Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla

Three Easy Pasta Recipes with Barilla

If you’re looking for simple pasta dishes, perfect for speedy after school dinners then why not try one of these three easy pasta recipes?

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla

We all have those days when we haven’t thought about what’s for dinner until dinner time. What do you do?  Well, apart from making a sandwich, many of us turn to pasta.   I certainly do this, especially with my youngest child who loves pasta.

So, when Barilla challenged me to come up with three easy pasta recipes using their pastas and sauces, I was delighted to see what I could come up with.   And maybe, if I was really lucky, would I be able to make something to tempt my older non-pasta loving child too?

Barilla  makes Italy’s number one pasta in a wide range of traditional and wholewheat shapes.   As I tried out the pastas I realised how ignorant I’ve been about pasta until now.  I usually buy penne but I’d never thought about how some penne is smooth on the outside and some has little ridges to catch more of the sauce.  Now I know which one I’ll be buying in the future!

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla pasta and sauce

I was really impressed by the sauces too.    They are made from traditional recipes and contain 100% Italian tomatoes with no added preservatives.  They tasted very natural and definitely helped when making these three easy pasta recipes.  Not only are these pasta recipes easy, they are absolutely delicious too!

Lamb, Mint and Feta Meatballs with Olive Pasta Sauce

My children both love olives and my first recipe was inspired by Greek flavours and so I decided to use the olive sauce which is a tomato based sauce but with green and black olives in it as well as capers.  I hoped the stronger flavours in the olive sauce would go well with the lamb and feta meatballs and they did.  The meatballs were delicious and so quick to make.   You might think meatballs take time but you can roll them into balls really quickly and then they cook in the same time it takes for the pasta to cook.  These meatballs are so delicious I promise you’ll think they’re worth it.

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla - lamb and feta meatball spaghetti

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • 400g lamb mince
  • 75g feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 egg
  • 300g Barilla spaghetti
  • 1 jar Barilla Olive pasta sauce

How to Make Lamb, Mint and Feta Meatballs with Olive Pasta Sauce

  1. Heat  a large frying pan with a little oil.  Put the lamb, feta, mint and egg into a bowl and mix together with your hands.   Form into meatballs and put them into the frying pan.  Turn them over when they are crisp underneath.
  2. At the same time, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions.
  3. When the pasta is ready, drain and stir in the pasta sauce.   Heat through.
  4. When the meatballs are ready, take them out of the frying pan and put on a plate covered with kitchen roll to soak up any excess fat.
  5. Either serve the meatballs on top of the pasta or stir them into the sauce.

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla - Lamb and feta meatball spaghetti

 

Cheesy Roasted Vegetable and Pasta Bake

My next recipe is a roasted vegetable and pasta bake and I promise you, with just a little forward planning, it really is quick to get on the table.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare the different elements in advance, even the night before and then just heat it through in the oven before serving.  Just put the vegetables in the oven to roast whenever is convenient and after they’ve cooled, leave in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the dish.   You can cook the pasta in advance too.   Once it’s ready, stir in a little olive oil to prevent it sticking together.   It’s then just a matter of assembling the ingredients and baking when you’re ready to eat it.  We loved it and it will definitely become a regular mealtime choice.

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla - Cheesy roasted vegetable pasta bake

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • 2 aubergines, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced in half
  • 70g mozzarella ball, diced into 1 cm pieces
  • 160g Barilla Pasta, I used Barilla Mezze Penne Tricolore
  • 1 jar Barilla Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 100g grated mozzarella

How to Make Cheesy Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake

  1. Toss the vegetables in a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Cook the pasta until al dente.
  3. Stir the pasta sauce into the pasta and stir to coat all the pasta.
  4. Put the roasted vegetables in an ovenproof dish and dot pieces of the mozzarella ball on top. Then add a layer of pasta and top with the grated mozzarella.
  5. Put in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes if freshly made and the ingredients are still warm/hot or 35-40 minutes if it’s been in the fridge.

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla - Cheesy Roasted vegetable pasta bake

 

Chorizo and Pepper Arrabbiata

My third dish takes one of my favourite ingredients – chorizo – and pairs it with my favourite Italian pasta sauce – arrabbiata.   My children also love chorizo and the flavours in this are guaranteed to make everyone happy.   I usually like to add a few extra vegetables to my pasta and for this dish I’ve chosen red peppers as they go so well with both the chorizo and the arrabbiata sauce.   This is a truly simple dish and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes that standby pasta dish you keep on making for years to come.

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla - chorizo arrabiata

Ingredients – Serves 2

  • 160g Barilla pasta, I used Barilla Tortiglioni pasta
  • 2 cooking chorizo sausages, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
  • About 16 cherry tomatoes
  • Jar of Barilla Arrabbiata pasta sauce
  • Parmesan to serve (optional)

How to Make Chorizo Arrabbiata

  1. Fry the chorizo for about 4 minutes on each side until it browns.
  2. Put the pasta on to boil while the chorizo is frying.   It will take about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Remove the chorizo from the pan and place on kitchen paper to mop up any excess oil.  Add the peppers.   Cook for about 3 minutes then add the whole cherry tomatoes.  Cook Just until the tomatoes begin to split but not break down.
  4. When the pasta is ready, drain, put back in the pan and stir in the jar of sauce.
  5. Serve topped with a little parmesan.

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla - Chorizo arrabiata

Finally, did I tempt my oldest child to eat the pasta?   Unfortunately not, but she did enjoy the meatballs and chorizo and my littlest one ate everything.

For more pasta recipe ideas and inspiration then do take a look at the Barilla website or Facebook page.

I am sharing with  Cook Blog Share, hosted this week by Sneaky Veg, to Recipe of the Week at  A Mummy Too and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Barilla but the recipes and opinions are my own.

 

 

Three easy pasta recipes with Barilla pasta and sauces
Pumpkin cereal bars

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cereal Bars

You won’t find many cereal bars healthier than these nutty chocolate chip pumpkin cereal bars. Packed with oats, pumpkin, coconut and healthy chia seeds, this is a snack you won’t feel guilty about eating!

Pumpkin Cereal bars

I made these pumpkin cereal bars with one of the pumpkins we got before Halloween.  For the first time ever, I made a real effort to use up all the pumpkin and none of it went to waste!

I was so busy cooking up my pumpkin though, that I didn’t have time to post the recipe.  And the problem with creating a recipe with pumpkin at this time of year in the UK is that is can be difficult to buy pumpkins once Halloween is over.   Don’t worry though, these bars are just as good using butternut squash or any other similar orange squash.

Pumpkin cereal bars

If you’re looking for a traditional sticky sweet flapjack type of bar, then I’m afraid that these are not what you’re after.   If however, you’re trying to cut down on sugar and even hide some healthy vegetables inside a bar your children might just like, then these are exactly what you’re looking for.   I have to say, Little Miss Spice loved these and there is no way I can get her to eat pumpkin unless it’s hidden inside a bar or one of these pumpkin and apple muffins.

These pumpkin cereal bars are soft and a little bit gooey inside.   They’re sweetened with agave nectar but I’m sure you could use honey or maple syrup as an alternative.   I just really like agave nectar as it doesn’t crysalise in the jar like honey tends to do if you don’t use it quickly enough.

Pumpkin cereal bars

I added milk chocolate chips as we prefer milk chocolate and they also add extra sweetness.   The bars themselves are not very sweet and if you use plain you may need a little more of whatever sweetener you choose to use.

Although I only used 50g of desiccated coconut, the cereal bars had a lovely coconut flavour and if I’d used coconut oil, it would have made them even more coconutty, which is definitely something I want to try next time!

Pumpkin cereal bars

Pumpkin Cereal Bars

Yield: Makes 16

A healthy snack that's great for giving to kids at school pick up.

Ingredients

  • 200g porridge oats
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • 40g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • 30g chia seeds
  • 70g chocolate buttons (or use chocolate chips)
  • 275g pumpkin puree
  • 35g oil
  • 70g agave nectar

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir together.
  2. Line the bottom and grease a square baking tin.
  3. Press the oat mixture down into the tin.
  4. Bake in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes.
  5. Leave in the tin to cool then cut into squares.
  6. They keep for about 3 days.
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I’m sharing these chocolate chip pumpkin cereal bars with #CookBlogShare at Easy Peasy Foodie and the #NoWasteChallenge at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary as they helped me use up my pumpkin.  I am also sharing with Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cereal Bars
Apple carpaccio

Apple Carpaccio

This apple carpaccio is a great choice if you’re looking for a lighter Christmas dessert. Fruity and refreshing, it looks attractive too!

Apple carpaccio

This beautiful apple carpaccio is my  choice for the November Recipe Redux.   The theme is ‘trimming the table’ i.e. healthy recipes to finish a meal with and this fruity dessert is certainly a healthy choice.

When I think of apple desserts, I normally think of pies, sponge puddings and crumbles.   I don’t very often make desserts with raw apple.   I have to say, I normally prefer cooked apple. However,  with the pomegranate seeds, crunchy sweet pine nuts and the yoghurt, I was completely taken with it!

Apple carpaccio

The recipe for the apple carpaccio is slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook
and as with lots of Jamie recipes, it’s simple, tasty and looks great too.   Pomegranate seeds are so Christmassy, as are the candied pine nuts, although I think hazelnuts would be a lovely alternative.

apple-carpaccio-4

Did I say candied pine nuts?  Yes,  I love nuts and do occasionally make candied or honey roast nuts but I’d never thought to make candied pine nuts before.  In fact, I normally think of pine nuts as being an ingredient for savoury recipes not for desserts.   That is definitely something that’s going to change from now on.   However, I must say that they are very difficult to get right. They go from being not cooked at all to burning in a matter of seconds.   Or at least that’s how it seemed to me.   Whatever you do, don’t get distracted while they are in the oven!

Apple carpaccio

I used a spiralizer with a ribbon blade to slice the apple and then broke the spirals up so they appear to be in slices rather than ribbons.   You could use a mandolin or even just a knife to finely slice the apple or even dice it then serve it in layers in a glass.

No one wants to spend all their time in the kitchen when they’ve got guests and with this apple carpaccio, as long as all the components are prepared in advance, it’s very quick to assemble once you’re ready to serve it.  What more could you ask from an easy healthy dessert that tastes delicious too?

Apple carpaccio

Apple Carpaccio

Yield: Serves 2

This apple carpaccio makes a light festive dessert for Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 30g pine nuts
  • 1/2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 3 clementines
  • 2 eating apples
  • A few sprigs of mint
  • A little honey

Instructions

  1. Rinse the pine nuts in cold water then spread them out on a baking tray. Sprinkle with the icing sugar. Bake in the oven at 180C for 5 minutes. Check how they are doing - they might need just a little longer. If the ones at the edges are brown but not the ones in the middle then stir them around a little.
  2. Crush about half in a pestle and mortar and stir them into the yoghurt.
  3. Remove the seeds from one half of the pomegranate and set aside. Squeeze the juice from the seeds in the other half by pressing the pomegranate half into a sieve above a bowl. Use a spoon to crush the seeds that fall out against the bottom of the sieve. Squeeze the clementines above the sieve too so you catch any seeds.
  4. Slice the apples either with a spiralizer, mandolin or just a knife and put the apple into the juice until ready to serve.
  5. Arrange the apple on a plate, top with a dollop of yoghurt and sprinkle with some of the pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and mint leaves. Drizzle with a little yoghurt.
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I’m sharing this apple carpaccio with Cook Blog Share, hosted this week by Kirsty at  Hijacked by Twins, with Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.  As it’s perfect for Christmas I’m also linking to The Food Calendar at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen.

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Apple Carpaccio
chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

This chicken piccata recipe is good enough to serve at a dinner party and is easy to make too.   Simple, delicious and even tastes great the next day!

chicken Piccata

Welcome to my last ever Secret Recipe Club post.  As it draws to a close I’ll be very sad to say goodbye to it.   Over the past few years I’ve got to know a lot of blogs I otherwise may not have stumbled across and in the process discovered a whole host of delicious recipes, some of which I’m still regularly making!

I first took part in July 2011 and my very first SRC post was for Slow Cooked Barbecue Ribs.   This recipe has become a firm favourite and it’s one of a couple of slow cooker bbq recipes that I still make regularly.chicken-piccata-5

Now, on to this month’s  assignment.   Well, just two weeks ago I participated in the SRC additional assignment so imagine my surprise when I was preparing my recipe for that assignment when I received the email telling me that once again I would be paired with Michaela from An Affair from the Heart.

I made Michaela’s gorgeous Vegetable, Beef, Barley and Mushroom soup for that assignment and I picked out a few sweet recipes and fully intended making one of them for this assignment, in particular these pumpkin spice banana bread muffins. However, I came across this recipe for chicken piccata and as I absolutely love buttery lemony caper sauces I couldn’t resist giving it a go.   I often make a similar sauce to this but serve it with a white fish like sea bass or bream.   I’d never made a sauce like this to go with chicken or served it with pasta so my plans changed.

chicken-piccata-6

It turned out to be a good choice.  The chicken was delicious and tender and the sauce was amazing.   With all that butter it may not be the healthiest sauce but it is certainly one you’ll enjoy!

I had a little chicken and sauce leftover for lunch the next day and the lemon had really soaked into the chicken, giving it a wonderful flavour.   I offered some to Master Spice and was quite pleased he didn’t want it – more for me.  There are sometimes benefits to having a picky child!

chicken-piccata

Chicken Piccata

Yield: Serves 4

This chicken piccata is the perfect pasta recipe for a special occasion.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally
  • 2 tbsp plain flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper
  • 110g butter
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 80ml dry white wine
  • 160ml chicken stock
  • 2-3 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • Pasta (for serving)

Instructions

  1. Heat half of the butter and half the oil in a large frying pan.
  2. Coat the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour and then cook then in the frying pan for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan.
  3. Add the rest of the oil and cook the garlic for a minute. Then add the wine and continue to cook for about 3 more minutes.
  4. Add the stock, lemon juice, capers and half of the parsley. Bring to the boil then put the chicken back in and cook gently until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Put the pasta in bowls or plates, top with the chicken, whisk the remaining butter into the sauce until melted then pour the sauce over the chicken and pasta. Top with the rest of the chopped parsley.
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I’m sharing with Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Chicken Piccata
Chicken tikka

Chicken Tikka

This chicken tikka recipe is certain to become a real family favourite.  Just marinate the chicken overnight in a simple spicy yoghurt marinade.   The chicken is so so good and great on its own or in a curry.

Chicken tikka

Indian food is a real favourite of ours and I’ve marinated chicken with Indian spices and yoghurt before but this time I wanted to get the chicken to taste as near to what I feel is chicken tikka as possible.   I read lots of recipes for tikka marinades and in the end I’ve come up with a version that tasted really authentic.

Well,  before you argue, authentic to me anyway.  I’ve never been to India and the chicken tikka I’ve had has come from restaurants, supermarkets and takeaways and if that’s the type of chicken tikka you’re used to as well then I’m sure you’ll love my homemade version.

The recipe for the marinade contains all my favourite spices – cumin, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, coriander and turmeric as well as ginger and garlic.    It’s best to mix it up and then taste it to check you love the flavour.    I didn’t make it too spicy because the chicken was for the children as well so you could easily add a little more cayenne pepper to it.  I marinated it overnight so the flavours really penetrated the chicken but if you’re not that organised then a shorter marination will still give you some tasty chicken.

Chicken Tikka

I’d heard that red food colouring is often used commercially to give the chicken that deep red colour and I was keen to experiment this time.   I added some natural red food colouring to the marinade but even with a teaspoonful you can see that my chicken doesn’t look too artificial so I now wonder just how much food colouring is sometimes used!  Of course, if you’re just making this at home, the food colouring is not at all necessary.

We ate this with a quick homemade vegetable curry, a simple cucumber raita and a pack of Tilda Aromatic Spices Steamed Basmati Rice.   The rice can be cooked in the microwave or stir fried and along with the vegetable curry and raita it made a tasty side dish for the chicken.   And of course not having to use a pan to cook the rice saved a little on the washing up too!

I used chicken breasts but legs or thighs would be just as good.    You could eat the chicken tikka as we did just with rice and vegetables or you could add it to a curry as once it’s been marinated overnight the chicken is really tender and tasty.   One thing is certain, this is definitely a meal that I’m going to be making again and again!

Chicken tikka

Chicken Tikka

Serving Size: Serves 4

This homemade chicken tikka tastes just as good as any chicken tikka you can buy!

Ingredients

  • 600g chicken
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Small piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp natural red food colour (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix together all the marinade ingredients and put the chicken in.
  2. Marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken under the grill or in a frying pan until fully cooked.

Notes

If using chicken breasts, butterflying them first will give a larger surface area so the marinade can flavour them more.

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I am linking this chicken tikka recipe to Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum, Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too and Cook Blog Share at Sneaky Veg.

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Disclosure: I was sent a free sample pack of the Tilda Aromatic Spices Basmati Rice

Chicken Tikka
Heck Chicken Italia Sausage Traybake

Sausage Traybake

There are few recipes easier than a traybake and this sausage traybake using Heck Chicken Italia sausages is definitely going to be made again.   Such an easy and tasty midweek meal.

Heck Chicken Italia Sausage Traybake

As well as giving you a tasty sausage traybake recipe I’d also like to wish you a happy Movember! If you don’t know, November is the month when men (well, some men) all over the country give up shaving and grow moustaches to raise awareness of testicular cancer.

Well, as a girl I couldn’t manage that, but what I have done is created a recipe using Heck Chicken Italia sausages.  More about the recipe later but first, what have sausages got to do with Movember?

Well, for this month only Heck Chicken Italia sausages have changed their name to Check to raise awareness and to encourage men everywhere to be a little less shy about their bodies and to check themselves regularly for any signs of testicular cancer.   The young founder of the Heck brand is himself a survivor of testicular cancer.   Through spotting the signs early, going to the GP and getting the necessary treatment, he is one of the lucky ones.

If more men would do the same, there would be even more lucky ones.   And that’s the message that Heck Sausages are trying to get across this month with their low fat gluten-free Chicken Italia sausages.  Check.

Heck Chicken Italia Sausage Traybake

Sausages are one of the things that everyone in our family loves.  They’re quick and easy to cook and there are so many things you can do with them.   I’m sure we eat them most weeks.

You may think sausages are unhealthy but these Chicken Italia ones are low in fat and contain 85% chicken as well as basil, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella which makes them a very tasty choice too.

heck-sausage-traybake-4

I have to say, this sausage traybake is a really simple and delicious recipe.   It’s packed with colourful vegetables and you can’t get easier than a one pot meal.  We really enjoyed it.   The children were happy to eat it too and it was great for leftovers the next day, although I have to admit that we ate all the sausages on the first day.   The vegetables and potatoes were lovely heated up and I’m sure if we hadn’t liked the sausages as much then they would have been fine reheated too!

heck-sausage-traybake-1

Sausage Traybake

Yield: Serves 4

An easy sausage traybake recipe that's popular with kids and adults.

Ingredients

  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled, diced into 2cm cubes
  • 12 Heck Chicken Italia Sausages(340g), pricked with a fork or knife
  • 1 aubergine, diced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes for about 5 minutes.
  2. Put all the vegetables and sausages on a baking tray. Sprinkle over the thyme and black pepper, and drizzle with the olive oil. Stir around so everything has a thin coat of oil and thyme. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the top.
  3. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 180C until everything is cooked through.

Notes

If you can't get this brand of sausages, feel free to use whatever sausages you pefer. You can skip the parboiling stage and just put the potatoes straight in the tray but you may need to cook it for a little longer in the oven. Cover with foil if it looks like the other ingredients might get overcooked.

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I’d like to link this to The Food Calendar at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen for British Sausage Week and to Casa Costello  and Mummy Mishaps for Bake of the Week as well as Easy Peasy Foodie for Cook Blog Share.

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Disclosure:  I was sent a complimentary sample of the Heck sausages but the recipe and opinions are my own.

sausage-traybake
Three nut protein power bowl

Three Nut Protein Power Bowl

If you’re looking for a filling, healthy and delicious lunch then why not try one of these three nut protein power bowls?  Full of healthy plant protein from the quinoa, nuts and peanut butter, they’ll certainly help you avoid the afternoon slump.

Three Nut Protein Power Bowl

When I read that this month’s Recipe Redux theme was plant-based protein power bowls I have to admit I felt more challenged than usual.   You see, although I’m aware of the recent trend for ‘bowl food’ and I’ve seen some lovely recipes and pictures online, I haven’t made any dishes in this style until now.

Luckily, I did already have some bowls.  But only just.   I bought them a couple of months ago thinking I really should get on trend.   Well, this month’s Recipe Redux has forced me to do just that.

Three nut protein power bowl

I decided to use black quinoa as the base for my vegan power bowl.   It has a lovely crunch to it but any quinoa would be fine or you could substitute it for another grain.   Quinoa is high in protein though so seemed the perfect choice for this challenge.

I added peas and broccoli as I wanted some green vegetables in there and the peas would add extra protein too.  I love toasted nuts so I used a mixture of almonds, peanuts and cashew nuts as well as a thick sauce with lots of peanut butter in it.

Three nut protein power bowl

The peanut butter sauce has a lovely satay flavour from the ginger, garlic, soy, vinegar and chilli flakes.   When making up the sauce you can keep it quite thick or you can add a little extra water to make it more runny.   Keep tasting it though as the water dilutes the flavour of the other ingredients so you may need to add a little more of something to get it just right.

I’ve placed the ingredients separately in the bowl with the thick sauce in the middle but it’s up to you how you eat it.   Once I began to tuck in I mixed everything up together.   It didn’t look so pretty but it tasted good!

You can eat these three nut protein power bowls hot or cold so it’s a great recipe for taking out as a packed lunch or preparing in advance for an easy dinner.

Three nut protein power bowl

Three Nut Protein Power Bowl

Yield: Serves 1 but quantities can easily be increased to serve more people

These healthy fillling three nut protein power bowls are perfect for an easy filling lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 80g quinoa
  • About 4 broccoli florets
  • 3 tbsp peas
  • 20g peanuts
  • 20g almonds
  • 20g cashew nuts
  • For the Sauce
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp white wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chilli flakes

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the pack instructions, the broccoli and the peas.
  2. Put the nuts in a dry frying pan and toast them gently until they are golden.
  3. Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce plus a dash a of hot water from the kettle. If the sauce is too thick just add a little more water. Keep tasting and adjust the flavours if necessary.
  4. Serve in a bowl.

Notes

This recipe can be served hot or cold and so can be prepared in advance.

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I am linking this to Meat Free Mondays at Tinned Tomatoes and #CookBlogShare at Sneaky Veg.

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Three Nut Protein Power Bowls
Greek quiche

Greek Quiche

This beautiful vegetarian quiche inspired by the flavours of Greece is perfect for feeding a family of four for at least two days.  Filled with feta, spinach, tomatoes and olives it’s both tasty and filling and great for a packed lunch too.

Greek Quiche

I was inspired to make this Greek quiche by my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month, Nic at I am a Honey Bee.   Nic loves baking, animals, all types of challenges and travelling, which is how this quiche came about.   In the midst of a cold winter a couple of years ago she got a new pie plate and inspired by a Greek holiday she ended up creating this lovely dish full of Greek flavours.

I also wanted to use my own pie dish a lovely blue Le Creuset one.  It may not be new.   I’ve had it for a couple of years after winning it in a competition but I’ve never used it.   However, there was something in Nic’s post about getting a new pie dish that reminded me of my own one sitting alone in the cupboard and suddenly I really wanted to use it.

To make this recipe easier and quicker you could use a bought pastry case to make the quiche in.   I made my own pastry using a mix of white and wholemeal flour as I like the crumbliness and rusticity that wholemeal flour gives and adding some wholegrain goodness to a recipe is never a bad idea.

Greek Quiche

I also wanted to make a quiche as after making this mince and tomato crumble recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the type of recipes I grew up eating.   I’m starting to want to make more and more of them and my mum probably made a quiche at least once a week and sometimes with sliced tomatoes on top too!

So for me this recipe neatly combines memories of childhood and holidays and although you might not find a real quiche quite like this in Greece, you would struggle to go to Greece and not eat tomatoes, olives and feta!

I have to say, there were lots of other recipes on Nic’s site that I wanted to make too.  If I hadn’t just made this Greek quiche when she published these amazing Chorizo Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers then today’s post could have been quite different!  I also loved the sound of this simple edamame salad.

Greek Quiche

 

Greek Inspired Quiche

Ingredients

    For the pastry
  • 300g plain flour (I used 1/3 wholemeal and 2/3 white flour)
  • 100g butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • A little cold water
  • For the filling
  • 11 eggs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 280g frozen leaf spinach, defrosted
  • 200g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • A few olives (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the salt to the flour then rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips or put it in the food processor. Add a little water to bring the mixture together. Knead briefly then wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out the pastry and put it in the pie dish. Prick the bottom with a fork a few times. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180C
  3. Put the eggs in a bowl and beat lightly.
  4. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as you can then break it up and add it to the eggs. Add the salt, black pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.
  5. Pour this mixture into the pie dish. Add the crumbled feta evenly over the surface then top with a few sliced tomatoes and the olives.
  6. Return to the oven and continue to bake for 45 minutes.
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I am also linking this Greek Quiche to my own #CookOnceEatTwice linky as it’s perfect for more than one meal.  It’s also my #RecipeoftheWeek at A Mummy Too and I’m sharing with #CookBlogShare at Hijacked by Twins and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.  As it’s World Egg Day on 14 October and this quiche contains a lot of eggs, I am linking to the #TheFoodCalendar at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen.

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Greek Quiche
Date and Banana Oaty Bars

Date and Banana Oaty Bars

These date and banana oaty bars are perfect if you’re looking for healthy homemade recipes for after school snacks.  With no added sugar and just naturally sweetened by the dates and banana they are a tasty alternative to traditional sugar-laden flapjacks.

Date and Banana Oaty Bars

As I write this Little Miss Spice is beginning her first week of doing full days at school and like many mums one of the things I’m worried about is whether she will actually eat the school lunches!

Her fussy eating has improved a lot over the summer and she is a lot more willing to try new foods which is great.  At least I know she will have eaten something!   Even so, one of the things I do know is that she will be hungry when I go to pick her up.   I really want her to have a healthy diet and so I’m now planning to start making a lot more healthy homemade bars and savoury snacks that I can take to school at pick up time.

Date and Banana Oaty Bars

We made these bars together last week and she loved them.  Dates and overripe bananas are very sweet and so the bars really are sweet enough without you needing to add any extra sugar at all.   I’ve also added some sunflower and chia seeds which provide a bit of protein.   You could substitute these for other seed or nuts to use whatever you have at home.  I’m thinking of substituting some of the dates for chopped dried apricot next time but I haven’t tried this yet.   I’m sure it will work but the bars will be slightly less sweet.

In texture the bars are soft and chewy but with a little caramelised crispier bit around the edges that were touching the tin.   The seeds also give them a lovely bit of crunchiness too.

Date and Banana Oaty Bars

If you have young children or toddlers then making these bars together is a great easy baking activity.   My children absolutely love taking turns to mash the banana and I can be getting all the other ingredients ready while they do that.  They then love stirring it all up and patting it down into the tin.

I adapted the bars from this basic recipe for sugar free banana and date flapjacks.

date-and-banana-oaty-bars-2

 

Date and Banana Oaty Bars

Yield: Makes 16

These vegan homemade date and banana oaty bars make a perfect post-workout or after school snack

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 170g dates, chopped
  • 180g oats
  • 40g oil (I used vegetable but coconut oil would be great)
  • 40g sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Mash up the bananas with a fork.
  2. Mix in all the other ingredients and press into a greased cake tin.
  3. Bake in the oven at 170c for 25 minutes.
  4. When the bars come out of the oven, cut them into squares but leave in the tin to cool.
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These date and banana oaty bars are a great way of using up blackened bananas so I am linking them up to the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.  They are also much cheaper than bought snacks so I am linking them to Credit Crunch Munch, hosted this month by Utterly Scrummy and on alternate months by Fuss Free Flavours.  I am also linking to Cook Blog Share at Easy Peasy Foodie, Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Date and Banana Oaty Bars
mince-and-tomato-crumble-4

Mince and Tomato Crumble

This savoury mince and tomato crumble is an old favourite of mine.   With a layer of mince covered with sliced tomatoes and topped with a cheesey crumble, it’s easy to make and great for a midweek dinner as you can make it in advance then just bake in the oven before serving.

Mince and Tomato Crumble

This healthy mince and tomato crumble is my choice for this month’s Recipe Redux challenge.   The theme was First Cooking Recollections.   Now,  I have to admit that I haven’t always been as keen on cooking as I am now.  Rather embarassingly I was struggling to remember any early cooking recollections, only cooking avoidance ones!

My mum was a good cook and I have an older sister and as a child she was the one who liked to help out in the kitchen.   With two women already in the kitchen, there wasn’t really room for a third and why would I need to be in the kitchen anyway?  I think at the time there were a lot more interesting things to think about than cooking.

Mince and tomato crumble

When I went away to university I did allow my mum to teach me a a couple of simple meals and for years I ate easy pasta and rice dishes, often involving simple stews and stir fries.   These meals were healthy but not especially adventurous.   You see, I have always been a healthy eater and did at least pick that up from my mum!

When I was growing up, one of the meals my mum made regularly was her savoury mince and tomato crumble.   I remember her making it when I was a child and she still makes it now when I go to visit.  My sister has the recipe and I know she makes it for her family too.   Until now, I’ve never made it.   After all, they are making it for me when I visit, so I can make other things at home, can’t I?

Mince and Tomato Crumble

Well, earlier this month I visited my parents for a few days and while I was there, sure enough my mum made her mince and tomato crumble.   I had a few ideas in mind for my Recipe Redux challenge but then I started to think maybe it was time for me to start making a few of my mum’s old recipes.  This may not be a recipe I remember making with my mum, but I do remember her making it for me.

Here’s her recipe:

mums-savoury-mince-recipe

I haven’t changed this much from my mum’s recipe.   She also uses a mix of plain and wholemeal flour and although the recipe she gave me says to use lard to cook the mince, she also no longer uses lard in cooking.  I like to serve lots of vegetables alongside this but if you want you could add more vegetables to the mince too.  I added a little finely diced red pepper but didn’t want to change the dish too much.

For another easy minced beef recipe then do check out my Beef and Tomato Bake as well.

Mince and Tomato Crumble

Savoury Mince and Tomato Crumble

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 450g lean minced beef
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 280ml beef stock
  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • For the crumble topping
  • 180g flour (I used half white and half wholemeal)
  • 90g butter (Or use an alternative spread)
  • 35g grated cheese (I used Red Leicester)

Instructions

  1. Put a little oil in a sauce pan and cook the onion and red pepper gently until softened then add the crushed garlic.
  2. Cook for a minute then add the mince. Keep stirring and breaking it up with a spoon until it is slightly browned.
  3. Stir in the flour, paprika, thyme, black pepper, salt and tomato puree. Add the stock then bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. While the mince is cooking, make the crumble topping. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips then mix in the cheese. Season with a little salt and black pepper.
  5. Lightly oil the sides of a casserole dish. Add the minced beef. Cover with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Top with the crumble mixture.
  6. Bake in the oven at 190C for about 30 minutes.

Notes

The seasonings can be altered. For a spicy version of this dish, add some hot sauce to the mince.

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I am also linking this to my own #CookOnceEatTwice challenge as well as Cook Blog Share hosted by Hijacked by Twins and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.  I am also linking to Inheritance Recipes hosted by Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla.

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Mince and Tomato Crumble