Tag Archives: protein

Turkey Meatballs… Gobble Gobble

Turkey mince is so affordable; I remembered how I raved about it over the festive season when Turkey was on my mind. It’s the ‘other less fatty white meat’ I also have the quote Seinfeld when I think Turkey… ‘It makes you sleepy’ great for kid’s right! It is the amino acid tryptophan that research suggests in large amounts can make you sleepy. It also produces serotonin that helps strengthen the immune system.  Regardless, it was half the price of Chicken mince and we haven’t had that much luck with chicken lately.

I found a great recipe from a kitchen queen – Nigella, which I adapted purely because I never have celery in the fridge, I always have carrots! Much like patties, burgers rissoles; meatballs can be a combination of anything with a few binders. The trick is to not over work the mixture as it can make them too dense.

You can serve these meatballs with pasta, mash potato, polenta, couscous, steamed vegies or salad. You can even serve them as finger foods for your next dinner party, because we all have time for that!

Sauce

1 onion, peeled

2 x Garlic Cloves

1 celery rib or carrot

1 teaspoon of dried Thyme

2 x 400g of canned tomatoes or passata

Water (fill up two of the tomato cans)

1 teaspoon of sugar

Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper

Meatballs

400g of Turkey Mince

1 x Egg

3 x Tablespoons of breadcrumbs

3 x Tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon of dried thyme

Salt to taste.

Method

Puree the onion, celery and carrot in a food processor. Reserve ¼ of the puree in a bowl for the meatballs.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add vegetable puree and thyme, and cook for about 5 -10min.

Add tomatoes, water, sugar, salt & pepper. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook while prepping the meatballs.

Add all meatball ingredients to reserved vegetable puree. Mix gently to combine; avoid over mixing to prevent the meatballs from being leaden and heavy.

Form mixture into about 50 meatballs, about the size of a heaped teaspoon. Once all the meatballs are formed, add them to the simmering sauce (Pushing them down to have a light covering of sauce) Continue to simmer 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Enjoy! Rafaela does…

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

Rafaela eating her meatballs. Gobble Gobble.

Rafaela eating her meatballs. Gobble Gobble.

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Teriyaki Salmon & Soba Noodles

I started cooking this dish during my pregnancy and it has now become a staple on the dinner menu. As a keen seafood eater, I was definitely disappointed to read about all the seafood products I could not consume, while pregnant. It was actually my downfall when I was desperately trying to keep my being pregnant a secret until we were past the ‘safe’ period. As soon as I unassumingly motioned away a prawn rice paper roll filled with bean sprouts, suspicion was rife! I am never one to turn down a rice paper roll, let alone food in general.

As you do when you fall pregnant, or as I did, was memorise the foods I had to avoid and start working on a meal plan. My body was going through so many physical changes, overnight I felt I couldn’t fit into my pants anymore. It was quickly dawning on me that I had to start eating better. Years of not eating breakfast, drinking too much and scoffing kebabs at all hours of the night/morning hadn’t done me any favours. So this monumental step change turned into 18 months of ‘dieting’ with a great deal of motivation. Trying to have and raise a healthy baby and losing the 20kgs I gained during my pregnancy. Now that is another post in itself!

So the experts say fish, are highly nutritious and should be consumed by adults and children, twice a week. Fish contain huge amounts of protein, are low in “bad” fats and contain Essential Fatty Acid (EFA’s) – Omega-3 fatty acids. The EFA’s in fish are not found in any other protein source.

The biggest implication when consuming a diet high in fish is the level of Mercury found in some. High levels of Mercury can cause developmental delays and it is recommended that pregnant women and children avoid those fish species high in Mercury. These include Shark (Flake), Ray, Swordfish, Barramundi, Gemfish, Orange Roughy, Ling and Southern Bluefin Tuna. Salmon on the other hand is a cold-water fish, low in Mercury and high in Omega 3’s.

Rafaela is starting to enjoy it. I have made her Salmon fish cakes and this recipe also. She gobbles it up. Raf is pretty inspiring when she eats like this, especially since it is was such a battle to get Andrew to try it and now he loves it too. I have also served this to friends and family a couple of times and it has gone down a treat. The great thing about this dish is you can jazz it up with the side accompaniments like Avocado Wasabi and Pickled Ginger. The Wasabi paste and Japanese Pickled Ginger can be found in Coles, I tend to stock up when they are on sale. These ingredients are easily accessible and affordable.

You can marinate the Salmon a few different ways. You can make a teriyaki sauce from scratch or you can buy a pre-made marinade. Ayam makes a great tasting sauce, without too many nasties in it. This is a super speedy meal. So depending on your preparation time and pantry items, you could go either way. For Rafaela, I use an organic soy sauce, crushed organic ginger and some lemon juice to marinate her Salmon in.  Below are the recipes for both. Enjoy!

Teriyaki Sauce

60ml Soy Sauce

60ml Mirin (Japanese rice wine)*

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1 teaspoon of crushed Ginger

Rafaela’s Teriyaki Sauce

(Based on a piece of salmon width and thickness of her palm, about 1inch wide and high)

2 tablespoons of Organic Tamari Soy Sauce

½ teaspoon of crushed Ginger

Splash of Lemon juice

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 x 180g skinless Salmon fillets

Teriyaki sauce as above or pre-made Ayam Teriyaki Marinade.

1 tablespoon of Sunflower oil

180g of Organic Soba Noodles (I use Hakubaku brand noodles, pack of 3 x 90g, found in Coles and Woolworths)

1 teaspoon of Sesame seeds

1 Spring Onion thinly sliced

Splash of Sesame oil

3 teaspoons of Wasabi paste, or to taste

2 Avocados, flesh scooped

Japanese pickled ginger

Method

Place the Salmon in a zip lock bag with the teriyaki sauce and leave it to marinate for as long as possible, overnight is great. Otherwise a minimum of 1hr is fine. Mix up the avocado and wasabi together and set aside.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large non-stick frypan over a medium heat. Remove the salmon from the bag, reserving any remaining marinade. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side until cooked but a little rare in the centre. Add the reserved marinade and allow to bubble for 1 minute. If you like your Salmon well cooked, then gently press on the thickest part with your finger, looking for spring back.

Boil water for noodles and cook according to the packet instructions. They usually take about 4 min. Once the noodles are cooked, strain and add a dash of sesame oil, sesame seeds and spring onions. Serve salmon with noodles and avocado wasabi. You can also add steamed vegetables such as; snow peas, broccolini or carrots.

For your baby, the obvious omits from this recipe, is the avocado wasabi and the spring onions. I tend to keep some mashed avocado aside to serve with some extra vegetables. If you are cautious about cooking oils, then consider cooking the salmon with some Coconut oil.

Rafaela's Version

Rafaela’s Version

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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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Baby Lentil Falafels & Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

Here is a simple recipe from Donna Hay’s latest cook book ‘Fresh & Light’. I have been looking for simple, healthy recipes that are freezer friendly and it has so many easy recipes that use fresh ingredients.

Patties, burgers, cakes, rissoles, meatballs… however you want to define food rolled up and then pan fried or baked is fine by me. All I can say is, these little round morsels of food are making a huge comeback in our household these days. It is the ultimate odds and ends recipe, using up odd vegetables and the staple mincemeat or that odd can of chickpeas from the pantry. So this is the start of the Palm series. I say palm as I make them all the size of Rafaela’s palm (the recommended portion size) for her and everyone really. So watch this space, over the coming weeks I will be focusing on all things…. Round!

Lentils are a great addition to your little bubba choo’s diet; High in protein, so great for Vegetarians. They also tend to take on the flavours that they are cooked with, Making them very versatile. You might want to start with Red lentils, they are slightly lower in fibre so they don’t produce as much gas as brown and green ones. They also cook to mushier consistency. Some suggestions for Lentil include; cook them in a homemade broth, mash them with vegetables, Use them as a thickener or throw them into a soup or casserole. They would require 20min of cooking. Always thoroughly rinse lentils as they are prone to debris.  This recipe calls for a can of brown lentils. These are readily available as all supermarkets. You can also get organic varieties, which I have used below.

These little Falafels are very tasty and are not deep fried. Like most falafels, they are best served with a sauce. So I’ve included the one from the original recipe. Rafaela gobbled these down, while smearing the yoghurt sauce all over her face. They freeze really well and are a great meal or snack option. These are perfect for the whole family. I found them a great finger food for parties.

Lentil Falafels (makes 12)

1 x 400g can brown organic lentils, drained and rinsed.

1 cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs

100g Ricotta

1 egg

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ coriander leaves

1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon rind

Sea salt and black pepper

Sunflower oil or macadamia nut oil for brushing

Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

1 cup thick plain yoghurt

2 garlic cloves crushed

2 tablespoons of Tahini paste

2 table spoons of lemon juice

2 table spoons of chopped chives

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (450F). To make the garlic yoghurt sauce, combine the yoghurt, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and chives. Set aside.

Place the lentils, breadcrumbs ricotta, egg, cumin, coriander, lemon, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is just combined. Shape 2 tablespoonful’s of the mixture into small patties and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper.  Brush the patties lightly with oil and bake for 10 minutes each side or until crisp.

Serve with Garlic Sauce. For infants try serving with couscous and vegetables. For older kids & adults, try serving with salad and pita bread.Image

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Sunday’s Sugar Free Yoghurt Pancakes

Now that I’m back at work, we celebrate the weekend and what better way to celebrate than with a big hearty breakfast. Saturday’s are reserved for Bacon and Eggs. If you ever wanted to know what food I could not live without, it would be eggs. I could open up a café and just serve eggs, any which way. Sunday’s breakfast is either eggs again, served a different way or Pancakes. I found this recipe on the Wholesome Baby Food site. It was one of the first finger foods I made for Rafaela. It’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack. The recipe makes enough for the whole family and more, enough to freeze for later. I like this pancake recipe because it feels healthier and has a real depth of flavour… until you slather it in syrup.

I use Quinoa flour, which makes a denser pancake than you may be used to, however there is a little technique I use to make them fluffier. If you separate the egg yolks from the whites, whip up the whites until white and foamy then fold them in to the mix before you start to cook. You can do this making any pancake recipe and you will notice the difference.

There are a few substitutions below in regards to milk and flour. I also substitute one of the eggs for a banana, it adds a little something different to the taste and this would be the appropriate substitute for any egg allergies.

Sugar-Free Yoghurt Pancakes (Makes between 20+ medium size pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups Wholemeal flour or Quinoa Flour or Rice Flour
  • 1 teaspoon bi carbonate soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • dash of ginger
  • 2 cups whole milk (you could sub. with rice/almond/soy milk if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I use the Jalna Bio dynamic Organic Natural Yoghurt)

Method:

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk together until a bit frothy. (For fluffier pancakes, separate the yolks from the whites. Whisk the whites until white and frothy and fold into the mixture before you are about to cook)

Fold the liquid mixture into the dry mix and stir until just combined.

Lightly grease a non-stick frying pan with; coconut oil, butter or olive oil. Heat the pan on a high to medium heat. You need the pan relatively hot but not smoking.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter onto a heated frying pan

Flip pancakes when they have bubbles throughout. If you were to add fresh fruit, sprinkle them into the batter before you flip.

Some serving suggestions: organic maple syrup, agave syrup, yoghurt or fresh fruit.

These are a great snack item to have frozen. You don’t need to defrost them, just put it straight into the toaster or into a sandwich press.

 

Sugar Free Yoghurt Pancakes

 

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‘Tis the season for Turkey & Quinoa Meatloaf, gobble gobble!

Tis the season indeed! This year will be our first Christmas with Rafaela and the excitement is slowly growing. The tree is up and the ham is en-route! She has no idea what is going on, she was given her first gift the other day and just ripped and ate the paper.  On the bright side she was eating with her hands…

What I do love about Christmas is the copious amounts of food. My family have a pot luck type soiree, while it’s more of a traditional affair on my husband’s side. Turkey tends to be a quintessential meat at both events. I thought to myself what a great meal for babies at Christmas, all that excitement and energy. Remember that Seinfeld episode when Jerry feeds his girlfriend Turkey so she would fall asleep and he and George could play with her antique toy collection, Priceless! While it does contain certain amino acids that bring on sleep it’s a combination of things that make you sleepy after turkey, usually all the other food and alcohol that goes with the feast.

Regardless, Turkey is a great lean protein; it was one of the first meats I tried. Most supermarkets have a select range of turkey products and its pretty affordable.

Below is a super healthy and protein packed meal for the whole family. While meatloaf is not normally a glamorous meal, you can dress it up by wrapping it in thin rashers of bacon for the Christmas table. Adding Quinoa gives the loaf a great nutty flavour and actually keeps it quite moist. I’ve provided a healthy glaze that is suitable for babies. For older kids you can use the standard tomato sauce type glaze.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas.

Turkey & Quinoa Meatloaf 

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, chopped

500g ground turkey

1 tablespoon organic tomato paste

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)

2 egg yolks

1x zucchini & carrot, grated

Handful of Cheddar cheese

Glaze (Combine these two ingredients in a small bowl):
• 1 Can organic tomato paste
• 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or more if you’d like your glaze to be a little thinner consistency)
optional: add 1/8 cup of honey to sweeten glaze

Method

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees C and line a loaf tin with Baking paper.

Heat the olive oil in a fry-pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.

Combine the turkey mince, cooked quinoa, onions, zucchini, carrot, tomato paste, cheese, Worcestershire sauce and egg, in a large bowl until well combined. Shape the mixture into the loaf tin. Either brush on your chosen glaze  or add rashers of bacon, ensure you tuck in the ends to avoid curling.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes  The loaf is ready when your meat thermometer reaches 70 degrees C . Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Add your seasoning to your portions and cut a slice into fingers for the baby.

Keeps in the fridge for 2 days and freezes well.

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Super Banana & Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

This is a really easy little recipe I found on the Wholesome Baby Food blog, just tweaked. It is full of ‘super foods’ Quinoa and blueberries, great for the family if you’re looking for a sugar free treat. I usually give them to Raff as a snack or serve them with yoghurt for breakfast. They freeze extremely well.

The main benefit of these little gems is the Quinoa (pronounced ‘Keen-Wah’); it’s a great little seed that comes in many forms. I have been using the whole seeds and flakes. This ‘super food’ is packed with protein, and also a great source of iron and fibre. As a family we use the whole seeds within omelettes and salads. For Rafaela we use them with mashed vegetables, stews and fruit for breakfast. It is also great to freeze and grab when heading out the door to beef up the pre-made pouches. This is what I call Raff’s fast food.

Shopping tip: It is readily available is supermarkets, you can find whole seeds, flakes and flours in the Coles health food isle. I bought a 1 kg bag of whole seeds from Costco for $11.99. Bargain!

The recipe below uses quinoa flakes, which is also great for porridge.IMG_1227

Banana & Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

This recipe makes 24 Mini Muffins

Ingredients

2 mashed Bananas

¾ cup of Blueberries (I generally use frozen berries, let them thaw slightly)

1 cup Quinoa (Flakes or Flour)

1 tsp. of Cinnamon Powder

2 Eggs*

1/2 tsp. of Baking Powder

¼ cup of Maple Syrup

2 tsp. of Vanilla bean paste.

Smallest pinch of salt

Method:

Pre heat a fan forced oven to 180 degrees

Mix together all the wet ingredients in a bowl, until well combined.  Add dry ingredient to the bowl and mix well.

Lightly spray a non-stick mini muffin pan with some Coconut Oil cooking spray or canola oil spray.

Spoon the batter into the pan and cook for 10-15min, or until they are golden brown.

*Check out my previous post on Egg substitutes

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