Tag Archive | pasta

My Favourite Chicken Dish adapted from Jamie Oliver

I love Jamie Oliver – his recipes are simple, don’t take long to make and dfull of flavour. I accept the man is a cook rather than a chef but for me that’s just perfect for everyday meals and most of the basic entertaining I do. l always use chicken thighs with the skin on as they go all crispy and delicious. I serve with mashed potatoes and a green salad or steamed greens. The next day I shred the remaining chicken, squeeze out the garlic cloves and mix up all the leftovers in the pan to make a wonderful ‘sauce’ for pasta. 

Serves 4-6.


8 Chicken thighs with skin on plus 4 plum chicken legs
2 punnets cherry tomatoes
1 bulb garlic, separated into unpeeled whole cloves
1 large red chilli, finely sliced
1 generous bunch basil, leaves picked and stalks finely sliced
1 can cannellini beans, drained
sea salt and cracked black pepper
olive oil
mashed potatoes to serve


  1. Place chicken pieces skin side down in a single layer in a large casserole dish. They should fit snugly. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then turn and sprinkle the skin side with salt and pepper.
  2. Now scatter basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, whole unpeeled garlic cloves, chilli and basil stalks over the top of the chicken.
  3. Mix around a bit so that most of the tomatoes and basil are at the bottom with the chicken resting on top. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Place in a 180 degree C oven for 45 minutes. Move chicken around so that skin will brown and crisps up evenly. Place in the oven for another 30 minutes.
  5. Add the drained cannellini beans and mix around. Finish off in the oven for 15 minutes while finalising the mash.
  6. Eat with steamed greens or a green salad.

Vegetarian Lasagne

This vegetarian version of a lasagne is wonderful but absolutely huge. Divide into two large lasagne dishes and freeze one. If you wish to make it low-cal replace the lasagne sheets with slices of zucchini and the cheese sauce with blobs of low fat ricotta. It tastes just as delicious and has far fewer calories.

Serves 12-16.

Vegetarian Filling
6 eggplants, cut into 5mm(1/4 inch) rounds
1.25kg (2.5 lbs) portobello or brown mushrooms
4 carrots, grated
2 x 470g (15 oz) cans whole tomatoes
3 large onions, sliced
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup sherry

  1. Sprinkle eggplant rounds with salt. Drain after 30minutes and brown on each side in griller.
  2. Saute sliced mushrooms with garlic in butter until limp. Add 1/2 cup sherry and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Saute onions till soft and golden.  Add 1/2 cup sherry, 4 grated carrots, canned tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer about an hour.

Cheese Sauce/Alternatively use blobs of Ricotta
120g (4oz) butter
8 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
pinch nutmeg
125 g (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese

  1. Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour; cook gently, stirring, 1 minute.
  2. Gradually add the milk, stir until sauce boils and thickens.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg. Add cheese last.

Assembling the Lasagna
250 g (8 oz) lasagne noodles or Zucchini slices, 5mm(1/4 inch) thick
1 cup grated cheese or 1 cup ricotta
pumpkin kernels for crunch(optional)

  1. Using 2 lasagne dishes each 33cmx22cm(9x12inch), repeat the following layers: Grilled eggplant, mushroom mixture, onion  and vegetable mixture,  lasagne or zucchini slices, then cheese sauce or ricotta blobs.
  2. Repeat layers two or three times depending on depth of lasagne dish finishing with lasagne or zucchini slices.
  3. Sprinkle top with any remaining cheese sauce and grated cheddar cheese. Alternatively use blobs of ricotta and pumpkin kernels.
  4. Bake in moderate oven 20 to 25 minutes till hot and bubbling.

Tuna and Mushroom Pasta satisfies the whole Family

A quick and easy sauce to prepare – perfect for busy work days or lazy Sunday evenings.  I usually used thin spaghetti  or tagliatelle as the pasta and my favourite tinned tuna is the Sirena brand.

Serves 4.

500g pasta
1 onion, chopped
100g button mushrooms, quartered
2T tomato paste
1x384g tin tuna
300ml cream
chopped parsley to garnish

  1. Boil pasta in a large saucepan until al dente
  2. In the mean time sauté onion in a frying pan over a medium heat
  3. Add mushrooms and toss lightly
  4. Stir in tomato paste, tuna and cream and bring to boil
  5. Toss sauce through drained pasta

Lasagne tastes so much better Homemade

It tastes so much better homemade despite the fact that there is some work and so many dishes. My son, Sven, always loved the crispy topping – finishing the top with the lasagne sheets instead of the cheese sauce makes it extra crispy. Sven and his Dad were always in there fighting for that last helping.

Serves 6-8 (In our family it was only enough for 4 !!!!!)

Meat Sauce
1 tablespoon oil
500g (1 lb) minced steak
2 x 470g (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon rosemary
½ teaspoon sugar

  1. Saute onion and garlic.
  2. Add mince and brown over a high heat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 minutes.

Cheese Sauce
60 g (2 oz) butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
pinch nutmeg
125 g (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese

  1. Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour; cook gently, stirring, 1 minute.
  2. Gradually add the milk, stir until sauce boils and thickens.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg. Finally add cheese.

Assembling the Lasagna
250 g (8 oz) lasagne noodles
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup cream

  1.  Layers 1/3 of the meat sauce in the base of a 33cmx22cm (9x12inch) ovenproof dish.
  2. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese sauce; Then layer lasagne pasta sheets to cover top completely.
  3. Repeat these three layers twice more finishing with the pasta sheets on top – not the cheese sauce.
  4. Sprinkle top of lasagne sheets with 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake in moderate oven 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, gently pour or spoon cream over the top of cheese. Bake for further 10 to 15 minutes.

Chicken Pasta Salad with Chilli Lime Dressing for those Hot Summer Days

This is a light healthy meal in one dish that serves equally well for lunch, a light dinner or a picnic. Leftovers are perfect for school lunch boxes. Using a bought barbecue chicken saves time.

Serves 4-6

3-4 cups (300g) spiral pasta
1 cooked chicken, broken into bite size pieces
½ red capsicum, finely diced
125g (4 ounces) button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, grated
1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon basil, chopped
1 small oak lettuce
¼ cup grated parmesan

Dressing (mix together):
2 teaspoons sambal oelek chilli paste
1 clove crushed garlic
2 Tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup olive oil

  1. Boil pasta following packet instructions until just tender. Drain and cool.
  2. Arrange lettuce in a shallow serving dish.
  3. Add cooled pasta and remaining salad ingredients excluding parmesan.
  4. Toss with half the dressing.
  5. Sprinkle with parmesan and remaining dressing.

Thai Pasta Salad is a Perfect Match with Christmas Ham

Chilli, lime juice, mint, basil and fresh coriander – A spicy salad that goes beautifully with ham or can stand on its own if you are a vegetarian.  Serve cold. It literally takes minutes to make, goes far and keeps in the fridge for 2 to three days – a fabulous standby over a few days during the festive season. 

Serves 8 -12 depending on total number salads

500g spaghetti

¾ cup olive oil
1/3 cup nam pla (fish sauce)
2 tablespoons Kecap Manis (sweet Indonesian soya sauce)
juice of 2 limes
3-4 red birdseye chillies, finely chopped or use 2 long red chillies if you prefer a milder flavour
½ bunch each of fresh mint, basil and coriander

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to packet instructions until al dente.
  2. Drain and refresh under cold water and drain again.
  3. Process all the dressing ingredients and toss through the pasta.
  4. Salad can be kept several days in the refrigerator.

Savoury Mince with Macaroni – What’s not to Love?

The mince is tasty and the macaroni is crispy – everyone loves this wholesome dish. It’s the ideal way to end the week on a Sunday Evening.

Serves 4

300g macaroni
1 large onion, chopped
500g mince
2T(30ml) tomato paste
1t(5ml) mixed dried herbs or any available fresh herbs
100g butter

  1. Sauté onions in butter in a large frying pan over low heat until golden.
  2. Increase heat to high. Add mince and brown for a few minutes.
  3. Then cook over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. In the mean time cook macaroni until al denté according to packet instructions.
  5. Mix the tomato paste and herbs into the mince mixture and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Stir cooked macaroni into mince mixture and leave to cook for a bit longer so that macaroni goes a bit crispy and browns.
  7. Add lots of black pepper and serve with a tomato or  green salad.

Macaroni with Ham and Cheese is Perfect for Sunday Night

Every family has a Macaroni Cheese recipe. Ours has no white sauce and, using ham, means you get flavour without the time needed to cook bacon. The breadcrumb topping adds crunch too. It is key not to overcook the macaroni as there will be further cooking in the oven – you don’t want it all mushy. This dish is so easy and Bianca and Sven both loved it.

Serves 4

350g macaroni
30g butter
6 slices ham, finely chopped
cheddar cheese, about 12 slices of a 1kg wedge of tasty
1 cup bread crumbs
chopped parsley
50ml cream

  1. Heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Cook macaroni according to packet instructions till al denté.
  3. Drain macaroni and toss in butter so that it won’t stick.
  4. Put half the macaroni into a 19cm soufflé dish.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped ham and cover with a layer of sliced cheddar.
  6. Drizzle with half the cream
  7. Top with remaining macaroni and repeat ham, cheese and cream.
  8. Sprinkle top with breadcrumbs mixed with parsley and dot with a few knobs of butter.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown and crunchy.
  10. Serve with a green salad.

Uncle Walter’s Creative use of Leftovers: Bacon and Snowpea Pasta

Serves 4-6 depending on appetite size

Uncle Walter was always so clever in the kitchen and could throw together a bunch of leftovers from the fridge to create something delicious. Here is something mom learned from watching him one day that turned into one of the family ‘regulars’ on busy days.

  • Wallter0031 onion, chopped
  • 6 rashers bacon, diced
  • 2 generous handfuls snow peas or green beans
  • 1t (5ml) hot English mustard, heaped
  • 300ml cream
  • 500g pasta of your choice
  1. Boil pasta in a large saucepan until al denté.
  2. In the mean time sauté onion and bacon in a large covered frying pan for 6-10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Add snow peas or beans and after 1 minute stir in mustard.
  4. Add cream and boil about 2-3 minutes till thick.
  5. Drain pasta and stir sauce through.
  6. Eat
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