Home-made pizza adventures

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Roasted veg and feta

I think you all know by now that I’m into less processed foods. And I’m also SUPER keen on encouraging y’all to cook more from home. Add into that my obsession with dough and you have a recipe for dinner success, home made pizza success that is.

 

I love dough. I really do. So do my girls. We love putting the yeast in the luke warm water and watching it froth. Miss almost-4 says that it’s like fireworks if you watch it from the top. We love sifting the flour in and mixing with our hands. They LOVE getting a chance to knead the dough and then check on it as it gets bigger and bigger and BIGGER. It really is a wonderful lesson for them to learn.

 

My great love, dough

My great love, dough

When it is pizza dough we are making they get extra excitement because it also means that mum will let them “help” roll out the dough. They get to watch mum throw a pizza base in the air (purely for entertainment guys, not necessary) and they also get to sprinkle toppings. It is the most fun they have in our kitchen I tell you!

 

Pizza dough is also an awesome time saver because it freezes really well. I will often make a big batch, portion it up and freeze it for the nights that I really can’t be bothered making something elaborate. At one point I was also bagging and freezing chopped up pizza toppings so all I had to do was roll out the dough, dress the pizza and cook.

 

Margherita heaven

Margherita heaven

No-one ever believes me but it is seriously simple to make your own pizza dough. SERIOUSLY! If I want the process to be quick I will sometimes secretly make the dough while the girls are otherwise entertained J. I’m okay as long as they don’t hear my pyrex bowl clink on the bench. If they do, they know that some cooking is going down and my clean kitchen is a goner!

 

The other awesome part about pizza is that you can cater for everyone’s tastes. There an almost endless list of options for pizza toppings and you can go wild with your combos! I have been known to hold pizza nights where everyone comes and brings their favourite combos. You get to share your favourite but also learn new toppings to add to the repertoire.

 

Rising to heaven

Rising to heaven

If you want to take it to the next level, make your own pizza sauce too. It is super easy as well and you can freeze it along with your dough for many happy pizza nights to come.

 

Get your prep on

Get your prep on

I use taste.com.au for my pizza dough recipe. The link is here.

So here are our favourite pizza topping combos:

Simple starters

  • Margherita: pizza sauce, sliced tomato rounds, cheese and sprinkled Italian herbs.
  • Ham and cheese: the girls almost always just choose ham and cheese for their pizza. In saying that, they will end up stealing bits of our pizza with other toppings on it too.

–          The lot – basically anything and everything you can find in the fridge

 

Mexicano

Mexicano

Gourmet explorations:

  • Tandoori chicken: marinate some chicken breast in tandoori paste and cook in a frypan before putting on pizza. On top of pizza sauce layer the chicken, green capsicum, cheese, mango chutney and sour cream. After it is cooked top with some fresh coriander.
  • Roast veg: pizza sauce, layer on roasted veg like pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, carrots and beetroot. Slices rather than chunks work best. Top with crumbled Danish feta and pine nuts.
  • Mexican – slow cooked salsa chicken, capsicum, sour cream, cheese.
  • Potato and bacon – sliced potato, diced bacon, drizzled sweet chilli sauce, sour cream blobs, and cheese
  • My sisters Brussel sprout, leek, and goats cheese! She sautes the brussels and leeks with some bacon and then tops the pizza with it, crumbling the goats cheese on to finish!
Keeping it basic, ham and cheese

Keeping it basic, ham and cheese

So get your Italian mumma on and get kneading some dough. It’s therapy and dinner at the same time!

 

Happy cooking,

 

The Dietitian Mummy

Chicken Stock

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I talked a few weeks back about cutting up your own chickens and how you are left with a whole lot of wastage and making your own chicken stock is a really good way to utilise some waste. My main motivation for making my own chicken stock is mainly for taste but also because Miss 3 seems to go agro on commercial chicken stock. There are a fair few preservatives in it and the yeast extract that is in most of even the liquid forms is what I suspect makes her go bananas.

The pot simmering away

The pot simmering away

Making your own chicken stock sounds ultra super-mum-ish which I hate, but it is actually SUPER easy. And it makes your house smell yummo too. It’s smoother in your meals, especially the ones that you make an effort to take a long time to make like risotto. Seriously you can taste the difference.

 

And do you know the best part? Most of the ingredients are parts of foods that you rarely eat! The left over chicken bones, the tops of celery and leek. It saves you money and stops wastage too. I can’t bang on about it enough.

But anyway, I’m blabbering on because the “recipe” is so easy it wont take long to write!

 

No that's not my scraps, that's my flavour

No that’s not my scraps, that’s my flavour

Chicken Stock

1 Chicken carcass. You can use an already cooked one but you will have to give it a good ol’ beating, will have to cook it for longer and the stock wont be as tasty. Raw is best.

Half of a top of celery (the leaves and thin stalky bits)

1 carrot

1 onion

The top half of a leek

Garlic cloves

Herbs – I generally use 2 bay leaves, and 2 sticks of rosemary

Peppercorns – about 6

Good lug of olive oil

Method

1. Put a lug of oil in the pot and brown the carcass.

2. This is the worst part: get a rolling pin and bash the chicken bones with the end of it. It’s a bit queasy for me hearing the bones crack (probably PTSD from a broken clavicle on entry to this world) but this is especially essential if you are using a cooked chook.

3. Chuck everything else in along with about 2 litres of water.

4. Bring to boil then simmer for the day.

5. I don’t usually add salt to the stock because I add salt when I cook so it doesn’t taste anything like commercial stock at this point. If you prefer to start with your stock salty then add salt while it’s cooking. Add it bit by bit and taste after a few minutes before adding more.

6. Strain the liquid out and there is your stock. If you want the fat out of it then put the liquid in a bowl in the fridge and use a spoon to scoop off the fat layer the next day.

The "leftovers"

The “leftovers”

7. Freeze in portions that you would normally use.

Easy peasy!!

Seriously have a go, your cooking will improve ten fold and it’s less useless preservatives entering your kiddies little bodies.

 

Happy cooking,

 

The Dietitian Mummy

Granola heaven

Granola heaven

Granola heaven

For ages I have been thinking about making granola. I’ve eaten it around the place before at café’s or my mums (mum LOVES granola). I’ve read about making it here and here. I’ve watched big sister make it before, but never have I gotten around to making it. Well, I can tell you right now, that is going to change from now on because on the weekend I had my first foray into granola making. It is safe to say that I, along with husband and the two girls, are all now granola mad.

 

The line up...

The line up…

After searching a few different recipes, I decided on a mixture of a few, but it is mostly like the link above along with some of my own additions. The making was definitely easier than I had previously thought. The girls, as usual, came clamouring into the kitchen the second they heard my pyrex mixing bowl clang onto the bench top. There they stayed, with Miss 3.5 asking every 5 seconds what part was her job. It’s a great kids cooking recipe because the mixing is fairly easy and you could even let the kiddies get their hands in there to mix too (if you can stop them from eating it that is).

 

Love me some nuts

Love me some nuts

The absolute best part was the smell. Oh my lordy the smell was amazing. It filled the whole house with a sweet delicious smell. I can still smell it on the scarf I wore that day mmmmmmmm. Husband returned from a surf and was practically dribbling at the oven door to see what it was. We ate it hot, scraping spoonfuls from the tray because we just couldn’t help ourselves. Chewy, hot sweet mouthfuls with the crunch of yummy hot nuts too. We also ate it cold once it was crunchy, over the top of each of our yoghurts. We eat it from the jar in the pantry. We take it to work as a snack. Miss 3.5 stands in the pantry looking at it and asking for the yummy crunchy stuff. We are sold.

 

The helpers

The helpers

I swear, mumsy smelt it from her house or something because just as I had finished cooking it, she magically turned up on the doorstep. I put some in a container for her and by the time she had a cuppa and went to leave, the majority of it was gone 🙂

 

Pre-bake

Pre-bake

So here’s how to make some of this crunchy, sweet delicious goodness….

 

Granola

Ingredients

3 cups oats

1 cup bran sticks

2 tablespoons canola oil

½ cup pure maple syrup

Squirt of honey

1 tablespoon brown sugar

About 1 ½ cups nuts (cashews and almonds in my case)

1 ½ cups cranberries

1 cup chopped dates

¼ cup chia seeds

 

Preheat your oven to about 150 degrees.

Mix together the oats, bran sticks, chia seeds, and nuts.

Mix together the wet ingredients and the sugar, then add to the dry ingredients.

Stir until all mixed together then spread out on a baking tray.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring around the mixture.

Add in the dried fruit for the last 5-10 minutes, watch closely to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Done!! Eat!!!

HFC – Healthy KFC

 
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So it seems that just a few of you were interested in my HFC recipe 😉 I don’t blame you, it looks pretty darn amazing. And I can tell you it tastes just as good as it looks folks. Crispy and delicious, steaming hot and salty, almost like KFC. Almost, because you get more chicken. You get better chicken. It’s not deep fried and hence SO much healthier. And you can add it to your repertoire as a perfectly healthy alternative when you have that craving for the Colonel.

Now everybody is different and entitled to their own opinion, and quite often I hear about the place something along the lines of “urgghh I don’t know why people eat Maccas/Hungrys/KFC, I don’t even like the taste of it”. Well I’m sorry all of you non lovers, but I LOVE the taste of all three. I know that’s very un-dietitian and un-cooking-food-loving of me but my taste buds don’t discriminate. Give me a juicy burger or crunchy delicious KFC chicken any day of the week and I will be salivating. The problem obviously is if I ate these foods any day of the week I would not only be salivating but rolling down the street due to excess fat accumulation. So I often try to make healthier versions of the disgustingly bad foods that I love. One of them is KFC.
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My love affair with this recipe started as many of my love affairs do, on Pinterest. I had spied this recipe and tried it many times. And loved it. However, there was always something missing. Until as usual, Jamie Oliver came along. With Save with Jamie and his JFC. The addition was not much but it was the key to get that extra crunch in the chicken that makes it even more like KFC. I will usually team it with typical KFC sides of corn on the cob, coleslaw and chips, obviously made at home otherwise what would be the point!

So here is the original recipe (ha ha see what I did there? KFC lovers will get it) and here is my recipe with tweaks.

HFC (Heidi “Fried” Chicken, or Healthy “Fried” Chicken).

About 12 pieces of chicken – can be thighs and drumsticks, or even breast cut into smaller parts. I take the skin off most of the time.

3/4 cup plain flour

1/4 cup polenta

2 tablespoons of Season All or All Purpose Seasoning (spicy if you like Zinger pieces)

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon chicken salt (Matani is what we use)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

About 1.5 cups of milk

1 tablespoon margarine

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Method

1. Soak the chicken in the milk for at least half an hour.

2. Put all your dry ingredients in a bowl
and stir until all combined.

3. Coat the chicken well in the flour/spice mix.

4. Melt the margarine and add the oil. Pour into a baking dish.

5. Put your chicken into the dish and turn to coat the chicken in the fat.

6. Bake in a moderate oven for about 50 minutes. Turning once.

7. Organise your sides and serve!

 

Get into it!

 

The Dietitian Mummy.

 

Easy chicken and pumpkin mac and cheese

 

Chicken and pumpkin mac and cheese

Chicken and pumpkin mac and cheese

Sometimes I get carried away with my cooking ambitions and forget that kids really just like basic tastes. One of my girls favourites is mac and cheese. Give them food in the beige colour range and they are happy as larry.

So last night I decided to float their boats and make chicken and pumpkin mac and cheese. And it was super easy. This could just as easily be made vegetarian, just leave out the chicken.

Cheese goodness and mess behind

Cheese goodness and mess behind

I accidentally put a massive whack in Miss 3.5’s bowl and husband laughed saying she would never finish it. Well she didn’t, but she came much closer than we thought she would. Miss 1.5 (who has been pretty hit and miss lately on the ol’ eating) even decided to get into it and shove a fair few mouthfuls in her mouth.

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We also had a good laugh at her attempts to say “mac-a-moimi”

Pot-o-gold

Pot-o-gold

So here’s the recipe…

Chicken and pumpkin mac and cheese

Ingredients

Cooked chicken pieces, we used leftovers from a roast chook

1/4 pumpkin (I think mine was jap), grated

Cheese sauce (go here for my recipe)

1 onion chopped

Macaroni (I used about 3/4 of a bag and it made HEAPS)

Grated cheese for the top (mine was a mix of tasty and parmesan)

Method:

-make your cheese sauce

-cook your pasta until it is just aldente

-once you have drained your pasta, cook your onion in the empty pasta pot with a bit of oil

-mix it all together

-put it in a tray and bake it in a medium oven (about 180 degrees) for about 15 minutes, or until the top crisps up and goes brown!

 

We added a salad to ours

We added a salad to ours

Yummo!!

 

Discussing kid life and mac and cheese

Discussing kid life and mac and cheese