours (or high for 3.5).

Remove lid, add in the green beans, stir and replace lid for a further hour on low (or 30 mins on high). Broccoli florets also work well here.

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Remove lid and use 2 forks to shred the chicken, as fine as you’d like, then add in the cream cheese and mix well until it is dissolved and evenly distributed.

Makes 8 serves.

Serve on a bed of mash (potato or cauliflower) or with noodles (pasta or zucchini)

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If macros are important to you, here they are for 1 serve (that is 1/8th of the total meal), based on the dairy cream cheese:

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Broccoli and Cream Cheese soup

Very simple, inexpensive, easily sourced ingredients. Amazingly good at feeding your super gut bugs. Quick to make, cooks in bulk and freezes well for weekday lunches. Allergy friendly ….. AND YUMMY!!!

  • 400g Broccoli (1 medium size), roughly chopped
  • 600g Cauliflower (1 large), roughly chopped
  • 1 small brown onion (about 120g), diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp veggie stock paste
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 150g cream cheese (*dairy, soy or nut based – you can even use a light silken tofu here)

If you don’t have stock paste you can use 2 cups liquid stock and then only 6 cups water.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add in the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and golden.

Add in the cauliflower and broccoli plus the stock paste and stir well. Cook down for about 3 minutes then add in the boiling water.

Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are very soft. *If you need a quicker cooking time you can give them veggies a quick blitz in your food processor first.

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Remove from the heat and add in the cream cheese.

Use an immersion blender to blend until the soup is very smooth. If you are using a blender/thermo cooker/bullet machine to blend – BE VERY CAREFUL! Allow it to cool quite a bit first and then do small batches.

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Serves 8.

If Macros are important to you, here they are for 1 serve.

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Enjoy 🙂

 

Lunchbox Apple Slice

I love this slice because it is fragrant and lightly sweet, uses only the things that I always have in my cupboard so it is inexpensive, you can have it in the oven in 5 minutes flat and it is really simple to make it allergy friendly.

And even better … my kiddo who has an Oral Allergy Syndrome reaction to raw apple can tolerate some cooked apple so everyone in our family can share!

**See below the main recipe for allergy friendly swaps and more options**

  • 2 large apples
  • 2 cups of flour (I use spelt and do half wholemeal)**
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I like coconut sugar for the caramel taste)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 185g melted butter

Mix together all of the dry ingredients.

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Add in the melted butter, then core and dice (but don’t peel) the apples and mix them through.

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Press them mix firmly into a greased 20×20 baking dish and place in a preheated 180C for about 25 minutes.

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Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before moving to a wire rack.

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Cut into about 16 squares and serve warm or cold.

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To change it up:

Gluten Free – replace the flour with 1 3/4 cup of a gluten free flour mix plus 1 tsp of psyllium husk. Then replace the oats with shredded coconut or puffed rice.

Dairy Free – use a plant based butter

Can’t do apples? Pears are a great switch

Want something a bit fancier? Crumble some chopped almonds over the top and sprinkle with a tsp of extra sugar before baking and serve warm, with custard.

Got a super sweet tooth? Add in 6 chopped medjool dates or 1/2 cup of sultanas

Not sending it to school? Replace 1/2 a cup of the flour with almond meal

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Seriously Green Sauce

This is a super simple, super fast sauce.

 Light but creamy it is delicious on pasta and zucchini noodles. Or you can drizzle it over chicken or salmon for an extra flavour boost.

  • 75g spinach
  • 15 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 medium avocado, very ripe
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50ml fresh lemon juice
  • Good pinch salt

Pop all of the ingredients into a high powered blender/bullet and blitz until smooth.

If the sauce is too thick add in a splash of water to help it blend.

If you’re using a Thermomix/Bellini or any of their cousins, you’ll need to use speed 6 for 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat and then turn up to speed 10 for 6 seconds at a time, scrape down and repeat as required until smooth

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If macros are important to you, here’s the breakdown for a heaped tablespoon (about 1/5 of the recipe)

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We like to have ours with zucchini noodles.

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Use a spiralizer for the zucchini, then add the zoodles into a hot frying pan. Add in enough sauce to coat the zoodles and stir until warm.

Extra delicious if you top them with some grilled chicken, tomatoes and pine nuts!

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Enjoy 😊

Simple Pumpkin Soup

Hooray for soup weather!

This is a soup-er simple meal, really inexpensive and delicious. A pretty mild soup, so it is very kid friendly too.

  • 400g Cauliflower  (1 medium size), roughly chopped
  • 1.2kg Butternut pumpkin roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small brown onion (about 60g), diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tbsp veggie stock paste
  • 10 cups boiling water
  • 225g cream cheese (*dairy, soy or nut based – you can even use a light silken tofu here)

If you don’t have stock paste you can use 3 cups liquid stock and then only 7 cups water.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add in the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and golden.

Add in the cauliflower and pumpkin plus the stock paste and stir well. Cook down for about 3 minutes then add in the boiling water.

Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are very soft. *If you need a quicker cooking time you can give the veggies a quick blitz in your food processor first.

Remove from the heat and add in the cream cheese. Use an immersion blender to blend until the soup is very smooth. If you are using a blender/thermo cooker/bullet machine to blend – BE VERY CAREFUL! Allow it to cool quite a bit first and then do small batches.

I love to serve mine topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts (switch hemp seeds for nut free) …. Just pop the seeds in a hot, dry frying pan and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until they are golden brown. Sprinkle on the soup and if you want a little extra kick … sprinkle on a little pinch of chilli flakes!

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Serves 12.

If Macros are important to you, here they are for 1 serve (roughly 2 ladles of soup) , worked out for the dairy based cream cheese – not including the seed topping.

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This will last several days in the fridge, or it freezes and defrosts well.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Chicken, Broccoli & Quinoa Patties

You already know that I like easy food!

Well, these are easy, have only a few ingredients, freeze well, pack in a heap of good stuff to stretch the meat further aaaaand… they’re delicious!

Plus I kind of feel like they’re a complete meal in one. Protein, veg and grain … All right there! Which means that if I’m in a hurry and grab a couple of these from the freezer, I’ve got everything I need for a balanced meal. Winning 👌

  • 4 medium chicken thighs (about 485g), skinless and boneless
  • 200g broccoli
  • 1/2 cup tricoloured quinoa (110g)
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup (15g) Nutritional yeast
  • 1 birdseye chilli or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (you can skip the chilli if you’re not a fan!)

Start by bringing a small saucepan of water to the boil and cooking the quinoa. Rinse it well first, then it should take about 15 mins. Drain it, rinse it again and set aside.

Wash the broccoli well and shake dry (too much water and your patties will be soggy). Break into chunks and add to your food processor. Process until fine (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down then Speed 5 for 5 seconds).

Whilst still processing (speed 4), add the nutritional yeast and chicken through the top chute and process until it is finely chopped and well combined. (Up to Speed 5 for 8 seconds once it is all added)

Continue processing (Speed 4) and add in the chilli and coconut aminos.

Add add in the (very well drained) quinoa and process until it is evenly combined.

Scrape mixture into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours, or up to over night. I usually make the mix in the morning before work and then form the patties in the afternoon.

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Use tablespoons of mixture to form patties with slightly oiled hands and place them on a lined baking tray.

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So pretty!

Spray with a little olive oil, then place into a 200C oven for about 20 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through (you can use a thermometer to check that the centre has reached 75C) and golden.

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Makes 12. These freeze and defrost well – use a little kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture when defrosting and reheating.

Serve warm with extra veggies, and an extra drizzle of coconut amino sauce – or use them the next time your build your own burgers!

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Enjoy

If macros are important to you – here are the details per patty (1 /12th of the recipe):

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Enjoy

Lamb Koftas

We don’t heat a huge amount of red meat, but a few months back, my biggest boy was reading and the characters in the book described the Lamb Koftas they were eating.

Will had never heard of them before so he asked me about them and then asked me to make them.

They were very simple to make and a winner of a meal with 6 empty plates, so they have been added to the menu and we hope you like them as much as we do!

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 100g chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 2-3 clove cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried chilli flakes (depending on the amount of bite you like)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • good pinch salt

Optional: Dressing of Minted yoghurt (see below the recipe) and crunch of toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds

Into your food processor/thermo cooker, place the onion, garlic, chick peas, lemon, seeds, tahini and all of the herbs and spices.

Process until they are finely chopped (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat)

While the machine is still processing, add in the lamb in through the top opening and process until the mixture is very well combined and quite smooth.

Place the mixture into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour (over night is fine). This will help the mixture to hold together without egg as a binder.

Divide the mixture into 12 and form in to small fat sausage shapes.

Slide on to skewers and cook over medium heat on an oiled bbq or griddle plate. If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least half an hour first and it’ll stop them burning on the heat.

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We like to serve ours with ribbons of carrot and cucumber.

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We also used minted yoghurt as a dressing (you can used which ever kind of unflavoured yoghurt fits your dietary needs). About 4 tbsp mixed with 2 tsp of finely torn fresh mint.

Top with toasted pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds).

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If Macros are important to you here are the details. Each serve is 1 kofta (that is 1/12 of the mix)

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Enjoy 🙂

Crunchy Crumbles

These super speedy little bites are just slight sweet and deliciously crunchy.

They add great fats and proteins as well as some extra fibre and texture to yoghurt.

Add them to plain rolled or soaked oats too.

  • 2 heaped tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 heaped tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tsp honey OR maple syrup

Place seeds in a hot frying pan.

Dry fry the seeds, stirring regularly until they start to brown … Watch carefully, it won’t take long!

Add in the honey and stir until all the seed are well coated.

Fry until the seeds are golden brown (only another minute or so).

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Remove from frying pan and spread out on a plate (don’t use kitchen paper or they stick!)

Place plate in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes until they have cooled.

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Then break up and sprinkle on.

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Keep the leftover crumbles in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

If macros are important to you, here are the details for 1/4 of the mix.

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Baked Veggie Omelette

A little while ago I posted my Salmon Tart and I have had a few requests for a vegetarian version.

So, here is a my baked veggie omelette – you’ll need a frying pan that can transfer from the stove top into an oven.

I tend to make tarts like these so I have them on hand work work lunches – delicious cold or warm . Or if you’re in a rush, grab a couple of slices out of the fridge and steam some extra greens – speedy and filling dinner!

  • 8 medium eggs
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 12 swiss brown mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 250g spinach
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 50g grated tasty cheese

Heat the oil in the frying pan, then slice the zucchini into rounds and place into the frying pan.

Fry for 1 minutes until the first side is golden, then flip over the zucchini before adding in the mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring for another minute until the mushrooms start to soften. Then add the spinach to the pan.

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it’s a LOT of spinach!

Add in the salt, pepper and nutritional yeast and stir through to make sure the veggies are evenly coated.

Whisk together the eggs and then pour evenly over the veggies.

Turn the frying pan to a gentle heat and allow to cook until the side of the omelette just start to pull away from the sides of the pan – the top of the omelette will still be very wet at this point.

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Sprinkle the top with cheese if you wish before popping it in a pre-heated 180C oven for about 10 minutes or until the top just stops wobbling … Remember that the eggs will keep cooking while it is warm so if you leave it in the oven for too long you’ll get a rubbery omelette.

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Let it cool and then slice into 6.

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Store it in the fridge for about 3 days.

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If macros are important to you here are the details (which includes the cheese) for 1 slice, which is 1/6th  of the omelette:

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Enjoy 🙂