White Mushroom Lasagna

A colleague recently reminded me about the HelloFresh concept (weekly delivery of ingredients & recipes for a certain number of meals for the family) and offered for me to try a box on a *free* coupon that she had been given. I had tried the concept in July last year (read the review here) and thought that the concept was pretty good, but I didn’t like the fact that recipes/website were in Dutch only and that there wasn’t much choice when it came to the meals each week.

The good news is that they have evolved!! Although the website is still only available in Dutch or French, you do get an email that allows you download the recipes in English just before your order is delivered. AND you can choose within 10 menu’s that change weekly! (Another bonus is that I notice that their price has remained the same=> 53€ for 5 meals for 2 people)

We got an original box => 5 meals for 2 people. And I have to say that a few of those meals were portioned for 3 rather than 2… meaning that we have some soup in the freezer and HIM or I could have leftovers for lunch the next day. One of those meals was the White Mushroom Lasagna – which was delicious but very filling & rich!

white-mushroom-lasagne

I have never made a béchamel / white sauce like this before – but talk about hiding the vegetables!!

We are currently signed up for a regular original box and I am loving the fact that for a few nights each week, I don’t have to *think* about “What’s for supper?” and the ingredients/groceries required – PLUS it has allowed us to widen our repertoire of cooking (and eating) and increase our vegetable intake. Indeed… we are definitely getting our 5-a-day in now! (I also signed up for their wine box but that is another story :))

This recipe is definitely a make again AND perfect for a vegetarian!

White Mushroom Lasagna
4 portions

1 head of cauliflower
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
200ml single cream
50g cheese, grated
lasagna sheets
500ml vegetable stock
butter
6 Tablespoons flour

  • Cut cauliflower in smaller pieces and using a food processor, make into crumbs
  • Gently fry the onion & garlic & cauliflower in 2 tablespoons of butter for 2minutes in a deep saucepan. Remove from heat
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same saucepan
  • Stir in the flour, mixing for 2minutes at a medium heat
  • Add stock slowly, mixing well with a whisk to avoid lumps
  • Bring to the boil, then add the cauliflower mix along with the mushrooms to the sauce
  • Add the single cream and 1/3 of the cheese (along with Salt & Pepper to taste)
  • leave on the heat for 2minutes
  • in an oven dish, layer the lasagna sheets & sauce => repeating until all the sauce is used up
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese
  • Bake at 200C for 20-25minutes

white-mushroom-lasagne-2

Courgetti Bolognese

I recently decided to eat less carbs at night… Now, don’t you worry… I am not going paleo on anyone… but rather eating my carbs in the morning for breakfast & at mid-day for lunch. This has meant some mindset changes – especially as I have had a tendency to have salads for lunch (because I am at work) and big hearty dinners (when I am at home).

Last week – I knew that I was going to make a pot of bolognese sauce… but instead of teaming it with conventional noodles or spaghetti – I decided to read up a bit about zoodles (zucchini noodles) or courgetti (courgette spaghetti).. which is when you make a “faux” noodle out of courgettes. I especially enjoyed reading Elana’s Pantry recipe and pretty much followed her cues for a bowl of warm courgette zoodles.

courgetti 3

Essentially – using a spiralizer made the job super quick and easy.

Make again? Yes… in fact, I did it again the following evening too!

courgetti 1

Courgetti Bolognese (feeds 4)

3-4 large courgettes (1 per person)
olive oil

400g mince (pork/beef mix)
500ml passatta
180g tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 grated carrots
salt/pepper/dried herbs

  • To make the bolognese sauce, I heat up some olive oil in a large saucepan and then add meat
  • Once browned, I mix in the passatta, tomato paste, sugar, carrots, garlic and seasonings
  • Reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20-30minutes
  • For the courgetti, spiralize the courgette.
  • Salt it and leave to sit for 20minutes
  • Rinse & drain the courgetti, and pat dry with paper towels
  • In a frying pan, heat a dash of olive oil and then ‘fry’ the courgetti for approx. 5minutes
  • Serve

As simple as that

courgetti 2

Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff Pasta

It has been a while since I really sat down to write-up a few recipes or even blog posts that were not associated with #BxlFF (Brussels Food Friends) or one of the monthly Secret Recipe Club reveals… and I have really missed it!

But I have a good excuse… as I have  just spent 2weeks holiday in Cape Town (South Africa) with my family … which means I have some lovely restaurant food posts still to share with you… (they are coming, I promise!!) PLUS we have some other exciting news to share with you soon….

But now I am back in Brussels, back at home and getting my butt back into the kitchen! And therefore I wanted to share this delicious and super easy dinner recipe with you! From fridge to table in 25minutes or less!!

I had a whole punnet of mushrooms in the fridge that were starting to look a little sad… as well as some leftover cooked chicken breast… so I google-boxed for inspiration and finally decided to make a stroganoff inspired dish (which I adapted from a recipe from Nigella)

stroganoff 3

Would I make it again? Definitely… quick, easy and super tasty (not to mention filling!)

stroganoff 2

Chicken & Mushroom Stroganoff Pasta

500g mushrooms (chopped)
140g tomato paste
2 Tablespoons butter
200ml cream
150g chicken (cooked & sliced/shredded)
150ml chicken stock
Pasta
Salt

  • I found that cooking the pasta took the same amount of time as making the sauce – so put your pot of salted water on to boil as you start the sauce.
  • Cook the pasta according the packet instructions
  • Melt butter in a frying pan
  • Add mushrooms and cook for 10minutes
  • Stir in the tomato paste & the chicken stock – bring to the boil and then simmer for 5minutes
  • Stir in the cream and the chicken pieces and simmer for a further 5minutes until the chicken is warmed through
  • Serve on the pasta (or rice/baked potato)

stroganoff 4

3 Cheese Tuna Pasta Bake

Throughout Lent – HIM and I both tried to stick to *Fish Fridays* (or meat-free Fridays)…and obviously Good Friday was no exception!

This means either abstaining from meat in totality (I.e. vegetarian meals) or eating a bit of fish.

In fact – I have memories of my childhood – of *Fish Fridays* happening every week, not just during Lent… and Mommabear stopping at “Mr Fish” (a Fish&Chip shop run by a Portuguese Family in Pinelands) to get a fish cake (for me), a piece of fish (for herself) and a packet of super-slap potato chips (frites). (For those who are not aware of the “slap chips” terminology – it means that the potatoes have been peeled, sliced, fried in oil and then are covered in salt (& vinegar if you like) and wrapped up in unprinted newsprint paper… and remain a “slap”/limp characteristic – probably because they continue to sweat in the newsprint paper on the way home… no hard crusted French frites here!)… BUT they are so good! (Especially as a hangover cure!)

Anyhoo – I digress….

Keeping our Friday low-key – I whipped up a tuna pasta bake but added in a whole lot of cheese – 3 types to be exact (Parmesan, Gruyère & Cheddar… all really strong flavours)

Tuna pasta bake 3

This recipe is simple but heartily filling! Perfect for a rainy day or just for a bit of comfort…

Tuna pasta bake 1

3 Cheese Tuna Pasta Bake

2 tins of tuna, drained (we used the tuna chunks in springwater)
240g of cheese (80g parmesan, 80g grated cheddar & 80g grated Gruyère)
400g dry pasta (we used the large macaroni type)
600ml milk
100g butter
2 Tablespoons of plain flour

  • Bring salted water to the boil – in order to cook the pasta (according to the packet instructions)
  • Melt butter in saucepan large enough to make the Béchamel sauce
  • Once butter has melted, stir in the flour to make roux and add a dash of milk to give it some liquid consistency.
  • Using a whisk add half of the milk to the roux and whisk until smooth
  • Leave over a low heat, whisking occasionally & adding dashes of milk when the mixture starts to thicken
  • Repeat whisking & adding milk until Béchamel sauce has the consistency of a custard & remove from heat
  • Once the pasta is cooked – remove from heat & drain (the cooking of the pasta & béchamel sauce should take the same amount of time – 10-20minutes)
  • Add the tuna to the Béchamel sauce
  • Layer the Pasta & tuna sauce in an oven proof dish
  • Top with cheese
  • Bake for 20-25minutes at 180C

tuna pasta bake 2

Tuna Pasta bake 4

Lemony Broccoli and Tuna Pasta

sometimes (and especially after holidays, weddings and honeymoons)…. you need to eat a little bit healthier… just sometimes

🙂

In reality, this is a combination of using a few basic ingredients to create something tasty and filling (while it is also light and healthy)… and for those who follow Weight Watchers (it is makes 4 portions of 12 Propoints each)…a definite make again kind of meal, especially since it is ready in 2tics (translation: 2tics = quickly :))

I found the recipe on the BBC Good Food Website as I did my search on *broccoli* – especially since HIM had done a shop recently and our fridge was groaning with vegetables and I truly needed some inspiration. I omitted the capers and olives as neither of these are my favourites – but feel free to throw them in if you like…

Lemony Broccoli & Tuna Pasta

broccoli tuna pasta final

350g dry pasta

250g Broccoli, cut into florets

198g tin of tuna

zest & juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • Boil pasta in salted water in a pot for about 5minutes
  • Add broccoli and continue to cook for another 5minutes (or until both are cooked and tender)
  • broccoli
  • Mix tuna, lemon juice, zest and olive oil together in a bowl
  • Drain pasta & broccoli and add to the bowl and toss
  • (add extra olive oil if required and season with black pepper)
  • broccoli tuna pasta

Spinach and bacon stuffed pasta shells

I love lazy Sunday’s… don’t you??

We normally go to 11h30 mass (which gives us a pretty good lie in)… and then have a lazy lunch followed by a movie (or a nap) – and this is what a lazy Sunday is all about for us! (Sometimes we even have Sunday night supper club which starts between 17h30/18h30… but this concept kinda died… BUT we are thinking about reinstating it! Especially now that we have longer days and a little spattering of sunshine)

So for this past Sunday – I used a recipe that I had found in the Olive Magazine (May 2013 issue)… and added my own twist…  in fact – 2 twists…

  1. I added bacon
  2. I used creamed spinach instead of making the spinach sauce from scratch

Conclusion – definitely a dish that I would make again. I would however increase the quantity of bacon & spinach as the pasta shells should (in my humble opinion) be stuffed FULL!

Spinach & Bacon stuffed pasta shells

spinach stuffed pasta shells final

200g pasta shells (about 20)

300g frozen pack of creamed spinach

100g bacon

2x 25g butter

1 onion – peeled and chopped (I used a red onion and it really worked well)

2 Tablespoons of flour

200ml milk

100g strong cheese, grated (they recommended using cheddar but we used what we had in the fridge)

spinach stuffed pasta shells ingredients

  • Cook pasta shells in salted boiling water until tender (but not too soft)
  • Drain and cool under running water to stop cooking
  • spinach stuffed pasta shells
  • heat 25g butter in a pan and add onion and cook softened
  • spinach stuffed pasta shells onion
  • Add bacon and continue to fry
  • spinach stuffed pasta shells bacon 2
  • Remove from heat and add the creamed spinach (that has been defrosted in microwave)
  • spinach stuffed pasta shells bacon spinach sauce
  • In a pot, melt the 25g of butter, then add the flour and cook for 2-3minutes
  • Gradually stir in the milk and whisk to remove lumps
  • Add 3/4 of the cheese and mix in to melt, remove from heat.
  • spinach stuffed pasta shells cheese sauce
  • Put the shells open-side up in a smallish dish
  • Spoon spinach/bacon mixture into the shells
  • spinach stuffed pasta shells stuffed
  • Pour over the cheese sauce
  • spinach stuffed pasta shells with sauce
  • Bake at 180C for 20-25minutes

Chevre and courgette Lasagna

I had all good intentions to make Nigella’s Pumpkin and Goats cheese lasagna from her Christmas cookbook… but as I stumbled around the local grocery store the night before the Murder Mystery Bookalokal dinner, trying to source all relevant ingredients… I could not find ANY pumpkin!!

PLAN B!

So I used the basis of the original recipe to “create” something similar but rather using courgettes instead of pumpkin… and you know what… it worked out perfectly (or it did at least in my opinion :))

As the theme of the Bookalokal Murder Mystery dinner was *Pasta, Passion and Pistols* – I popped down to my favourite South African wine shop, Paradisi (just outside of Ghent – only a 40minute drive from Brussels), the previous weekend to stock up some yummy wines to serve… namely and very appropriate for an Italian themed Murder dinner – the Goatfather Red wine, from the *Goats do Roam* portfolio created on the Fairview wine farm!

bookalokal fairview

Chevre and Courgette Lasagna

chevre and courgette lasagna ingredients

450g soft chevre (goats cheese)

500g ricotta

750ml Passatta

3 garlic cloves, crushed

5 courgettes

salt

herbs

olive oil

300g fresh lasagna sheets

2 balls of mozzarella

  • Mix the soft chevre with the ricotta in a clean bowl
  • chevre and courgette sauce
  • grate the courgettes, sprinkle with salt and leave to drain for at least 30-40minutes (I left to drain overnight while lightly covering the colander and bowl with a dish towel)
  • courgette quiche courgettes
  • To make the tomato sauce – place passatta, garlic cloves and olive oil in a pan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring regularly. Add herbs, salt and a teaspoon of sugar.
  • Using a clean dish towel – place the grated courgette inside and squeeze to remove any further liquid
  • Mix courgettes into cheese mixture
  • chevre and courgette mix
  • Layer lasagna sheet, courgette cheese mixture, lasagna sheet, courgette cheese mixture – until all has been used
  • chevre and corgette layers
  • Top with the Tomato sauce and layer the sliced Mozzarella on top
  • chevre and courgette final
  • Bake at 180C for 45-60minutes, and then stand for 15minutes to allow slicing and serving to be easier
  • chevre and courgette eaten

 

Lentil Ragu

I can’t believe it… My vegetarian repertoire has always been limited – but now it seems that these are the recipes that I see and think “ooh -yes, I wanna try that!” – so my little category of Vegetarian offerings is growing!

Secondly – I never thought that I would be a fan of lentils… as I always thought that they looked like ticks (as already mentioned here)… but this food item is now becoming a fast and firm favourite in my little kitchen!

While doing a bit of google searching for recipes using Celery (because we all know that I like to cook based on what is in my fridge :)).. I stumbled across a Lentil Ragu recipe on the BBC Good Food Website – which I adapted slightly 🙂

Wikipedia describes Ragú as an Italian meat-based sauce (influenced by the French) which is normally served with pasta – and one of the most well-known ragú’s would be the bolognese sauce! Characteristically, a ragú is a sauce of braised or stewed meat that maybe flavoured with tomato.

Mine, however, did not have any meat or meat related items…. and this is a great recipe for a family… superhealthy and feeds 6people comfortably! Plus you can freeze the sauce for up to 3months!

Lentil Ragú

3 Tablespoons Olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped

3 celery sticks finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

500g bag dried red lentils (I used the green ones)

750ml Passatta

2 Tablespoons tomato puree

2 teaspoons dried oregano & thyme

1l vegetable stock

500g spaghetti (plus parmesan to serve)

  1. Heat the oil in large pan and add onions, carrots, celery and garlic
  2. carrots and celery finely chopped and about to crush the garlic

  3. Cook gently for 15-20minutes until softened
  4. Stir in lentils, passatta, tomato puree, herbs and stock
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook for 40-50minutes until lentils are tender and saucy (add water if needed and season)
  6. If eating straight away – keep on a low heat while you cook the spaghetti (I used macaroni pasta)….

    What I would call a *homely* looking plate of food 🙂

How to hide the Greens in your menu…. Chicken and Broccoli Bake

I don’t have children and I have never been adverse to eating greens (ok – this might be exaggerated as I wasn’t a fan of green beans for a while and I didn’t start liking asparagus until my early twenties… and spinach – well, it needs to be creamed, right??)… but I do remember my university boyfriend stating that *If it is green, it is off* and therefore refusing to eat any vegetables that happened to be green in colour.

So if you are looking for a sneaky way to hide some greens in your food … or if you are like me and have a bag of broccoli in the fridge that you would like to use up :), then this might be the recipe for you:

this is another recipe courtesy of the BBC Good Food Website  but I have adapted it, left out the mushrooms and flaked almonds (this is one nut I have never got MY nut around.. ha ha)

Chicken and Broccoli Bake

350g Pasta

200g Broccoli (cut into small florets and stems thinly sliced)

2 Tablespoons of oil

350g boneless, chickenless chicken breasts, thinly sliced

4 Tablespoons tomato paste/passatta

80gm soft cream cheese

284ml single cream

85g Mature cheddar (I acutally used Raclette cheese and it was delicious)

  1. Bring pot of salted water the boil, add pasta and cook for 6min
  2. Add Broccoli and cook for a further 5-6min
  3. Drain well and return to the pan
  4. Heat oil in a wide pan and add chicken pieces and fry until lightly browned (I like to add a squirt of lemon juice as it keeps the chicken nice and tender)
  5. Add tomato paste, cream cheese and cream
  6. Simmer gently, stirring until cheese has melted enough to thicken the sauce
  7. Don’t forget to add a bit of seasoning (salt & pepper)
  8. Pour sauce of pasta, stirring gently until coated (best to start the sauce before the pasta as the pasta has a tendency to cool and congeal ….)
  9. Place in an ovenproof dish, top with cheddar (and a good shake of mixed dried herbs) and bake for 20min at 190C

 

(FYI this recipe was in the Good Food magazine, September 2002)

Meat-free fridays… shall be renamed CRAB friday…

It is Lent and even though I have given up alcohol, I am also trying to respect the *MEAT-FREE* Friday rule. (Even more so on Good Friday!!!) Thankfully, Sunday’s are considered feast days – so I have been able to embibe on these days (although knowing full well that monday is a work day, does restrict my *catch up* philosophy :)).

Lent is a 40day period (excluding Sundays) starting on Ash Wednesday (the day after Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake day) and ending on Easter Eve (the Saturday before Easter Sunday). And in the Catholic Church it is *traditional* to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday as well as all Friday’s during the Lenten period.

With this in mind – I have successfully been able to abstain from eating meat on Fridays…  not that I am a big meat eater… but just that it limited my everyday choices of chicken and meat – and I really started to have sympathy for vegetarians with the limited  restaurant vegetarian options!!

But I dug deep and instead of resorting to *fish & chips* or another tuna mayo sandwich (which incidentally I had for lunch *blush*)… I found this crab recipe in the latest issue of Olive Magazine:

Linguine with crab, lemon and parsley

150g linguine

olive oil

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, slice

170g tin crabmeat, drained

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 a small bunch of parsley, chopped (I used mint)

  1. cook linguine according to packet instructions
  2. heat the 2-3 Tablespoons of olive in a large pan and gently cook the chilli and garlic for 2-3minutes
  3. Drain pasta, keeping 2-3 Tablespoons of the cooking water.
  4. Tip Pasta, crab, lemon and parsley into the pan with oil and chilli and TOSS everything together, heating through and adding some of the pasta water to bring everything together.

VOILA… meat-free friday WITHOUT the *fish & chips* option… and trust me… the chilli is GREAT! 😉