Tag Archives: mains

Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bake

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Chorizo and potato bake

Recently my friend Ruth and I have found ourselves sitting together in the stands at basketball a couple of afternoons a week, watching our boys play and getting to know each other while talking food, kids, faith and life in general. She recently shared a couple of recipes with me, the first of which was this lovely Spanish take on the old Potato Bake. Our whole family really liked it as a main meal, though my husband enjoyed pairing it with leftover pulled pork for lunch for a number of days afterward as well. Chorizos are frequently on half-priced special at the Woolworth’s deli, and when they are I tend to buy lots at once and freeze them in pairs, which makes each bundle about 200g, just the amount needed for this recipe. Even when using full-priced Chorizo this yummy dinner costs less than $10 to make and serves 6, even more when serving as a side dish. Thanks for sharing this lovely wintery recipe, Ruth.

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 200g chorizo sausage, sliced

• 1 red onion, sliced

• 1 red capsicum

• 1 kg potatoes, unpeeled, thinly sliced

• 1 cup cream

• 200g grated cheese – any is fine, but Gouda, Edam or Cheddar work well

• salt and pepper to taste

• Paprika, for sprinkling

1. Heat oil in a fry pan and fry chorizo, onion and capsicum together until golden and soft.

2. Overlap half the potato slices in the base of a large quiche or lasagna dish.

3. Layer with half the chorizo mixture, half the cream and half the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Repeat layers with all ingredients except other half of the cheese.

5. Cover with foil and bake at 200°C for 45 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

6. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake a further 30 minutes until golden brown.

7. Serve sprinkled with paprika if desired.

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Sticky Asian Lamb with Rice Noodles

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This simple and tasty recipe was floating around of facebook a couple of weeks ago and my lamb loving husband emailed me the link saying “Idea?” which is his understated and unpressuring way of saying “We should totally make this very soon!”. The following Saturday proved the perfect occasion to give it a go as we were heading out to the river for a day of ‘day camping’ where we took the BBQ and some chairs and pretended we were there for days on end, chilling out and doing nothing but chatting, eating and throwing rocks in the water. By the time we got home, this yummy lamb which had been cooking all day was ready and from slow cooker to plate, it took very little time and energy to serve. The quantities below serves at least 15 people for around $36 ($2.40 per person), so if you only need dinner for 6-8, just halve everything, which also halves the cost. But if you need to cook for a crowd after being at work or tied up with other things all day, this is a great option. 

  • 2kg leg of lamb or hoggett, either on the bone or deboned and rolled
  • 1tbs of peanut oil
  • 1/2 a cup of kecap manis (indonesian sweet soy)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 stalks fresh lemon grass, beaten and bruised (I use the one in the tube)
  • 8 cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 
  • 1 large red chilli, roughly chopped 
  • 6 green onions, sliced diagonally and/or bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbs of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 5x 200g packets rice stick noodles (each 200g packet serves three adults)
  1. Brown the lamb all over in a rather hot frypan using the peanut oil (or not – seriously, it’s not essential you do this), and stick it in the bowl of a slow cooker.
  2. In a bowl combine all the other ingredients except sesame seeds, green onions/coriander and noodles. Pour over lamb and switch to low for the whole day or high for half a day of cooking.
  3. When cooked through, just before serving, remove lamb from the slow cooker and sieve the juices into a small saucepan. Simmer these juices on a low heat until reduced into a sticky sauce. If it thickens too much, whisk in some water to bring back to a sauce consistency. 
  4. Shred lamb with two forks on a chopping board and serve on top of rice noodles cooked quickly in boiling water according to packet instructions. Drizzle sauce all over, distributing it generously and evenly among the plates. Be heavy handed as it’s the sauce that makes this so good. Top with sesame seeds, shredded spring onions and/or coriander leaves. Enjoy!

 

Chorizo Pilaf

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Boredom with cooking drove me to trawl through the budget section of taste.com today and this three step, all-in-one dish caught my attention in the process. The flavours appealed to me lots: onion, garlic, chilli, cumin and paprika, and the effort level was just right for how tired I was feeling! Sausages of any kind go down a treat with my kids so I decided to give this a try – and I’m glad I did. The kids came back for seconds and the spicy – but not too spicy -flavours warmed us all up just as the evening started to chill. While the original recipe calls for six chorizo sausages, I thought this was a little over the top – four is plenty and you could even get away with three. If spicy food isn’t so much for you, simply halve the amount of chilli listed below. This yummy, simple and cheap recipe costs less than $10 and serves 6. Serve with steamed greens or a side salad.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 2 brown onions, halved, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I use powdered)
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (if you have it)
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook chorizo for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden. Cut into circles and drain on paper towels.
  2. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add garlic, chilli, paprika and cumin. Cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring, or until soft.
  3. Stir in rice. Add stock and chorizo. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir through parsley, and salt and pepper. Serve.

Chilli Beef & Bean Pasta Bake

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Oh my goodness life is busy at the moment. My five year old has started school and there’s so much to get my head around (news, library books, computers, home readers, buddies, making friends at the school gate, getting out the door on time and the endless cycle of making lunches – I could go on). The uni year which has been amping up began to reach one of its crescendoes with O week which started today (exciting times!). There’s been lots of slack dinners lately but thankfully my friend Belinda shared this recipe with me and it lasted us three nights in a row – economical on both time and money. And it’s a sensational tasting dish too. This mexican beef and pasta bake was scoffed down by my kids (perhaps because it wasn’t Weet-bix?) and us grown ups loved it just as much. And don’t worry, it’s not hot in the spicy sense at all. The pictures above represent a double quantity and using those listed below this dish will set you back between $10-12. Serves 6. Thanks Belinda – this one’s already part of our family.

  • 200g spiral pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 400g beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 30g packet Taco Spice Mix (generic is fine)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 400g can diced tomatoes (generic is fine)
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • 400g can red kidney beans, drained (generic is fine)
  • 310g can corn kernels, drained (generic is fine)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees or 160 degrees fan-forced. Lightly spray a 2L oven-proof dish with oil. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and capsicum and cook, stirring for 5 minutes until softened. Add mince and cook, breaking up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in taco spice mix and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, zucchini and 1/2 cup water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes or until zucchini is just tender and mixture has thickened. Add pasta, beans, corn and mix to combine.
  4. Combine mixture into prepared dish, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden.

Tandaco Southern Fried Chicken

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Though it’s true I’m not the biggest fan of packet mixes (they aren’t that cheap really, and often don’t taste that great), this Southern Fried Chicken coating mix is simply awesome. It doesn’t have that hideous packet mix ‘fake’ flavour, it goes a surprisingly long way and best of all, it’s one of the fastest ways get a decent dinner done at the drop of a hat. I tend to keep multiple packets of this in reserve for when the day ends much more crazily than was first planned or when the opportunity to have people over arises out of the blue. Use this shaker chicken mix on any type of chicken you like – drumsticks for affordability – wings for hot finger food that pleases a crowd – or thighs and breasts for a quick meat and three veg dinner. Simply coat chicken pieces in the mixture and roast in a very hot oven in a roasting dish splashed with olive oil and/or butter, at around 200-220 degrees, making sure you turn them before they burn. The chicken should develop a lovely brown stickiness all over. 1 packet of this Southern Fried Chicken coating does a bit more than 1kg chicken. Enjoy!

Donna Hay’s Balsamic Chicken Stack

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I spotted this recipe a few days ago in Donna Hay’s No time to Cook. The recipe looked so yummy and easy that I had to give it a go and we all devoured it. Seriously, it took no longer that 20 minutes to cook the whole dinner and I was amazed at how moist the chicken turned out. This recipe allocates 1 small chicken breast per person, but ours were bigger, so we only used half a breast each (and with veggies underneath that was more than enough for each of us). So I’m thrilled that this ticks the affordable box as well as those of taste and ease. As well as all these things, this recipe is gluten, diary and egg free! The recipe that follows serves 4 and will cost no more than $10. Hope you enjoy it.

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon oregano leaves (dried is fine, fresh is better)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 4 x small chicken breast fillets, halved lengthways
  • 4 x spring onion, finely sliced or 1/2 cup basil leaves (roughly torn)

1. Decide what veggies you want to serve this with (I suggest steamed carrots, beans, broccoli and mashed potato) and get them going. Meanwhile, place vinegar, oregano, sugar and pepper in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened slightly.

2. Add chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes each side, or until cooked through.

3. Stack up your chosen veggies on each plate (mashed potato works best on the bottom). Place pieces of chicken across the top. Drizzle the dish with the remaining vinegar mixture from the pan. Top with spring onions or bits of torn basil.

Super Fast Pasta

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A friend made this dish for both our families for dinner last year and since then I’ve made it lots. The thing I remember about dinner that night was that my friend wasn’t caught up in the kitchen preparing dinner for the 9 of us- she was hanging out with us almost the whole night. Despite this, dinner was so delicious. This was a recipe I had to have! This super fast pasta is no stress at all to make and it’s the sort of food that brings people together as they munch down on these comfort carbs. A great recipe for inexpensive catering, and probably only a ‘sometimes’ dinner, but very, very yummy! Serves 6.

  • 300g bacon or ham, sliced into thin strips
  • half a bag of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek or 1 small onion or 6 chopped spring onions
  • 300ml cream or sour cream
  • 500g packet of pasta such as spirals or penne
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped (if you have it)
  1. Put water on to boil in a pot large enough to cook the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, cook onions, mushrooms and bacon on high heat in a wok. Add cream and simmer on low heat until pasta is cooked.
  3. Drain cooked pasta and add to the wok. Toss the sauce and pasta together, season with salt and pepper and throw in the parsley. Enjoy!