Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cooking for the Freezer: Progress Report 3

I made a tuna casserole in the last of the large aluminum trays the other day, and will have to buy more of them before I can make the pumpkin and spinach lasagne which I finally have all the ingredients for. I was planning to do my monthly shop this week, but Katy being sick has meant that I haven't been able to. We did make it out to the markets this morning, where I bought lots of fruit and veges, and also some more lentils, stewing steak, mince and chicken breasts for freezer meals. I haven't decided what to do with them yet, but I think I will make beef and brown lentil stoo in the crockpot for a start. That, of course, means that now I have to empty it and clean it. Yesterday I put another batch of pumpkin and lentil soup on, and then forgot to turn it off until after I got home from my ABA meeting about 12 hours later, so it was horribly overcooked. Chook food *sigh* Disappointing, but at least it was just using up odds and sods from the bottom of the vege crisper. I would have been really pissed off with myself if I'd bought the veges especially for the recipe and then wasted them like that... We were also lucky enough to find a big stack of the really yummy rectangular tomato-glazed pizza bases marked down to $1 each at the markets, and bought six, which are now in the deep freeze. I also bought poppyseed bagels for Beth to try, although I somehow doubt that they are destined for the freezer!

Forgot to mention that on Monday night I also made a gorgeous crockpot dhal with yellow split peas, sweet potato, capsicum and onion, seasoned with curry paste and lots of garlic. It cooked down into a gorgeous orange slurry after six hours or so, and along with 2 cups of brown rice, made up one meal for E, K and myself, and three lunches for E. Will have to make again, but a bigger batch next time. I will also need to make another batch of samosas, since we ate some with our dhal (so that Beth would have something to eat) and I parceled the rest of them out for E's lunches, alongside the dhal. Must induce food-related envy in E's co-workers wherever he goes, of course *g*

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cooking for the Freezer: Progress Report 2

I didn't manage to make the vegetarian lasagne until today, but it is now cooked and ready to go into the fridge tonight to cool down. Poor Beth was disappointed again... although she was pleased with the fact that I cooked extra white sauce so that we could have spinach sauce for dinner! Bizarrely, that was the only thing she ate - a plateful of spinach sauce. She didn't even want her sausages. That girl is downright eccentric when it comes to her food choices. I made lentil burgers for dinner the other night, and had five left over which are now in the deep freeze. I have also made a vat of pumpkin soup, and have a dinner-size serving in the freezer for later. Katy and I have been eating the rest of it for dinner last night and lunch today. Yummy!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cooking for the Freezer: Progress Report 1

After a late night dash to the supermarket, I am now set to make up a vegetarian lasagne tomorrow with the lentil sauce which is in the fridge, and to experiment with the new recipe for pumpkin and spinach lasagne as well. Today I finally made up the meat sauce into lasagne, thus raising the hopes of Beth who was very disappointed to get a baked potato for dinner instead! I also cooked banana bread, using the two mushy bananas in the fridge, and applesauce muffins since I had a jar of applesauce to use up. Most of the muffins will go in the freezer for my beloved's lunches, but I doubt the cake will last that long since between us, Katy, Eric and I have eaten half already *g*

Last week I put up about 18 lamb samosas, of which a few have since been eaten. I need to buy the biggest size of ziplock bags and decant the frozen samosas from the 9L container, so I can use it to freeze other things in. Other recipes I have in mind include freezing the base for lentil shepherd's pie if I have any sauce left after making the lasagne, cooking lentil burgers with the leftover lentils (need to buy mushrooms), and seeing whether I can freeze pre-stuffed enchiladas (without the sauce) without it going soggy. Once I've finished up all the already-cooked stuff in the fridge, I might try tuna or salmon casseroles, and meatballs.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More recipes to try

Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagne

Beef Provencal

Beef, Kumara and Rocket Stack

Fish Cakes

QRTT: Salmon, Baby Spinach and Couscous salad

Preparation Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 3

Serves: 4


1 1/3 cups (300ml) vegetable stock or water
1 cup (200g) couscous
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp grated lemon rind
210g can pink or red salmon, drained
8 cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
2-3 green onions (shallots), finely-chopped
Freshly-ground black pepper
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted


1. Boil stock in a medium sized stock pot. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous. Cover and leave to swell for 2 minutes. Stir again with a fork to separate the grains.

2. Spoon into a shallow bowl. Fluff with a fork to separate. Place in the refrigerator to cool for 5 minutes. Add juice, oil and rind.

3. Flake salmon and place in a salad bowl with halved tomatoes, parsley, onions (green and white stems) and pepper. Spoon couscous mixture into bowl. Mix all ingredients well.

4. Serve on spinach leaves, topped with pine nuts.


You will need 1 lemon for the rind and juice for this recipe.

Recipe courtesy of Catherine Saxelby, from Nutrition for the Healthy Heart. Found here.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lamb Samosas

I have been seized with the urge to do some cooking for the freezer, in the hope that we find out that I'm pregnant soon and I can get on with the morning sickness and general whinging without having to cook too! These were drier than the vegetarian samosas, but still quite yummy. Next time, I might add some very finely grated potato to help combat the dryness.

600g lamb mince
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 tsp each ground cumin and coriander
1/4 tsp chilli (could add more if not cooking for Beth)
1/2 tsp ginger
1 cup frozen peas (omit if cooking for Beth because she is a fussy bugger)
5 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 190C. In a large frying pan, saute the onion in a little oil until translucent. Add spices and fry until fragrant. Add lamb and cook until brown, breaking up clumps as much as you can (I use a potato masher). Fry gently until no pink remains, adding a little more oil if it seems dry. Add the peas and warm through as you prepare the pastry. Cut sheets into quarters, fill and fold, pressing down on two sides to make a triangle. Brush with beaten egg and cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Makes 18-20.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Scrumptious Samosas

Inspired by making mushroom pastries all day for the St Valentines feast on the weekend. Simple and incredibly moreish!

1 large onion, finely chopped
1-2 tsp curry paste
1-2 tsp crushed garlic
1 large potato, finely diced
1.5 teaspoons each of red lentils, brown lentils, blue lentils, and yellow split peas
2 sheets shortcrust pastry, thawed but still cold
1 egg, beaten [omit for a vegan recipe, and glaze with soymilk]

Saute onion until tender, add seasonings and cook until fragrant. Stir in potatoes and lentils, add water, and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes and lentils are cooked, adding water as necessary. Cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated off. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 190C and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Cut the pastry sheets into four squares. Arrange a generous dollop of lentil filling on one half, leaving about one centimetre free at the edge. Fold pastry over to make a triangle and pinch the sides firmly to seal. Glaze with beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve with mango chutney, and a side serving of chickpea and vegetable curry over brown rice.