Thursday, 23 October 2014

Slow cooker Moroccan chicken

Well, in short, it was a success!

I used this recipe with some modifications

- 380g of chicken breast instead of 600g of chicken thighs
- 1/2 capsicum
- Half a 400g tin of butter bean instead of lentils
- A slightly different tin of soup, although that's probably a branding thing
- Brown rice instead of couscous
- no coriander

I did sear the chicken in the pan but probably won't bother next time. Hubby thinks that some mixed herbs would help, and I think I could just use one cup of chicken stock. I put in on for five hours on high and it was probably a bit overcooked. I tried to skip the flour because we didn't have any but it really was runny so I went to the shop and got some to thicken it up a bit.

Not sure how it will go if I double it and freeze. We got more than we needed - hubby went back for very rare seconds and there was still a serve left, so if I increased it by 50% we would probably have the prefect size for two servings for our family.

The neighbour even commented on how amazing the smell was which was the first time ever something like that has happened!

Stay tuned as I tweak further...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday Menu Plan

After a long break from both blogging and menu planning, I'm back again.

Monday: Pizza (take away)
Tuesday: Shepherd's Pie (from my awesome mum)
Wednesday: Moroccan Chicken Casserole (slow cooker) We haven't had this one before so I'm going to give it a try. I think I will serve with rice rather than couscous, because couscous scares me. UPDATE - it went well!
Thursday: Burritos
Friday: Stir fry (Hubby) Family BBQ
Saturday: Spaghetti Bolognese Family BBQ
Sunday: Scavenge

Edited to add: Half a day later and I'm already making changes! I forgot about one family dinner on Friday and just found out about another on Saturday, so a few changes to make.

Menu Plan Monday linky here

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Freezer lasagnes

A dead easy, easy scale up-able, freezeable basic.

I'm pretty much cheating here. There is no bechamel sauce and it uses frozen veggies, but it's simple and it works. 

(Makes six medium lasagnes: 2 generous adult serves each) 

- 1 kg lean beef mince
-  750g frozen veggies (I used peas, carrots and corn )
- 4 jars pasta sauce
- 3 tins tomatoes
- 1 tin kidney beans (washed and drained) 
- 1-2 boxes lasagne sheets (we use whole meal) 
- grated cheese as per taste - 500g is generous

Brown the mince in portions. Combine the sauce, tomatoes, veggies and washed/ drained beans in a big big pot. Add the browned mince and simmer for 30 mins ish. 

Layer the meat sauce (which should be runnier than normal bolognese sauce) then pasta sheet, then cheese. Repeat two or three times depending on the size of your container/ hunger of your family. If desired you can sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the top later if you like a crispy top. 

Freezes very well and easy to make up in bulk and in stages. Defrost in the fridge for 24 hours then cook in the over for 30 mins ish on 180 deg until brown on top and hot throughout. Serve with salad and or garlic bread. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Pattern blocks and Duplo

Pattern blocks are so much fun! I saw these and remembered them from my childhood. I had wooden ones and these are plastic but I couldn't believe that I'd not thought about them in 20 years then they appeared! 

I bought some for Hubs and she/ I have been having lots of fun. 

The shapes are standard size and colour and all fit together. The green triangles, red trapeziums and blue diamonds fit together to make the yellow hexagons. The orange squares and tan skinny diamonds don't make the hexagons but the size fits with all the other pieces. 

Duplo is a big favourite at the moment too, and I keep finding stray bits like this. I thought these were abandoned, but Chubs told me they were a train!

She's always so proud of everything she makes and often asks me to take a photo. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Decluttering - freezer

One thing on the decluttering list was the freezer. With the craziness of the last cope of months it had reached crisis point. Too much crap in there, so no room for useable food. No room for usable food, so I couldn't make sandwiches etc ahead of time. Couldn't freeze sandwiches, so getting out of the house in the morning was a disaster, so that caused stress. Stress that I knew how to fix - get the freezer sorted - but didn't have the time or energy to do. 

We had a 40 deg C day here in Saturday, so the idea of having a legitimate reason to stick my head in the freezer for an extended period seemed awesome. I pulled everything out of the freezer, and the overloaded crap/ waste wasn't actually as bad as I thought. 

Soaking up the icy slush.

Chucks of ice (and stray veggies) 

All I had to chuck was a whole heap of almost finished old loaves of bread, and a massive expressed milk stash that was unusable - more on that to come. Thankfully nothing else was too old or ruined, 

The reorganised and defrosted freezer. I'm using reusable grocery bags to try to keep it organised - I'll know how I go! It actually hasn't been too bad - it's been about two years since a clean out/ defrost and it's only been the past couple of months that it's been in crisis mode. 

As well as the grocery bags, I'll keep doing my usual freezer organising things which generally work well.

- when meals go in, put new meals on the bottom so the oldest are at the top

- small containers of sandwiches/ Chub's lunch go in the basket

- uncooked meat generally goes in the separate fride freezer (the chest freezer is mostly for pre cooked meals and large things like bread )

- I no longer pump milk so no need to worry about storing that. 

One more thing ticked off the list! 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Meal plan

Time to get back on it. Whenever I skip meal planning for a time, I really miss it. It's hard when I'm on my own because it doesn't seem worth it to cook for Chubs and me so I try to freeze ahead, but I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. 

Monday: steak and veg (Dear Husband) 
Tuesday: slow cooker something (me) 
Wednesday: dinner out with visiting friends
Thursday: stir fry (DH) 
Friday: chilli con carne (make big batch for freezer - me) 
Saturday: scavenge 
Sunday: burritos (me) 

Sunday, 5 January 2014


Decluttering I the new year - nothing special about that but I'm being ruthless. So far I've had one box of toys and these three bags full of mostly my clothes. Most of these clothes just plain and simple don't fit any more. They are still in good condition, but for someone two sizes smaller than me, so out they go. 

The clutter is driving me nuts at the moment. I'm not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination, but when I can't get into drawers because there are boxes and baskets on the floor in front of them - and some of those baskets have been there since I was pregnant with Chubs - then it's time to get brutal. 

One of the reasons that I hang on to things is that I try not to be wasteful, therefore I don't want to give something to the second hand shop or toss it in the rubbish if it can be mended or still have some use in it. However, the fact still remains that if something has not been used in years, then it's probably not worth the storage space and I should pass it on to someone else. 

So, I'm trying to be brutal and pretty much just purge. The rubbish bin has been overflowing with crap and will continue to do so. I'm trying to do just some each day.

We're also trying to get back into a bit of a routine. Christmas, family visiting and a beach holiday in the back of flying solo for five weeks while hubby was away during a crazy time at work for me has meant that routine has gone out the window and we're all craving a return. Hopefully the decluttering, organising and cleaning will help to get back on track. 
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