Category Archives: Meat

Chicken, Couscous & Bacon Meatloaf

Adapted from a Donna Hay Recipe

It has been awhile, I must say. What has happen since then and now, well Rafaela is growing up fast. She is 21 months old. I’m looking forward to when I can say she is 2 years and then we just go up by halves right? Imagined if we referred to our ages in months, I would be 380 months old! We definitely are in full swing of the infamous ‘Terrible Twos’ she loves to throw the most outrageous tantrums and the attitude is phenomenal. She has the ‘Terrorist’ as her nickname. However on the flip side she is so incredibly smart and funny. Her personality is shining through these days, even if it can be more challenging. She loves to repeat what we say and do, so eating now is getting to be a tad less of challenge as she wants to eat more and more by herself… Now from what I gather about most kids, green needs to be unseen so hiding vegetables has become my new pass time. Hence the Meatloaf! It’s a great way to use mincemeat and also hide vegetables. I’ve adapted this recipe from Donna Hay. She had these so nicely wrapped individually… Sorry I couldn’t quite pull that one off with the little one. So I’ve gone all traditional and used a loaf pan and a stack of additional vegies. The couscous gives the loaf a really nice texture and actually holds the loaf together quite well. The bacon naturally adds a nice smoky flavour and keeps the whole dish moist. To freeze, merely slice and place between non-stick baking papers in a freezer proof container.

Chicken, couscous and bacon meatloaf

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 large brown onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 carrot grated

1 zucchini grated

6-8 bacon rashers, rind removed

1 cup cooked couscous

1/3 cup oregano leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 eggs

500g chicken mince

2 rashers of bacon, extra, chopped.

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350 F). Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Allow to cool completely.

Line a loaf tin with the rashers of bacon, slightly overlapping. Place on a baking tray and set aside. Place the couscous in a bowl with the onion mixture, oregano, lemon rind, mustard, eggs, mince, extra bacon, Salt & pepper and mix to combine. Place mixture into the loaf tin, packing it in tight and then fold over the bacon.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Increase temperature to 220 degrees (440 F). Set aside for 5 minutes before inverting onto the baking tray, lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until golden.

Serve with tomato chutney or sauce if desired. Makes 6-8 slices.

Top left: Packing in the filling. Bottom left: Snug as a bug in bacon rug, Right: Rafaela chowing down.

Top left: Packing in the filling. Bottom left: Snug as a bug in bacon rug, Right: Rafaela chowing down.

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We continue the series of all things “round” with this burger recipe. It is a combination of a couple of different recipes and I have also adapted it to include quinoa and some extra vegetables. Of course, the thing with burgers/patties/rissoles/cakes is you can really just add anything to the mix and you can somewhat hide ingredients that you little one is quite picky about.

It is pretty normal, or so I have read, for kids to be fussy with their food. Where one day they may have liked eating something and now they sit in protest if it even comes near the plate. Rafaela has so far done this with carrots. It was her favourite as we started on solids, then she wouldn’t have a bar of them and now she can’t get enough of carrot sticks. Also, I have always been pretty adamant about including something green into her meals, zucchini and spinach have been standard but broccoli has always needed to be mixed up in the dish. So beating the Broccoli ban has become a more difficult feat. Even cheese, such an easy snack and a great source of calcium, will only go down the hatch if it’s melted or mixed into her meals.

So, like I said, making a burger is a great way to disguise any undesirable foods and this is for all ages!  Two birds with one stone in this house. With these lamb burgers, I am able get Raff eating more vegies and my husband, Andrew, eating quinoa.

Again, these burgers are very freezer friendly and great for the whole family. They can be served with all your favourite trimmings in a bun or on their own with mash or salad on the side.

Ingredients (Makes 12 – 14 larger burgers and 10 + mini burgers)

500g lamb mince

1 cup quinoa, cooked (prep notes below)

1 egg

1 small Spanish onion (or ½ large), finely chopped.

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 small carrot, grated

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

80g of fetta, crumbed.

2 tsp. cumin, ground

Fresh or dried oregano (roughly a teaspoon)

Pinch of pepper

Method

Place dry quinoa into a large fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water.

Place rinsed quinoa into a small saucepan and cover with 2 cups cold water.

Bring the quinoa to a boil and turn down to a low simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool before mixing into lamb.

You can either finely chop or grate the vegetables or place them into a food processor for whiz.

In a large bowl combine lamb, quinoa, egg, onion garlic, vegetables and spices. Mix thoroughly until the mixture comes together and is smooth.

Prepare the lamb burgers by forming them into small balls, usually the width and of your child’s palm. Flatten down into a patty and place on baking paper.

Place a large non-stick sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the patties into the hot pan and brown on each side. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes.

To plate the dish place the lamb burger with some fresh salad or fresh tomato puree. Top with a dollop of natural yogurt mixed with fresh mint or with some sweet potato mash.

 

Lamb Burgers

Lamb Quinoa Burgers

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Dad’s Spag Bol (aka Spaghetti Bolognese)

It’s back to school week. While the traffic gets worse, the trains fill up with kids and the feeling of summer holidays fade, I have to return to work. This wouldn’t normally bother me, well it hasn’t in the last year that I’ve been on maternity leave but now my real juggling act begins. So far it has been pretty stable transition, easing into work while Rafaela has been slowing engaging in day care activities and it seems like she is adapting well. It is really hard to leave her after spending so much time together. However I can already see her growing and learning so much. She still crawls commando style and is absolutely filthy when she gets home but she is almost up on to her feet and can say “bye” and “up”.

I am still in two minds about heading back to work. I am happy to be back and stimulated again, however I miss being at home and moving at our own pace. I really enjoyed having time cook and consider meals. Now that’s reserved for the weekends. Before Rafaela (circa 2011), my husband Andrew, would cook up Spag Bol as it’s his favourite meal. Everyone has their version, Spaghetti Bolognese is the quintessential family staple meal… right. This one is Dad’s and Rafaela absolutely loves it. It will be high on the weekday rotation in this house!

Ingredients (Makes – A fair bit)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion

1 glove of garlic

1 organic carrot, grated

1 organic zucchini

¼ red capsicum

1 cup organic beef or vegetable stock

250g of organic mince (beef or pork/veal) – I’ve use the Aldi Brand of Organic Beef.

1 x 400g can of organic diced tomatoes

1 small dried bay leaf

Pinch of dried herbs; oregano & thyme

Pinch of pepper

Method

Heat the oil in a saucepan (large enough to hold 5 cups of liquid). Using a food processor finely chop the onion and garlic together. Transfer to the saucepan and cook until soft. In the mean-time add the zucchini and capsicum to the food processor and chop finely. Add grated carrot to the pan and combine well. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the mince. Use a wooden spoon to break up the mince. Once the meat is no longer pink, add the dried herbs & pepper and stir. Then add the zucchini and capsicum, stock, tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring to boil and then simmer for minimum 20min to 1 hour or until the liquid has reduced.

Serve with Organic Spaghetti, Wholemeal Spaghetti or rice or couscous, anything you want. Rafaela likes to slurp up the noodles. She is so fascinated by the action. We just cut the noodles into manageable sizes. This meal is also extremely freezer friendly and obviously enjoyed by mum & dad too.

 

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Simple Beef Casserole

I thought I would follow-up with something I actually thought to take a photo of, yummy beef casserole. I will start taking more photos as we cook, would you believe in 10 months I’ve taken 1,238 pictures of just Rafaela!

We started introducing red meat into the diet at the 10 month mark, and we celebrated with this hearty stew! Red meat is a great source of Iron, which is an important dietary mineral. It is essential in providing energy for daily life and is also vital for brain development.

I don’t really cook many casseroles; I came from a household that cooked curries instead. But the smell of this was just divine. It took me back to the day I ate goulash for breakfast, lunch and dinner en-route to Switzerland. It’s the perfect dish for the colder months and I’ve found it a great dish for a teething baby. I’m not sure if it is because it has just the right amount of gravy to go down the hatch without irritating the gums or enough bite to massage the gums. Who knows what goes on in there?

I would have loved to use organic beef for this recipe; however I can only ever find organic beef mince (Woolworths, Aldi & Costco). It’s not a necessity to go organic, but if you can then go for it. It’s more affordable than you think.

Below is the baby friendly recipe. Just add appropriate seasoning for an adult version.

Baby Beef Casserole (This recipe will make around 6 cups)

This can be made in a slow cooker, just read your instructions.

Ingredients:

400g of chunk/stewing meat. Trim away any fat.
I onion, diced
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 organic carrots, slice
1 cup of frozen peas
500ml of organic beef or vegetable stock
200ml of organic diced tomatoes or passata
2 tsp. of organic tomato paste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. of rice flour (You can use any flour, rice flour is gluten-free)
4-5 sprigs of Fresh thyme
4-6 prunes chopped
Splash of Olive Oil, enough to brown the meat.

Method:

Heat oil in a heavy based saucepan and brown the meat. Remove and set aside.
Add onion and carrots to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add crushed garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the flour to the vegetables and stir to combine. Add the stock, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
Add beef, prunes and thyme, cover with the lid and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and leave simmering  for 1-1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally, scraping down the sides. In the last 5 minutes remove the lid and add the frozen peas.

For smaller babies puree. For older babies break up the meat with a fork, it should pull apart nicely.

The perfect accompaniments are; sweet potato mash, rice, quinoa, pasta or bread.

This is very freezer friendly.

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Beef Casserole

Shopping tip: Coles and Woolworths both sell organic stock cubes. You can also buy ‘Celebrate Health Organic Stock’ 500ml for $10 at Coles.

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