Dinner – Tuna Mornay

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Here is another dinner recipe and as a bonus, my version is gluten free.

I don’t remember tuna mornay being a meal we ate when I was a child but GMan certainly ate it when he was growing up.  So, I learned how to make it.  About 4 years ago I changed to a gluten free diet so tuna mornay was off the recipe plan.

After various experiments, I have managed to make a very satisfactory white sauce, therefore I can make tuna mornay as well as bechamel sauce for lasagne and cauliflower in cheese sauce.

Now, on to the recipe.

TUNA MORNAY

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
2 heaped tablespoons chickpea flour
2 heaped tablespoons potato flour
2 cups milk
Ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon herb salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large tin tuna
1/2 tin corn kernels
3/4 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Here are my ingredients assembled and ready to begin.

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Method

Melt the butter over a low heat, add flour and stir until it combines to a stiff paste.

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Cook for about 1 minute, making sure it does not burn.  Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly.

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The gluten free flours will not combine and thicken as nicely as regular wheat flour so my secret weapon is my hand-held stick blender.

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I use this to combine the milk and flour mixture and it quickly thickens as required.  Add seasonings and mustard to taste and then the drained tuna, drain corn kernels and peas.

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Break up any large pieces of tuna and stir the tuna and vegetables through the sauce.  Cook gently for a few minutes and finally add the grated cheese and stir through.  The mornay is ready to serve with rice and/or vegetables.

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There are many ways you can adapt this recipe.

I use powdered skim milk for cooking and make up 2 cups of milk before starting the cooking.

If you do not need it to be gluten free, simply use regular plain flour.

I choose to use a mixture of chickpea and potato flours as I find it gives the best result.  The potato flour can be a bit like glue and the chickpea flour has a nice savoury flavour which offsets this.

You can also use this mixture as the base of a pie and top it with mashed potato – like a shepherd’s pie.  Use as a filling for crepes or burritos for another variation.  You may wish to use a bit less milk in order to create a stiffer mixture for these options.

Tinned salmon, leftover shredded chicken or a selection of vegetables could also be used.

I generally prefer to have more vegetables in my meal but this will not hurt you every now and then.  It is a great last minute option as all of the ingredients come from the pantry and refrigerator.

Dinner – BBQ Salmon

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Some of our meals are very inexpensive, particularly those based on eggs (from our own chickens) or vegetables and dried legumes.  At the other end of the scale, tonight’s meal might seem quite extravagant.

We had salmon which GMan cooked on the BBQ.  I buy the salmon from a large fish and chip shop in Caloundra and pay about $36/kg for it.  I buy 4 large pieces at a time and freeze them.  It works out at about $10 per piece, however, 1 piece is sufficient to serve the two of us.

Tonight I served it with sweet potato chips, cherry tomatoes and a creation which I call Waldorf coleslaw.  It is shredded cabbage, chopped apple and chopped walnuts tossed with some mayonnaise.

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The sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes are free from the garden.  I mean totally free – they cost nothing to plant – both came up self-sown in the compost and they receive no supplementary water or fertiliser.  If I allowed $2 for the coleslaw I would be being generous.  So, we end up with a meal that cost $6 per serve.  While that is relatively extravagant compared to many of the meals I make and possibly out of reach for someone on a really tight budget, I am very pleased with the quality and content of this meal.

Dinner – Risotto

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Tonight I want to share another dinner idea with you – risotto.

In no way could this be described as a recipe but more of a method.

Risotto is arborio rice cooked gently in a small amount of liquid.  Keep adding liquid and stirring regularly unto the desired tenderness of the rice is reached.

I use my large flat-bottomed wok to make risotto.

Quantities for 2 adults (sometime there is enough left for 1 lunch).

1/2 onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon stock powder
3/4 cup arborio rice
Water

This will make the basic mixture to which you can add whatever you like.  I used asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes.

Fry the onion in a little oil.  Add the rice and toss to coat thoroughly.  Add some water and the stock powder.  Simmer and stir until the water is almost absorbed and add a little more water.  Continue to do this until the rice is cooked and almost creamy.

I also added 2 teaspoons of powdered dried tomato with the water.  Finally, I stirred through some sun-dried tomatoes and fresh asparagus cut into pieces and cooked for 1 minute in the microwave.

Serve immediately with a little grated cheese if desired.

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Pumpkin and bacon, broccolini and capsicum (peppers) or sweet potato and caramelised onion are some other winning combinations.  You can experiment with different flavours but I would advise only using 2 or at the very most 3 ingredients or otherwise the flavours become overwhelmed.  The only thing I do not use in risotto is mushrooms – they turn the mix a fairly unappealing shade of grey!

 

 

Dinner – Braised Steak and Onions

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When I mentioned in a Facebook group that I was preparing some meals for later in the week this one caught some attention and I have been asked for the recipe.  Well, like many of my meals, recipe is a bit of a joke but I will do my best to explain my method.

2 large pieces of gravy beef in the slow cooker
1 onion, sliced spread on top of the meat
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce (ketchup)
200ml water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Add all of the ingredients, cook on high for about 6 hours or until beef is tender and can be broken with a spoon.

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I then divided the meat and gravy into 2 containers as this will make 4 serves – 2 meals for GMan and I.  It is now in the freezer and will be added to the menu plan at a later date.

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I usually add a little more water when I am reheating to make the gravy a bit thinner.

Now I will share what I really did.

The onion was frozen onion rings that I had done from a large bag of onions I bought some time ago.  I used a handful which was roughly equivalent to one onion.  Worcestershire sauce was not measured – just a splash of homemade worcestershire sauce and the tomato sauce and 200ml of water was achieved by rinsing out various almost empty bottles of homemade tomato sauce.

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Finally,  I tossed in a tablespoon of powdered dried tomato which I made from some of our glut of cherry tomatoes but tomato paste would be equally as good.

I am sure this ‘recipe’ would horrify the purists but it tastes great and when served with mashed potatoes and some other vegetables of your choice makes a hearty meal.

Dinner – Gluten Free Quiche

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Although you can buy gluten-free pastry and it is possible to make it from scratch there is an easier option for the base of a quiche or savoury pie.

Quiche Base

1.5 cups cooked rice
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, press mixture into a dish, chill for 30 – 60 minutes then add filling and proceed as for regular pastry case.

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Like pizza, quiche is great for using up small amounts of various ingredients for the fillings.  The combinations are limited only by your imagination.  Remember, that you do not need huge amounts of filling.

Today, I used bacon, mushroom and broccolini.  1 rasher of bacon, 1 mushroom, 1/2 onion and about half of a small bunch of broccolini.

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Here it is chopped up and ready.  I kept the stalks and florets of the broccolini separate. The onion is frozen as I have about 7 kgs of diced frozen onion in my freezer.  You can read about it here.

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I sauteed the onion and bacon before adding the chopped stalks and finally the mushroom and florets of the broccolini.

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I allowed the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes before spreading over the base of the quiche.

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I then covered this with 1 cup and grated cheese.

The final step is to make the custard, for that is essentially what a quiche is – savoury custard.  I never follow a specific recipe for this but it is a mixture of milk and eggs.

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Today I used:

3 eggs (they are extra large from our chickens)
1/4 cup double cream
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon skim milk powder
Pinch of salt
Ground black pepper

Beat the ingredients thoroughly.

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Carefully pour the egg mixture over the filling.

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Don’t worry if the egg mixture does not cover the cheese.  It is best not to overfill the dish or you will find that it overflows during cooking.

Bake at 180C for 35 – 40 minutes or until firm to touch and golden.

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The rice crust can be made using whatever rice you prefer.  I use brown rice as it works equally as well as white.  Make sure the rice is well-cooked to help it stick together.

The filling can be any combination of whatever you choose.

The custard mixture is  milk and/or cream and eggs.  I happened to have the cream as it was bought to have with dessert last week when we had guests.  I generally do not have cream and tend to use skim milk powder blended with a smaller amount of water than normal to mimic evaporated milk.  From memory, I think it is about 1 cup of milk powder to 1/2 cup of water.

 

Dinner – Mexican Quinoa

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The blog post tonight was not going to be another meal but I was not sufficiently organised to take the appropriate photos, so here we are with tonight’s dinner.

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Another night and another one pan meal – One Pan Mexican Quinoa and here is the link to the original recipe which I found on Facebook.

As always, mine has been adapted slightly so this is my version.

1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 birdseye chilli, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 can corn kernels
1 cup black beans (soaked and pre-cooked) – measured after cooking
4 slices hot salami, diced
15 olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup quinoa
3 cups water
1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
300g cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon powdered tomatoes

Lightly fry the onion, chilli and spices.  Add all other ingredients except salami and olives.  Simmer gently until the quinoa is cooked.  Add more water as required.  Stir in salami and olives.  Serve topped with a little grated cheese.

 

 

Dinner – Fried Rice

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Last Sunday I posted the menu for the week here.  Tonight was Spicy Mexican Quinoa, however, this evening I realised that I had forgotten to soak and cook the black beans.  There was no meat thawed, no pre-made pizza bases and not even any refried beans for nachos.  I remembered that I had some cooked rice in the refrigerator so I decided on fried rice.  I have never used a recipe as such for this and it is based on how my mother made it.

This is what I used (quantities made 2 generous serves):

1/2 onion, diced
2 rashers of bacon, diced
1/4 capsicum, diced
1 egg
1/2 can corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen peas
2-3 cups of cooked rice
Tamari

Saute the onion, bacon and capsicum, push to one side of the pan.  Fry the egg, flip and cook both sides then cut into strips.  Add corn and peas and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the rice, stir to combine all ingredients and heat through.  Add a splash of tamari or soy sauce.

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The photo is before I added the tamari.  There is nothing terribly fancy about this but it is a quick and easy standby meal.

Dinner – Tumeric Chicken

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This was on the menu plan for last week but got bumped as I did not have time to marinate the chicken.

The original recipe is for chicken skewers cooked on a barbecue.  Here is the recipe.

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As with most recipes, I have adapted this to suit our own requirements.  Since I am cooking 1 chicken breast fillet to serve 2 of us this is what I do.

I make up a bulk amount of the spice mixture (dry ingredients) using the proportions in the original recipe.  I use considerably more of this mixture than the recipe as I found it very light on flavour if you use the quantity stated for 2.5kg of chicken.

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In my version there are 4 ingredients.

20ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 chicken breast fillet (diced)
1 and 1/2  tablespoons of pre-made spice mix

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

You can use lemon juice but lime is better.

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Fry in a pan with a little oil until cooked.

I serve mine with brown rice, vegetables and fresh cherry tomatoes.

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Hand in Hand

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I went shopping today and as always it went hand in hand with planning our menu for the next week.  Doing this saves money and reduces waste.

First, the menu:

Sunday – Pizza
Monday – Tumeric chicken, brown rice with carrots and peas
Tuesday – Baked potatoes with refried beans and salad
Wednesday – Celery soup
Thursday – Hamburgers and salad
Friday – Spicy mexican quinoa
Saturday – Salmon with sweet potato chips and balsamic roasted tomatoes

The fruit bowls are empty.

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I emptied out the drawer of the crisper and cleaned it out.  This is what we have left from last week.

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The beetroot are from the garden and store well for an extended period of time in the crisper. I finished the last of the cucumber at lunchtime.

Today I bought bananas, apples, mushrooms, cucumbers and capsicum.  That is all I need for the rest of the week as we also have about half a lettuce in a container, millions of cherry tomatoes growing in the garden, potato and sweet potato in the cellar and frozen peas.  There are also packs of sliced and diced onion in the freezer.

I had a few things on my list to get at Aldi but that was in the opposite direction to which we were headed today so I have decided to leave that until the middle of the week.

I have spent less than $15 on fruit and vegetables for the week.

Dinner – Thai Beef Salad

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I stuck to my menu plan even though it would have been easy to capitulate and opt for takeaway.

Thai beef salad was on the plan for tonight before I realised we were going to a free screening of Casablanca.  The scheduled time was 7pm for a 7.15pm start and we normally don’t arrive home until close to 7.30pm so clearly we had to make some adjustments.  I caught a train which had me arriving home about 5.30pm and GMan came in at about 6.40pm.

I sliced the beef and marinated it last night.  I used a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of ginger and tiny red chilli (very hot) finely chopped.  Here is the mixture this afternoon before I cooked it.

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I prepared the remaining ingredients for the salad – lettuce, carrot, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.

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The carrot and cucumber were cut using a spiral cutter.

Due to the time constraints we had decided to pack our dinner as a picnic to eat when we got to the hall for the movie screening.

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I fried the meat in a tiny bit of coconut oil.  To add some extra flavour I mixed up a sauce and added that to the pan at the end.  I used a tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of crunchy peanut paste and a pinch each of ginger and chilli powder.  I stirred the sauce through the meat and cooked for a further minute.

The meat was added to the salad and we were ready to go – complete with cutlery and serviettes.

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This was really delicious and I think the improvised sauce really added a nice finish to the meat.