This Marinated Lamb Cutlets recipe is one of my oldest ever! Yet I still cook it on a regular basis it and love it as much as I did way back when.
As soon as I get my lamb cutlets home, I marinate them straight away if I can to let the flavours fully develop. If I am not eating it within 2 days I will freeze the marinated lamb.
If you have any leftover meat, cut it off the bone and serve it sliced, on top of this delicious and healthy Kale Avocado Salad. My kids love to eat any leftover meat chopped up as a healthy lunchbox snack!
Marinated Lamb Cutlets
Ingredients (serves 4)
12 lamb cutlets (this is based on 3 cutlets per person)
2 tsp. crushed garlic
4 anchovy fillets finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Cracked black pepper.
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
Marinade the lamb in a zip lock bag or in a shallow dish.
Massage marinade through making sure all the lamb is coated.
Try to leave it for as long as possible – up to 48 hours!
Pan-fry or BBQ for a few minutes each side until cooked to your liking.
If you don’t have time (or forgot) to marinade the meat well in advance, it will still be yummy if you marinade it just before cooking.
Calling all health nuts out there. This Kale Avocado Salad will make you feel healthy just looking at it!
I created this vibrant and colourful salad by accident. I had a bunch of Kale to use up – plus some other yummy salad ingredients ready to go and I had just discovered the most amazing mouth-watering Glazed Maple Bacon. All of those ingredients came together to become this gorgeous, healthy salad.
At the end of the day, a salad like this is all about being flexible. It’s about adding your own favourite ingredients and incorporating what’s in your own fridge. So use this recipe as a base and make your own delicious salad creation.
Ok stop right there. Whatever you are doing, you have to stop it go and make this Glazed Maple Bacon. You will thank me for it – I promise you!
It’s sweet and salty and crunchy and crispy – are you getting the drift? It will be the best thing you have tasted all week.
I first made this delicious bacon after seeing a mouthwatering photo awhile back. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it when I first made it. I had no recipe in mind – I just knew that I had to cook that bacon. That first time I ended up chopping it up and scattering it over a Kale Avocado Salad. Bingo.
But really, this bacon can be eaten with anything. Alongside eggs cooked anyway, chopped and stirred through some Caramelised Roast Pumpkin or scattered over your own favourite salad. Or, do as I do and eat it as it is – just because you can.
Glazed Maple Bacon
Ingredients (serves 4)
8 rashers rindless bacon
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. brown sugar
Olive oil spray
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Line an oven tray with foil and spray it with olive oil spray.
Mix the maple syrup and brown sugar in a small bowl.
Lay the bacon in the tray and “paint” each rasher on both sides with the maple/sugar mix.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, taking the bacon out to paint with any remaining glaze on both sides (twice if possible).
Take it out of the oven when it’s cooked to your liking.
If you only require a small amount of bacon to use as a salad topper, simply halve the recipe of bacon and glaze.
This Lemon Chicken Risoni Pasta is a deliciously simple dinner that I keep coming back to again and again. It’s got just a few ingredients that combine together to create a great tasting, hearty meal. (In fact it tastes so good that the kids are now totally oblivious to the fact it’s got spinach in it!)
I have made these Meatballs in Mushroom Cream Sauce a few times now and they seem to get better and better each time.
Maybe I have nailed the balls – making them just that bit smaller so they don’t fall apart in the pan anymore (and they can be popped into your mouth whole). Or it could be that I have got the sauce just right now, after tweaking the recipe to perfection.
My kids love this dinner and enjoy their meatballs served on a bed of mashed potato but I prefer some simple steamed greens on the side….
When it comes down to it, there’s nothing quite like a good minced meat recipe. If you, too are a “mince” fan – then try out these Pork Mince Meatballs in Tomato Sauce or this Korean Beef or this Beef and Bean recipe. I could go on and on and on with the minced meat ideas but I think you need to go and make these Meatballs in Mushroom Sauce. Like right now.
Meatballs in Mushroom Cream Sauce
Ingredients (serves 4)
250g of pork mince
250g of beef mince
1 medium sized onion (1/2 minced, ½ sliced)
1 tsp. crushed garlic
½ cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. mixed dry herbs
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
½ tsp Himalayan Rock Salt (plus more to season)
½ tsp. black cracked pepper plus more to taste
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup beef stock
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup cream
Mashed potatoes and steamed greens to serve (optional)
In a bowl, combine the minced meats, minced onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, herbs, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined and form into small balls (about the size of a walnut).
Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and fry the meatballs in batches (if necessary) until they are all browned but not cooked through. Set aside.
Reserve the olive oil in the pan and add another 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and the mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes or until brown and softened.
Sprinkle the flour over the top and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Pour the beef stock into the pan and make sure you scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the milk and cream and simmer for a minute or so. Return the meatballs to the pan and mix gently into the sauce, cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make double the quantity of meat mix and freeze half for another day. When you go to cook it again, you will only need the ingredients to make the Mushroom Cream Sauce.
This Pesto Green Beans Salad will be made many times this coming summer.
I love experimenting with side dishes. There are so many quick and easy sides out there that can take your family dinner to a new level. This bean salad will now join the ranks of some of my other fave fast side dishes such as Coconut Curry Cauliflower, Wilted Spinach and Pecan Broccoli.
Pesto Green Beans Salad
Ingredients (serves 4)
A bunch of green beans (enough for 4 people)
1 Tbsp. your favourite pesto
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup toasted pine-nuts
Steam or boil the beans for 1-2 minutes until only just cooked (they should have a bit of crunch still). Drain the beans then run them under cold water. Drain again and set aside.
Gently stir the pesto sauce through the beans (the beans should only just be coated in the pesto).
Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the top and finish with the toasted pine-nuts.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
These beans can also be served as a warm salad. Follow the instructions above but don’t drain the beans under cold water. And make sure you don’t overcook the beans if you are serving it warm as they will continue to cook once drained. (There is nothing worse than soggy beans in this recipe!)
My kids love this Chicken and Broccoli Stirfry. It’s got chicken (tick), broccoli (tick), noodles (double tick) and a delicious sweet and salty sauce. It’s almost over taken our Chicken Noodle Stir Fry as the new family fave….
Stirfrys are the best. They are so quick and easy (well at least the ones I usually make are!). And I love that they can be jam packed full of healthy protein and veg. The trick is to prepare your ingredients so they are lined up and ready to go because once the food hits the wok, the actual cooking is lightning fast.
Chicken and Broccoli Stirfry
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g chicken breasts cut into even sized 2 cm pieces
2 cups small broccoli florets, boiled for 2 minutes, drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Packet of Hokkien noodles
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds to serve (optional)
¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. crushed ginger
2 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. sesame oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Set aside, reserving 2 tablespoons.
In a large bowl, combine the reserved soy sauce mixture and the chicken and set aside.
Prepare the noodles according to the directions, separating the noodles. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium – high heat. Add the chicken, stirring often until golden (about 2-3 minutes).
Stir in the pasta, broccoli and remaining soy sauce mixture until heated through (about 2 minutes).
Serve immediately garnished with sesame seeds if desired.
What on earth am I going to cook the family for dinner tonight?
Fear not, you are not alone. If you are a time poor, busy parent, then mid-week dinners can be down-right hard work.
Here we reveal 16 ways to say goodbye to the six o’clock scramble and how you, too can make your life in the kitchen happy and stress free.
1. Prepare ahead
Commit to an hour or so on the weekend (or when you have some downtime), to prepare food for your weekly meal plan. Cut up meat, chop veggies and salad ingredients and pre-cook rice or pasta you may need during the week to make mid-week dinners as quick and easy as possible.
2. Get organised in the mornings
Before you run out the door in a mad rush for work or wherever life is taking you, spend a few minutes taking out any equipment and pantry ingredients, even plates, cutlery and condiments you will need for that nights meal and put it all out on the kitchen bench ready to go. When you get home at the end of the day, you’ll be more motivated to get stuck into cooking the family dinner with all of your equipment at your fingertips.
3. Cook Stir Fries
Stir fries are the perfect mid-week meal. If your meat and veggies are prepared in advance (refer to point 1) and your Wok and Stir fry sauces are out on the bench and ready to go (point 2) then most Stir fries can be cooked and on the table in less than 10 minutes.
4. Freeze pre-cooked rice and pasta
Whenever you cook rice or pasta for a recipe, make sure to cook extra. Once it’s cooled, freeze it in labelled, zip lock bags. Rice and pasta that has been frozen tastes just as good as fresh once you have defrosted and reheated it. Doing this will save you precious minutes when cooking the family dinner.
5. Cook a “make ahead” recipe
Once a week, include a recipe in your weekly meal plan that you can prepare and cook in its entirety on the weekend or in your downtime. Once cooked, portion it up into single serves and freeze it, ready to be defrosted and reheated during the week. Lasagne, Moussaka and Cottage Pie are good examples of make ahead recipes that also freeze well.
6. Double up
Wherever possible, double the quantity of the recipe and freeze half for another night. Doing this will save you time in the long run. Curries, casseroles and marinated meats are great for doubling up and freezing.
7. Stretch it out
Some recipes, such as this Beef and Beans Casserole or this Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie are substantial enough meals that they can be stretched out to enjoy across 2 nights. By adding rice, bread, pasta, veggies or a salad to the meal, you might just be able to feed your family twice with the one meal.
8. Sort out your sides
Review your weekly meal plan for the upcoming week and decide what side dishes you will be serving so you can prepare your salad and veggies in advance (refer point 1). For example, you can de-husk your corn, cut the ends off beans, chop broccoli into small florets or make a big container of salad ready to go. Store in containers in the fridge until you need them.
9. Stock up your freezer meals
Make sure you have a good supply of freezer meals that you can pull out and defrost for nights when there is no time to cook. Make some “make ahead meals” (refer point 5) or freeze leftovers – even if it’s only a single serve. (A few single serves = dinner for the family!) Even rice and pasta can be pre-cooked and frozen ready for another night (point 4).
10. Marinate and Freeze Meat
Marinated meat can make a quick and easy mid-week dinner. While the meat is cooking, you can be whipping up a few easy side dishes to serve with it. There are many cuts of meat such as chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks, lamb cutlets, pork steak and rump steak that marinate and freeze well. Buy your favourite cuts of meat when it’s on special, find some delicious marinade recipes and freeze the marinated meat in portions big enough to feed your family.
11. Beware of cooking and prep times
When preparing your weekly meal plan, consider the cooking and prep time of recipes and make sure you choose mid-week dinners that can be ready in under 30 minutes. Save recipes with longer cooking times for the weekend or where you have more time to cook.
12. Use your Slow Cooker
Include a slow cooker meal each week that you can set and forget. Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning before you head out the door or prepare it the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight, ready to be switched on in the morning. There’s nothing quite like coming home to aromas of a slow cooked meal, all ready to go. Heat up some defrosted, pre-cooked rice or pasta (point 4) to serve along-side.
13. Enjoy steak and sausages
Keep a supply of steak and sausages in the freezer for a quick and easy dinner. While your meat is cooking, prepare your veggies or salad. Dinner can be on the table in under 15 minutes.
14. Freeze cooked sausages
Cook extra sausages and freeze them cooked. When you want to use them, allow the sausages to defrost in the fridge during the day and simply heat them up in the microwave. Time permitting, make some mashed potato, peas and gravy to serve on the side. This is one of my kids favourite dinners!
Allocate age appropriate jobs for the children to help you get dinner on the table. Older children can take responsibility for one easy meal per week (home made pita pizzas, mini frittatas, spaghetti Bolognese etc) and younger ones can set the table, get drinks ready or help prepare the salad etc.
16. Shop online
Once you have written up your weekly meal plan, create a shopping list for all the ingredients you will need for the week and do your grocery shopping online. This will reduce impulse buying and it will save you valuable time.
So as you can see, mid-week dinners don’t have to be stressful. With some careful thought, organisation and preparation, it is possible to make family dinners fast and fuss free.
BONUS: 3 quick and easy mid-week recipes for busy parents
Chicken and Broccoli Stir fry
This delicious recipe can be on the table in under 10 minutes if you prepare the chicken, broccoli and noodles the night before.
This flexible recipe is great for using up leftover bits and pieces in the fridge (think ham, spring onions, grated carrot, capsicum, feta etc). The frittatas can even be baked in advance and reheated to serve. You can stretch out this meal by adding salad or veggies on the side. Any leftovers are delicious served hot or cold for breakfast or lunch the next day.
Bacon and Corn Pasta
This great tasting pasta recipe will be a big hit with the kids. Prepare a big salad to serve on the side while the pasta is cooking for a wholesome, quick and easy family dinner.
I love finding new family friendly recipes. I’m always on the hunt so it’s little wonder I come across lots of yummy ones (mind you there are a fair share of failures too!) I found this particular Korean Beef recipe on Pinterest and was blown away by how fast, easy and tasty it was.
This is the sort of recipe you can double the quantity easily to serve a larger crowd or freeze half for another day or even serve any leftovers in lettuce cups for a new spin on the same recipe.
I have made a lot of different versions of banana cakes over the years and in my opinion, this is the best ever banana cake recipe out there. (Thanks to my sister for sharing the recipe with me!)
Come on. Serious. Who doesn’t love to eat Banana Cake? My kids love helping me to make this cake at the start of the weekend which of course means they have a delicious sweet treat to enjoy for a few days. If they are lucky then there might be a slice or two left over for their school lunchbox…
If I’m short on time then it’s not uncommon for me to make the cake and not bother icing it (it’s just so yummy as it is). But if you do want to take this cake to the next level, then you should ice it with this delightfully delicious Cream Cheese Icing for Banana Cake. Nothing will taste as good.
Best Ever Banana Cake
125g butter at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
3 or 4 bananas (it’s a forgiving recipe)
1 ½ cups of Self Raising Flour
¾ tsp. bicarb of soda mixed with 3 Tbsp. milk
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Grease a medium sized cake tin.
Beat the butter and sugar until creamed.
Add the egg and beat well.
Add the bananas and beat.
Sift the flour and add to the mixture alternatively with the bicarb soda/milk combination.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. (Note – my silly oven needs to be a bit hotter so you may need to experiment a bit as the original recipe calls for 175 degrees Celsius…)
Check the cake is cooked (when a skewer comes out clean it is cooked) – if not ready, pop it back in the oven and check it every 6 or 7 minutes until it’s done.
Leave it to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack.
This Spinach and Chicken Rigatoni really hits the spot if you are in the mood for a hearty pasta dish. It’s delicious and creamy, yet has no cream in it!
This recipe is a good way of introducing more spinach into the kid’s diets as the pasta is so delicious that they can’t help but eat it all up, greens and all. In fact I’m starting to serve more and more spinach to the kids as they are becoming more tolerant of it with every passing week – probably because the recipes just taste so good. Their favourite meals (that include spinach) are this Chicken and Mushroom Pasta, this Pasta with Prosciutto and this Easy Crustless Quiche.
If there’s any leftovers (usually not – sob sob), this pasta is delicious reheated for lunch the next day.
Spinach and Chicken Rigatoni Pasta
Ingredients (serves 4)
375g packet of rigatoni pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. crushed garlic
6 chicken thigh fillets (about 500g), trimmed and chopped
100g prosciutto, roughly chopped
375ml Light Evaporated Milk
100g baby spinach leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese, grated
Cook the pasta according to the directions, drain well and set aside, covering to keep it warm.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over med – high heat and cook the garlic and chicken stirring for a few minutes until the chicken is browned all over.
Add the prosciutto and cook for 1 minute.
Add the evaporated milk and bring to the boil, simmering uncovered for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is slightly thickened.
Add the pasta and the spinach to the pan and toss well to combine until it’s heated through and piping hot.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.
Substitute the chicken thighs with chicken breasts but make sure you don’t overcook them as they will dry out easily.
Substitute the prosciutto for bacon. If you do this you will need to add the bacon to the pan at the same time as the chicken and garlic as it will need longer to cook than the prosciutto.
Make sure your frying pan is large enough to hold all of the cooked pasta and chicken mix. Otherwise, use a large, wide saucepan.
A good friend of mine (you know who you are) got me onto cooking Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin and now I am officially addicted to it. The combination of sweet and salty and the softness and crunchy bits are mouth-watering bliss.
We are not talking about just any old roast pumpkin here. This pumpkin is chopped smaller than you normally would for a roast and it’s cooked for much longer too, resulting in the delicious caramelisation.
There’s just so much you can do with Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin. As well as serving it straight out of the oven to accompany a main course such as these Marinated Beef Kebabs or this Prosciutto Wrapped Baked Chicken, you can toss it through your salads, add it to a quiche or a baked pasta recipe or a stir fry or an omelette or in a wrap or on a pizza. I could go on and on, but how about we just make it instead!
Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin
A big chunk of pumpkin (Kent variety seems to work the best), cut into even, sized small pieces (skin on) about the size of a 50c piece – smaller than you would cut it for a roast.
1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Himalayan rock salt
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
Place the pumpkin in a large roasting pan and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt. (Give it a good mix so all of the pumpkin is lightly coated in the oil.)
Bake for around 1 ½ hours, turning it over at about the 1 hour mark to ensure all the sides of the pumpkin get nicely caramelised.
After 1 hour, watch it every 15 minutes or so. A charred, crispy, caramelised coating is completely normal.
Store any unused pumpkin in a container in the fridge until you need it.
At one point during cooking, the pumpkin may go soft before it starts to caramelise. This is normal. Just turn the pieces over and push on).
This Mongolian Beef dish is bursting with flavor and one of my fave dinners at the moment. It is sweet and salty all at once.
The recipe does include a fair amount of sugar so if you are on a “no sugar” diet then this my friend, is not a recipe for you!
You can prepare most of the dish in advance. The actual cooking time is very fast so if you cook your rice at the same time as everything else (or better still, in advance and reheat it to serve) then you can have this dinner on the table in under 20 minutes.
500g rump steak, thinly sliced against the grain into 1 inch pieces
¼ cup corn starch
2 green onions sliced into 1 inch pieces
Rice to serve on the side
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan over medium – low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute or so until golden.
Add the soy sauce and water and brown sugar, stirring well to combine. Increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for around 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Toss the steak with the corn starch in a plastic bag and shake off any excess flour.
Place a large frying or sauté pan over medium – high heat and add the remaining oil. Once the oil is hot (but not smoking), add the beef to the pan and sauté for about 2 minutes until it is seared on all sides but barely cooked in the middle.
Remove the steak with a slotted spoon and drained on a plate lined with paper towel. Pour any excess oil out of the pan.
Put the pan back onto medium heat and add the prepared sauce to the pan. (It should come to the boil very fast). Add the reserved steak and spring onions and cook stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
Serve with rice.
Make sure you use the low sodium soy sauce or it will be quite salty
I stumbled across this Mushroom Quinoa recipe by accident. I was having a tidy up of my pantry and found some quinoa that needed using up. I searched on Pinterest (my new favourite source of food inspiration) and found this recipe.
Chicken Broth is incredibly warming, hearty and oh, so nutritious.
The nutrients from the chicken bones are extracted in the slow cooking process and in fact the longer you cook it for the more nutritional value you will gain. The vinegar is a must in this recipe as it helps to draw the nutrients out from the bones (and you can’t taste it in the broth anyway).
Chicken broth is extremely versatile. You can heat it up and drink a mug of it like as you would a clear soup (a cup a day would be incredibly good for you). Or use the broth as you would a stock – as a base for soups and risottos, or as a liquid to cook vegetables.
In fact, just recently I used a batch in this delicious Lamb Risotto, and I had a small amount left in which I then cooked some snow peas to serve with the risotto – talk about totally delicious! I always make sure I have plenty of Chicken Broth in the freezer to use for these recipes. The trick is to remember to defrost it in time to use!
Homemade Chicken Broth
Ingredients (makes around 1.5 litres)
1 chicken carcass, most of the meat removed (cooked or raw is OK)
2 medium sized carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
bunch parsley stems, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and just cover the chicken with water.
Cook on low for 8-12 hours, skimming the top during cooking if required.
Strain the broth into a large bowl (not down the sink like I did once!)
Pick out any remaining shreds of meat and set aside.
Discard the vegetables and bones.
Store the broth in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze portions, allowing extra room in the containers for expansion.
Use the broth as you would for chicken stock, in soups, pastas, risottos etc.
Drink a cup a day for optimum health.
When cooled, the broth may become gelatinous which is completely normal. It will become liquid when it is reheated. (This is actually a sign of a good broth as the collagen that is released from the bones is great for healthy hair, skin, nails and also the joints.)
I love eggs. Whether it’s eggs for breakfast (any which way), or a baked, more substantial egg dish like this Savoury Impossible Pie, eggs are so healthy, tasty and versatile.
This Impossible Pie is really quick and easy. I love that it can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I usually make it when I have some ham to use up and serve it to the family for whichever meal is coming up next.
The other great thing about this Savoury Impossible Pie recipe is that it’s just as yummy cooked in advance and reheated to serve which means you can make it ahead of time meaning that a delicious dinner can be on the table in a flash.