Easy, cheap, cook-ahead, mostly-from-the-storecupboard dinner! What’s not to love!!

I was not feeling great, needed something easy for me to cook, that did not require any shopping for ingredients despite the fact we were low on fresh provisions, was going to appeal to my girls and be low on carbs for my PT son. This is what I came up with…

2 x tinned tuna steaks in olive oil, drained and broken up roughly with a fork

a bundle of fresh spring greens

grated Cheddar cheese and last little bit of Parmesan

a small single portion of slightly under-cooked gluten free pasta

seasoned with black pepper ( I figured it would be plenty salty enough already without adding more)

And then all tossed together in a lasagna dish and covered with a béchamel sauce, roughly stirred through, before baking in the oven til it looked yummy (yes…that’s a technical cookery term!)

End result was an evening meal that was full of  tasty, cheesey tuna with al dente pasta and spring greens for four with enough leftover for three light lunches the next day – bargain!

When making béchamel sauce I always infuse the milk with bay leaves and fresh black pepper as a minimum requirement, variations on this that I enjoy are as follows:-

Ingredients
600ml/1½ pints milk
1 onion
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
6 black peppercorns
55g/2oz butter
55g/2oz plain flour
grated nutmeg (optional)
Preparation method
Bring the milk just to the boil with the onion pierced with the bay leaf and cloves, and the peppercorns.
Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes before straining.
Then melt the butter in a non-stick pan, stir in the flour, and cook over a low heat for five minutes.
When smooth, start adding some of the strained milk. Stir until smooth, and then add more milk until the sauce is thickened.
Cook for 10-15 minutes to ensure the flour is cooked through.
Sprinkle with grated nutmeg, if desired, and serve

Ingredients
15fl oz/425ml milk
a few parsley stalks
1 bay leaf
1 blade of mace or a pinch of powdered mace (optional)
10 whole black peppercorns
1 slice onion, 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick
1½oz/40g butter
¾oz/20g plain flour
salt and freshly milled black pepper
Preparation method
First place the milk in a small saucepan and add the parsley stalks, bay leaf, mace (if using), peppercorns and onion. Then place it over a low heat and let it come very slowly up to simmering point, which will take approximately 5 minutes. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the milk into a jug, discarding the flavourings.
All this can be done ahead of time, but when you want to make the sauce, use the same washed pan and place it over a gentle heat. Begin by melting the butter gently – don’t over-heat it or let it brown, as this will affect the colour and flavour of the sauce. As soon as the butter melts, add the flour and, over a medium heat and using a small pointed wooden spoon, stir quite vigorously to make a smooth, glossy paste. Now begin adding the infused milk a little at a time – about 1fl oz/25ml first of all and stir again vigorously. Then, when this milk is incorporated, add the next amount and continue incorporating each bit of liquid before you add the next. When about half the milk is in, switch to a balloon whisk and start adding large amounts of milk, but always whisking briskly. Your reward will be a smooth, glossy, creamy sauce.
Now turn the heat down to its lowest setting and let the sauce cook for 5 minutes, whisking from time to time. While that’s happening, taste and season with salt and freshly milled black pepper. If you wish to keep the sauce warm, all you do is pour it into a warmed jug and cover the surface with clingfilm to stop a skin from forming, then place the jug in a pan of barely simmering water.

A white sauce given extra flavour by infusing the milk with carrot, onion, celery, black peppercorns, mace and bay leaf for 30 minutes. Like hollandaise, mayonnaise and crème anglaise, béchamel forms the basis of numerous other sauces. It was named after its inventor, Louis XIV’s steward Louis de Béchamel. It’s a versatile sauce for all sorts of dishes including macaroni cheese, lasagne and croque monsieur.

ooooooo yummy!

I stumbled across these great suggestions! Check out the Protein Salad and the Chicken n Blackberry in particular! And oh my gosh…Crunchy Cherry Sunflower Seed Wraps!!! I am so on the sprouts n shoots at the moment that this one is utterly perfect for me!

http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/meal-ideas/nutrition-experts-favorite-brown-bag-lunches?utm_source=LifestyleNewsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=ShapeGeneralNLList&utm_campaign=LifestyleNewsletter051513

 

Plus also what an awesome selection of delicious recipes! Irresistible! http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/25-delicious-and-clean-detox-dishes?cm_mmc=Spotlight-_-1292454-_-05142013-_-25-Detox-Dishes-hed

Honey- Mustard Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

 

INGREDIENTS
Serves:   Prep: 8min Cook: 19min Total: 27min
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz each)
  • Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, until the butter and sugar have melted together. Stir in the mustard, honey, and soy sauce.
  2. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add to the pan flesh-side down. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until fully browned and flip. Brush with half of the glaze and place the pan in the oven until the salmon is firm and flaky (but before the white fat begins to form on the surface), about 5 minutes. Remove, brush the salmon with more of the honey mustard, and serve with the asparagus.
NUTRITIONAL FACTS PER SERVING
CALORIES 471.2 CAL
FAT 27.3 G
SATURATED FAT 6.7 G
SODIUM 535 MG
CARBOHYDRATES 17.9 G
TOTAL SUGARS 11.4 G
DIETARY FIBER 3.9 G
PROTEIN 39.2 G

Creamy Vegan Basil-Fredo Fettuccini

How good does this dairy free yet creamy pasta dish sound??? Perfect for me! However I have not come across mung bean pasta before so will have  to investigate where I can get it from

Ingredients
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 6-7 cups cauliflower chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup fresh basil plus more for serving
  • 1 package Mung bean fettuccini or any other pasta of choice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Directions
In a large pot, bring vegetable broth to a boil and add cauliflower. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
While cauliflower is cooking, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. When cauliflower and onions are done cooking, place all remaining ingredients into a Vitamix or blender (everything except the pasta and extra basil for garnish), and blend until completely smooth.
When pasta is done, drain water and mix in sauce.
Serve garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Watermelon Seed Trail Mix – Healthy Money-Saving Recipes: Vegetable Peels, Leaves, Skins Recipes – Shape Magazine – Page 3

Watermelon Seed Trail Mix – Healthy Money-Saving Recipes: Vegetable Peels, Leaves, Skins Recipes – Shape Magazine – Page 3.

I love the idea of using the parts of fresh fruit and vegetables that would generally be thrown away or composted. I am particularly interested in the watermelon seed trail mix as I am actively seeking to source magnesium into my diet and love watermelon

Beetroot.. in my cake!

I opened a new pack of Lurpak recently and it suggested I add beetroot to my chocolate cake to make it deliciously moist and fudgy. I love both chocolate cake and beetroot but til now have never thought to mix the two together so I decided this required some investigation. Of course I am familiar with and enjoy carrot cake but until very recently had not considered beetroot a likely ingredient for cake. A couple of days ago I saw a cake being made on a TV show with three different colour beetroots- it looked awesome. The judge of the cake competition on the show declared it delicious!

So I am intrigued to experiment and try it out for myself. The first recipe I am going to try out will be this straight forward looking one I found on BBC Food website, which explains “Adding beetroot to a chocolate cake recipe makes it wonderfully fudgy and moist. (Possibly a tiny bit healthy, too!)” It is from Jill Dupleix on Saturday Kitchen.

Chocolate beetroot cakes

Chocolate beetroot cakes

Ingredients

 

Less than 30 minspreparation time

30 mins to 1 hourcooking time

Makes 12

 

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4. Arrange paper muffin cases in a 12-mould muffin tin.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder into a bowl. Mix in the sugar, and set aside.
  3. Purée the beetroot in a food processor. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and oil and blend until smooth.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the beetroot mixture and lightly mix. Pour into the muffin cases.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is firm when pressed with a finger.
  6. Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar to serve.

 

Cauliflower “Steaks”

I came across this recipe on a great site I follow and loved it so much I needed to make a note of it! It is so simple and is with an often overlooked vegetable as well as being fabulously tasty, so for me it is win, win all the way!

Source: http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2011/04/cauliflower-steaks.html

Roasted slabs of cauliflower topped off with a tomato olive type salsa. I read about this technique in an older issue of Bon Appetit.

Taking a whole head of cauliflower, peel off the outer leaves, standing it on its core end and cutting slabs from it’s thickest part, a good half inch or a more keeping everything intact resembling a little tree.

I decided to roast my “steaks” so I drizzled each side with olive oil, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of romano or parmesan cheese of course!

Bake in a 400F oven until tender and golden on each side gently flipping each “steak” over with a spatula.

Don’t worry about the stem and core being attached you’re going to eat it all!

The end result gives you the perfect surface for a topping of your choice, think about it for a minute, the possibilities are endless!

I might even stick a fried egg on top for some “steak” and eggs next time!

The topping I made had quartered grape tomatoes, sliced green and kalamata olives, finely diced red onion, fresh basil, parsley and olive oil, if I had a jar of artichokes I would have chopped a few in there and maybe even a couple sun dried tomatoes.

It was the perfect compliment to the creamy roasted slabs of cauliflower, and a definite WOW factor! I hope you give it a try.
Buon Appetito!

These beautiful images and recipe were from Marie, Proud Italian Cook who I follow on Facebook  and on line and is a constant source of inspiration and information.