Tag Archives: dinner

Dinner doesn’t have to be a marathon

Being a working mum I love a quick tasty dinner and it ‘s always a bonus if I can incorporate some veggies too.

I have always been a fan of Marathon foods and my kids love their puffy dogs. While they would love to eat them every day, I see them as a treat and would prefer they eat something more balanced.

I recently discovered that Marathon foods now make a range of easy heat and eat meals in their Chef Direct range. There are meatballs, lamb shanks and even a beef hot pot. My favourite is the Con Carne mild chilli beef and bean. They are all so versitile and really good for if you haven’t done any meal prep or forgot to defrost the meat for dinner.

Tonight I whipped up some tasty and healthy mexican bowls which everyone loved. I used the Marathon foods mild chilli beef and bean mix (straight from the pantry), added some capsicum, corn, garlic and tomatoes. Fried it up in the pan

Next I boiled some quinoa and brown rice, made a quick guacamole. At this point I realised I had no corn chips so I toasted some pita pockets under the grill with olive oil, a touch of cumin and garlic salt.

Then I popped everything in a bowl, added sour cream (with chopped coriander in it), grated cheese and some rocket.

Dinner was on the table within 15 minutes and tasted amazing! The most time consuming part was boiling the rice, but really you could use the pre boiled packet rice and cut even more time off your dinner prep.

If you haven’t already it’s worth checking out the Marathon chef direct range, perfect to have on hand for busy nights. They would also be great for a quick lunch or a gourmet camping meal.

Rachelle xx

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Embrace the chaos 

I have always been a very conscientious, efficient and organised person. I really don’t enjoy flying by the seat of my pants and I often struggle to relax.

Since becoming a mother I still had the desire to be organised. However, children are completely unpredictable so this made it extremely hard. Add working, my husband’s business, playdates, activities and birthday parties to the mix and I was becoming a hot mess. Being organised and feeling like I was being a composed adult was just getting harder and harder.

I wrote lists, used a calendar, meal planned and grabbed food shopping at lunchtime. I would spend Sunday afternoons prepping meals for the week or making meals and freezing them.

After a couple of very busy weekends and starting an extra day at work. I simply couldn’t find the time to be super organised…..I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t do everything, I couldn’t be everywhere and there was no way I could please everyone. It felt like my kids were being extra needy and wanting more and more attention.

I had no choice but to roll with it. No meal plan. I decided to just grab a few things at the shops and some washing done but it wasn’t 100%. Do you know what?  It wasn’t that bad.  Taking my foot off the accelerator and taking a deep breath has been amazing.  I say no to things if we have too much on or if everything is just too busy.  Also, I’m not so worried about little distractions like housework. My kids aren’t that worried about getting my attention, they know they can have it. They’re even helping with little chores!

Another bonus is my husband is also helping out around the place as he can see what needs to be done and has a chance to get to it. He puts the washing away and tidies the kitchen. Instead of constantly having meals ready, I keep a couple of brought pre prepared meals in the fridge.  My husband simply heats them and they’re ready if I’m running late home from work with the kids. I found the Woolworths family favourites are simple, delicious, ready in 45 minutes or less and only about $12 for a family serving (there’s also a good range of meals and my kids love them).  Having meals on hand makes everything so much easier. Sundays aren’t spent prepping meals and shopping. I have more time to play with my kids. We read books, go to the park and bath time is more relaxed. I’ve also noticed some nights we grab the dog and go for a family walk.

I’m still on top of things, just a little more relaxed. I keep lists and use my calendar but I just order as much as I can online and have it delivered (including birthday gifts). If something isn’t finished or I’m not 100% organised I embrace it and move on. I realised I’m only one person and can’t look after everyone. Especially if I feel like a mess and I’m not looking after myself.

Try it, embrace the chaos and take shortcuts. It’s alright!

Rachelle xx

 

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Easy peasy – Spicy Thai chicken soup

INGREDIENTS:
50 g rice vermicelli
1 small onion
1 chicken breast
1L (4 cups) Campbell’s Real Soup Base – Asian
1 cup of carrot cut into matchsticks  (I just used the already cut ones from Coles)
1/2 cup of beanshoots or snow peas
Tablespoon of lemon grass grated or finely sliced
Chilli to taste

Sliced chilli and corriander to garnish

METHOD:
Place stock into pot and bring to boil.
Add chicken breast whole, reduce heat and simmer for 15 – 20 mintues until chicken is cooked through. Remove and shred (pull) chicken using 2 forks.

In another bowl prepare Vermicelli accoding to instructions – sit in boiled. water for 5 minutes.

Pop chicken back into the pot add, noodles, carrots, other veggies chilli and lemongrass. Simmer for 5 – 10 min.

Serve and garish with chilli and chopped fresh corriander.

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Enjoy!

Rachelle xx

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Baja fish tacos

Nice colourful, weeknight meal.
My kids don’t eat these as tacos but they eat the fish, cheese, salsa and tortillas separate. I don’t mind as long as they are eating 👍

Salsa:
1 tub cherry  tomatoes diced
½ small red onion
½  jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped (optional)
Fresh or canned corn
4 springs coriander
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Sauce:
½ cup sour cream
2 tbsp lime juice
1 sprig oregano (chopped)
2 sprig dill (chopped)
1 clove garlic crushed

Fish
500g whiting fresh or preferred firm fish cut into strips

1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
Panko crumbs

2 olive oil
8 to 10  corn tortilla

Instructions

Salsa: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl refrigerate.

Sauce: Combine all ingredients in bowl. Refrigerate.

Fish: crumb fish slices in flour, egg and panko crumbs. Stir fry until cooked.

Warm tortillas in pan

Also serve with smashed avocado and grated tasty cheese.

Put on table for everyone to serve their own.

Rachelle xx

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Sweet chilli lime chicken wraps

Hudson loves a wrap. He pulls it all apart and makes a mess, but as long as he is eating I am happy.

This recipe is a quick easy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:
▫1/3 cup mild sweet chilli sauce
▫2 tablespoons fish sauce
▫2 tablespoons lime juice
▫1 clove of garlic or teaspoon of crushed garlic
▫500g chicken breast fillets (cut into cubes)
▫Spring onion, sliced thinly
▫6 wraps
▫Salad
▫Avocado

Combine sweet chilli, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and chicken in a bowl. Pop in the fridge to marinate for at least 10 minutes (I enjoy spicy food so I add a little extra diced chilli for the adults and cook separately).

Stir fry chicken in pan until cooked through and assemble wraps with chicken, salad, avocado and spring onion (cheese is optional).

Add some fat free mayonnaise with a squeeze of lime and dash of coriander to taste.

** Variation: if you would like a meat free version, I have also made this with firm tofu and it’s amazing!

Enjoy 😋

Rachelle xx

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Lentil and Beetroot Salad

Maaaassive build up to tonights dinner after being on a two day cleanse. I ❤ cooking and I didn’t realise just how much I would miss it. The up side, tonight’s dinner was 😋, my Husband got to come home to a roast and the boys didn’t know what hit them with all the food I’d been serving up the past two days making up for the time I would normally spend in the kitchen.

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LENTIL AND BEETROOT SALAD-serves 4

•1/4 cup hazelnuts
•1 pkt coles baby spinach and beetroot leaves
•1 tin lentils, rinsed, and drained
•1 tin whole baby beetroots, rinsed, drained, quartered
•100gms feta, crumbled
•2 tbs rice malt syrup (or honey)
•1 tbs olive oil
•1 tbs red wine vinegar

●Roast hazelnuts on a tray at 200° for 10mins. Remove and rub with a tea towel to remove skins.

●Combine leaves, lentils, beetroot, feta and hazelnuts in a large bowl

●In a small bowl, whisk syrup, oil and vinegar. Pour over salad, divide amongst plates and top with sliced meat (I used garlic and rosemary roast lamb)

290cal per serving
*not including roast potatoes and roast meat

ROAST LEG OF LAMB AND BABY POTATOES

•Approx 1.6kgs Leg of Lamb
•6 cloves of garlic
•6 sprigs fresh rosemary
•1 tbs olive oil
•salt and pepper
•8 baby potatoes

●Preheat oven to 200° fan forced

●With a small sharp knife, cut 12 slits (spread all over) into the meat approximately 2cm wide and 2-3cm deep. Fill each slit with either a clove of garlic or a sprig of rosemary.

●Pour olive oil over lamb and season with salt and pepper

●Place in oven for 15minutes and remove. Scatter baby potatoes around the lamb and season with salt and pepper and a little olive oil.

●Place back in oven for 1hr (for medium) or longer if desired. Remove and cover with foil for 5-10mins before slicing. Serve on salad with a side of baby potatoes.

Enjoy,
Ange xx

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Simple Gyoza recipe – with hidden veggies

I am always on the lookout for ways to sneak extra veggies into my sons diet. He loves dim sims, spring rolls, noodles. We eat Japanese food a lot and Gyoza is one of his favourites. I have started making them at home. I tend to make a big batch and freeze half for a quick dinner or snack. They are simple to make, it’s just the wrapping that takes some time. You will get quicker each time you make them.   Most Gyoza recipes have ginger in them, my son doesn’t love ginger so I leave it out.

Ingredients:

400g pork mince (I have also used beef, chicken, prawn)

 1 cup finely shredded vegetables (I normally use cabbage, spinach, carrot)

 1 teaspoon sesame oil

 1 tablespoon soy sauce

 2 garlic cloves or 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic from a jar.

 40 gow gee wrappers, from the fresh pasta section in the supermarket  (you can make these but I don’t have time)

 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Dipping sauce

 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce

 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all your ingredients in a bowl, mix together. Lay out your wrappers and spoon the mixture on to them. Pop some water on the edges of the wrapper to assist it to stick together. Fold wrapper in half and pleat the edges.

Heat some vegetable oil in a pan and pop your Gyoza in so the bottoms become brown and crispy. 1 cup of water into the hot pan and place a lid over so the dumplings steam. Once the water has evaporated remove your dumplings and serve with either a teriyaki dipping sauce, soy sauce (I prefer a light soy) or sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Your dumplings should be panfried and crispy on the bottom and perfectly steamed on the top.

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Enjoy!!

Rachelle xx

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Streamlined mealtimes

No one appreciates a meal shortcut as much as a working mother. Since I’m heading back to work in June I am on the lookout for anything to make life a little easier.

When we were at the baby and toddler show we stumbled accross Baby Bistro. Delightful, organic, healthy frozen meals for little mouths that can be conveniently delivered to your door.

In the past couple of weeks Ange and I have tried them on our boys (Hudson and Kai) and we have had rave reviews. Bowls are empty, no complaints and Hudson spent the whole time saying ‘yum, yum, yum’ as he tucked into his spaghetti last night at dinner.

I am definitely keeping some of these in the freezer, so convenient and I know my children are eating healthy with little effort required from me. This is exactly what I need some nights when I get home from work.  I’m sure any working mother can agree that their little ones are often starving the second they get in the door after a busy day at childcare. I find I don’t have time to get anything ready before a tantrum starts because my son wants biscuits or juice. If I have some Baby Bistro on hand in the freezer all of the drama can be avoided.

They come in lots of different flavours  and range from purees to toddler meals. You can even buy value packs! The only thing that would make it better is if they also made husband meals and delivered them too.

Baby Bistro is the best tasting frozen baby/toddler food I have tried. Looks like Hudson and Kai agree.

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Rachelle xx

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Toddler mealtime tips

Hudson was always such a good eater,  once he was around 18 months he became more independent and mealtimes became quite a production. It was so frustrating picking him up from childcare seeing that he had eaten two lunches there, yet I couldn’t get him to eat one mouthful of food at home.  I wondered what I was doing wrong, had I given birth to a mini food critic? Why were mealtimes becoming a struggle?

After testing some strategies, Hudson now happily eats ‘most’ meals (we all have our bad days right?). Here are some little tricks that have helped us:

○ Keep it small. Hudson eats pretty much what we eat. However, I discovered serving him up a small slab of lasagna or meat all chopped up wasn’t really getting his taste buds going. Now I make him a mini lasagna in his own little dish. For stirfrys or casseroles make sure chicken, meat and veggies are cut up small (think no bigger than a corn kernel). When I make pasta Hudson gets rissoni or a small pasta shells with his sauce. It’s easier for him to handle on the fork and doesn’t require a lot more effort from me.

○ Don’t make a fuss. The days of sit at the table until you’re finished are over. I quickly realised that a toddler is like a Kardashian sister. Any attention is good, even if its negative. Now when Hudson carries on about not liking something. I simply ask him to try it, if he still says ‘nooo yuk’ I say ‘ok don’t eat it’. I get him to sit at the table for a little bit longer, leave the food there and just carry on eating my dinner. 80% of the time when he realises he is not going to get me negotiating and pleading, he starts eating.  When he does I praise him and make a big deal about being a big boy. 

○ Sometimes they are just not hungry. Toddlers stop eating when they have had enough. On childcare days Hudson often eats a large lunch of pasta or rice. Plus morning and afternoon tea. I keep dinner light on these nights as he is simply not hungry. I offer yoghurt and fruit salad, toast or biscuits with cheese. If I have a large lunch, I don’t feel like a large dinner. Toddlers are the same.

○ Make it fun. Talk about food, grow veggies, go out for meals and use fun plates and cutlery. I have Disney plates, bright cups and little construction forks and spoons. When I make toast I cut it into soldier’s and I cut sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cutters. I try to buy different coloured veggies (purple carrots are a hit). It really doesn’t take a lot of extra effort but it certainly makes food fun and interesting.

○ Soup. I saw that Hudson often would eat soup for lunch at childcare.  This sounded messy and like an awful experience to me. I eventually decided to try it at home and he loves it. It’s not messy (we do use a bib) he will eat a whole bowl and it’s really a great way to get veggies into little bellies. I serve it with toast soldiers.

○ Noodles – Hudson loves 2 minute noodles, well he actually loves any noodles. I have found I can make an easy meal just by adding some omlette, ham, cheese, corn and sliced up beans to cooked noodles. Instant hit and so so easy after work.

With these few easy tricks up my sleeve, mealtimes at my house are now much easier and food is eaten rather than thrown in the compost.

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Rachelle xx

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Ditch the microwave

Do you prepare and freeze your own baby food? Do you use a microwave to heat it up for your little one? I do….. Well, I used to. I was having a look around the Internet and came across Lillypots. It’s a product that allows you to easily defrost baby food over a pot of boiling water. No microwave, no heating up plastic pots or sachets.  This makes me very happy, when I spend time making delicious purees for my babies I want to make sure all the nutrients stay in the food and not have to worry about heating plastic.  Lillypots are so easy to use and clean, even my husband will use them.

Another bonus is that you can heat up three different types of puree and they stay separate, which is great for when you are introducing new foods to bub.

I purchased my Lillypot from Eat, Teeth, Sleep. When I told them how much I love it they offered to give all our readers 20% off if you use the code ‘LILLYPOT’ at checkout.

See the below pics for how easy it is to use:

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Oh and this is Lucy, my friends little lady. I used Lillypots when she came over for a visit the other day. She seems pretty happy with the results. 

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Have a wonderful weekend.

Rachelle xx

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