Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pasta

You know when you’ve just been eating bad/naughty food all Easter long and all you want is something deliciously savoury and in no way made of chocolate? Well that’s where I am at with life this week.

I swear if I eat or even just see another Easter egg I might explode! As fantastic as it is to indulge in chocolate for a week straight there does come a time when enough is enough. So to combat all the sugary chocolaty goodness I had been consuming I fought back with this delectable somewhat fancy pants but actually really easy pasta.

Its full of semi sun-dried tomatoey goodness, creamy but with a hint of heat sauciness and of course to make it a little bit healthy a heap of spinach!

This pasta was a winner with me right away due to the fact that once I got going it was made in about 15 mins flat! How good is that for a filling midweek meal that yields loads of leftovers?

Interested yet? OK, here we go!

Prep time – 5 mins, Cooking time – 15 mins, Serves 6-8

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Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pasta

2 packed cups baby spinach leaves

150g semi sundried tomatos

2 chicken breast fillets –  chopped into bite sized pieces

500g pasta of your choice

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2tbs chicken stock powder

2 cups cream

1/4 cup parmesan cheese – plus extra to serve

Salt and pepper to taste

1tsp oil to fry chicken – you can use the sundried tomato oil3

1. Put a large pot on to boil pasta and place pasta into pot when bubbling.

2. Place chopped chicken into a large frying pan and season with chicken stock powder and fry until golden and cooked through.

3. Add tomatos, cayenne pepper and cream to chicken. Stir through.

4. When creamy sauce is hot add parmesan and stir through.

5. Once pasta is cooked drain and return to the pot. Wilt spinach through the creamy chicken then add the creamy chicken sauce to the pasta and stir through.

6. Serve with some extra parmesan on top of pasta and enjoy!

-A

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Pumpkin & Bacon Pasta

Forgive me, its been a little while since I’ve managed to get a post up – but never fear, I *have* still been creating yummy dishes to share with you all.  A change of jobs has kept me crazy busy.  But this pasta was so quick, simple and YUM I couldn’t wait to share it.

Prep time – 5 mins, cook time – 20 minutes, serves 4.

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Pumpkin & Bacon Pasta

375g dried spaghetti (or 500g fresh)

350g Butternut Pumkpin, peeled and thinly shaved (I suggest using a good veg peeler)

1/3c Olive Oil

6 rashers bacon, streaky part only, sliced into thin battons

1 1/2c coarse breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

1 tsp dried oregano

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

1/4c grated parmesan

1 tbsp baby capers, roughly chopped

1/2c spring onions, thinly sliced

  1. Cook pasta as to packet directions, and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan and add bacon, cooking for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp, remove from pan and drain on paper towel.  Then add pumpkin to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender before removing to a bowl, cover and keep warm.
  3. Add another 2 tbsp oil to pan, add breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano and chilli and cook for 4-5 minutes until crumbs are golden and crispy, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove to bowl, keep warm.
  4. Add pasta, reserved water, parmesan, capers, spring onions, bacon, pumpkin and half the breadcrumbs back to the pan and toss to combine and warm through
  5. Serve immediately topped with more garlic chilli crumb, and a sprinkle of parmesan.

This is a very customisable recipe – if you like lots of bacon (I mean, who doesn’t) – add more bacon, or if you like a good solid kick, more chilli.  I haven’t tried it yet, but would see sweet potato being suitable in place of pumpkin, or add some shredded chicken.

Happy eating ~LC

Lemon Basil Pesto

I love this pesto on hot toast with sliced tomato and loads of freshly cracked pepper, and I plan on using it with some freshly made pasta in the near future too. Its a wonderful addition to a cheese, crackers and wine evening and it is such a good way to use your basil if it suddenly grows like crazy!

We had a single lemon basil plant that I picked up at the local markets quite some time ago. It just plodded along, not growing overly well, but not dying either so we let it stay. Then when it go so hot over summer the poor thing just gave up, went to seed and died. 6 weeks later and with the help of a heap of rain we suddenly have a garden bed full of young basil plants. When you have about a square meter of basil to work with pesto seems like the logical choice. Having said that we still have about 1/2 a square meter left after today’s cull! I will have to think about what to make next 🙂

Prep time – 15 mins, Cooking time – 5 mins, Makes about 500ml

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Saki modelling for scale, the basil can be seen behind her!

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Lemon Basil Pesto

4 packed cups lemon basil (regular basil is fine too!)

1 ½ cups grated parmesan

1 ¾ cups extra virgin olive oil

1 cup pine nuts, roasted

6 cloves garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, line a baking tray with foil or baking paper.
  2. Place pine nuts evenly over the tray and roast for 3-5 mins or until golden brown.
  3. Once pine nuts have been roasted, place all ingredients into a food processor and blend for around a minute.
  4. Remove pesto from processor and place in your favourite jar, and enjoy!

~A

P.S. Props to Sweet Phi Blog for the inspiration behind this recipe, I altered her ratios just a wee bit to make the pesto more to my tastes – that’s the great thing about cooking, you do you!

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Smoked Salmon Fillet with Parsley Potatoes & Cream Cheese Spread

I love when my Husband decides to cook, and I love how he always knows he can ask me for help! Today, he came up with this meal all on his own, I couldn’t be more proud.

Smoking meat has become a regular thing in our household. Bacon, steaks, chicken, fish, you name it, we smoke it! Today however was the first time we smoked salmon fillets in our Nipper Kipper smoking box. Now I am asking myself “Why didn’t we do this sooner?!”.

This meal is easy and delicious, even if you can’t smoke it, the salmon would be just as delicious pan fried in some butter, or even baked in the oven.

Next time you are out to impress, why not try this?

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time 30 mins, Serves 4

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Smoked Salmon Fillet with Parsley Potatoes & Cream Cheese Spread

4 fillets salmon, skin on

8 baby chat potatoes

1tbs butter

Small bunch fresh parsley – chopped finely

1/3 small red onion – chopped finely

225g tub cream cheese

½ cup dark brown sugar

2 cups balsamic vinegar

Small bag rocket

4 tbs grated parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Place your potatoes on to boil.
  2. If you have a smoking box, or small BBQ that will allow you to smoke meat, do so to the salmon according to your smoker’s instructions. Place salmon skin down, and smoke for about 25mins. If you do not have a smoker, feel free to pan fry or oven bake (covered).
  3. While salmon is smoking, heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a shallow frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Keep at a simmer for 20mins, or until the glaze is reduced by half and will coat the back of a spoon.
  4. While glaze is reducing, prepare your cream cheese spread by combining the cream cheese, chopped onion and half the parsley and mix well, set aside.
  5. When potatoes are cooked, drain and add remaining parsley and butter, stir until the potatoes are coated.
  6. On your serving plates take a small amount of rocket as a side salad and sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of parmesan.
  7. When the salmon is cooked, assemble your meal with salmon skin side up, salad, cream cheese and potatoes, and drizzle everything lightly with the balsamic glaze.
  8. Enjoy!

~A

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Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli

There is nothing better than stumbling upon food inspiration and then thinking about making that meal for a few weeks, and then finally being able to make it and it being better than your wildest expectations! That’s exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago, and tonight I finally had a chance to create this delicious, protein packed dinner.

My inspiration came in the form of another food blog called Show Me The Yummy, their Thai Peanut Noodles made my mouth water just looking at them. I knew I had to make them because a) noodles and b) Asian flavours. That’s like totally my thing! I knew I would never get away with just noodles and egg for dinner, the hubby would never allow it (the man needs his meat!), so I chucked in some chicken and broccoli (because I’ve eaten really badly this week – stress eating as Saki-pup was in vet hospital for a few nights – I thought I should add something green).

This dish was a hit, hubby loved it, Saki (now home) loved it when I dropped some chicken and I super duper loved it!

Why not give it a try yourself 🙂

Prep time – 15 mins, Cooking time – 15 mins, Serves 6-8

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Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken & Brocolli

180g packet of ramen noodles

1 heaped tbs minced garlic

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbs dark brown sugar

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tps fish sauce

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

Sides

2 skinless chicken breasts – diced

1 large head of broccoli

Topping

Fried eggs (as many as you need per dish)

1 bunch spring onion – finely sliced

Fried spring onion

Sesame seeds

Chilli flakes (optional)

  1. Put noodles on to boil as per packet instructions and mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Stir fry the chicken in a small amount of oil and when no longer pink add broccoli and stir fry until just soft. Set aside and keep warm once cooked.
  3. When cooked, drain the noodles and mix sauce through while hot.
  4. Fry eggs in a lightly oiled non stick pan. Keep sunny side up and cover with a lid to cook the top, you want these slightly runny as the yolk mixes amazingly with the peanut noodles.
  5. Place noodles in a bowl and top with chicken, broccoli and egg, and garnish with spring onion, sesame seeds and chilli flakes.
  6. Enjoy!

~A

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Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta

This is one of the easiest and yummiest pasta recipes I know how to make. It’s at the point now that I don’t even use a recipe , I usually just go by feel, but tonight I decided to actually work out how much of everything I use and here it is just for you! This does make quite a lot, so feel free to dial back the amounts if you don’t want left overs.

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time – 20 mins, Serves 8

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Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta

2 skinless chicken breasts – diced

1 large brown onion – finely sliced

1 tbs minced garlic

1tbs chicken stock powder

250g frozen chopped spinach

600ml cream

½ cup water

500g pasta (I used large spirals)

3 heaped tbs wholegrain mustard

½ tbs honey

Salt and pepper to taste

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  1. Put a large pot on to boil for the pasta while preparing the ingredients.
  2. Put pasta in to cook. In a large frying pan/wok on a medium heat cook onion and garlic in some olive oil until onion is soft then add the diced chicken. Sprinkle chicken with stock and cook until chicken is slightly golden and no longer pink.
  3. Add water, spinach, cream, mustard and honey and stir through.
  4. Once pasta is just cooked add to chicken mixture and cook for a further 10 minutes on a low heat.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Enjoy!

~A

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Cornbread

Cornbread is a staple of Southern style cooking and is just generally yummy and can be eaten whenever you want! (That’s the rule in our house anyway!) This recipe is relatively simple and a great addition to any Southern style meal (like this Slow Cooker Honey Parmesan Pork Roast!).

Why not try it the next time you make something saucy as it’s perfect for mopping up your plate after a meal.

Prep time – 20 mins, Cooking time – 30-40 mins, Serves 12

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Cornbread

1 ¾ cups Cornmeal*

¾ cup plain flour

4 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp bi carbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

¼ cup sugar

2 cups buttermilk

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 cups corn kernels (canned is fine, make sure it is drained)

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  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degree Celsius and place a heavy based cast iron pan inside to heat up.
  2. In a bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, bi carb, salt and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the buttermilk, eggs, oil and corn kernels.
  4. Make a hole in the dry ingredients mix and gently pour in the wet ingredients and mix well. Your batter should be wet. Don’t worry!
  5. Take your cast iron pan out of the oven and pour in some oil/butter/bacon fat (all of these will work, you just need enough to coat the bottom of the pan). If you don’t have a cast iron pan a baking dish that has been well buttered will also work.
  6. Into your hot pan gently pour the batter, you should hear a sizzle as the batter starts cooking. Place immediately into the oven and cook for 30-40minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  7. When cooked removed from oven and let sit for 10mins. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool further.
  8. Enjoy with your favourite meal or just on its own, this cornbread will be super yummy either way!
  9. Enjoy!

~A

*If you can’t source cornmeal, polenta will also work, it’s basically the same thing, just not milled as finely as cornmeal.

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