Posted in food

Mum’s Carbonara

Yum, back to pasta. A wonderful invention set to make amazing meals in no time at all, and yet they are healthy and super tasty. So yes, this blog will be full of many different pasta meal ideas. Sorry.

Carbonara is an Italian classic that everyone has heard of and probably tried. I have managed to find a way to make this dish super easy and tasty every time. I have tried hundreds of different methods to make a carbonara and this is the one that is the winner for me.

Ingredients

  • 350g dried tagliatelle
  • 150g smoked bacon chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150ml double cream
  • 50g parmesan
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

How I make it

  1. Cook pasta and drain
  2. Fry bacon for 4-5mins
  3. add to drained pasta and 1tbsp olive oil
  4. Put eggs in a bowl, add cream, whisk together
  5. add to pasta (while pasta still warm) and add cheese
  6. mix well
  7. serve with parsley on top

This is a very simple and easy meal to cook and goes down a treat with my daughter and household. I usually serve with a herby bread and salad followed by a fruity dessert.

I hope you find this as easy and tasty as I do.

Enjoy! xx

Posted in food

Ham Hock Mac and Cheese

Cheese and pasta, what’s not to like?!

I love a macaroni cheese, it is such a versatile meal. You can have it as a starter, a side dish or a main meal. And my gosh it is great!

I love to mix up the recipe a little adding different ingredients and making it something special each time.

For this recipe I added ham (forgot tomatoes) and a small teaspoon of yellow mustard. It tasted amazing and belles absolutely loved it. Paired with a side salad and some garlic bread this dish becomes a full on meal.

Ingredients

  • 375g macaroni pasta
  • 125g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1ltr milk
  • 2tbsp dijon mustard
  • 300g gruyere grated
  • 150g extra mature cheddar grated
  • 500g ham hock shredded
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs

How I made it

  1. Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water until just tender. drain and toss in olive oil.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan, stir in flour and cook out for a few mins. heat the milk separately, then whisk into the flour and butter over a low heat until thickened. stir in the mustard and all the cheese keeping back about 5tbsp
  3. Heat the oven to 190c/ gas 5. mix sause into pasta add ham. Put into large dish and top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese.
  4. Bake in oven for 20mins or until golden.

There you have it! My wonderful take on a macaroni cheese. Look out for more of my macaroni recipes as I explore this dish with more flavours!

Much love

Emma xxx

Posted in food

Creamy Leek and Kale Lasagne

A lasagne has been a family favourite for decades in my household, but I was beginning to get a little tired of having the same lasagne everytime. I decided to try and change it up a little, and this is the kind of lasagne that I created.

Ingredients

  • 300g Kale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 leeks thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • juice of half lemon
  • 150g mascarpone
  • 200g ricotta
  • 150ml veg stock
  • 4 tbsp basil pesto
  • lasagne sheets
  • parmesan, grated

How I made it

  1. preheat oven to 200c/180c fan/ gas mark 6. Grease baking dish with olive oil
  2. bring pan of salted water to boil. add kale. cook for 4-5 mins then drain. pat dry with kitchen paper
  3. heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. add leeks and season generously. cook for 8-10 mins
  4. add garlic and thyme and cook for 2 mins. add kale, lemon juice, mascarpone and ricotta (leave 4 tbsp for later. mix to combine well
  5. add veg stock to loosen into a thick sauce. remove from heat
  6. spread 1/4 of sauce into bottom of dish. dollop 1 tablespoon of pesto, then layer with lasagne sheets. do this until all sauce has been used. end with lasagne sheets.
  7. mix the last bits of ricotta with a splash of stock, spread over the top layer. add grated parmesan.
  8. bake for 20 mins until golden and bubbling.

There were mixed reviews about this dish, my little one decided it was “yucky” before even trying it but everyone else seemed to enjoy it as an alternative to the standard type.

Let me know what you think! Will you be trying this as well??

Enjoy xx

Posted in food

Chicken, Bacon and Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo

Pasta is such a simple dish to make, you can literally throw anything you like into it and it makes it something special.

I love to pack my pasta dishes full of veg and goodness, but sometimes I let us have a naughty binge with our pasta.

The Chicken Alfredo is my twist on a classic carbonara and is super delicious. Served with a side salad or a slice of garlic bread it is a wonderful treat for all.

Ingredients

  • 320g fettuccine or tagliatelle
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 6 streaky bacon rashers chopped
  • 4 chicken fillets
  • salt and black pepper
  • knob of butter
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 200g mushrooms sliced thickly
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 220ml cream
  • 200ml whole milk
  • handful parsley
  • 100g spinach chopped
  1. Put the pasta on to cook according to package instructions
  2. heat olive oil in large pan over med heat, cook bacon until crisp and golden
  3. season chicken with salt and pepper add to pan which bacon was cooked in. cook for 3-4 mins each side until golden and just cooked through. transfer to plate with bacon, cover with foil to keep warm
  4. melt butter in same pan, add onion, cook for 3-4 mins until soft. add mushrooms and cook for 6-8 mins until golden. Add garlic and cook for around 30secs
  5. add cream and milk, summer for 8-10mins or until begins to thicken. add in chicken and bacon. season to taste.
  6. add cooked pasta, fresh parsley and spinach, stir to combine. warm through for 1-2mins.
  7. serve with parmesan

This is a really quick and simple dish that tastes amazing. My little girl didnt think so though! She much preferred the garlic bread, but you win some you lose some. X

Let me know what you think about this recipe and if you’re going to give it a try x

Enjoy! Xx

Posted in food

Lasagne

Photo by Anna Guerrero on Pexels.com

Lasagne is the single most favourite meal in my household. Seconds? “Yes Please!” they all shout. This is one of those meals where I have to make it big or hear the moans that there isn’t enough for all.

It is a rather simple recipe really. You just need to know how to make a white sauce, and bolognaise. Once you have them down, you are well on your way to making the perfect lasagne.

For more information on how to make a bolognaise please see my earlier post Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Ingredients:

For the Bolognaise:

  • Minced meat (or vegetarian alternatives)
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 onion (i used red)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pepper (I used a yellow pepper)
  • handful of mushrooms (or as many as you like)
  • tinned tomatoes
  • 1x veg oxo cube
  • 1x beef oxo cube
  • mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Tomato puree

For the White Sauce

  • 1x knob of butter
  • 2 tbsp Plain Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Milk

To Make Up

  • Lasagne Sheets
  • Grated Cheese

How to Make

  1. Preheat Oven to 200c/ 180c fan
  2. Make the Bolognaise as per my post (Spaghetti Bolognaise)
  3. Fry onions, and garlic together, add peppers and meat. Once Meat is almost cooked add mushrooms. Once softened make red sauce by adding tomatoes, stock and herbs. Finish with adding in courgettes, carrots and puree.
  4. To make the white sauce. Melt butter over medium heat, whisk in flour, small amounts at time until smooth.
  5. Gradually whisk in Milk, and bring to boil. Simmer until thickened. Take straight off heat.
  6. Make up the lasagne. Put 1/3 of meat mix into an oven proof dish. Add a layer of lasagne sheets, then top with 1/3 of white sauce.
  7. Repeat the above until all meat and sauce mixtures have been used.
  8. Top Lasagne with grated cheese, place in oven for around 30mins, or until golden on top.

Serve this up with a side salad or garlic bread for the perfect meal. Healthy and simple.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe. If you wish for more information on how to make it then please feel free to contact me anytime.

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do.

Much love x

Posted in food

Tuna Pasta Bake

This is a dish that can be used as a packed lunch. I used to have Tuna Pasta Bake for lunch hundreds of times at school. It’s a sure fire way to make sure that little ones are getting a healthy meal, and is perfect for those busy days when school is over. On an evening when you have football, dance, piano, karate, anything that your children might do, giving them a meal at lunch means that they can have a lighter option for their dinner.

Nobody likes to have a hungry child.

As stated above, this is a recipe which I used when I was a child. My mum used to make it, and then she taught me.

That’s what cooking is about though, right? Finding a recipe which everyone likes and passing your version of it down generation after generation. You add in “secret ingredients” or you mix everything in a particular way to get the taste/texture etc, you desire.

Cooking is all about experimenting and that is what I do with my food everyday. I make sure to teach my little one (who’s only 3) the basics of cooking every time I make something, and as she gets older she will do more. Cooking is a fundamental skill which we all need in order to survive. It brings us joy, flavour, colour, and taste. It makes our lives brighter and better. More importantly, it keeps us alive.

So here is my recipe for a wonderful Tuna Pasta Bake.

Ingredients

  • Pasta (usually a cup of pasta per mouth, plus one for luck)
  • 2 tins of tuna
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 100ml milk (or more if needed)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • Cheese to serve
  • 1 packet of plain crisps crushed (optional)

you can also add peppers or mushrooms if you desire which makes a slightly different dish, just as delicious.

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180c
  2. Put the pasta on to boil as per packet instructions.
  3. Melt the butter over a low heat, and add the flour in gradually. Heat through for around 3 mins.
  4. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer (but continuously stirring so the milk doesn’t burn) until a thick sauce has developed.
  5. Add in the tomato puree and heat through until completely mixed in.
  6. Add in Tuna and Sweetcorn until heated.
  7. Drain Pasta and mix into the sauce.
  8. Pour pasta into an oven proof dish. Top with Cheese and crushed crisps, place in oven for around 20 mins, or until golden and bubbling.
  9. Serve up with a salad.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. This is a super scrummy dish that I think is perfect for lunch, instead of always having sandwiches in different varieties.

Much Love xx

Emma x

Posted in food

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese, yum yum and healthy! There is so much about a spaghetti bolognese that I absolutely love. For one, you can pack it full of healthy vegetables and the kids will never know. They end up getting their five a day and you can rest easy knowing that you made a yummy nutritious meal that they finished in like 5 mins. It’s a win-win situation really.

What is even better with Spag Bol is that it literally only takes about 10 mins to make, it’s super simple and super quick, so when my little one is trying to raid the cupboards for snacks and telling me she is “soooo hungry mummy I need those biscuits” I am able to whip up a quick and healthy meal in just a few minutes.

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti (enough for the amount of mouths you’re going to feed)
  • Minced meat (or vegetarian alternatives)
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 onion (i used red)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pepper (I used a yellow pepper)
  • handful of mushrooms (or as many as you like)
  • tinned tomatoes
  • 1x veg oxo cube
  • 1x beef oxo cube
  • mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Tomato puree

As you can see from this meal alone you are getting at least 3 of your 5 a day (considering how much would be in the portion). And as you will be making the sauce yourself you know that it is low in sugar and much better for you in the long run.

Making the dish

Before we start cooking, boil some water in the kettle (this will be used to cook the pasta), and prepare all the veg. Dice the onion, pepper, courgette and mushrooms and crush the garlic. As stated in the ingredients list the carrot should be grated. Once the ingredients are prepared you are ready to go.

  1. Put the spaghetti on to boil – you want everything to be ready at the same time.
  2. put a little oil in a frying pan, when hot add in the onions and garlic.
  3. once the onions have started to soften add in the pepper.
  4. as the pepper begins to soften add in the mince and mushrooms
  5. once the mince is mostly cooked through mix in the chopped tomatoes.
  6. crush the 2 oxo cubes into the mix and sprinkle some herbs over the sauce.
  7. once the sauce is boiling add in the courgette and grated carrot.
  8. make sure to taste the sauce as you go along and add to it where needed to your taste.
  9. I usually add a couple of teaspoons of tomato puree right towards the end to give an extra tomato flavour kick.
  10. Once the sauce is to your liking and the pasta is cooked through, drain the pasta and serve.

Remember pasta first then meat mixture, and top with your favourite cheese (parmesan goes best)

As you can see this is a very easy dish (you are literally throwing everything into one pot) and it all comes together in just a few minutes. Have fun with it and try adding in other flavours to make it your own.

I hope you enjoy my recipe, if you want to see more of my simple recipes then please follow me on social media.

I look forward to showing you my next creation

Enjoy! xx

Posted in food

Spinach and Chicken Spaghetti

I went a bit over the top with the cheese lol x

Ah, Spaghetti and pasta in general. I love love love making pasta dishes as they are so quick and easy to make, and you can trick your lovely little ones into eating a whole host of vegetables. Psst, just don’t tell them what’s in there! Or if you do getting them to help prepare dinner somehow makes them more likely to eat the veggies which are put into dinner. I don’t know how but it’s MAGIC!

This dish is one that I whipped up with barely anything left in the house. I was very proud of myself and what’s more, it was a very tasty dinner.

I am one for using up everything we have in the house BEFORE doing a big shop, as I don’t like the idea of getting in new things to cook when you still have a freezer, or fridge or cupboard completely full of food. I personally think it’s wasteful as the reality of you ever using the products that are already there are slim to none, as you end up using the new products and forgetting about the old.

For this dish I had the option of using Spaghetti or Fusilli, and I find both pastas work in different ways. For this dish I wanted a pasta which sticks to the sauce and spaghetti seems to stick best to the sauces I have found. Also my daughter has an obsession with noodles, so if she is being particularly stubborn on not eating her food I will whip up some spaghetti (but call them noodles) and most of the time she will eat.

Ingredients I used

  • Spaghetti (enough for 3 people)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • Handful of tomatoes
  • 1 Chicken breast sliced and cooked (left over from the day before)
  • 1/2 bag of fresh spinach
  • Rocket and salad to serve (Lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, sweetcorn, no dressing)
  • (since making this recipe I have also added broccoli)

How I made it

  1. Boil the pasta
  2. While the pasta is boiling oven bake the tomatoes for about 10 mins (this is when I also steam the broccoli)
  3. when the pasta is cooked, take about 2 mugs of water from the pan before draining – you will be using the water in a bit.
  4. pour all ingredients into a bowl (spaghetti, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, chicken, 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 1 cup of parmesan, and the pasta water) add any herbs and spices to taste – basil and pepper are what I tend to use.
  5. Mix until a smooth creamy cheese sauce has been created. (I sometimes add a splash of milk, but find the water and cheese is perfectly good enough)
  6. serve with a side salad and some rocket and parmesan on top.

and Voila! a super easy yummy treat for the family in under 20 mins

Your welcome!

I hope you enjoy this meal and have fun adding in your own ingredients and making the food your own. As all I am doing is giving you ideas of easy and quick meals to do with a busy family, and these are created to me and my families tastes, so of course you can add in your own flavours to make them your own.

Have a wonderful Meal!

Enjoy! xx