Thursday, September 29, 2011

Slow Cooker Asian Chicken

 This recipe is from my sister.  It was AWESOME! It seems like it's not enough sauce, but trust me, it's plenty of sauce!  Serve with white rice and steamed broccoli. 


  • 1 3-4lb whole chicken
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed lite brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sherry or apple juice
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions, halved + trimmed
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
What you do:

Wash/dry chicken, remove giblets, neck, + excess fat. Put chicken in slow cooker breast side up.

In bowl combine: everything I said above. Pour over chicken, cover and cook on high for 3.5-4.5 hrs.

Remove chicken.

Remove and discard onions. Add 2 tbsp cornstarch abd 1 tbsp water to sauce. Stir over heat. Toast 2 tbsp of sesame seeds and serve on top of chicken and white rice with a side of broccoli.

Recipe Source: My sister

Burger Patty Melts & Special Sauce

Ok, these burgers are awesome.  They are basically a combo of a grilled cheese sandwich and a hamburger.  The sauce is simply divine! Served this with my Cajun French Fries and baked corn on the cob.  Now, if you are doubling the amount of beef, then I wouldn't necessarily double all the other ingredients.  I got 700 g of beef last time and doubled the ingredients and it was a bit oniony, so I may just stick to the original amounts next time. 

Burger Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (~450 g) 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion grated
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • butter
  • wholemeal bread (or gluten-free bread)
  • slices of cheese
 What you do:

In a medium bowl, combine the meat, grated onion, egg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Form into 6 thin patties.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for about 3 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove from the pan and place on paper towels to drain. Set aside. Drain the grease from the skillet.

Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place butter side down in the skillet. Top each with a slice of cheese and a burger patty. Top with the remaining cheese, if desired, and a final slice of bread, butter side up.

Cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from the heat and serve with special sauce (recipe below).

Recipe Source: Serious Eats

Burger Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • small squirt of mustard 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

*Mix all sauce ingredients together. set aside. 
Recipe Source: Unknown

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nutella Cuppy Cakes (only 3 ingredients!)

Ummm, what?!? Only THREE ingredients for these yummy bites of goodness! So easy and quick! Top with whipped cream and you have yourself the perfect little dessert!  I also made some for my hubby with gluten-free flour and he said they were good too. They are best straight out of the oven, but you can also pop them in the microwave the next day for like 10 seconds and they are still quite good. 

Nutella Cuppy Cakes
Yields 12 mini muffins

  • 1/2 cup Nutella spread
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
  2. Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full).
  4. Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11 to 12 minutes. Let them cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Recipe Source:  Yadira's Crafty Adventures

Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins

 These are some great muffins!  I made them for the mothers in my toddler's play group and they were well-liked by all.  The only place you can get canned pumpkin in Australia is to order it from USA Foods, a store in Melbourne that stocks American food. 

Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins
Yield: 2 dozen

  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice**
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice**
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
What you do:
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

Combine pumpkin, butter, and eggs in another bowl and add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Fold in chopped apple and spoon into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full.

Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle evenly over muffins. Bake at 350 degrees (180 C) for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.

**Mel's tip: if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use the following combination: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Mix together and woila! – you have the equivalent of 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (and it is much cheaper than buying it premade).

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baked Cajun Fries

These baked fries are pretty awesome.  Crispy, tasty, yum!!  They make an excellent side dish for things like sloppy joes and sticky chicken legs.  This particular night I served them with ribs, which I didn't really care for so I won't be including that recipe on this blog.

Baked Cajun Fries
Makes enough for 2-3 people to have as a side dish for dinner 

  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • a few shakes of cayenne 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 regular potatoes
What you do: 
  1. Preheat oven to 230 C (450 F)
  2. Slice potatoes into thirds and then slice each portion into 3 or 4 wedges.  
  3. Mix the spices and olive oil together in a bowl, add the potatoes and coat thoroughly.
  4. Spread out into a single layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  They will get crispier if you have more space between them. 
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until done. You could even put them under the broiler for the last few minutes if you like.  ENJOY!

The Best Lasagna

I have made a few different lasagna recipes (including that of my Italian grandmother) and sorry nan, but this one takes the cake!  Everything holds together so perfectly and the flavour is just right, and most importantly it gets Mark's approval! Check out Food Wishes for a video.  Since Mark is gluten-free and I don't feel like eating his gluten-free pasta, I have to make this recipe in 2 smaller dishes, but I'm sure the amount of ingredients would be the same in one big dish.

Oh and you know what else?  You can use all these same ingredients for baked ziti (or baked penne) if you like.  Just cook the pasta, drain it, mix it with pasta sauce and the cheese mixture from below, spread it out in a large glass baking dish, top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, cover with foil and bake for an hour (take cover off for the last 15 minutes) and VOILA! You have some excellent baked ziti!

Yields two 20 x 20 cm baking dishes

  • Lasagna sheets (it's best if you soak them in warm water first, but you can skip this if you are in a hurry)
  • A large jar of your favourite pasta sauce (or if you have the time, make your own!)
Cheese mixture:
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) ricotta cheese
  • 225 g (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
What you do:

Soak the lasagna sheets in warm water for ~30 minutes and mix together the ingredients for the cheese mixture in a bowl.  Then:
  1. Spoon some sauce on the bottom of the baking dish
  2. Lay out the lasagna sheets in a single layer
  3. Spread out some of the cheese mixture over the noodles
  4. Drizzle some sauce over top the cheese mixture (don't use too much or it will be too saucy!).  You could even just do a few big globs
  5. And then do as many layers as you want in this order: noodles, cheese, sauce, repeat
  6. For the final layer you sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheeses over top the sauce
Bake covered for 30 min and uncovered for 30 min in 190 C (375 F) oven.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then enjoy! 

Recipe Source: Food Wishes

Friday, September 16, 2011

Corn Potato Chowder

This corn chowder is actually really really tasty.  I developed it myself and after a few attempts, I have tweaked it so it's just perfect.  P.S. the pinch of cayenne pepper is absolutely essential, it won't make it spicy!

Corn Potato Chowder
Makes 4-6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups water (or chicken stock)
  • 3 small red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 3 cups frozen sweet corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • freshly ground black pepper
What you do: 
In a stockpot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the onion and celery begin to soften.

Add potatoes then water to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are completely soft.  Add corn and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in milk and cream and heat very gently for 1 minute more. Add the pinch of cayenne pepper.

Puree with stick blender to your desired thickness. You can add a tablespoon of corn starch if you like.

Season with pepper and cayenne, ladle into bowls, serve with crusty bread.

Oven-Baked Chicken Nuggets

I made these for my 2-year-old to have for dinner and he loved them!  Will definitely be making them again for him.  I served them with rice mixed with peas, and corn. 

Oven-Baked Chicken Nuggets 

  • 1/2 pound chicken cutlets, pounded thin and cut into strips (or cut into nuggets)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • garlic powder
  • salt
What you do

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).  Place the beaten egg on one plate for breading, and the panko on another plate. 

For each chicken nugget, dip it first in the egg, and then in the panko, and place it on a wire rack over a baking sheet (like what you would use to cool cookies).  If you don’t have a rack, just place the chicken directly on a baking sheet, but you will need to turn them halfway through baking.  Sprinkle the garlic powder and salt across the chicken fingers.

Bake the chicken fingers for about 10 minutes, and then increase the heat to 450 degrees (230 C) and bake for another 10 minutes.  Serve warm, with honey mustard or ketchup.

Recipe Source: Sugarlaws

Banana Cake with Nutella Buttercream Frosting

I've tried many different banana bread and cake recipes.  This one is my favourite.  It's simple, moist, and very tasty.  It's perfect.  I served it with Nutella Buttercream frosting this time, but this cake can be served without any frosting and it's still awesome. 

Banana Cake
Yields 1 x20cm round cake or 1 x 30cm oblong fluted cake
The recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 24cm round cake tin.


  • 125 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 125 grams sugar
  • 2 medium bananas, very ripe
  • 2 eggs (about 60g each)
  • 125 grams plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  •  icing sugar, Nutella, or whipped cream for serving 
What you do

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.  Line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved.  Cut the bananas into a few pieces and add to the butter and sugar and beat until the banana is fully incorporated into the batter.  Add the eggs and beat well.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the batter, beating until the batter is light and fluffy.  Scoop the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the top.

Bake at 180°C/350°F for about 35-40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  When cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.  When cool, remove carefully from the tin.

Dust with icing sugar to serve.  I used Nutella Buttercream frosting (see recipe below).

Recipe Source: Chocolate Chilli Mango

Nutella Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
What you do
Beat butter until smooth. Add the Nutella and beat until combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue mixing. Add 1 tablespoon of milk. Add another tablespoon if necessary in order to reach the desired consistency.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Herbed Breaded Chicken

These chicken drumsticks are a surprisingly tasty and easy dinner that I sometimes make for myself when Mark is away on business.  I haven't tried them with gluten-free breadcrumbs, but I will next time.  They pair nicely with potatoes (either mashed or perhaps potatoes au gratin) and green beans or salad.

Herbed Breaded Chicken 

  • 1 pack of chicken legs (mixed drumsticks and thighs are fine too - about 8 medium sized pieces)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley (dried or fresh is fine)
  • 2/3 sprigs fresh rosemary (dried is also fine - about 1 1/2 -2 Tablespoons will do)
  • 6 leaves chopped fresh basil (dried is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar 
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cub plain bread crumbs 
  • 1-2 Tablespoons butter
What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C fan forced)

Place chicken parts in a bowl, add garlic, all herbs (dried or fresh), salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil and toss/coat chicken very well.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over top (bread crumbs will absorb all liquid) and coat chicken

Lay chicken out in a roasting pan - be sure to place any bits of the bread crumb coating on the chicken, as the goodness should not go to waste.  Pat with butter on top and roast for 35-40 minutes.

Once chicken is cooked through, finish off in the broiler for 3-5 minutes (watch well so it doesn’t burn) so bread crumbs darken and chicken fat crisps

Remove chicken from pan and place on a dish.  Enjoy!

 Recipe Source: Tina's Nom Noms

Perfect Blueberry Muffins

Well, these are pretty much the most perfect blueberry muffins.  I've tried many different blueberry muffin recipes that claim to be the best, but this one really is!  Of course it's good, it's from Smitten Kitchen. 

Perfect Blueberry Muffins
Makes 9 to 10 standard muffins

  • 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces or 71 grams) unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I omitted this)
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces or 191 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon (7 grams or 1/4 ounce) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces or 105 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)
What you do:

Preheat oven to 375°F (190 C). Line a muffin tin with 10 paper liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well, then yogurt and zest.

Put flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift half of dry ingredients over batter. Mix until combined. Sift remaining dry ingredients into batter and mix just until the flour disappears.
Gently fold in your blueberries.

The dough will be quite thick (and even thicker, if you used a full-fat Greek-style yogurt), closer to a cookie dough, which is why an ice cream scoop is a great tool to fill your muffin cups. You’re looking for them to be about 3/4 full, nothing more, so you might only need 9 instead of 10 cups.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean (you know, except for blueberry goo). Let cool on rack (ha), or you know, serve with a generous pat of butter.

Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen