Beetroot was always a touchy subject in my house. My brothers and I have been shipped back and forth from Australia since we were each just a few months old so we’re no stranger to things like Vegemite, sausage rolls, pavlova…your typical Aussie classics. We pretty much all eat Vegemite, a feat we should all be proud of. And there was never any debate when sausage rolls or pavlova were in the house. But beets were different. I believe we were introduced to them in the best way possible, not mushed up as a side dish, but placed gently on a beautiful stacked burger. We used to have ‘make your own’ burger nights and it would be a little buffet of things to top your meat patty with. Everything from cheese to ketchup, lettuce, mustard, tomatoes, chutney, etc. And in the assembly line there was always one bright pink bowl of beetroot, poured ever so gently from a tin can and pre-sliced for general ease. Dad would always load up his burger with just about everything but he avoided those beets like the plague. I don’t remember my brothers being too wild about them either but I don’t think they ran away quite so quickly. I, on the other hand, was happy to slap them on watching my bun and my fingers turn a nice fluro rose colour. Now that I live in Australia I figured it was time to experiment with beetroot in other dishes. And that’s exactly how I came upon this easy little salad recipe. It’s quick, low-fat and simple. The anchovies are optional in my opinion, I personally love anchovies so I was happy to put them in at first but I felt like they added a strange flavour amongst the acidity of the beets and the richness of the ricotta. Also when I had the salad the day after I totally forgot they were in there and was pretty thrown off by one bite that was particularly fishy. I also left out the red wine vinegar because I didn’t want to buy a whole bottle for just one tablespoon and used really nice olive oil instead.
Chicken tenderloins with baby beetroot and ricotta
Recipe from Taste.com.au
- 12 chicken tenderloins (about 90g each)
- 2 tsp olive oil, plus 1 tbs extra
- 2 tbs shredded basil leaves
- 8 canned baby beetroots, drained, halved
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 80g baby rocket leaves
- 2 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 3 tbs (60g) fresh low-fat ricotta
- Combine the chicken, olive oil and basil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick frypan over high heat and cook the chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until it is golden and cooked through.
- Combine the beetroot, onion, rocket, anchovies, red wine vinegar and extra oil in a large bowl. Divide the mixture among plates and dot with teaspoons of ricotta. Serve topped with chicken.
I don’t like saving. I haven’t even really started saving yet but I already hate it. That’s right, Allie is officially on a budget. This may suck. But it’s for a good reason, as saving usually tends to be. Ciaran and I are planning a trip to Europe later this year, we will both be recent university graduates and we are both currently jobless so it seemed like a good time. Things may change, we know that, but for now we will prepare as if we are both still free in September and will whisk away to sing showtunes in the hills in Austria and lounge on the beaches in Greece and eat nothing but carbs in Italy and see new places and faces and explore. Sounds pretty ideal. I think I just have to keep repeating that to myself when I’m about to order another drink at the bar or step into Dotti or Sportsgirl ‘just to check’ what they have in store.
Luckily, food is generally an easy area to save a few bucks. I’ve been doing much better at eating on the cheap this year but I think I can push it even further. But don’t fear, there will be no beans and rice posts on this blog! Ick. I’ll just have to find ways to use cheap ingredients and stretch my food further. So far this year it has been going very well. The other day I made corn, pea and haloumi fritters with a tomato salad using only ingredients that I already had! Such a win. Another lucky thing in this whole saving my pennies plan is that pasta is cheap. And man do I love pasta. So I will use that excuse to eat those pillowly carby little bites but only topped with healthy ingredients. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?
Bowties with chicken sausage, yoghurt and zucchini
Adapted from Food and Wine
4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), coarsely shredded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
300g chicken sausage (we used kid’s chicken sausages since they were cheap 🙂 )
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the farfalle until al dente; about 1 minute before the farfalle is done, add the shredded zucchini to the pot. Drain the farfalle and zucchini, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium frying pan over medium high heat and cook the sausage until browned and cooked all the way through. We took off the casing and separated the sausage into small chunks or you can cook it whole and chop it up after.
- After the sausage is done, place it on a paper towel to drain and use the same frying pan to melt the butter. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt and the 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and season the yogurt sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Add the bowtie, chicken sausage, zucchini and reserved pasta water to the saucepan and cook over low heat, tossing, until the sauce coats the pasta; transfer to warmed bowls and serve with the extra cheese.