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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

NO PASTA LASAGNA - All good Lasagne

Written by: Bel
Family favourite my "All good Lasagne"

This makes two 26cm x 16cm Lasagne's one for eating and one for the freezer :)  Double it, halve it or even turn half the meat and veg mix into meatballs by adding some more weetbix or breadcrumbs.

1 tablespoon Oil
1 kg Mince.  I use either Beef or Lamb.
1 Onion finely Chopped
2 tsp Crushed Garlic. The jar one is fine.
250g Spinach. I use the frozen blocks.
1 medium Carrot grated
2 Tomatoes diced
2 cups of blended Veg - (see in the method below to see what i mean :)
2 large Zucchini - sliced length ways
5 crushed Weetbix
2 teaspoons Chia seeds
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1/3 cup grated cheese.


Slice your zucchini length ways into even slices. Probably easiest would be to use a mandolin or i use a cheap cheese slicer like a vegie peeler you can get at the supermarket.

Defrost the spinach as per instructions or i just put it in a microwave safe bowl with a lid for about 6 mins.  Drain the liquid.

Make your 2 cups of blended Vegies. This is 2 cups of whatever it is you have in the fridge or freezer.  peas, corn, carrot, celery, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, parsnips, beans whatever you have two cups of. Dont forget to add the bits left over from when you sliced the zucchini. Then put them all in the microwave or boiling water till they are soft enough to moosh and then blend them up till they are a rough paste.

In a large pan over high heat add your Oil and cook your onion and garlic. When onion has become translucent Add your mince.

Once the mince has almost cooked through turn the span down to a medium and add your spinach, carrot and diced tomatoes.

Now stir through your blended Vegies.

Add your two tablespoons of paste and Chia seeds and stir through.

Finally add your weetbix crushing as you put them in.

Your mix will be quite thick and vegetable like.  It will become softer when you bake the Vegetables. You can add more tomatoes or tomato sauce if you're struggling with the non traditional not enough tomato look .
Turn off your heat and give another stir through.

Make your Bechamel Sauce.

Bechamel Sauce 
Don't have one?  Here's mine its basic and again slightly off the traditional but does the job.
Stir quickly and have your ingredients ready to go before you start. I use a fork to stir but you can use a spoon or whisk.

Bechamel Ingredients
100g Butter
6 tablespoons Plain Flour
1 1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Paprika mild
1/4 tsp Pepper
Salt to taste

Over a med to high heat small pan melt your butter soon as its all melted and bubbling add your flour one tablespoon at a time and stirring quickly all the time so it doesn't stick or burn.
If it gets to hot or hard for you to handle take it off the element for a second but keep stirring then put it back on.
Once all your flour has been put in and has absorbed all the butter forming a paste like consistently slowly pour the milk in stirring quickly.

add paprika and pepper and you're done.
you can add cheese if you like. traditional ones do i just find its easier to just put it in during the layering instead of making my sauce thicker to handle and pan harder to clean ;)

Assembling the Lasagne.
Start with a layer of your Meat and Veggies on the bottom then put a single layer of zucchini slices over the top. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of Bechamel over the zucchini - how much exactly depends on the size of your dish, so jut so its covering not drowning in Bechamel. Sprinkle some cheese over the Bechamel and then layer again starting with the Meat and Veggies.  Then Zucchini then Bechamel and Cheese.   Make sure you finish with a top of Bechamel tip in any left over.  If you are freezing hold off on the grated Cheese on very top and add that on just before cooking.

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius fan forced for approx 40mins.

toasting some all good in a wrap for lunch mmm

Loved by all :) 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

1970's Cartoon 40th Party

Written by : Bel

A few weeks ago we had Hubby's 40th Birthday Party with a 1970's Cartoon theme.
Here's a couple of shots i took - wish i'd taken more.

Waiting patiently for Wonder Woman to wake up. 

I made a Candy cake kinda like the Candy Bar idea.  With 1970's lollies.
White Knights
Mint Patties
Wagon Wheels
Musk Sticks
Wizz Fizz
Musk Life Savers
Peppermint Life Savers
Choo Choo bars
Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs
Sherbet Fountains
Original Hubba Bubba
Mixed lollies - teeth, cola bottle etc.

I put mixed bowls of the lollies around the tables.

Candy Cake was easy I just wrapped and taped together three boxes and stuck the lollies on with folded sticky tape so you could easily pull them off.  I did find the wax coated lolly packets wouldnt stick but that didnt matter much.

I also had Red and Cola Sunny Boys. Which were of Hubby's favourite ice blocks from his school days. Triangular frozen glucose and colouring basically.

I just stuck to Red, Yellow, White and Blue Colours and tried to carry it through the party with decorations, Food napkins, plates, utensils etc, Blue and Yellow coloured Popcorn, Chocolate Crackles in Red, Blue and White Pattys with Red or Blue star on top.  Easiest colours to do.

The cake i was a bit disappointed with.  We had to go on an unplanned interstate visit the week before the party and got home two days before the party so i really didnt have time to alot of the decorations and food i wanted to. Honestly i didnt think i'd get to the cake at all but i did managed to whip up something and he was happy so thats the main thing.   The humidity on the night was awful and the characters kept losing their heads and by the end of the party they had pretty much melted.  Don't look closely at the photos you'll see my lack of time and rushing. :)

1970's Cartoon so i stayed with the theme and made Characters on top were Fred Flintstone, Roger Ramjet, Mighty Mouse and the Hulk holding the candles.  The sides were Superman and Flash Gordon. Batman and Marvin Martian. Scooby Doo Mystery Machine and The Archies.

Can't believe i didn't take a photo of my Chocolate Crackles they were so good.   No Copha. Just Rice bubbles, Desiccated Coconut and melted Chocolate.  With a Candy star on top.                

Joining in for Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys

My Little Drummer Boys

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chicken, Mushroom and Cashew Risotto

Written by:Bel

Friday nights at our place require a mountain of food fast. It is game night, training night, tired parent and very tired toddler night. Here's what we are having.

Please note I am not a chef of cook I’m a mum. This is I’m sure not the most professional way to make a risotto in fact its probably a crime to call it that but you know what,  It looks like one, it tastes like the ones I order in restaurants, It is quick and easy, uses minimal dishes and makes a mountain of food.   Its good – try it


1 ½ Cups of Whole Cashews unsalted.
800g Chicken Breast skin removed
2 Cups of sliced Mushrooms
1 teaspoon of crushed Garlic
1 teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
½ Cup of Chopped Shallots
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cups Aborio Rice
5 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock  (I pre make from powdered stock using warm water in a measuring  jug so its ready to go)
Salt & Pepper to Season
Grated Cheese to serve.  (I use a strong cheese like Blue Stilton but whatever you prefer)

Cut and Prepare everything to go before you cook.
You’ll need a large cooking dish. I use a large frying pan with high sides and a lid which is handy.


Firstly over medium to high in the dry pan heat  throw in your Cashews till they have a bit of colour watch them they’ll burn fast. 
Take them out and leave them aside put your pan back on the heat  
(don’t clean your pan between stages there is no need)

In your pan place
1 tablespoon of Oil
1 teaspoon crushed Garlic
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
Stir your mushrooms till cooked through.
Using tongs squeeze out your mushrooms into a bowl and put the pan back on the heat. You should have some blackish mushroom and garlic oily water left in your pan
 (If you don’t that’s ok add a little more oil so your Chicken doesn't stick and turn your pan down a little).
Add Your Chicken till just cooked through and then remove.

OKAY now to add it all together.
In your pan put
1 tablespoon of Oil
1 cup of Aborio Rice
Stir the Rice quickly until it has absorbed the Oil
Then add 1 cup of your Stock. Keep stirring. 

You don’t want the rice sticking to the bottom, if it is a lot turn your pan down a little till you can handle it quickly but comfortably.

Once the rice has absorbed that add another cup of rice and 2 cups of Aborio.
Keep stirring till absorbed then add the last of the Stock.

Whilst its being absorbed throw in your Chicken and Mushrooms and Green Shallots.
Once this is absorbed have a taste the rice should be soft enough to eat without being mushy at all. If it’s a little hard in the middle you can add a little more water or stock. 
Your rice should be good.  Turn off the heat. 

The heat of the rice will warm everything through.
Stir through your Cashews and Paprika.   
You can add extra grated cheese if you like it cheesy put we just have some on top to serve.

Its also pretty good reheated the next day!

Joining in for FYBF at With Some Grace