Sunday, August 25, 2013

Homestyle Chicken Bolognese Pasta 健康鸡肉番茄意粉

Little captain requested for pasta tonight, after searching my fridge, finally I found right ingredients to cook up this simple Chicken Bolognese. Guess what he said to me after taking few bites? "Mommy, this is the best dinner in the whole world! I like it so much!"

He may have over exaggerated but his action speak louder than word - he finished his entire plate of pasta and quickly top up for more. Something rare from my picky eater, so I'm pretty sure he enjoyed his dinner. 

It's really simple to prepare, what makes the different is the ingredient you used. I added celery this time and I like the extra crunchiness it brings (of course the extra nutrition too). But if you do not like celery, just skip it, this is really quite a nutrition packed pasta with all the fresh ingredients used.

Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
Serving for: 2 big & 2 little ones

1/2 packets fettuccine or spaghetti pasta (I mixed both)
1 canned tomato purée (475gm)
1 cup of stock or boiled water
2 cloves garlic 
1/2 large yellow onion
1/2 cup carrots (about 2 thumb size)
1 stalk celery
8 baby cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup of brown mushrooms, washed
1 palm size of minced chicken meat
1 teaspoon of anchovy powder (optional if using ready stock)
A dash of coarse salt
A dash of wolchester sauce
A teaspoon of oregano leaves
A dash of ground pepper 

The Making:

1. Season the minced meat with a dash of coarse salt and sesame oil, set aside. In the meanwhile, clean, peel all vegetables (except tomatoes) and chopped finely.

Prepare the bolognese sauce 
2. Heat up 2 table spoons of olive oil in a deep sauce pan, sauté the garlic till light brown then add in the onion, cook till it starts to turn transparent then add in the rest of the vegetables and lastly mushrooms. I choose to serve the cherry tomatoes as-is but you can add them in too.

3. Add the wolchester sauce, coarse salt, oregano into the pan, mix well. 

4.Toss in the minced meat bit by bit, then add the tomato purée, follow by a cup of water and anchovy powder. Let the sauce shimmers on medium heat for about 20 minutes with lid closed until its thicken.

5. In the meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water according to the time indicated on the packaging (between 10-13 minutes),drench the excess water and run the pasta under cool water to avoid them from getting soggy. Add a table spoon of olive oil and mix well. This will keep the pasta from stick together.

6. Toss the pasta into the sauce, let it shimmers for about 3 minutes, mix well and it's ready to serve.

7. Garnish with some fresh oregano leaf or cherry tomatoes, and some shredded cheese will be ideal too. it's a delightful feast to the eyes as it is to the tummy. 

Bon appetite!

Useful Tips!
Double the portion of all ingredients and you can keep the extra Bolognese sauce for next cooking. Good to keep up to a week in the fridge. I stored mine in a glass jar, safe and practical.

• If you are working mom like me, you probably do not do market shopping on weekly or ad-hoc basis. To ensure I have basic ingredients for spontenous cooking, I usually buy few chicken fillets in one go, cut them into long stripes or mince them and store in individual plastic bags before freezing them. Each bag contains enough serving for 1 meal, so defrosting is really hassle free - just defrost the exact amount I need!

• when serving to my 20 months old, I cut the pasta into bite size using the kitchen scissor. This makes it easy for self feeding and less risk of chocking tool.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sweet Savory - Gold Kiwi and Honey Crepes 奇异果蜜糖薄蛋饼

    Crepes, is a type of thin pancake originated from France. It's actually a very thin layer of batter made of flour, egg, milk and top with any filling of your choice.

    For today, I decided to make some crepes and serve them as sweet savory for breakfast to brighten up the otherwise moody Sunday.. 

Here's what we had.

Crepe with Gol Kiwi and Wild Honey.
    My little boy who doesn't like kiwi actually ate half of this serving and gave me a loud, long "hmmmm, yummy!". Well, I had to trick him into believing that its not kiwi but Golden Apple at first. He was giving me that suspicious look at first, but the moment he sank his teeth into the crepe he just started nodding his head to indicate his liking. :)

    Crepe in Nutella and Organic Raisins
    My little girl really loved this Nuttela version, she joyfully ate few pieces by hands and fork. It's a blessing to watch them enjoy their food in all smiles. 

    Stack up some triangular ones to make a crepe tower, my little boy enjoy eating these plain crepe by dipping them into the yogurt. 

    The making is actually rather easy and the ingredient is commonly available in any kitchen, the real challenging part is in flipping the crepe without breaking it. I have yet to master the skill but I'm glad I managed to get few perfectly round crepe without making any tear. I'll share the tips with you in a short while. :)

    Lets get the hands dirty now.

    Preparation Time: 10 min
    Cooking Time: 10 min
    Serving for: about 12 12" 

        1 cup all-purpose flour / glutton free flour
      1 tablespoon sugar/raw sugar
      1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (not required if using salted butter)
      1 1/2 cups fresh milk / low fat milk
      4 large eggs
      3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    The Making:
    1. In a mixer bowl, combine egg with sugar, whisk vigorously till fluffy then add salt, milk, butter and finally sieve in the flour, mix well. You may use a hand mixer or machine, just make sure it's smooth and no lump observed.

2. Heat up a 12" nonstick pan on medium heat. Lightly coat with butter. Add about 2 table spoon of batter and tilt the pan lightly to completely cover bottom of the pan. Cook for about a minute or until underside of crepe is golden brown.

3. Now comes the trickle part. Lightly loosen edge of crepe with a rubber spatula, using your finger or a pair of tongs, quickly flip. Cook for about 1 minute more. 

4. Repeat the same step for remaining batter, melt more butter to coat the pan if necessary.

5. Once all crepe are ready, let cool and start filling them with your favorite toppings. You may choose to do an envelope fold, or side folds like what I did here. It really is up to you. :)

The round creeps ready to serve. 

My boy and I had fun filling up the crepes together.

• To ensure you have a perfect circular crepe, ensure you use a small pan (around 12"-14") and flat rubber spatula for easy flipping. Also, let the batter  settle for at least 30 seconds or more before you try to each touch it, a little patient matters.

• If you have leftover batter, keep them in an airtight container and it can be kept refrigerated overnight.  

• if you want to make lesser quantity, just reduce the amount of each ingredient. I only made 4 slices using 1/3 of the ingredient with 2 medium size eggs, but do be cautious with your measurement.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Steamed Egg with Minced Meat, Mom Style 蒸水蛋,妈妈拿手菜!

Some how I'm hooked on egg this week, so bear with me, will you? This is a dish that is suitable for 1 - 99 years old. :)

I liked this steamed egg since I was a kid, it is one of my Mom's best dishes. She's such a good cook that I thought it would be such a waste if I do not learn a few signature dishes from her while she's still in the mood. The steamed egg she made is always soft and smooth so I finally learnt the keys:

• right amount of water and egg
• control your cooking time
• beat your eggs to achieve fluffiness

Smooth steamed eggs, in few simple steps...

I added few drops of sesame oil before serving which is really optional.

It only takes no more than 10 minutes to prepare this dish, so if you are out of idea and in a rush to prepare dinner, this is a super easy go-to recipe.

Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 5 min
Serving for: 4 person

3 large eggs (size A)
3/5 cup of boiled water (a normal coffee mug, room temperature will do)
A dash of salt (I used sea salt)
A dash of ground pepper 
A dash of sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
A palm-ful of minced meat, either pork or chicken (optional if you like just plain steamed egg)

The Making:

1. Marinate the minced meat with salt, pepper and soy sauce, mix well and set aside.

2. Heat up the steamer with sufficient  water. As you can see I used a traditional wok here, but you can use any other steamer set too.

3. Beat the eggs with water using a fork or whisk until fluffy, sieve the bubbles to achieve smoother texture if you wish. Add the marinated minced meat and roughly mix. Pour the mixture into a dish before entering the steamer. 

4. Steam on high heat and lid closed for 5 minutes. Test the steamed egg with a fork, it should be firm when the fork is inserted. If its still watery then steam for another minute.

The minced meat hidden underneath.

The dish is best when serve warm, dig in and enjoy the warm steam eggs. 

I dropped a few spoonful of the steamed eggs into my little one's rice and the duo enjoyed smashing it up, pretending they were playing the disappearing act of a magician. Served them along other veggies and we have a yummy healhty meal. 

Useful to Know..

Make sure your watch the water to egg ratio. If you used up to 5 large eggs then pour a full mug of drinking water. The size of the eggs does matter here if you want to achieve the right consistency.

• When serving to infant under 2 year old, you may spare the soy sauce and use the salt sparingly. Besides, make sure you watch out for allergy to egg if this is the first time serving eggs to your LO.

Hope you make the perfect steamed eggs too... Happy cooking!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fried Eggs with Mixed Veggies and Minced Meat 碎碎蛋炒肉

Egg is one of the common ingredients I often used in family meal, it's lasting and versatile for cooking. I opt for non-antibiotic eggs, slightly higher price but give the comfort to know no extra junks added into the eggs. Of course you can also source for organic farm eggs too (free ranch eggs) but they are seldom to come by and often is double the price.

Among the common egg dishes you can find on our dinning table are Chinese omelette (芙蓉蛋), Cheesy egg omelette, steamed eggs, egg wrapped patty burger, French toast, fried rice with eggs (蛋炒饭,小瓜们最爱). Maybe one of these days I'll make a hard boiled egg salad or try my Mom's signature Teow Chew braised eggs(潮州卤蛋), I can eat a whole bowl of rice just with that!

Of course there is so much more you can create with eggs, my list is only a tip of the possible varieties.

Today I'll share with you a simple stir fried dish that can be ready in no time, and is suitable for old and young ones alike - stir fried eggs with mixed veggies and minced meat.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes 
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Serving for: 4

(A) For the Mixed Veggies: 
2 clove garlic, chopped
A cup of carrots, diced
A cup of potatoes, diced
1/2 cup of onion, diced (optional)

(B) For the Egg Mixture
3 medium eggs, beaten
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
A dash of ground pepper
Few drops of sesame oil
A dash of paprika powder

(C) For the Minced Meat Marinate:
A palmful of minced chicken or pork meat (about 200gm)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A pinch of salt & pepper
A dash of Shao Xin wine (optional)

The Making: 
1. Mixed all ingredient B together in a large bowl, beat lightly and set aside. Do the same for ingredient C in a separate bowl.

2. Heat up a table spoon of olive oil in the pan, sauté garlic till fragrance and toss in the remaining ingredient A. 

3. Fry for about a minutes, then pour the mixture B all over it. Stir fry for another minute, then push them to the side of the wok / pan.

4. Heat up a table spoon of olive oil, toss in the minced meat mixture bit by bit. Stir fry for about 2 minutes until the meat turns from pinkish to light brown color which means its cooked. 

5. Mix the eggs and minced meat mixture together, add a few drops of sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste (its optional, i scoop up some for my LO before adding additional seasoning for the adults serving).

When serving, garnish with some parsley or cherry tomatoes. Better presentation often leads to better appetite too. :)

Simple family meal ready within an hour (roasted rosemary chicken drumsticks needed an hour, else it's only 30 minutes!)

This is a really simple family dish that anyone can cook. Pardon me for posting such an easy recipe, I just thought it would gives variety of choice to your family meal time. :)

Till later, bye!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Roasted Ham, Potato, Pumpkin N Cheese in Avocado Skin

Little one had been begging me to make him his favorite avocado smoothies since last week, I just kept forgetting about it until today, where we spotted some fresh avocado selling at 3 for RM10 at the MBG fruit stall, so instantly I picked 3 ripe ones (among the many over-ripe ones...). While scooping out the avocado flesh later, I thought it is such a waste to discard the skin, why not just used it for baking something? So I did.

And the random thought gave birth to this new dish - Baked Ham, Potato, Pumpkin & Cheese in Avocado Skin.

I added some greens and cherry tomatoes as dressing.

How would I rate this dish? Lets see.

Taste - passed.
Speediness - passed.
Dummy-Prove - passed.
Presentation - passed.

My little boy liked it it so much that he asked me to make more again next time. He had 2 wedges all by himself and happily finished up his whole plate of dinner, along with other veggies. Even big guy loved it, so all 6 wedges were grabbed up before dinner was even over.

I am definitely going to make this for next coming gathering.

After dinner we had the avocado smoothies for dessert, this time my baby C had a small cup, she kept saying "好吃" (which means delicious) and efficiently emptied her cup.

Simple homemade dish can be pretty satisfying too. :)

Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Serving for: 6 wedges

3 ripe avocados 
2 slices of ham, cut into small bits
1/2 cup of potato, cut into small cubes 
1/2 cup of pumpkin, cut into small cubes
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese 
A dash of fresh basil leaves (optional)

The Making:

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. 

2. Cut the avocado into half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh using a spoon. Lay them onto the baking tray.

3. Mix ham, potatoes and pumpkins evenly, scoop them into the avocado skin until about 2/3 full, then add spoonful of the shredded cheese until its fully covered.

4. Bake for 30 minutes until the skin turns crispy and the cheese all melted. The cheesy aroma will fill the entire dining hall and wakes up the appetite in you...

Best to serve warm. 

The dinner was fast eaten.

Oh, I took a bite of the avocado skin, it's bitter. Yuck. So don't attempt to eat it like potato skin unless you like crunchy bitter skin. *wink*

You may refer to the recipe for creamy avocado smoothies here.

Non appetite!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fresh Greens - Mixed Fruits & Nuts Salad with Tuna Flakes

I have started introducing salad to our family meal recently, where possible I'll stick to fresh fruits and raw veggies to encourage a healthy diet and good eating habit.

So far the salads I introduced are well-liked by my little captain, especially after I told him that green leaf salad has lots of vitamin that will help him stays healthy (hence no need to visit the doctor!), he practically just chew all the salad and asked for more. One of those tricks that mommies would use. *wink*

For today, we have this fresh Fruits & Nuts Salad with Tuna flakes, drizzled with some lemon juice and shredded cheese.  We finished the whole bowl of salad without needing any other salad dressing as most of the ingredients are sweet as-is.

A bowl of pretty salad tobrighten up the dining table. 

Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 0 min
Serving for: 1 big salad bowl

1 stalk of Romaine lettuce, cut into long strips
1/2 green apple, cut into cubes
1/2 Nectarines, cut into cubes
1/2 canned Tuna flakes in water
1/2 cup of nuts of your choice - I used roasted Almonds & sunflower seeds
Some organic raisins
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

The Making:
1. Wash all the veggies and fruits thoroughly and cut according to size.
2. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice into the Tuna flakes, mix well.
3. Assemble everything into a salad bowl, drizzle with remaining lemon juice on top and follow by the generous serving of shredded cheddar cheese.

Now, dig in and enjoy a bowl of fresh goodness. ;)

Do Take Note That...
• I washed all the fruits with baby bottle washing liquid as these are to be served with the skin. Alternatively soak them in water with some salt added before cutting to get rid of any pesticide residues. 
• Some infant may be allergic to nuts or cheese, do watch out for allergic reaction such as swollen, skin rashes, vomiting should this be the first time you introducing nuts or cheese to your little ones.
• I would not recommend to offer the romaine lettuce to little ones under 2 years old since it may be difficult to chew.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Happy Meals - Fruity Rainbow for Breakfast!

Yippie, it's Sunday!

How do we love Sunday? With rainbow and fruits. Hence the little ones are having a big fruity rainbow for breakfast today.

A rainbow made of green apples, nectarines, organic raisins and banana, and some cute animal fruit picks. It's not a surprise when my little boy came into kitchen, saw the colorful serving and immediately offer to bring it out with a fork in his hand. :)

Simple, healthy, happy meals begin from a happy home. 

Happy Sunday peeps!