Category Archives: Healthy recipes

These recipes are healthy, nutritious, often vegan, gluten free, lactose free etc. and are completely DELICIOUS!

Easy savoury tart

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Sunday mornings are the perfect time to cook eggs and bacon for breakfast; however, for me, that means getting out the toaster, and dirtying several pots and pans. This morning I decided I’d make a quick and easy egg tart. This recipe could be changed up in so many different ways – add different veggies: tomato, capsicum, onion, asparagus, avocado, spinach, kale, beans, peas, mushrooms, grated carrot or zucchini etc; use leftover roasted pumpkin or sweet potato; leftover roasted meat; different cheeses, like feta, Parmesan, Gouda; fresh herbs – basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, chili, thyme; dollop some pesto on before the cheese; or add some leftover pasta sauce, bolognese, curry, or puréed veggies to the tart before adding your eggs. The combinations are endless, depending on what’s in the stores and what’s in season…have fun with it!

The two ingredients essential to this dish are puff pastry and eggs, so the rest of the recipe is flexible as to what you add. It’s also perfect for brunch, lunch, or a light dinner.

Ingredients:
1 sheet ready made puff pastry
4 large free-range eggs
2 rashers bacon, diced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
6 mini bocconcini, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a shallow pie dish.
2. Line dish with pastry, folding over edges to fit the dish. (I prefer to fold in the edges, rather than trimming the pastry, as it goes extra puffy and crunchy on the edges!)
3. Crack the eggs into the pastry case, making sure they’re evenly spaced.
4. Sprinkle over the bacon, spring onions, and cheese.
5. Bake tart for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the eggs are set.
6. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate and serving.

Serves 2-4.
This dish is best served warm, but can also be served at room temperature or cold. Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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Creamy, cheesy mushroom risotto (vegetarian, gluten free)

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Well Autumn has well and truly set in here in Canberra, and I find myself cooking a lot of hearty, warming, comfort foods. This concoction was the perfect blend of creamy rice, buttery mushrooms and parmesan cheese…and was a fantastic dinner, or lunch for any leftovers (if there are any!). I purchased some dried porcini mushrooms this week and added them to the risotto…definitely gave it a beautiful flavour and added a rich colour, but you could easily leave them out if they are unavailable. Most supermarkets and deli’s stock dried porcini mushrooms, and they can be added to lots of dishes to add flavour.

From start to finish this risotto takes about half an hour to cook, so great for a weeknight dinner if you are short on time! Give it a try…I promise you won’t regret it!

mushroom risotto

Ingredients:

12-15 large button mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms

1 large brown onion, finely diced

3 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup white wine

4 tbsp butter

3 tbsp olive oil

1 cup arborio rice

2 L stock (chicken or vegetable)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (+ extra for serving)

2 spring onions, sliced

Parsley for garnish (optional)

 

Method:

1. Put porcini mushrooms in a mug/bowl, add 1 cup boiling water and  let re-hydrate for 5-10 minutes.Once soft take out mushrooms and put to one side. Keep the mushroom liquid, ensuring you leave the gritty bits at the bottom of the cup and not in your risotto!

2. Place large saucepan over medium heat and bring stock to the boil. Once boiling reduce heat to low and keep simmering.

3. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add button mushrooms and saute for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and soft. Place mushrooms in bowl to one side.

4. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to frying pan and cook the onion until soft and golden. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice to pan and stir through oil, onion and garlic until well coated.

5. Add the white wine to the rice mixture and cook until reduced. Once all wine is absorbed, add the porcini liquid to the pan, ensuring you leave the dregs of grit in the bottom of the cup.

6. Once all porcini liquid has been absorbed, slowly start adding the stock, one ladle at a time. Give the pan a good shake in between each addition of liquid, and stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Keep adding your stock a ladle at a time for 10-15 minutes, or until your rice is al dente, or firm to the bite. It shouldn’t have any floury or chalky texture, but should still hold it’s shape and be firm.

7. Add the mushrooms to the rice and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and spring onions and stir until cheese has melted.

8. Serve risotto topped with an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese and some chopped parsley (if you like). You could always add different herbs to this – basil or thyme would work really well with the mushrooms.

5 ingredient peanut butter cookies

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So it’s been a fair while since I’ve put up a new post. I’ve been flat out making my first ever quilt (will put up a post about the process and finished product once completed), so experimental cooking has been put on the backburner for a while.

I found the original recipe for these biscuits on Pinterest (link here: http://fitness.popsugar.com.au/Recipe-Gluten-Free-Peanut-Butter-Cookies-31100053), however I’ve changed the method a bit, because creaming anything was just too much work the day I tried this recipe! They turned out delicious and crisp on the outside with a soft centre, and are actually quite healthy because they contain no refined flour or white sugar and are packed with peanut butter and oats – yum! I’ll admit, the first time I made these cookies I pretty much ate about 10 of them when they came out of the oven. Yeah…not so healthy if you eat that many!!

These would be perfect for kids to make as they only take approximately 15 minutes to prep and cook and are super easy. So give them a go…you won’t regret it and will probably want to make another batch straight away!!

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Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter (organic or supermarket brand)

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

2 cups rolled oats

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a couple of biscuit trays with baking paper.

2. Add peanut butter and brown sugar to bowl and microwave for 1 minute until soft.

3. Whisk in eggs to the peanut butter/brown sugar mix.

4. Stir in baking soda and oats until combined.

5. Roll tabelspoons of mixture into balls and slightly flatten on tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges start turning golden brown.

Makes approximately 30 biscuits.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Baked banana fritters with butterscotch sauce

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My mum has always made the most delicious butterscotch sauce, usually served drizzled over a slice of pumpkin flan – deliciousness!! It was one of those foods that as a child I’d hide behind the open door fridge and finger-scoop straight out of the container into my mouth. Butterscotch sauce and chocolate ganach – couldn’t (and still can’t!) resist! It sets and goes fudgy once it’s cold, so perfect for sneaking big spoonfuls! I think it could be eaten on just about anything, but it’s super special on ice cream, pancakes, waffles, crepes or French toast. Paired with these baked bananas, it’s a treat that you could eat any time of day.
The bananas go crispy on the outside and soft in the middle once baked and only have a tiny bit of spray oil – so they’re actually quite healthy…until you add the sauce! They are also gluten free, as is the sauce – so great for my coeliac friends.
Eat them while they’re hot and fresh out of the oven, drizzled (or in my case, swimming!) in butterscotch sauce.

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup dark brown sugar + 1 tsp
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large ripe bananas
1 egg white
1 cup fresh cream
125g butter, cubed
Spray oil

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Mix almond meal, coconut, 1 tsp brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to combine.
3. Peel bananas. Cut each banana into four logs.
4. Whisk egg white with fork in a bowl until smooth. Roll bananas in egg white in batches and then roll in almond coconut mix.
5. Place your coated bananas on the baking tray, lightly spray with oil and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
6. To make sauce: Put sugar and butter into a small saucepan and whisk until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Add cream and stir to combine. Simmer until sauce thickens. Serve the bananas hot drizzled with sauce.

Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Za’atar – Middle Eastern Spice Blend

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Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that is full of flavour and super versatile when it comes to it’s uses. I guess it is to middle eastern people what garam masala is to Indians, satay sauce is to Thai people, or master stock to Chinese people…each family has their own version of the recipe. It’s nice because you can change the ratio of ingredients according to taste – there is no right or wrong way of doing it! You can use it as a dip with crusty bread and olive oil, add to oil to make a paste to spread on pizzas or toasted sandwiches, sprinkle on any meat or seafood and grill, fry, bake or BBQ. You can also add it to tagines, casseroles and slow cooker meals, roasts, kebabs and sprinkle it on vegetables or salad…the possibilities are endless! No matter how you use this magical mix, I can guarantee that it makes anything taste amazing! It’s got a delicious aroma, with a slightly lemony taste from the sumac. This recipe made a big batch, but I took some over to my sister for her to try…she loves za’atar so hopefully she likes my version!
Quick and easy to make, all ingredients can be found at Woolworths (Coles don’t have sumac), it lasts months in an airtight jar/container stored in a dark place AND it tastes unreal…what’s not to love?!

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Ingredients

6 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried majoram
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp sea salt
8 tsp sesame seeds
8 tsp sumac

Method

Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan over a low heat until golden in colour. Add all other spices in a jar/bowl. Once the sesame seeds have cooled add to the spices and mix to combine.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.

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Pork, ginger and spring onion pot stickers

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I LOVE Asian food…Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, but I don’t make as much Asian style food as I’d like. I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to stir-fries and curries…until my recent soba noodle and chickpea curry successes. I’ve got laksa and Tom Kha Gai down pat and these little parcels of heaven – pork, ginger and spring onion pot stickers…yum! They’re easy to make and you could make them vego/vegan by leaving out the mince and adding extra vegetables. Either way you make them they are a perfect snack or accompaniment to a meal. You make a fair few in a batch, so freeze them in a container until you need them. To cook from frozen I find it better to steam them for about 8 minutes and then put them in the frypan to brown. You can skip the stock step because they’ll have already been steamed – easy!

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Ingredients:

300g pork mince
1 pack gow gee wrappers (30/pack)
2 large spring onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large thumb size piece ginger, grated
1 small carrot, grated
4 wom bok (Chinese cabbage) leaves, thinly shredded
Small handful coriander, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp hoi sin sauce
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

To cook:
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup chicken stock

To serve:
Soy and sweet chili sauce

Method:

1. Put mince, ginger, garlic, spring onions, carrot, wom bok, coriander, hoi sin, soy sauce and sweet chili sauce in a bowl and mix thoroughly until evenly combined.
2. Take a wrapper and place a small teaspoon of mince mix in the middle. Wet your finger/pastry brush and wet half of the edge. Fold in half and press edges together, starting in the middle and working your way to the edges, making sure you push out any air pockets before sealing. Press the dumpling on a flat surface to give it a flat bottom and crimp the edges to ensure it’s sealed. Repeat until you have used all the wrappers.
3. To cook: heat a large frying pan on the stove. Add olive oil and cook dumplings until lightly browned on the bottom. Add chicken stock to pan and quickly add a lid to trap the steam. Cook the dumplings until the stock has evaporated. Make sure you move them around otherwise they’ll stick to the pan. Serve with soy sauce and sweet chili sauce.

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Wholemeal oat and chia pancakes with caramelised maple bananas

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Over the past few weeks I’ve had a real craving for pancakes and often make them on a Sunday morning for breakfast. I usually make traditional white sugar and flour type pancakes, but this morning I decided to try and make a healthy version. There are heaps of healthy pancake recipes out there but I decided to go it alone and fudge a recipe. These turned out absolutely amazing and it’s hard to believe that they are actually good for you! I also included chia seeds in the mix…it was my first time using chia and it was a success! Anyway, I’m sure anyone would eat these and find them delicious. They aren’t at all heavy and dense, which I thought might be the case with the wholemeal flour and oats…but are light and airy and yum! Give them a go…for something with no processed flour, sugar or oil they are honestly too delicious to believe they are healthy!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp chia gel*
Coconut oil for frying
2 bananas
4 tbsp maple syrup + extra for serving
Greek yoghurt

Method:

1. Put flour, oats and bicarb soda in a bowl and stir to combine.
2. Add eggs, 2 tbsp maple syrup, milk and chia seeds and whisk until all ingredients are combined. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. In a large frying pan heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Fry pancakes in batches until cooked, adding more oil for each batch. (I made mini pancakes, so got 3 in the pan at a time.)
4. Peel and slice bananas into 1cm slices. Add 1/2 tsp coconut oil to pan and add bananas. Fry until browned and then turn. Add 2 tbsp maple syrup to pan to glaze bananas.
5. To serve – stack pancakes and bananas and serve with extra maple syrup and Greek yoghurt.

* Add 1 tsp of chia seeds to 1/2 cup of water. Let sit for 10 minutes and then stir with fork. Let sit for further 10 minutes before using.

You could also serve these with caramelised apples, berries, stewed fruit etc. You can also add blueberries, coconut, sultanas, craisins or choc chips to the batter before cooking.

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Chicken cacciatore and quinoa

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I’m a pro when it comes to cooking in bulk and eating leftovers for a week. It’s not that I don’t like cooking regularly…but I find it really difficult to cook small portions (as in a meal for 1 person). Anyway, not really a problem as I always have lunch or dinner in the fridge/freezer when needed…and I make sure I cook something that tastes amazing that I can cope eating for several days straight.

This week I got organised and decided to make my Thursday dinner on Wednesday night, meaning that when I got home from work on Thursday my dinner was cooked and ready to go – all I had to do was whip up some quinoa and I had an instant healthy and delicious dinner. For added goodness you can add grated carrot or zucchini, diced capsicum or eggplant or peas or beans with the mushrooms to boost/hide the veggie content!!

Chicken cacciatore is one of my favourite one-pot meals and is super easy to cook. It freezes really well (for any leftovers) and tastes even better a couple of days after you’ve cooked it. I serve this with quinoa because of it’s nutritional benefits, but you could serve with pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, steamed or roasted vegetables or a big piece of crusty bread to soak up all the delicious sauce. Cooking this long and slow means that the chicken just falls apart and doesn’t dry out and the flavours intensify and make the sauce delicious and rich.

Ingredients:

Chicken cacciatore:

– 1 kg chicken thighs (Marylands or drumsticks also work well. Chicken breast works, just reduce the cooking time otherwise they’ll dry out too much)

– 15 button mushrooms, halved

– 2 medium brown onions

– 4 cloves garlic

– 2 tbsp tomato paste

– 1/2 cup white wine

– 1/2 cup chicken stock

– 1 tsp dried oregano

– 1 tsp dried Italian herbs (or use basil, parsley, thyme mix)

– 2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– Salt and pepper to taste

Quinoa:

– 1 cup quinoa – rinsed and drained

– 2 cups chicken stock

– 1 large spring onion

– Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Chicken:

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius.

2. Add olive oil to stove top/ovenproof dish and seal chicken in batches until browned. Remove chicken from pan and add onions and garlic; cook until soft.

3. Add mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to colour. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add wine to pot and simmer until halved in quantity.

4. Add stock, herbs, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste, then add chicken to the pot.

5. Cover pot with lid and cook in oven for 1 hour. Take lid off and cook for a further 1 hour.

Quinoa:

1. Put stock in pot and bring to the boil. Add quinoa and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Add finely sliced spring onion and salt and pepper to taste.

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Roasted pumpkin and potato chickpea curry

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I wanted something quick and easy to cook, that was full of flavour and easy to take to work for lunch. Something that was going to keep me full, but was also nutritious and delicious and preferably vegetarian. I’m not a vegetarian, but try to only eat meat once a day, and try to have a few meat-free days a week. So most days I have a meatless lunch and have meat at dinner. I decided to attempt a chickpea and pumpkin curry.

I’ve made curries before, but they’ve never turned out very well. I’m not even sure what went wrong. Perhaps it’s that I’m not really that crash hot on curries to start with and that they didn’t taste the way I had envisioned. Majorly disappointing! Anyhow, I decided to give one a go…again. I didn’t follow a recipe, just kind of knew what I wanted it to taste like and just went with my taste buds. Lucky for me, this time it worked out and was super delicious! It was creamy and thick and full of flavour. It’s better on the second and third day, the flavours seem to intensify and get better with age.

It’s a quick and easy recipe to make and is a great way to use up leftover roasted veggies. You can substitute lentils for the chickpeas if you prefer. You can also use either regular potatoes or sweet potato, either works and is yum! Even though it’s a vegetarian recipe I think meat lovers would find this a satisfying and hearty lunch or dinner meal. If you’re a vegan use a vegan stock and leave out the yoghurt.

Ingredients:

1/4 Jap or kent pumpkin
3 medium potatoes/1 medium sweet potato
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
1 large brown onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 thumb size piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 heaped tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup chicken/vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Coriander and Greek yoghurt to serve

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Cut pumpkin and potato into 1 cm diced pieces and toss in 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 30 mins or until golden and tender.
2. Heat a large saucepan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onions and cook on low for 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic, ginger, spices and curry powder and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute.
3. Add chickpeas and stir to combine. Stir in the coconut milk, stock and roasted vegetables and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve over rice, quinoa, couscous or steamed greens, or by itself with a big scoop of yoghurt and a heap of chopped fresh coriander. This is also delicious with flat bread or pappadums.

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Rich, chewy wholemeal dark chocolate brownies

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Brownies usually aren’t my thing, but I had to make morning tea for work tomorrow and decided that chocolate decadence was going to be the only suitable option to get us all through the day. I searched for a while to find the right recipe that had some good ingredients in it, and not just copious amounts of white sugar, flour and butter. I found a recipe (original here: http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/2012/12/baking-wholewheat-dark-chocolate-brownies-one-bowl-whole-grain-and-delicious.html) and decided to base my brownies on that, adding a few of my own twists to make it slightly healthier still. The end result was blissful chocolatey goodness. The outside crust is crunchy and light, while the inside is soft and chewy. I’ve eaten four already, so needless to say I’m now a brownie convert! I’ll definitely be baking these again and will no doubt divert from the recipe slightly. Some awesome additions would be macadamia nuts or slivered almonds, toasted coconut, sour cherries, fresh raspberries, blueberries, mashed banana, glacé ginger or chopped dates.

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Ingredients:
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more)
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
6 tbsp dark brown sugar (raw sugar or normal brown sugar is also fine)
8 tbsp wholemeal plain flour
100g dark chocolate chips

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease and line a 20cm square tin.
2. Put dark chocolate and oils in a bowl and microwave for a minute or so until melted.
3. Whisk sugar into chocolate mix. Add baking powder, salt and eggs and whisk.
4. Add flour to mix and whisk until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Spoon mixture into tin and cook for 18-22 minutes or until middle is set.
6. Let brownie completely cool in tin before removing and cutting into 16 squares.