Thursday, 18 April 2013

Fast day 8 and catch up from yesterday

Sunday was, by special request, meat loaf night.  So that made yesterday spaghetti bolognese night.  My sister is married to an Italian and that is a tradition she  has given to me, making spaghetti bolognese with chopped up leftover meat loaf.  I make my sauce in the crock pot/slow cooker and I let it go all day so the flat smelled delicious!  I also made some meat balls to go in the sauce and some French bread that I turned into garlic bread.  Of course, since life is never easy I had to make a white Alfredo type sauce for the boy who eats nothing that looks like it grew from the ground.  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to put up, sorry about that.

Italian Style Meat Loaf

500 grams of bulk Italian sausage, hot or sweet, your choice, we use hot
500 grams lean ground beef mince
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon basil
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion or 1 small chopped onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and press into loaf pan.  Bake at 350/170 until internal temperature reaches 165f.  I almost always use a digital meat thermometer rather than time when cooking meat, but you can expect it to take about an hour.  I usually bake potatoes at the same time to go with this and we had corn, which is one of the few "vegetables" picky boy will eat.  I made peach cobbler for dessert and that made enough for the boys to have dessert every night they eat with us this week.

I can't find Italian sausage here so I make my own.  We really like it and I use it to make patties for sandwiches as well.

500 grams or 1 pound ground/minced pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
14 - 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

I put all the seasoning ingredients in a resealable plastic bag and mix them together well.  Then I put the pork in and seal it up and squeeze the bag around until the seasonings are evenly distributed through the meat.  I usually make this up a couple of days before needing it to make sure the flavours are well blended.  If pork is on sale you can make this in any quantity you want and freeze it in appropriate sized portions. 

I don't know if any one actually needs a recipe for meat balls but just in case . . . here is a basic recipe you can tweak to suit your family.

Italian style Meat Balls (six large meatballs at 184 calories each)

1.5 pounds/750 grams extra lean minced beef
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano

Mix gently, not too much, and then form into six large meatballs, fry in a little bit of olive oil to brown and finish cooking them off in your sauce.  I put them in the crock pot/slow cooker with my meat loaf bolognese sauce to cook all day.  

"Alfredo Sauce"  is in quotes because it tastes like Alfredo but uses much less butter and has a lot less calories.  We really like it and you can use low fat/calorie ingredients to suit your taste/diet.  Since serving size is so individual, I just use a couple of tablespoons but my son probably uses 1/2 cup I have figured the calorie count for the whole recipe.

Alfredo style sauce (1031 calories for the recipe)

3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons plain flour
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) semi skimmed (2%) milk, more as needed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup (50 grams) grated parmesan cheese (or more to taste)
100 grams Philadelphia cream cheese (about 3.5 ounces or so)
freshly grated black pepper to taste
a pinch of nutmeg

In a sauce pan, melt butter and add flour to make a roux.   Slowly add the milk, whisking the entire time, stir until thick.  Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.  Add more milk if you decide it is too thick for your tastes.

The French Bread recipe, and the photo, came from here.  I haven't had time to search this blog properly but it looks like there are lots of great recipes.  The bread turned out wonderful and, after I cut the end off so I could make sure it wasn't poisonous  I made it into garlic bread to go with the spaghetti last night.  Every one loved it.

This post is already full of recipes so I won't post my bolognese sauce recipe.  I figure every body probably already has one they love to make or buy.  If you do want a recipe that is full of fresh veg and made in the slow cooker, let me know in the comments and I will do a later post on it.

Today is fasting day eight, and I am making a classic British dish called Toad in the Hole.  Don't ask me why it's called that, I have absolutely no idea, maybe one of my readers can enlighten us.  My recipe makes six servings, one each for Larry and I and two for each of the boys.  I will serve it up with green beans for all and left over peach cobbler for the boys.

Toad in the Hole  (six servings at 283 calories per serving)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 sausages, I used Morrison's Best Pork, Smoked Bacon and Cheddar
170 grams/6 ounces plain flour
3 eggs
185 ml/6 ounces semi-skimmed (2%) milk

Brown sausages under the grill or on top of the stove.  Place oil in a (9x13) baking dish and put into a cold oven.  Turn oven on to 400f/200c.  While the oven and dish is pre-heating, make the batter.  Either use a blender or a stick blender to mix flour, milk and egg until smooth.  Remove the hot pan from the oven, put the sausages in the bottom and pour the batter over them.  Bake about 35 minutes or until the centre is puffy and browned.  Don't be worried if the batter falls a bit after you take it out of the oven, it is supposed to do that.

Toad in the Hole