12m +, Nut Free, Savory

Sweet and Sour Chicken

20180502_210823

  • 12m +
  • Nut Free
  • Diary Free
  • Can be frozen

We love a Chinese take away in our house, but since weaning The Monster I am much more conscious of the salt, sugar and MSG that goes into take away food. Sweet and Sour Chicken is one of our go-to favorites so I have worked out a recipe that contains no add salt, refined sugar or MSG and it tastes just amazing, serious you’ll love it! While there seems like alot of ingredients it is actually very simple and is ready in about 30 minutes.

I always use 2 bell peppers as they’re The Monsters favourite part of the dish, but feel free to adjust the veggies to your liking.

I serve mine with egg fried brown rice, but it will work with noodles or whatever your favourite side is.

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 2 bell peppers (different colours)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 a small onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small tin pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup low sugar and salt ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Method:

In a bowl, combine the chicken with the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the cornflour, and 1 mixed egg. Set to the side while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat. Add the chopped the bell peppers, carrots, garlic, ginger and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
Add the vinegar, pineapple juice, pineapple and ketchup, and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to thicken a little.
reduce the heat and let it simmer while you prepare the chicken.
Place the remaining corn flour in a separate bowl and add the chicken pieces that you put to the side earlier,  stir until liberally coated.
Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes, until the coating is golden brown and the chicken is cooked throughout.

Add the chicken to the sauce, stir through and serve.

 

Enjoy

Em xx

7m +, Breakfast, Gluten Free, hidden veg, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Savory, Snack, Vegetarian

Spanish Omelette

PSX_20180415_204518

  • 7m +
  • Nut free
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Lunch Box Idea

The Monster is currently not a fan of sandwiches (this could all change in a matter of hours, toddlers are fickle.) This means I have to come up with alternatives when it comes to his lunchbox for playschool. A firm favourite (for now) is Spanish Omelette. Filling, super easy to make and I can pop veggies in it too, whats not to like.

This doesn’t freeze to well unfortunately, however it does last in the fridge for about 4 days and is so good the whole family will be at it anyway so it won’t last long! It is great hot or cold.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 small potato (boiled and sliced)
  • 1/4 cup grated mature cheddar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped veggies (I used onion, mushrooms, peppers, tomato)

 

Method:

Brush a small frying pan with olive oil. Place on a low/medium heat. In a bowl whisk the eggs and cheddar together, set aside. Put the finely chopped veggies in the pan and gently cook until softened. Pour over half the egg mix. Lay the potatoes into the egg. Pour over the remaining egg mix and continue to cook until the bottom of the omelette is set. remove from the hob and place under a grill to cook the top of the omelette until set (about 3 mins).

Turn out onto a plate. can be served hot or cold.

 

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

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

Secret healthy Dip-Dip Sauce

  • 7m+
  • Nut Free
  • Egg Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Vegetarian 
  • Can Be frozen

Like most small humans,  The Monster loves sauce,  any sauce,  ketchup,  mayo,  sweet chilli, if he can dip stuff in it he is happy.  He actually says dip-dip as he dips,  super cute… But anyway, most of the time even the fussiest of eaters like ketchup (even if they claim to hate tomatoes.) So I set myself a mission to create a healthy version with some hidden veg to share with you guys.

I used veg I had in the house that needed using up, so feel free to substitute the veggies as you need to. Pumpkin, carrot or sweetpotato in there would also test great. 

Because it’s homemade and doesn’t contain sugar this will only keep in the fridge for about 5 days.  I however I freeze it in an ice cube tray,  this way,  if The Monster is going to want sauce with his meal that day I can just pop one cube out and it defrosts in about a  minutes, just give it a stir. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoon’s of pure tomato puree
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 handful of broccoli 
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Method

Roughly chop your veggies.  Place a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion in a little oil,  until soft but not brown. Add the tinned tomatoes and the roughly chopped veg and simmer for about  5 minutes.  Stir in the balsamic and the tomatoes puree and then leave to cool.  Once cool,  pop the sauce into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. 

It’s as simple as that.  Place a small jar of it in the fridge and the remaining into an ice cube tray. 
Enjoy

Em xx

8m +, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Savory

Beef and Secret Veg Mini Pies

PSX_20170904_215433I am a massive fan of pie, it’s one of my favorite meals and it seems that The Monster has inherited the same taste, because these always disappear quickly. I’m lucky that (at the moment) he is great for eating vegetables but it never hurts to add a few extras in where possible. The gravy in these pies contains blended veggies but no-one would ever know, even my veg-phobic husband hasn’t realised! In the recipe I used carrots, spinach and tomato puree in my sauce but you can use whatever veg you have in the house, there’s no rules on this one.

I make these in a mini cupcake tray as they are the perfect size for The Monster, for bigger kids use a regular cupcake tray and why not make some regular sized ones for the adults in the family too.

These are delicious hot or cold, so they also work well in lunchboxes, making a nice change from sandwiches. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. If you have any left over filling you can use it for shepherds pie or pop it in the freezer for next time.

Ingredients:

For the Pastry

  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 75g plain flour
  • 55g cold butter cut into cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp of cold water

For the Filling

  • 400g minced beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5-6 mushrooms, diced
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
  • 1 cup beef stock (low sodium)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 blocks of frozen spinach
  • 1 sachet of tomato puree

 

Method

First off you need to make your pastry. I use a food processor these days but it’s easy enough my hand as well. Rub the flour and butter together to form a breadcrumb like texture, slowly add the water and bring together to form a dough. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and place into the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

Heat a sauce pan over a medium heat, add a very small drizzle of oil, the onion, mushrooms and garlic and fry until softened. Add the mince and cook until no longer pink. In a blender blitz the carrots, spinach, tomato puree and beef stock until smooth, pour over the mince and heat for 5 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll your pastry, cut and mold to the cupcake tin (I use a silicon mold which doesn’t require oiling but if using metal just rub with a little butter to prevent sticking). Fill with the mince mixture and add a pastry lid.

Brush the tops with your choice or egg or milk and back for approximately 25 minutes or until golden and crisp.

 

Enjoy

Em xx