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    Thursday, March 31, 2016

    My Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs - Kid Friendly Food

    Once again always looking for Kid Friendly Food
    I found a recipe on The Epicurious Website and adapted it for my kids
    Added vegetables that they like… e.g. Broccoli instead of Spinach
    Onion instead of leeks and I also added courgettes
    So here's My Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs

    It was very popular, the kids devoured it.
    Will make this again
    The meatball recipe made around 48 little balls
    I cooked them all and froze half for next time

    600 gms ground chicken (2 cups)
    1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
    4 garlic cloves,  minced,
    5 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    2 large eggs, whisked to blend
    Sea salt,
    Freshly ground pepper

    The Broth
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 red onion finely sliced 
    3 cloves garlic peeled and finely sliced    
    1 large carrots, finely sliced
    1 courgette finely sliced
    1 litre chicken broth
    2 cups water
    1 cup Orecchiette Pasta

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 small head of broccoli finely sliced

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Chopped fresh basil
    Extra Grated Parmesan

    To make Meatballs
    Mix chicken, breadcrumbs, Parmesan,garlic cloves,
    Chives, eggs, Sea salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
    Form into little meatballs
    I used a melon baller. Nice size

    Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.
    Cook meatballs until golden all over, about 3 minutes (they will finish cooking in soup).
    Transfer to a plate;
    Set aside.
    To Make Broth
    Add onion to pot and cook,
    Stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
    Add thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute.
    Add carrots and courgettes, cook for another 3-4 minutes
    Add broth and water; bring to a boil.
    Stir in pasta 
    Simmer until pasta is almost al dente, about 8 minutes.

    Meanwhile in another pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium heat
    Just lightly saute the Broccoli, for about 3 minutes
    Add meatballs to soup
    Simmer until pasta is al dente and carrots are tender, and meatballs are cooked through,
    About 3 minutes.
    Add cooked broccoli
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Ladle soup into bowls.
    Garnish with chopped Basil and Parmesan

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    Don't waste Food - Make something for your freezer. Egg, Cheese and Ham in a Tasty Sauce

    I'm about to go away for a few days. I went to clean out my fridge. There were so many bits and pieces tucked away in there
    Spring onions, red and green pepper, celery in the Vege bin
    Some shaved champagne ham, 3 eggs, milk just on it's last legs, and some chunks of old cheese
    A few cherry tomatoes

    Surely I can do something with this.

    Yes I can!
    Here is the finished dish ready to go into the freezer, for a meal when I get home
    I will either cook up some yummy mashed potatoes and smother the sauce with them
    Or Might just cover it with a Golden Puff Pastry Lid
    Going to be tasty, no matter what
    To fill this plastic container
    I used
    75 gms butter
    75 gms Flour
    450 mls of milk

    salt and pepper

    1 small green pepper chopped
    1/4 red pepper chopped
    3 spring onions chopped
    2 sticks celery chopped
    6 cherry tomatoes cut in half

    Handful of shaved ham chopped
    2 hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped
    1/2 cup of chopped leftover cheese

    Over medium heat, melt butter
    Add chopped vege
    Season with Sea salt and Ground Black pepper
    saute about 3-4 mins till tender

    Add flour
    Stir well
    Cook for about 2-3 minutes to get the rawness out of the flour
    Add the milk
    Keep stirring till sauce is thickened
    Let cook again,
    You may need to add more milk, don't want it too gluggy
    Add the protein
    Gently fold in, then I plonked it into a plastic container, and it is now in the freezer

    Monday, March 14, 2016

    Joyce's 7 Layer Dip - Perfect for Drinks Party - Gluten Free as well

    In the early 80’s, ...our friend Joyce Baker, (pictured below, on the right)... note the 80's hair styles... from California, came to stay with us here in Auckland
    In those days, New Zealand was a bit behind the eight ball, with current food trends.
    We decided to have a party while Joyce was here, (as we did), Tex Mex Food was beginning to
    rear it’s head. Up till then, I could make a good chili.
    Gilli’s Chili, it got called in fact.
    I’ll post it one day, still like it...however, we weren't really together, with some of the real flavours of Mexico.

    On this particular visit, Joyce introduced us to the Famous 7 Layer Dip
    Joyce was amazed that we didn't have Cilantro here
    Of course, that was a language problem
    You couldn’t google it then
    We finally worked out that Cilantro, in American English,
    was, in New Zealand English…Coriander
    Plus, I don't think we could get refried beans
    So I think we just squashed up some red kidney beans, with some garlic
    But now, all of these ingredients are readily available

    We were very impressed with this dip and have been making it since

    In fact, I selfishly, didn't pass on the recipe, to anyone but our family
    Don't know why I did because as it turns out, it came from
    a Californian Food magazine and is widely known in the States
    So anyone can find it and make it
    But we prefer to call it Joyce’s 7 Layer Dip
    Very Simple

    For the basic recipe of 7 layers
    You need
    1 tin refried Beans
    Guacamole, your favourite recipe
    Salsa… Spicy is good. Any good brand
    Grated Tasty Cheese
    Fresh Tomatoes, finely chopped, seasoned with S & P
    Sour Cream flavoured with Taco seasoning
    Spring onions and Coriander, chopped  Handful of each

    This time, I changed a couple of things,
    I made my own Salsa
    1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
    3 spring onions, finely chopped
    1 cob fresh sweet corn, Pop in Microwave for 3 minutes
    Slice the kernels off
    Add to onions and tomatoes
    1 red pepper finely chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped coriander
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    A little olive oil
    Mix well

    I could only buy ready made Guacamole
    Not as good as homemade unfortunately
    To improve it… I mixed it in with the salsa, which also helped the salsa to stick together
    So 2 layers became 1!

    In fact the Dip this time, was only 5 layers, but still tasted pretty good
    To assemble this particular version

    Find a nice flat dish about 4 cms (1 1/2 inch) deep
    Cover the bottom with the refried beans

    Cover with Salsa
    The Grated Cheese
    Mix the Sour Cream with 3-4 tablespoons of  La Morena Taco seasoning
    Spread the sour cream over the grated cheese
    Top with the chopped herbs

    Best to make a few hours in advance for the flavours to meld

    Serve with Taco Chips