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 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
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
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
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.
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
Today Sunday Supper is honouring the Fathers in our lives with a fantastic menu of men approved dishes. I am lucky in that my husband is more adventurous with food then I am but when I heard this was the theme I thought this would be a perfect time to share my attempt of Chicago-style pizza.
Chris is such an amazing dad who blows me away every day with his love and patience for his daughter. We just recently found out that our new bundle of joy coming is a girl which only out numbers Chris even more. Chris’ excitement when the sonographer said we are expecting another girl brought such joy to my heart. He is a daddy who loves his girls and they love him. I hope he feels honoured and appreciated every day but especially on this day. Love you honey.
Now I have only visited Chicago a few times so I can’t consider myself an expert but both hubby and I agreed this was the best Chicago pizza we have had in a while. I can’t wait until we have an excuse to make it again.
460g (3 1/4 c.) plain flour
80g (1/2 c.) yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp table salt
2 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
295mL (1 1/4 c.) water, room temperature
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
1 tsp plus 4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
400g (28-oz) tin crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
500g (1 lb) whole-milk or part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
14g (1/2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese (about ¼ cup)
Hot or mild Italian sausage, casings removed
Other toppings of choice
Recipe from Carnal Dish
I talked earlier this year about us testing to see if hubby was gluten-intolerant but I never did follow up on that. After taking it out of his diet completely we saw a little change but nothing significant which has led us to feel it isn’t an intolerance to gluten. I have friends and family that have true allergies to gluten and for their sake I refuse to allow myself to get caught up in fads that make it trendy. You might think it is no big deal but it is, because people have made it trendy to say they are gluten-intolerant, when they probably aren’t, it causes others to not take others who have a serious condition serious. You will still see gluten-free recipes on this blog from time to time because one sometimes recipes are naturally gluten-free and also I do have friends, family and even readers with serious conditions. But I wanted to make it very clear where we are.
This is an example of a recipe that I found that I feel in love with and the fact that it was gluten-free was only by chance. This was like a healthier version of one of my favourite aubergine dishes, Aubergine Parmesana.
Roasted Aubergine and Tomato Gratin
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tin 400g (15.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1 large aubergine (about 1 lbs / 450 gr in total)
grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp almond meal
1 Tbsp olive oil
Recipe from The Iron You