Category Archives: food kids like

Zucchini Risotto with Sun-dried Tomatoes

My eldest girl is a generally picky eater…my middle girl will wolf down anything – as long as it doesn’t have meat and below is a photo of an essay that Imogen wrote in Kindergarten that pretty much sums up her eating habits.  This does not make my life easy and at the moment they are young enough for me to impose my will and pretty much cook what I want, but the day is rapidly coming when Jojo at least will refuse all meats…

"I love cows. They give us steak and milk."

So often I make vegetarian for the whole family and this recipe was a surprising success…it is also  a Weight Watchers meal so you can pretty much guarantee it is low-fat and healthy.


3.5 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken – just don’t tell Jojo)

1/2 cup tomato juice (I used V8 – a favorite drink of Jojo!)

1 table-spoon olive oil

6 shallots, finely chopped  (I used spring onions – easier to hide from the carnivores in the family)

4 medium zucchini, chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

16 sun-dried tomato halves (not oil packed), finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh marjoram ( this means 1/2 teaspoon dry, trust me)

2 tablespoons parmesan, grated

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

chopped parsley for garnish

1. Combine stock and tomato juice in pan ; bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer.

2. Heat oil in non stick pan, sauté shallots until soft, about 2 minutes.   Add zucchini and wine; cook until zucchini is softened, about 5 minutes longer.  Add the rice; cook, stirring about 1 minute.

3. Add 1 cup of stock mixture, the sun-dried tomatoes, parsley and marjoram; cook stirring, until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until stock is absorbed before adding more, until rice is just tender.  The total cooking time should be about 25-30 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and pepper, serve at once garnished with parsley. 

Serves 4 – 368 cals.


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Rachel Ray’s 30 minute Shepherd’s Pie

This is a photo from RR's website not my photo.


This is a great recipe.  Firstly it only takes 30 minutes and secondly everyone loved it.  In  fact ,the following day I opened the fridge to give the girl’s shepherd’s pie leftovers for lunch, but Andy had got there before us.  Ho hum. 



  • 2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves



Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth. 

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. If you are using lamb and the pan is fatty, spoon away some of the drippings. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas. 

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve. 

 I did add some butter to the potato as it didn’t taste right without it, but apart from that I followed the recipe exactly. 

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Disappointing Pigs and Yummy Strawberries

I have been really looking forward to making Pig in a Pot!  It’s not just because I love the name and I do. It’s not because it came from the weird tv series ‘Come Dine with Me’ which I love, but because it looked yummy.  I was disappointed…I think I used the wrong part of the pig, because on tv it all fell apart wonderfully on the fork and mine didn’t.   Andy and the kids loved it though so maybe it was just me.   The red cabbage was good! 

Pig in a Pot 

Serves 4 


  • 25g butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium swede, peeled and cut into roughly 2.5cm pieces  (I don’t like swede so I conveniently forgot about this bit….)
  • 150ml white wine
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple sauce
  • 4 lean pork steaks
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves

For the red cabbage 

  • 25g butter
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 small red cabbage, halved, cored and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 2 eating apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. The red cabbage is best made the day before eating. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fry gently until well softened, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, cabbage, sugar and plenty of salt and pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes, then pour over the vinegar and stir vigorously. 

2. Add the vegetable stock, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring now and then. Remove the lid, stir in the sliced apples and simmer the cabbage for a further 10-15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool, then cover and chill until required. Reheat gently, adding a little extra stock if necessary. 

3. To prepare the pork, melt the butter in a flame-proof casserole or shallow, ovenproof saucepan and gently fry the onion and swede until beginning to soften, stirring regularly. 

4. Add the wine, sugar and apple sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. 

5. Push the vegetables into a pile at the edge of the pan, add the pork steaks and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes. Pour over the stock, add the bay leaves and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover the pan with a lid. Put in the centre of the oven and cook for 1¾-2 hours at 170°C/gas mark 3.   (I stuck mine in the crock pot). 

6. 10 minutes before the pork is ready, reheat the cabbage, stirring regularly. Divide the cabbage between four warmed plates. Top with the pork and vegetables, spooning over the hot vegetable liquor, and serve. 

At this time of year the strawberries are fantastic and I like to dip them in chocolate.   I know chocolate is not very healthy but there is relatively little on the fruit and the fruit is healthy right?  Of course I like to triple dip my strawberries…. 

Just beautiful...


The smile says it all


don't tell her it's healthy


Bruce Willis wants to be healthy too...

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Crock Pot Heaven

I promised Dawn over at The Moiderer that I would let her have some more Crock pot recipes as she has just discovered their existence.  Obviously she has been living up a tree or in a Tibetan Monastery or summut.   Here are a few that I have made, not necessarily the healthiest, but all of them tasty in their own way. 

The first is Pulled Pork.  There are many, many recipes with special spices etc.  My favorite?  Go get yourself a big lump of pork and a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce.  Pour one over the other (in the pot, Dawn, in the pot.)  Turn the thing on and come back several hours later.  Voila!  Health warning: BBQ sauce has a lot of sugar in it. 

I recently tried Chicken Adobo – I like adobo recipes…if you don’t like the very strong taste of vinegar and soy sauce, this is not the recipe for you.   All of my kids like it though and it does freeze so it’s a favorite in this family.  It is also low-calorie. 

I sliced onion 

4 cloves garlic, crushed 

½ cup soy sauce 

½ cup vinegar 

1 cup chicken broth 

1-2 pounds chicken breasts 

Throw everything into the crock pot stick it on low for 6-8 hours 

Serve over rice. 

as delicious as it is ugly


Finally a recipe that I serve up every time someone comes over from the UK to visit us – I throw it into the crock pot and when we get back from the airport I can serve up a dish that looks like I trained with Gordon Ramsey…which why I also swear a lot in the kitchen. 

Chicken Las Vegas 

6 chicken breasts 

1 can mushroom soup (here in the South many recipes have mushroom soup in them, I think General Lee must have liked it.) 

½ pint sour cream 

1 jar of dried chipped beef (I actually prefer to put in a packet of bacon bits meant to go over salad.) 

Stir together the last three ingredients. 

Pour them over the chicken and cook on low for 5-6 hours. 

Serve with whatever the heck you like – I’ve served it with potatoes, rice and noodles – it was great with all of them.  The only healthy ingredient in this recipe is the chicken which is why I don’t serve it too often!


Filed under crockpot, Food for adults, food kids like, Freezer, recipes

The Mysterious Disappearance of Great Uncle Kristof or Goulash

The weather is glorious here…it makes me hot and sweaty and I feel vaguely tropical as I listen to the cicadas and watch the fireflies in the back yard.  Sheer bliss!   

So what did I make for supper?  Gazpacho, I hear you cry, or salad served with iced tea – and you would be completely wrong.   

I made goulash, warming, rich, perfect for winter weather goulash.  Apparently the word goulash comes from the Hungarian word for cattle stock man, but I am unclear as to why it’s called that.  I get that beef is used in the dish and cattle stockmen by definition have a lot of beef handy, but why not goulash stew?  After all we don’t say shepherd, we say shepherd’s pie…it makes me kind of uneasy that I have misunderstood what the original ingredient may actually have been.   I have visions of some Hungarian peasant woman smiling to herself making stew as her family look for great-uncle Kristof who has disappeared….  

If I haven’t put you off here is my recipe for Great Uncle Kristof stew…and he freezes too.  


1 or 2 pounds of cubed beef – whatever you have lurking at the bottom of the freezer.  

1 onion, chopped  

1 green bell pepper chopped, traditionally this should be a red bell pepper , but I only had a green one, what can I say, I’m a rebel…  

Garlic – lots, because I like it.  

1 jar or can of tomato sauce, I used spaghetti sauce – Hungary/Italy same continent, that’s good enough for me.  

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained  

Some small new potatoes left over from the fragrant sticky chicken you made a few days ago…  


Salt and pepper  

Pasta of your choice, cooked.  

 1. In a large skillet, cook beef with onions until beef is browned and onion is tender, add garlic and paprika.  Drain well.  Add green pepper, tomato sauce, and un drained tomatoes.  Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes to blend flavors.  

2. To thaw and reheat: Thaw overnight in fridge.  Pour into skillet and add ¼ cup water if necessary.  Heat mixture until bubbly and serve.  

I deliberately did not specify how much paprika, but I will tell you that I used 2 teaspoons.  The reason why I am being unusually shy is that spices change when frozen and can get stronger in flavor, you have been warned.  

Uncle K never looked so good


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Muffins Mmmm

Gosh I can’t believe I have abandoned this post and my efforts so easily!  I have had a heck of a busy few weeks with all the end of school year activities and all my efforts have gone to waste – sort of.  My weight is up to 169, but that is only 2 lbs. and I am very aware of the health of the food that is going into my mouth if not the quantity!

Today I made Diane’s breakfast muffins – and again I moved too slowly to photograph them!  I find it humbling to see how quickly my girls gobble up good healthy food.  They loved these despite the oats which I thought would put them off…

Try them – they are really good and allegedly can be frozen, but not in my house – they don’t last that long.

Must clean the damn pan next time...

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Brownies and Pasta – oh yeah!

*Ahem* err, hello?  Excuse me – over here…sorry to wake you up.  I know you have fallen into a deep coma -like slumber waiting for me to get off my backside and post again.  It seems misfortune makes me type quicker than success! 

Any way now that I have your attention 167lbs light my friends…after several weeks of grinning and bearing it, the scales have admitted defeat and started showing my true weight.   5.5 lbs loss in one week is just as crazy as the 3 lb weight gain last week.  Honestly I think the Greek God of weight control is bored and toying with me for entertainment…or as the consistently positive Chandalyn tells me – last week was a weird salt-retaining blip.  Actually, she said it a lot better than that, but I forget her exact words…sorry Chandalyn, but hey, I got the gist of it!  I have been reading a lot of health and diet blogs this week and I am slowly realizing how damn lucky I am to have Chandalyn pretty much on call for support .  Thank you, thank you. 

OK, so how did I lose the weight?  I ate brownies, spaghetti and meatballs, and straw and hay pasta as well as Lori’s protein waffles mentioned in the previous post….really I did! 

The brownies were horrible, but I guess if you are trying for a healthy version, you can’t expect the really chocolately squidgy taste of the real thing…here is the recipe anyway.  The recipe comes from the Happy Herbivore…don’t judge her by my comments – she is a great cook and I am too impatient and busy to be even a good cook.  

looks yummy anyway..and I did eat them


Black Bean Brownies Recipe 

Servings: 9 


Dense, fudgey and ultra-healthy, these brownies are a great alternative to traditional brownies! It’s amazing how they taste like chocolate and fudge and not beans! Chef’s Notes: Rolled oats run through the food processor may substituted for the instant oats. Use optional sugar if your bananas are still green and not very ripe. 


  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 whole bananas
  • cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup raw sugar (optional)
  • ¼ cup instant oats


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside. Combine all ingredients, except oats, in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed. Stir in the oats and pour batter into the pan. Bake approx 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing Chef’s Note: if you find these brownies are too soft or too fudgy, add another 1/4 cup oats or flour. 

Straw and Hay Alfredo with  Roasted Asparagus 

check out the asparagus, they're green beans!


The Straw and Hay Alfredo with  Roasted Asparagus was awesome and yes, I did use truffle oil.  I love it, but it is expensive – so if you know who I am, and where I live and want to try this recipe before committing to the expense of the oil, come on over and I will give you some of mine.  But not for free – in exchange I would like a healthy recipe…This recipe is a Cooking Light recipe. 

This dish derives its name from the color contrast of the two types of pasta. Because it mixes the earthiness of whole wheat with the familiarity of regular pasta, it’s a delicious introduction to whole-grain pastas. Truffle oil adds a pleasant, earthy undertone; you can substitute extravirgin olive oil. As with all alfredo dishes, serve immediately. 

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup) 


  • 2  cups  1% low-fat milk
  • 1/3  cup  (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  teaspoon  butter
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1  pound  asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 8  ounces  uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 8  ounces  uncooked spaghetti
  • 2  tablespoons  truffle oil
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 425°. 

Combine first four ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. 

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add milk mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until mixture simmers, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Cover. 

Place asparagus on jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° 10 minutes or until browned, stirring once. 

Cook both pastas according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. 

Place pastas and asparagus in a large bowl. Add cheese mixture, tossing well. Add truffle oil and pepper; toss gently. Serve immediately. 

Nutritional Information 

Calories:296 (35% from fat) 

Fat:11.4g (sat 5.2g,mono 4.7g,poly 0.8g) 








Spaghetti and Meatballs 

The meatball’s were made with ground turkey and the whole family loved them – which is an added bonus in this house. 

steaming and bubbling!


Spaghetti and meatballs Ingredients for meatballs
2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces
3 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of 93% lean ground turkey. This should be combination of white and dark meat. Don’t use ground turkey breast. It makes meatballs that are too dry and grainy.
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Ingredients for sauce and pasta
3 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 pound spaghetti
3 Tbsp. shredded fresh basil

For the meatballs: Combine the bread, buttermilk, and egg yolk in a large bowl, cover, and set aside until the bread softens, about 5 minutes. When soft, mash the mixture to a smooth paste. Add the turkey, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Combine the mixture gently, using your hands, until uniform, then form into 18 meatballs (each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Spread the meatballs out on a large plate, cover, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. This is important because it helps them to remain intact while cooking. 

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add the meatballs and cook until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. (Do not wash the skillet.) 

For the sauce and pasta: Pulse 2 cans of the tomatoes, with their juice, in a food processor until mostly smooth, about 11 pulses. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp. salt to the fat left in the skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the processed tomatoes and the remaining 1 can diced tomatoes with their juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Return the meatballs to the skillet, cover, and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. 

Spoon several large spoonfuls of the tomato sauce (without the meatballs) into the pasta and toss to combine, adjusting the sauce consistency with the reserved cooking water as desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve: Divide the pasta among 6 individual bowls. Top each bowl with the remaining tomato sauce and meatballs, sprinkle with the basil, and serve. 

Servings: 6, about 1 1/2 cups spaghetti with sauce and 3 meatballs. Per serving: 530 calories; 12 grams of fat; 3.5 grams of saturated fat; 35 grams of protein; 72 grams of carbohydrate; 3 grams of fiber; 1,110 milligrams of sodium. 

Jojo wanted me to post this photo - she likes fresh basil...


When I want a treat, I eat two pieces of Lindt chocolate – either the chili one or the salt one.  These are SOOO good!  Well worth using Niamhy’s college fund to buy it…  But now I have lost over 5lbs! and that means I get a mani/pedi –woo hoo!  In fact, only 3.5lbs. till the next weight loss reward…

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