Monday, April 30, 2012

Skinny Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Sometimes we need yummy diet food. Here is an easy recipe which will fill you up and it’s only about 220 calories per serving. Recipe makes 10 servings of 100g meat and ¾ cups tomato.

For the meatballs

1kg extra lean ground meat
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp garlic powder

For the sauce

1.4 L crushed tomato
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
½ dried oregano
½ dried basil

Heat the olive oil with the fresh garlic until nice and fragrant. Discard the oil. Add the Crushed tomato and the dried herbs. Allow to come to a simmer.

Mix the meat with all the ingredients. Make small meatballs and place them in the simmering tomato sauce. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Do not allow to boil or the meatballs will fall apart.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Barley Risotto with Pear & Asiago

Back in November of last year I attended a cooking and tasting event with my sister at a local private cooking school. We had fun, enjoyed some wine, good food and each other’s company. Who was doing the cooking you ask? Well, Anna Olson! She is so down to earth, friendly and funny! I had the chance to talk to her and she was friendly enough to allow a photo taken with her, and got to eat her cooking and get her latest cookbook autographed. Nice…I really enjoyed the evening.

One of the dishes she made was a Barley Risotto which I absolutely loved. Most people think risotto is a rice dish, but in fact risotto is the method of slow cooking, slowly adding liquid. I have to say, this one has won me over compared to many rice risottos I have had. This is definitely a must try!

4 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
450g mushrooms, sliced
1 clove, minced
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
310ml pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1.5l milk
360g cooked chicken, diced (optional)
2 Bartlett pears, diced
1,5l fresh baby spinach
150g asiago cheese, grated
Salt & pepper

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the onion and mushrooms, sautéing over medium heat until onion is translucent and any excess liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook one minute more.

Add the pearl barley and stir for a minute to coat it with the butter. Add 250ml of the milk and stir using a wooden spoon until the mil has been absorbed. Keep adding 250ml of mil at a time, stirring until absorbed. The barley should cook at a gentle simmer, so reduce the heat to low if needed. You can cover the pot and leave it for up to 5 minutes without stirring after each addition of milk.

When adding the final cup of milk, stir in the cooked chicken (if using) and pears to warm through.

Stir in the spinach until it has wilted. Stir in the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and the asiago cheese until melted, then season to taste and serve immediately.

Visit Anna's website

Chicken Cacciatore

As I rush to prepare dinner while my son takes his 20 minute-a-day nap, I start placing ingredients in my slow cooker so that I can enjoy a nice home cooked meal later in the day. I don’t have much time to make my own chicken stock lately, let alone reduce it to add to this recipe. So I opted for the easy way out. I used the new Knorr Homestyle Stock which you can find at any grocery store beside those cubs of bouillon. They are pretty tasty for something off the shelf. It adds that extra flavour to your dishes to make it a little more special. OK, so most chefs wouldn’t approve of it, but sometimes you have to find short cuts! Make this easy chicken dish which takes less then ten minutes to prepare and ends in a good dinner table conversation.

900g chicken breast, cut into pieces
230g mushrooms, quartered
1 yellow pepper, julienne
1 red pepper, julienne
1 onion, sliced
1 (720ml) bottle/can crushed tomato
1 Knorr chicken home stock
Thyme, a few sprigs
Salt & Pepper to your liking

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and set on high for 4 hours. That is it! You can make pasta or rice to accompany this dish and be sure to have good crusty bread to mop up the sauce.