Sneaky Veggie Spaghetti Sauce #SundaySupper

Today Sunday Supper is all about being sneaky and fun with food. Whether it is making food look like something else like meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting, or sneaking in some healthy veggies so that the kids don’t notice it. When it comes to sneaking in veggies I use to have a very narrow minded point of view of this practice before I had kids. I thought it sounded so deceptive and surely kids should just be taught to eat veggies? Ha, what a perfect parent I was before I had kids.

The truth of the matter is I think while we might have some element of control about what kids eat we don’t have it all. For example my daughter has never had a processed chicken nugget so she doesn’t even know what it tastes like so she doesn’t prefer them over homemade ones. So that is some element of control I might have. However that doesn’t mean she doesn’t sometimes just flat out decide she doesn’t like homemade chicken nuggets. Does that make sense. She goes through phases where all of a sudden she just doesn’t like something. But I know that actually she does like most things, it is just getting her to remember and try the foods to rediscover she does like it. Like she loves the taste of food when it has herbs and spices, but if she sees those flecks of green she says, “What are those sprinkles? I don’t like sprinkles.”. So the idea of sneaking veggies into food is much more complicated then it sounds and these days I am all for it to a certain degree. I know people who have kids that HATE any form of green veggie, just the sight of it near their food and they refuse to eat dinner. I have had parents message me a lot about trying to find a recipe that would work to get their kids to eat a bit more healthy.

I came up with this idea just trying to use up some veggies that were close to going bad and it has become a default sauce recipe for me ever since. It was simple, tasty and whether she knew it or not I don’t know but my daughter loved it so I didn’t care. Because you use a lot of red, orange coloured veggies it hides the green from the courgette, and if you kids still can see it just peel the skin. I love roasting the veggies for an even better flavour but today chose to share the first way I ever put this together.

Don’t forget to check out the other clever ideas the rest of the Sunday Supper crew is sharing today.

Sneaky-Veggie-Pasta-Sauce

Sneaky Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

1 courgette (zucchini), chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 red peppers, chopped
1 medium size onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 tin of tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

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Individual Beef Wellington #SundaySupper

I know it is hard to believe it but I am treading slowly back into the blogging world and finally joining in on a Sunday Supper. Something that hasn’t happened in ages.

Today we are celebrating retro foods, foods popular in the 60’s and 70’s. I decided it was time to take up a challenge I have been meaning to do for a while and make a beef wellington. There is very little known about that actual origination of this dish. There were theories is named after the 1st Duke of Wellington but there is very little evidence to back this up. Especially since the earliest recording of the dish is in the 1960’s.

But what ever the source this was a dish made classic in the 1960’s in England and so I decided to give it a try. I do have to confess that the traditional methods using a large joint produce a bit better results as it is easier to overcook the meat when it is in the more individual size. But since I am all about not wasting food and there are only 2 and a half eaters here I decided to opt for this method. I am a bit sad that baby decided to get cranky half way through preparing it so I got distracted and didn’t take the photos of the steps but it isn’t as intimidating as I always felt it was. The Prosciutto layer helps a bit with the meat juices. A tip a friend gave too was to paint the inside of the pastry with the egg before you start to assemble it to add a moisture barrier. I should have thought of that since I do it with my pies. Oh well, next time. 🙂

What is your favourite retro recipe? I can imagine a few of these recipes shared my the rest of the Sunday Supper crew are going to be must tries for us.
Beef Wellington

Individual Beef Wellington

150g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
2 x 150g fillet or rump steaks, 2-3cm thick
300g puff pastry
2 slices Prosciutto
1 medium egg, beaten

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One Pot Pasta

So the new year came and went and I have a list of reasons a mile long as to why blogging just didn’t make it in my priority list but hey lets not bore you with that. But since life has been so busy my focus has drawn to how I can make life easier with simple meal options. I might have not been blogging but I have been testing out a lot of different recipe ideas and I am now really excited to share with you some big success.

The first one I want to share is something that has slightly revolutioned the way I cook pasta. So I have seen these one pot pasta dishes making their way on the internet for a while but had never given it a try. But once I did I became addicted. I now make most of my pasta dishes this way. You see the benefit of cooking pasta with only enough water to cook without having to drain it is you preserve the natural starches in the pasta, thus resulting in a creamy pasta without having to add cream. I have made lots of variations of this pasta. I have used all different types of shaped pasta and played around with the filling with things like cooked chicken, prawns. I have added veggies and played around with the cheese and it is perfect every time. It is a winner in our whole family for taste and speed.

One-pot-pasta3

One Pot Pasta

1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
(4 1/2 c.) water
500g (1 lb) spaghetti
340g (12 oz) cooked sausage, sliced thin (I used kielbasa)
600g (1 1/2 tins) tinned tomatoes
28g (2 c.) fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
115g (1 c.) creamy blue cheese, I used Blue Castello*
*The original recipe calls for Parmesan and I have used this and it great but I found the blue cheese added a creaminess and flavour that our whole family just loved
adapted from Damn Delicious

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30 Minute Challenge – Chicken and Chorizo Paella

It was a little crazy to try and get back into blogging at 40 weeks pregnant but saying that I need some distraction from this slow waiting game of wondering when she will come. Between an anxious toddler who doesn’t understand why her sister isn’t here now, a sick hubby and my own body struggling with the issues of the uncomfortableness of being 40 weeks pregnant I am starting to unravel a bit at the seams. So blogging is actually something I am trying to use to keep me slightly sane.

In continuation with my 30 minute challenge this month I decided to attempt some homemade paella. Until I moved to the UK I had never tried paella, although it is similar to Jambalaya. Paella is more commonly eaten with mixed seafood but since working in the food market world for the past 2 years I have been introduced to chicken and chorizo paella which I have fallen in love with. Traditionally this would be cooked in a wide, shallow, flat-bottomed paella pan but I found it worked out well in a deep, frying pan. The flavour in this dish is fantastic and while the toddler found it too spicy hubby and I were in love.

Chicken-and-Chorizo-Paella

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, diced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried parsley
113g (4 oz) chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 onion, chopped
1 red sweet pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
300g (1-1/2 c.) Paella Rice*
750mL (3 c.) chicken stock
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 generous pinch saffron threads *optional
150g (1 c.) frozen peas, defrosted
1 lemon, juiced
*I used Arborio rice this time and it worked out well
Adapted from Healthy Delicious

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Challenge Month 30 Minute Meals – Cheeseburger Pasta

I have done so much soul searching about this blog and where it needed to go. And after a much needed posting where I expressed to you my feelings I felt inspired by the responses enough to come to a decision. I am continuing to blog, doing what I love but in doing so I am going to set things up a bit different. You see my purpose for starting this blog was initially a challenge to improve our food budget and eat healthier. One of the many things I loved about this blog is how it felt to be challenged and even more so how it felt to succeed. I also loved when I would hear from readers how I had inspired them to change their spending and cooking habits.

So I have decided two things, one I won’t be blogging quite as often as I was per month so as not to overwhelm myself but secondly every month I am going to give myself personal challenges and sometimes asking you to challenge me so focusing on quality postings rather then quantity. So every month with my new challenge I will post within the rules of my challenge and push myself to grow even more. As I am about to become a mother again one recurring challenge is going to be how to make sure I continue to provide us with meals that are easy to put together so it fits into our crazy lives. Along with the new focus I am hoping to launch a new redesign which is going to be very recipe orientated to make it easier for people who use this blog as their cookbook, like I do, to find the recipes they want. Thank you everyone for your impute over the past month and I hope you enjoy the journey with Small Wallet, Big Appetite.

So Challenge number 1 for October is going to be 30 minute meals. This month I want to focus on meals that from start to finish take only 30 minutes or less because lets face it when you have a family and/or a busy career you don’t always have the time to assemble more complex meals. This pasta dish was very kid friendly and makes enough for 6 portions which for us is perfect because that means it fed us for two nights in a row which gave me a night off from cooking. Served with a different vegetable side each night it satisfied both the toddler and the adults in the family.
Cheeseburger-Pasta

Cheeseburger Pasta

500g (1 lb) lean minced beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 garlic, clove
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
225g (8 oz) uncooked pasta any shape
750mL (3 c.) reduced-sodium beef stock
150mL (3/4 c.) milk
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp mustard*
80g (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
*If using English mustard like I was be aware you might want to use less as it will be very hot. I use about 1/3 tsp of English mustard

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