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Stir fried spicy noodles with pork and mushrooms

Pasta is a great and easy option for weeknight dinners but that doesn’t mean it is always the best option. It’s easy to make a bit too much and it’s also very tempting to put creamy sauces or heaps of cheese on. So if you’re looking for a weeknight meal that’s easy, cheap and healthy it’s great to have some hokkien noodles in the cupboard. They’re super easy when you want a quick dinner- you don’t even have to cook them and they’re pre-packaged so you can keep track of portions and nutrition info. This is one of my favourite stir fry dishes to make with the noodles. It’s pretty versatile and you can use pork or turkey mince- whatever you have on hand. When you’re cooking the meat with the mushrooms and sauce it will seem like there is a bit too much liquid but once you simmer for a couple minutes and add the hokkien noodles they will soak up the sauce. Hokkien noodles are available at most grocery stores and at Costco you can often get a big box for just a couple dollars.

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Adapted from this recipe
Serves 4

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
4 servings of hokkien noodles
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces lean ground pork
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha
4 lime wedges

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat.

Add pork to pan; sauté for 2 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add mushrooms and saute 2 more min or until brown. Add the green onions.

Stir in chopped onion, and salt; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in cornstarch. Gradually add stock; bring to a boil. Stir in soy sauce and sriracha; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the hokkien noodles and stir to combine. (Some hokkien noodles will need to be softened in boiling water- check the instructions on the package). Divide the noodles and and pork mixture among four shallow bowls. Serve with lime wedges.

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Pea and haloumi fritters with tomato salsa

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This is a great meal for lunch or dinner. I made it for lunch one day when I was running low on cash to go grocery shopping and decided to just make something with whatever I could find in the fridge. Luckily I had some frozen peas, a bit of haloumi, some red onion, plus eggs and flour. I’ve done variations of these fritters since- one with zucchini, corn and haloumi which has actually turned Ciaran on to eating haloumi. I never thought I’d see that day. All you really need for these fritters is some eggs and flour to make the base and then your choice of veggies. The haloumi is also essential because other cheeses will melt too much and you’ll have a puddly mess of dairy and veg. If you’re using veggies that you have to chop yourself, basically anything other than peas and corn, make sure you cut the pieces very very small or your fritters will be very ugly and fiddily.

Recipe from Vegie Project

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cooking time: 10 min
  • Servings: makes 12
  • Difficulty: easy

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 red onion finely diced
30g haloumi cheese finely diced
2 eggs
1/2 cup self-raising flour
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to shallow fry

Tomato salsa:
2 tomatoes finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1/4 red onion finely diced
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of chilli flakes

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To prepare the tomato salsa just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Place the frozen peas in a small saucepan with water and boil them for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the fritters simply combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Drop tablespoons of the fritter mixture into the pan (about 2 tablespoons will make one fritter). Flatten the fritters slightly with a spatula. Cook the bottom side for about 3 minutes until a crust forms, then using a spatula flip the fritters over and cook for another 3 minutes.

Serve with the tomato salsa.

-A

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Caprese salad pasta

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Lots of people have a go to dish when they’re not feeling great. Chicken soup, congee with leftovers, scrambled eggs and toast, anything simple and comforting. You’re not supposed to eat anything dairy or acidic while you’re feeling ill. So this dish isn’t exactly ideal but it still seems to make me feel better. It’s one of my favourite dishes while I’m home too. It takes all of half an hour and five ingredients. A perfect weeknight meal or cozy feel-better dish when you’re sick.

Caprese salad pasta
Serves 5

500g pasta (bowtie or penne)
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
250g mozzarella, diced
3/4 cup basil, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to directions. While the pasta is cooking dice the tomatoes, the mozzarella and the basil. Just after the pasta is done cooking and you’ve drained it return it to the pot and add a drizzle of olive oil and then add the tomato and mozzarella. Mix them in and then let the pot sit with the lid on so the cheese melts and heats through. After about five minutes add the basil and stir through. Serve immediately.

Enjoy,

Allie

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Lighter coconut red curry shrimp

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My relationship with spicy foods has been a bit of a roller coaster. And just as I used to hate giant roller coasters with all of my being, my feelings were pretty similar towards spicy food.

Anything with chilli, jalapeno, wasabi…it was out of the question. I think there was a time when I was in New Mexico with my family and we went out to dinner to this nice authentic Mexican restaurant and I remember uncontrollably crying and sweating as I tried to eat my meal. I remember being offered quesadillas with honey to try and ease the pain though it did little against the mighty wrath of that dish. That was about the time I swore off anything spicy for a while.

However, nowadays my palate has been craving spicy foods and I don’t know what is going on. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been introduced to it in more ways and perhaps better ways. My boyfriend’s mother cooks quite a few Malaysian and Singaporean dishes which at first made me want to drink a whole gallon of milk to get me through but now I really quite enjoy. Last summer I also went out to have sushi with my family and my father mistakenly ordered one roll, I believe it was called the Volcano roll, which was basically a huge mound of wasabi with one or two tiny flecks of fish rolled in seaweed and rice. Not knowing what it was I simply popped it in my mouth and got my first wasabi head rush. It’s actually kind of cool the way it rushes through your nose and makes your head want to explode but then subsides quite quickly. It’s strangely addictive.

So now I’ve been adding more wasabi to my sushi, putting more chilli in my pho, I even made a little pilgrimage to find Sriracha sauce which isn’t commonly available here. And apparently spicy food is very good for your metabolism so that’s a win as well.

And after that whole rant about how I love spicy food, I will admit I didn’t even put all the red curry paste that is called for in this recipe since I was afraid it would be too much. What can I say, I may love spicy food now, but I’m still a bit of a chicken when it comes down to it.

Whether you make it spicy or mild this dish is actually very delicious and I highly recommend it.

Lighter coconut red curry shrimp
From Can you stay for dinner?

1 can (13.66 ounces) coconut milk

2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Paste

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped roughly (optional)

1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

Your choice of vegetables, I added 1 head of broccoli, 1 cup of sugar snap peas and about half a bag of shelled edamame

Directions:

Simmer coconut milk in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in curry paste and sugar until well blended; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and vegetables. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in basil and fish sauce.

Serve over either brown or jasmine rice.

Serves 4

Nutrition Information Per Serving (not including rice): 295 Calories, Fat 19g, Protein 21g, Carbohydrates 10g, Cholesterol 168mg, Sodium 1095mg, Fiber 1g

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Scrambled egg muffins

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Some people are morning people. I am not one of them.

My morning routine takes about an hour and if it starts before 10am, I’m usually not in a good mood during it. And that long routine doesn’t even include making breakfast.

Another one of my resolutions is to start eating breakfast. I’m one of those people who will just grab the $5 coffee and croissant deal from the cafe downstairs while running to work, one of those people who eats some Cheez-its out of the box for breakfast because pouring cereal and milk is way too much work, one of those people that thinks cold pizza in the morning can most times be better than hot pizza (but not in Australia, sorry guys but pizza here kind of sucks), one of those people who constantly seems to have expired milk in the fridge…you get what I mean.

So breakfast is always a struggle. Though I still think Cheez-its or Goldfish make a great breakfast. Alas, I have tried to stop eating cheese flavoured crackers for brekkie and make sure I eat a suitable breakfast food at a suitable breakfast hour instead. And since I’m constantly running out the door in the morning, I wanted something I could make in advance and eat for a few days. Enter the scrambled egg muffin, a genius of good ingredients, portable size and awesome-ness! I realize making scrambled eggs takes all of fifteen minutes but then you have to wash and sit down and use a fork and it’s all just a massive process in my world. So I decided to take all of that and put it in the shape of a muffin and make lots so I could eat them ALL WEEK. Genius? Why, yes I think so.

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Scrambled egg muffins
Makes 10
6 eggs
1/2 onion, diced
2 pieces streaky bacon, diced
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup reduced-fat tasty cheese
Salt, pepper and olive oil

Preheat your oven to about 170C. Chop the onion, bacon, spinach and mushrooms to have them ready. Saute the bacon and onion in a frying pan with a teaspoon of oil on medium high heat. After two minutes add the mushrooms. Saute until the bacon is a bit crispy and the onion and mushrooms are soft. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes so it doesn’t cook the egg right away. In a big bowl scramble the eggs together. Throw in the onion, bacon, spinach, mushrooms and cheese. In a muffin tin coated with cooking spray or with little muffin cups (like the ones in the picture). Spoon the mixture evenly between the muffin cups. Put them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!

These are quite small so I usually had two per morning but I think Ciaran could have had three per morning so it’s up to you. This is adapted from a recipe where the muffins were 133 calories each and this version just has more vegetables so the calorie count shouldn’t be too far off that.

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And that’s how I enjoy my morning.

Enjoy!

Allie

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Chicken wraps

Finding yourself stuck when trying to create simple and healthy lunches? One of the easiest things to have in your fridge for these occasions is a rotisserie chicken. Otherwise known as those already cooked big chicken things that come in a hot bag at your grocery store. They’re often found next to the deli in a small heated section. In Sydney, a whole chicken is about $10 so if you buy one at the beginning of the week, shred it up and store it in your fridge in some tupperware, you should get about 6-8 meals out of it depending on how you use it. To shred it simply peel off the skin, or keep it but if we’re going for healthy I recommend ignoring that part, and pick off the white meat in small pieces with your hands. It may take a little while, probably about fifteen minutes, but it will save you time during the week. And as an fyi, the chicken may start to smell a little different after sitting in the fridge than that beautiful roast chicken you brought home. Like a little similar to if your two brothers just ate a bunch of tacos and then got into the car with you and locked all the windows. But it still tastes good! I promise. It will last you about four days. After that the smell may be indicating its need to exit your fridge via the bin. Despite that slightly unappetizing sidenote, you can use rotisserie chicken in sandwiches, wraps, salads, pastas and more. It’s very versatile.

Chicken wrap
Serves 1

1 Spinach tortilla
1/2 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup baby Cos lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat tasty cheese
2 tablespoons salsa

Combine all ingredients in the wrap. Then wrap it up. And eat it.

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Enjoy!

Allie

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Chorizo, haloumi and zucchini skewers

I’m still not really sure how I got away with making this for dinner last night. Basically it is just a combination of all my favourite foods (that I’m still eating at the moment, due to New Year’s resolutions and all that nonsense…) put onto a stick. But Ciaran still went along with it and enjoyed it.

You know why? Because putting food on a stick always makes it awesomer. The only thing I can currently think of that wouldn’t work is cottage cheese. Not sure why that particular ingredient popped into my head, but it was the first thing that I couldn’t imagine eating on a stick.

Take, for example, the gallery I did for my internship at Yahoo!7 Lifestyle ‘Stuck on Stick Foods‘. Within the digital pages of this masterpiece you shall find foodie treasures such as…..(drumroll)

French toast on a stick

Cinnamon buns on a stick

Chocolate moustaches on a stick

Brie and jam tarts on sticks

Mini grilled cheese on a stick

Even pancakes and sausage on a stick

When you think about it, doesn’t corn get better on a stick, doesn’t cotton candy get less sticky and all over your face on a stick (well for most people) and don’t you just sometimes wish you could have your very own giant meatball on a stick? (Yeah, that’s in the gallery as well).

Some of my least favourites would have to be the fried milk on a stick…or possibly even the cake pops but that’s just because I haven’t mastered making those yet. They now sit among my foodie foes, along with omelettes and custard.

The moral of the stick story however, is that you should take your favourite vegetables and cheeses and meats and combine them in a lovely stick party on your plate. I served this with a side of arugula dressed in just a touch of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a bit of shaved parmesan but that last ingredient was purely for flair.

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Chorizo, haloumi and zucchini skewers
Serves 2
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
1 lemon, for juice and rind
180g haloumi cheese, cubed
1 medium size zucchini, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
To serve: 2 cups arugula, squeeze of lemon juice, dash of salt and pepper and sprinkle of parmesan

This recipe can be done either on the barbecue or in a pan over medium heat. Cook the chorizo for 1 minute on each side, remove and set aside. Cook the zucchini for 2 minutes on each side, remove and set aside. Thread the chorizo, haloumi and zucchini onto 6 medium or 4 large skewers. Put them into the pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, the garlic and then hold the lemon over the pan and grate a bit of lemon zest over the top of the skewers.

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Hold the lemon over the pan and gently strip off some of the lemon zest with a small cheese or spice grater.

Cook the skewers until the ingredients are golden.

Cook the skewers until the ingredients are golden.

Cook skewers, turning occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chorizo and haloumi are brown and heated through. Serve with arugula salad.


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And if you have leftovers, like I did, simply add some sauteed mushrooms and orzo for a second weeknight meal.

Enjoy!

-A

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