Sunday, April 07, 2013

Sharing the (food) love

After a lovely week off and a nice short break away, it's time to head back to the office tomorrow (boo!). One of the things I enjoy most about time off work is not having to do a lot of planning when it comes to meals. There's always something in the fridge or pantry that I can quickly turn into lunch, dinner or a tasty snack.

Of course, when you're away from home for ten hours out of twenty-four, you don't have that option - at least not if you want meals that are healthy, varied, taste great and that won't blow the budget. So, as many healthy living bloggers do, this weekend I set aside a couple of hours to do some food prep for the week. I'm pretty happy with what's on the menu for the next few days and just in case any of you are searching for ideas, I thought I'd share some of my choices - and some new discoveries - with you.

First up, I threw some cheap chuck steak and five other ingredients into the slow cooker yesterday to make an old favourite, Peposo. This tradition Tuscan beef stew only gets better after sitting in the fridge for a few days, so that's earmarked for Monday night's dinner. With some sweet potato mash and a couple of green veg on the side, dinner will be ready in no time.

Peposo: Don't let the simple recipe fool you - the flavour is sublime!
Bike Boy also grabbed a bag of chicken pieces out of the freezer and marinated them in a bought tandoori paste for tonight's dinner. That usually leaves us a couple of serves for lunches too, but all the boys are home tonight, so I'm not counting on it. If you've never tried making your own tandoori chicken (fish/prawns/lamb), WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Yes, sure you can make your own paste and we sometimes do, but in the interests of more time and less mess, that wasn't happening today.

For two of my lunches (I need four), I went for that old stand-by, grilled chicken breast. I'll mix it up with different accompaniments. I baked two sweet potatoes, so half of one of those makes a good side dish (you should try tarting it up by mashing it roughly and adding some mango chutney, chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime juice - a favourite Jamie Oliver recipe). I also made a batch of pineapple salsa* and have one serve a fridge full of salad ingredients and fresh and frozen veg for steaming.

For the other two lunches, I've opted for an old favourite, Asian-style tuna and sweet potato patties. Just add veggies, and maybe a piece of fruit after.

I often just go for fruit for my snacks, but I came across these savoury breakfast muffins on Kalyn's Kitchen that use quinoa flakes and had to give them a go. They're really, really good. Just a word to the wise: if you're not a goat's cheese fan, don't use that goat's cheese feta you've had in the fridge for ages. Put your shoes on, comb your hair and go to the damn supermarket to buy some regular feta, OK? I don't know why I thought the strong flavour would be disguised...

During the week I was pondering what to do with quinoa flakes and had a flash of brilliance, which resulted in a small batch of healthy coconut-banana cookies. This is them before they went into the oven. I forgot to take a photo after. Oops:

The result was.... hmm...the flavour was pretty good and the texture alright, if a bit more cakey than biscuity ...I just think I can improve on them. Stay tuned for coconut-banana cookies Mk II.

One thing I tried that was a huge success though, was this protein fluff from the genius of Anna Sward, of Protein Pow(d)er! fame. This stuff is like magic - reminds me of the old-fashioned desserts Mum used to make when I was a kid - fluffs, fools and flummeries. I whipped up a batch in just a few minutes with some raspberries and blueberries I had in the freezer and WOW!

That bowl holds about 5 litres, so this is about 2.5L of pudding...and I ate the lot!
I used a mixture of blueberries and raspberries, vanilla whey and coconut milk. A quick bash with the hand blender, then into a big bowl and attack with the electric mixer for just a few minutes and watch it grow...and grow. You have to try this! Not only does it taste amazing and fill you up, but it has only 250-ish Calories in the whole batch, plus a whopping 35g of protein.

I also found dozens more recipes that I am so going to try...but there are only so many hours in a single weekend, you know. This coconut-quinoa-blueberry parfait is definitely on the cards though. I did have a go at a cauliflower pizza crust, which was really pretty successful - the amount of cheese in it bumped the calories up to scary levels though, so I think I'll be hunting for something a little leaner.

You'd never know a cauliflower had been anywhere near this pizza...

So there you go. A quick tour of Kek's kitchen and some recipes you might be inspired to try. What's on the menu at your place this week? Got any new recipes to share...?

*Pineapple salsa: Take one cup of diced fresh pineapple, 1/2 a cup of diced cucumber, 1/2 a cup of diced red capsicum, a small red chilli, finely chopped, about two tablespoons of finely chopped red onion and a tablespoon of chopped mint, mix together and squeeze fresh lime juice over. 



Liz N said...

I am enjoying this cooking renaissance - all looks splendid - I'm going to give that fluff a go for sure!

Sara said...

Cauliflower pizza! I've had that on my to-do for so very long! Gonna do it. Yours looks so delish.

Kek said...

Liz, the fluff is awesome - and works with any frozen berries. The recipe would make dessert for a family of four. Or a snack for me. *ahem*

Sara, I picked this one because it has no flour and I was on a no-grain thing that particular day. Way too much cheese - I think I'll try some kind of flour next time. Quinoa? Chick pea? Hmm...

Casey said...

i think i need some berry fluff in my life yum!

Kek said...

Casey, everyone should have a little fluff in their life. ;)

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