6m +, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Savory

Leftovers Pasta Bake

  • 6m +
  • Nut free
  • Can be frozen
  • Lunchbox Idea

I know leftovers don’t sound very appealing but this pasta dish is truly delicious. I hate throwing food away but every weekend when I do a roast dinner I seem to end up with a randomly size portion of veg and meat left over,  so I needed to create a nice easy dish to use it up. 

The ingredients list on this recipe is simply a guide,  it really varies each week depending on what I have an excess of.  This dish also freezes really well,  I normally pop it in to a muffin tray,  stick it in the freezer and then when frozen transfer the perfectly sized portions into a freezer bag. They are super handy when The Monster needs a different meal than we are having,  or even a filling lunch after his swimming class. 

Ingredients:

2 cups dried pasta shapes

1 cup leftover roasted veg (this week I had carrot,  pumpkin and broccoli) 

1/2 cup roasted chicken

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons cream

Grated cheese (for shrinking on top) 

Method:

In a saucepan, boil the pasta until half cooked (don’t cook it fully as it will continue to cook in the oven and will become mushy) 

Pre-heat the oven. Drain the pasta and return to the pan. In the same saucepan,  add the garlic, tomatoes,  veg and chicken (or whatever meat you choose, or none if you want to make it a veggie dish) stir,  pour in the cream and stir again.  Transfer to an oven proof dish,  sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve. 
Enjoy

Em xx

7m +, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Savory, Uncategorized

Sheppards Pie with Sneaky Veg

  • 7M +
  • Egg Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Nut Free

We had a few cloudy days in Dubai this week and grey skies always make me want warming comfort food. One of my favorites is Sheppard’s Pie. Since weaning The Monster I have discovered that he loves it too. With juicy minced lamb and creamy mash,  I have adapted my old recipe to incorporate extra veggies and a rich gravy made without my old glass of red wine.

I make them in individual pie dishes but you can make one large one as well. If you want to batch cook them for the freezer make single kiddie portions in a silicone muffin tray,  once cooled, freeze and then remover from the tray and pop in a freezer bag for up-to 3 months.

I finely dice my veggies but if you have a very fussy little one,  cook the sauce separately from the meat and blend it prior to adding the lamb so all the veg is hidden.  You don’t have to use the same veggies that I have listed, I often chuck in whatever I have in my fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 250g minced lamb
  • 2 very large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons no sugar tomato puree
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 small head of broccoli finely chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 150ml beef or lamb stock
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Dash of worschestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. 

Peel and chop the potatoes and boiled in a lidded pan until soft. While they are cooking heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Fry the onions and carrots until tender but not brown. Add the mince, garlic, and rosemary, stir until cooked. Pour in the stock, Worcestershire sauce and add the flour to thicken. Stir in the spinach, mushrooms and broccoli and allow to simmer while you prep your mash. Once the potatoes are cooked through drain, add the butter and mash until creamy and smooth (I actually push mine through a sieve rather than using a traditional masher, they come out so good. I stole this trick from an old chef friend, it makes the best mash ever).

Divide the lamb mix into your chosen cooking dishes and top with the mash potato. Sprinkle with cheese and place in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden and crunchy on top. 

Enjoy

Em xx

6m +, Breakfast, Uncategorized

Review: Eggspectation – JBR Dubai

Don’t let the name fool you, this popular JBR cafe does more than eggs (although they do, do them very well). My friend,  The Monster and I decided to check it out for a late breakfast during the week. The clouds were rolling in so we opted for a seat inside rather than on the terrace. 

Let’s start with the downsides (only a few,  I promise) It was freezing in there! Seriously I was so glad we had jumpers with us. While they have bathrooms on the premises it was just one per gender (so we had a queue as the cafe was packed)  and no changing table for babies! Not an issue now the monster is a toddler but still a shame and off putting for those with little one’s. 

The positives, OK here we go,  the good stuff…. So many highchairs! And all of them were clean. The staff are super friendly to both the adults and kids,  always near by but never hovering. They supply kids plastic plates as well as kids cutlery,  which is a breath of fresh air,  so many place’s need to follow suit! The kids menu has a good range of option’s and no nuggets and chips. The main menu is massive (the downside is it takes ages to decide what to have). 

As soon as we were all seated our waiter Tasleem brought The Monster some crayons and a colouring-in placemat, which was promptly discarded so he could draw on a napkin (blooming kids, lol) He also offered to get us our drinks while we looked at the menu,  which was good as the decision making process took some time. We finally ordered,  high rise pancakes (pancakes layered with sausage,  bacon,  potatoes and topped with an egg)  for me, lobster benny (which was mind blowing, so I stole it)  for my friend and a kids banana waffle for The Monster. The food was fresh and really tasty although the portion sizes were massive, and could easily have been shared. Kids drinks come in a plastic cup with a straw which is fab and meant I wasn’t juggling glass. Service was prompt and friendly. 

The cafe doesn’t have a play area,  although to be fair it is right by the beach at JBR so there is plenty of room for the kids to have a run about and entertainment for before and after you have eaten. 

So would I go back,  yes totally.  Our three meals, drinks and coffee come to about 250dhs, so it wouldn’t be a regular haunt for breakfast but great every now and then. They have also recently opened a new branch in City Walk as well,  so are now easily accessible from both ends of town. 

Hope this helps.

Enjoy

Em xx                  

 

      

7m +, Egg Free, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

  • 7m +
  • Egg free
  • Nut free
  • Lunchbox idea

I have yet to meet a kiddie that doesn’t like crackers, even the fussiest of eaters seem unable to resist the crunchy,  cheesy delights. Unfortunately many of the shop brought ones have high levels of salt, and various other unpleasant ingredients. 

With The Monster  being crackers about crackers I decided I needed a super simple,  delicious and healthy recipe for making them at home.  After a few test recipes, this insanely easy recipe was created. When  tested on The Monster, his playmates and their mama’s there wasn’t one left,  always a good sign!

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 3/4 cup mature cheddar (grated) 
  • 1 /4 cup Parmesan (grated) 
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Method

Re-heat the oven to be 180 degrees. Place the flour, rosemary and cheeses into a food processor and give it a quick blitz to combine the ingredients. Mix the water and olive oil and slowly pour into the flour, and cheese mix while the processor is on a low setting. Once the dough comes together, tip it onto a floured surface. Roll until thin (about 2.5mm) use cookie cutters to cut the dough into any shapes you choose. Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and lay the crackers on the paper. Bake for about 12 mins or until golden brown and crisp at the edges. Allow to cool before eating. 
Enjoy

Em xx