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Zucchini and Ricotta Strudel

Zucchini and Ricotta Strudel sliced.

Zucchini and Ricotta Strudel

ZUCCHINI AND RICOTTA STRUDEL RECIPE

This zucchini and ricotta strudel recipe is 9 years old  now, and boy has the time gone. I used to make a variation of this using spinach leaves and tasty cheese. You can also use silverbeet and tasty cheese as well or add some grated carrot. This recipe is easier than doing the smaller parcels which take longer. The filo also tends to dry out when doing the smaller parcels as well. This can be served with vegetables or salad for a nutritious meal any time of the year. Another great way to sneak some extra veg to the kids too. Please enjoy!

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 zucchini, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
1 egg
500 g low-fat ricotta cheese
100 g low-fat feta cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
8 sheets filo pastry
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch lemon thyme,leaves removed

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Put zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt, stir through and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water, drain well and pat dry with paper towel. Transfer to a bowl.

Add chives, egg, ricotta and crumbled feta. Season with pepper and beat with a wooden spoon until combined.

Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a clean surface and brush sparingly with olive oil. Sprinkle with some of the thyme leaves. Top with another layer of filo and repeat procedure until all 8 sheets are used.

Spoon ricotta mixture across long side of filo, leaving a 5 cm space at each end. Roll up to form a log, folding sides over filling as you go. Put log, seam side down, on prepared oven tray. Brush with remaining oil and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and serve immediately.

Hints

The strudel is best eaten within a few hours of baking.

If the pastry goes a little soft on standing, reheat it in a low oven to crisp it up.

Work fast with the filo pastry or it will dry out and start to crack, cover remaining sheets with a damp towel if necessary.

Source:

Better Homes and Gardens, Page 114 – September 2008

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Oven Baked Chicken Risotto

Oven Baked Chicken Risotto

Chicken Risotto

Loving Oven Baked Chicken Risotto in Winter!

I love Risotto, especially this Oven Baked Chicken Risotto. Unfortunately not many others in this household share my love of this tasty dish. This is an oven baked version, therefore I don’t have to stand over the frying pan and stir, stir, stir. It’s quite easy to prepare and you can change things up to suit what you have in the fridge, so it’s a great way to get rid of leftover bits of vegetables. It’s also a good way to get vegies into the kids too.  I found this recipe only recently as I couldn’t find any of my old recipes, it is almost the same though. I really have to sort those recipes out soon and start posting. Enjoy!

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped
200g bacon sliced
400g sliced chicken thigh
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
1 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into matchsticks
½ cup frozen peas
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced oven. Heat oil in a large flameproof, ovenproof dish over medium heat. Cook onion and bacon for 2 minutes stirring until softened then add in chicken and mushrooms and saute until chicken is browned for approx 5 mins.

Add rice. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock to rice. Stir well to combine. Cover. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Fold through zucchini and peas. Return to oven and bake, covered, for a further 25 minutes or until rice is just tender and liquid has almost all absorbed.

Stir in parsley and parmesan. Season with pepper. Serve.

Hints

Pumpkin and pea risotto is one of my favorite combinations as is salmon with macadamia nuts. Just experiment!
Can be reheated for use the next day.
Finely grate extra vegetables to increase vegetable intake for children.
An easy to reheat work lunch.
Did you notice that there was no wine in this risotto recipe? You can add some if you like otherwise it tastes fine without it.


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Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore with Rice

Chicken Cacciatore

A super easy to prepare recipe:

Chicken Cacciatore

This Chicken Cacciatore recipe is so easy to prepare it is not funny. Just put all of the ingredients into the casserole dish and into the oven. That’s it, easy as. Great as a standby meal and easy on the pocket. You can also substitute the vegetables for what you have on hand. A great way to use left overs, it may not be an authentic Chicken Cacciatore but that doesn’t really matter when you are in a hurry, does it? Enjoy!

Serves 4

Ingredients

1kg chicken drumsticks
810g can crushed tomatoes
80g pitted Kalamata olives
100g sliced mushrooms
parsley for garnish
1 chopped onion
400g long grain rice for serving
Salt and pepper to season

Method

Combine drumsticks, tomatoes, olives, onions ad mushrooms in a casserole dish.
Season then cover.
Place in oven on low heat and cook for approximately 1 hour, or until chicken is falling off the bone.
Serve over cooked rice and garnish with roughly chopped parsley.

Hints

Season drumsticks with salt the night before.
Can be reheated the next day.

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Beef and Carrot Ragout

A bowl of Beef and Carrot Ragout

Beef and Carrot Ragout

What to cook for dinner, I hear you say. Well here is a great recipe for those crisp nights. A hearty Beef and Carrot Ragout. Very simple and easy to prepare. This recipe is for a slow cooker which means all of the hard work is done at the beginning with the prep. Pop it all into the slow cooker then sit down and have a cup of tea. Enjoy!

Beef and Carrot Ragout

Serves 4

Ingredients

¼ cup plain flour
1kg gravy beef, cut into 5cm cubes
¼ cup olive oil
2 large brown onions, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup tomato paste
½ cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
3 sprigs thyme
3 large carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
cooked pappardelle pasta, to serve

Method

Place flour in a snap-lock bag.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add beef and shake bag to lightly coat beef in flour, shaking off excess.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
Add half the beef.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until browned.
Spoon into slow cooker.
Repeat with remaining beef.

Reduce frying pan heat to medium.
Add remaining oil and onion to pan.
Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until soft.
Add garlic and tomato paste.
Cook for 1 minute.
Pour in wine.
Bring to the boil.
Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until wine has reduced by half.
Add stock, thyme and carrots.
Bring to the boil.
Spoon sauce over beef and stir to combine.
Cover and cook on HIGH for up to 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon over pasta and serve.

Hints

Use a timer and prepare earlier.
Can be reheated the next day.
Freeze for up to 3 months (without the pasta).
Try serving with mashed potato instead of pasta.

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Irish Stew Recipe

Irish Stew Recipe

Irish Stew

I don’t know about you but I love a hearty stew, especially in the colder months. The flavour of the vegetables and the soft tender meat is so appealing. This recipe does not have to be followed exactly to the letter either. Use favourite vegetables and/or those in season. This recipe is versatile in that you can use your slow cooker if you have one. You can set the timer for it to start when you are at work and when you get home…Voila! The meal is done. I hope you enjoy this one.

Irish Stew

Serves 6

Ingredients

1.25 kg lamb neck chops, trimmed
½ cup plain flour
3 brown onions, chopped
1 kg sebago potatoes, peeled, sliced
2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups boiling water
3 beef stock cubes, crumbled
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped, to serve

Method

Cut chops in half. Place flour in a plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Place chops in bag and shake well to coat. Transfer chops to a plate. Reserve flour.

Preheat oven to 130°C. Place onions, potatoes and carrots in an ovenproof dish. Top with half the chops. Repeat layers with remaining onions, potatoes, carrots and chops.

Whisk reserved flour, tomato paste and 2 tablespoons cold water in a large jug until well combined. Slowly add boiling water, whisking constantly. Add stock cubes and parsley. Stir to dissolve stock cubes.

Pour flour mixture over chops. Cover and cook for 4 hours or until meat tender and sauce thickened. Sprinkle with mint and serve.

Hints

Use a slow cooker instead. Combine the ingredients as above and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
Can be reheated.
Serve with rice, pasta or mash potato for something different.
Try different vegetables and add some sausages.

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Slow Cooked Beef with Red Wine and Peppercorn Sauce

Slow Cooked Beef

Slow Cooked Beef with Red Wine and Peppercorn Sauce

Slow Cooked Beef with Red Wine and Peppercorn Sauce

This is one of those great recipes for the Winter months or just a cold day. I have had this recipe for 6 years but have only made this dish once. The family loved it served with mashed potato and vegetables. I cooked it using a slow cooker but because this recipe is so versatile it can be also cooked on the stove, in the oven or even in a pressure cooker. The instructions for the different cooking methods can be found below. You can also substitute the beef bolar blade for a rolled and tied beef brisket. I hope you get to try this recipe, enjoy!

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1.2 kg piece beef bolar blade
2 large brown onions, halved, cut into thin wedges
375ml (1½ cups) red wine
250ml (1 cup) beef stock
1 x 30g can green peppercorns, drained
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh or dried bay leaves

Method

Heat half the oil in a pan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, turning occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft.

Add the beef, red wine, stock, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves to the pan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours or until the beef is tender.

Transfer beef to a plate. Cover to keep warm. Increase heat to high. Boil for 15 minutes or until the sauce reduces by half.

Hints

This recipe can be cooked in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, on the stove or in the oven.
Serve with mashed potato and vegetables.
Use left over meat for sandwiches the next day.
Can be frozen for 3 months (transfer to containers when cooked and cooled before thickening the gravy).
Thaw overnight in fridge and reheat in a stock pot cooking covered on a medium heat until heated through, then thicken the gravy.
Try throwing in some vegetables with the meat to add to the flavour.
Rest the meat on a bed of vegetables to stop it from catching to the bottom of the dish or pot.

Slow Cooker Instructions

Reduce the wine to 250ml (1 cup) red wine. Reduce the stock to 125ml (½ cup) beef stock.
Brown the meat and onion in a frying pan.
Place the beef, onion, red wine, stock, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves in the slow cooker.
Cook, covered, on low for 8 hours then serve straight from the cooker.

Casserole Dish

Preheat oven to 180° C.
Brown the meat and onion in a frying pan.
Place beef, onion, red wine, stock, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves in the ovenproof dish. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours or until the beef is tender
Remove the meat and thicken the gravy as per the recipe, then serve

Pressure Cooker

Brown the meat and onion in a frying pan.
Place the beef, onion, red wine, stock, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves in the pressure cooker.
Seal and place over high heat until steam begins to escape at a constant rate and there is a regular hissing sound.
Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes.
Release the steam following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove the meat, keeping it covered.
Boil the sauce, uncovered, in the pressure cooker pan and serve.

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Ham and Vegetable Pasta Bake

Ham and Vegetable Pasta Bake Recipe

Ham and Vegetable Pasta Bake

Ham and Vegetable Pasta Bake Recipe

This Ham and Vegetable Pasta Bake is probably not the last Pasta Bake recipe that you will see on this site. I think I have mentioned before that I have a good collection of these recipes and with good reason. I love them and they are just so easy to prepare and everyone loves eating them. This recipe is a bit different from the usual Pasta Bake. You will notice that this recipe includes eggs as an ingredient. It’s a cross between a Pasta Bake and Frittata if you ask me and can be eaten hot or cold. Pasta Bake recipes are also quite versatile, you can swap and change things to suit what you have in the fridge or cupboard. So enjoy this one!

Serves 6

Ingredients

200g dried gnocchi-shaped pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small leek, trimmed, halved, washed, thinly sliced
100g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 medium zucchini, grated
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
150g sliced lean leg ham, chopped
4 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
½ cup grated extra-light tasty cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 180° C/160° C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm deep, 20cm round cake pan. Line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling, salted water, following packet directions, until just tender. Drain and return to the pan.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add leek, mushrooms, garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until leek has softened.

Add leek mixture, zucchini, parsley, ham and eggs to pasta. Add half of the cheeses. Stir to combine. Transfer to prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.

Bake for 40 minutes or until just set. Cool in pan. Cut into wedges and serve.

Hints

You can use shell pasta or any other small shaped pasta
Ideal for reheating and eating the next day or eat cold with salad
Great for work lunches
Can be made in different dishes or individual mini casserole dishes

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Tomato and Ricotta Tortellini Bake Recipe

Tomato and Ricotta Tortellini Bake

Tomato and Ricotta Tortellini Bake

Tomato and Ricotta Tortellini Bake

Another tasty Pasta Bake Recipe. This time it’s Tomato and Ricotta Tortellini Bake! These are so quick and easy I love them. You can change the recipe around to suit what you have on hand. It’s just so versatile. You can even turn them into Vegetarian or Vegan extravaganzas if you want. I even have a Pasta Bake Recipe that is served Cold! Anyway try this one and enjoy!

Serves 6

Ingredients

250g fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup basil leaves
3 x 400g cans peeled italian tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 x 400g packets fresh tortellini pasta
250g mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced

Method

Preheat oven to 220° C. Lightly grease a 5cm-deep, 22cm x 30cm (base) baking dish. Beat ricotta with a wooden spoon until almost smooth.

Roughly chop three-quarters of the basil. Combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar and chopped basil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes or until partially cooked. Drain pasta and spoon into prepared dish. Add tomato sauce and stir to coat.

Dollop ricotta over pasta. Top with mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling around the edges. Top with remaining basil and serve.

Hints

You can use any type of peeled tomatoes.
Try different types of tortellini.
The tortellini bake can be made 1 day ahead until the end of step 3. Cover and refrigerate.Complete step 4, baking for 30 minutes.
You can add a variety of herbs and even sneak some tasty cheese into the mixture.

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Pumpkin and Spinach Pasta Bake Recipe

A Delicious Pumpkin and Spinach Pasta Bake

Pumpkin and Spinach Pasta Bake

This Pumpkin and Spinach Pasta Bake Recipe is so easy to prepare and cook.

This is yet another of my Pasta Bake Recipes to make it in here. I love them all for their simplicity and the ease with which I can be creative with them. This recipe has an extra bonus in that, it can be eaten cold. Great for school and work lunches, the family meal and parties.

When I say creative it means that I can substitute ingredients for those that I have available or that I simple prefer. This recipe can also be made to suit Vegetarians as well, with a tweak here and there.

You can’t go wrong with this recipe it’s easy and light on the budget too. Again these sort of recipes are great for kids who are fussy with their vegetables. You can disguise almost anything in a Pasta Bake. Please try this one and enjoy!

Serves 4

Ingredients

½ teaspoon coriander seeds
600g butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
Olive oil cooking spray
200g tortiglioni pasta or penne pasta
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g parmesan cheese, grated
250g packet frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Method

Preheat oven to 200° C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Grease an 8-cup capacity, 6cm-deep, 20cm (base) square baking dish.

Using a mortar and pestle, pound coriander seeds until crushed. Place pumpkin on prepared tray. Lightly spray with oil and sprinkle with coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until just tender. Remove from oven. Reduce oven to 180° C.

Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain. Combine ricotta, egg and parmesan in a large bowl. Squeeze excess moisture from spinach. Stir spinach, pasta and pumpkin into ricotta mixture.

Spoon mixture into dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set in centre. Allow to cool completely. Cut into 4 pieces.

Hints

To freeze place pieces in airtight containers
Freeze for up to 1 month
Remove from freezer the night before and refrigerate
Transfer to work or school bag in the morning
This can be eaten hot straight from the oven
Top with tasty cheese for that extra layer of flavour

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Eggplant Pasta Bake Recipe

Eggplant Pasta Bake Recipe

Eggplant Pasta Bake

Vegetarian Pasta Bake Anyone?

First I went through the Burger Phase, now it’s the Pasta Bake Phase. Here is yet another fantastic Pasta Bake Recipe. This Eggplant Pasta Bake is great for Vegetarians and those of us who like something just a bit different every now and then. Not too many ingredients to deal with here either. Rather simple and quick from prep to serving.
Enjoy!

Serves 4

Ingredients

300g dried penne pasta
1 ¼ cup olive oil
150g fresh ricotta
3 thin, long eggplants, trimmed and halved lengthways
690g bottle pasta sauce
150g mozzarella, grated
2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 6-cup capacity ovenproof baking dish. Combine ricotta and basil in a bowl. Set aside.

Cook pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to packet directions or until al dente. Drain well and spoon into baking dish.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and set aside.

Pour pasta sauce over pasta and arrange eggplant on top. Place spoonfuls of ricotta mixture on the eggplant and sprinkle with grated mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is golden brown.

Hints

Allow the pasta bake to settle for 5 minutes before serving
Use non-stick baking paper to line the baking dish
Can be served in individual baking dishes or ramekins
Suitable to be reheated the next day
Add some extra seasonal vegetables to the recipe
Try using tasty cheese for a different flavour

 

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