Mashed Potato & Bacon Fritters

As a household of just two now, I have learnt to cook enough for a meal without having a load of leftovers.

But when it comes to potatoes,  I still work with the ‘one for the pot’ as my mum did when I was a kid. Needless to say, there are leftovers these days without a teenage boy to feed!

These Mashed Potato & Bacon Fritters make an amazing side dish or a brunch or lunch! They are perfect for using up leftover potatoes and there are so many  flavour combinations you can reinvent them often!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cold mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 6 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion,  chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons fresh herbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Now let’s put those ingredients altogether and cook:

Cook the bacon until crisp and drown well on a paper towel until cool.

Add the chopped onion to the pan, and cook over a medium heat until soft, and clear in colour – nothing much worse than crunchy onions!

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, with the exception of the butter.

IMG_0310Clean out the pan with a paper towel, and add the butter, melting in a medium heat.

Take about 1/4 cup of the potato mixture and roll it into a ball shape.

Place it in the pan and flatten it out with a spatula. Cook for about 3 minutes each side until they are lightly golden brown. IMG_0309Always best served with a hot and crispy with a dollop of sour cream or tomato sauce!

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You can get creative with the seasonings and the additional ingredients. Pretty much anything in your fridge works…..add your favourite mix of spices and herbs, and whatever vegetables you have on hand!

A few ideas for you for next time:

  • ham, cheese, capsicum, a little dijon mustard
  • sun-dried tomatoes, oregano and basil, grated mozzarella cheese
  • leftover savoury mince, corn and cheese
  • chopped spinach, crumbled feta and fresh herbs
  • any other leftovers in your fridge!

They can be topped with sour cream, extra bacon, sauce, a fried egg, or as a side to a sausage!

Next time you have potatoes on the menu, pop an extra on in the pot so you have some leftovers to try out this easy and easy recipe.

Happy leftovers xx

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Mac ‘N Cheese

Mac ‘N Cheese

If you mention you had Mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner amongst my work colleagues there would be gasps of horror! “oh my goodness, so much cheese”,” so many carbs”….”I just could not indulge like that”.  Any of those comments sound familiar?

So if you want to avoid those types of comments, just don’t mention it, or call it something else!

It was my birthday last month, and as we were not able to eat out, I figured I could treat myself to this family favourite – and somewhat classic dish!

Ingredients:

  • 250grams macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 3 cups Tasty or Colby cheese, grated
  • 4 slices streaky bacon, chopped roughly
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs, Japanese breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot to the boil with a dash of salt, and add dry pasta. Cook until al dente – or cooked ‘firm to the bite’. Drain and add a little olive oil to the cooked pasta to ensure it does not stick to each other.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat then add the flour and cook for three minutes. Add the milk, stirring constantly until thick and smooth – I use a whisk for this. Add two cups of grated cheese, and your seasoning. Remove from the heat, and set to the side.

Add a little cooking oil and over a medium heat sauté the bacon and onions for 10 minutes or until they’re starting to colour. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for two more minutes.

At this stage, I combine the bacon and onion mix with the cheese sauce in the pot with the cooked pasta. Mix it well.

Transfer to an oven-proof dish. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for 15 minutes – or until the cheese and breadcrumbs are golden.

Serves 4

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You can whip up a big dish of Mac ‘N Cheese very economically, which is also a great benefit for those of you with a tribe of teenagers to feed. A packet of dry pasta is less than $2, and this will go a long distance. Leave out the bacon, and add extra vegetables – you can chop up a broccoli, or grate a carrot and zucchini into this, and get away with it!

Don’t wait for a special occasion to treat yourself and the family to a delicious Mac ‘N Cheese dinner; add it to a family menu for a quick and easy week night meal the teenagers will devour in a flash. One word of warning however; make plenty as they will be back for seconds!

Happy teen – happy mum xx

Cheesy Cauliflower Waffles

Cheesy Cauliflower Waffles

Last weekend I ventured into the exciting new world of waffles after purchasing my very first waffle maker. Blueberry Waffles were my first attempt and they were a big success with the chief tester.

These airy, delicate and crisp-edged waffles were so fabulous, yet so simple to throw together, that they are destined to become part of our weekend breakfast routine. You can freeze leftovers, if you have any, and serve them during the week. You can pop them in the toaster to reheat (use a light setting) and they come out nearly as well as freshly made, maybe even slightly crunchier.

During the week I had considered what other ingredients I could use to make a different type of waffle. I had mentioned sweet potato, or Kumara, as we know it in New Zealand, and cauliflower as a couple of thoughts.

Late last year the cauliflower rice ‘fad’ hit the news and I climbed onboard that train with many others. It’s light and fluffy, like couscous, but totally healthy – and very simple to make.

There are two the techniques for making cauliflower rice. You can either use a grater traditionally used for cheese, or a food processor with the grate blade to blitz it into small pieces.  With both techniques you’re aiming for little pieces.

One you have your cauliflower rice, it’s super easy to cook! Simply sauté in a large pan over a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Use the lid to cover so the cauliflower steams and becomes tender.  Cook for 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally, then season to your taste.

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Anyway, I made a recipe that used cauliflower rice and ended up with leftover blitzed cauliflower so I popped it into a ziplock bag and out it in the freezer.  When I got up on Saturday morning thinking about my next great waffle, I grabbed the frozen cauliflower rice rom the freezer and this became my base for my first savoury waffle.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (or grated colby if you don’t have mozzarella cheese)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • fresh parsley

Heat the waffle maker until ready. Mix all of the ingredients together well in a large bowl. Add approx. 1 1/4 cups of the batter to the griddle. Set your timer to 4-6 minutes, and check at about the 4 minute mark. If the waffle maker sticks, let cook slightly longer. Remove once cooked, and allow to cool on plate.

These crispy waffles with a side of bacon and an egg made the most delicious brunch and got the thumbs up from the chief tester!

*I did find the mix got a little wet as the cauliflower rice defrosted waiting to be the second batch so I add 1/4 cup coconut flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. This did not have a negative impact on the flavour profile but does add gluten to what is otherwise a gluten-free recipe)

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If you have only gone sweet with your waffles, do give this savoury version an opportunity.  Without the flour it is gluten-free; and only the cook will know it is made with the cauliflower rice.

I’m thinking I will add spinach to this next time, and perhaps sundries tomatoes to really jazz up my Cheesy Cauliflower Waffles.  The options are really limitless and I’m looking forward to next weekend and something different again. Watch this space

Happy waffling xx

Sunday or should I say ‘Monday’ Brunch on a long weekend!

I lay in bed pondering what the day ahead looked like and decided it should start with a nice cooked brunch!  Auckland Anniversary weekend giving most Aucklanders a sleep-in today and as far as I was concerned this called for a celebratory brunch and not the normal tea & toast!

Now a quick shower before slipping into a nice summer dress and heading to a slap-up brunch at any number of great North Shore cafe’s would seem the best way to go however when you are on one income these trips really are a treat reserved for a special occasion – maybe a birthday or Mother’s Day? 

Getting an extra paid day off is certainly a special occasion but let’s be fair not quite birthday material!

I had spied some creamed sweet corn in the pantry leftover from my daughter’s stay over Christmas and I knew there was bacon and eggs in the refrigerator and that signalled a great brunch to me.

Sweet corn fritters are a favourite of mine since childhood and are often seen on breakfast and brunch menus in all the best cafe’s – usually priced between $16.00 and $20.00 too!

Here’s my ‘go-to’ recipe for easy sweet corn fritters which I take straight from the NZ Edmonds Cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 440g can cream-style corn
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Cracked black pepper

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt & pepper to take into a bowl. Add egg, mixing to combine. Stir in sweet corn.

Heat oil in a pan; drop 1/4cup of the mixture into the pan and cook until golden. Flip and cook the other side. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot.

Makes 6 nice sized fritters.

Sunday brunch at it’s best…

Drizzle balsamic glaze on your plate; top with a fritter, followed by crispy bacon – another sweet corn fritter with sliced avocado topped with a poached egg. A dollop of hollandaise sauce and a grilled half tomato on the side. That will be $18.50 thanks 🙂

Happy long weekend brunches xx

Creamy Bacon & Kumara Pasta Bake

Creamy Bacon & Kumara Pasta Bake

An early lesson in my life as a young married mum with 3 children and a mortgage was learning to cook a nutritious meal on a budget.

This is a recipe I have used and adapted over the years – especially great after football practice in the winter months when the teenage boy came home wet, dirty and very hungry! I either had this prepared to heat up and eat straight away – or could have it ready to tuck into as quick as a teenage boy can shower after practice! Well okay maybe that’s an exaggeration. Dinner is usually ready before the teenager is out of the bathroom 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 500g pasta shells
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 rashers rindless bacon, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
  • 600g kumara, peel and cubed
  • 150g baby spinach (or a handful)
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 c tasty cheese, grated

Sauce

Pasta Bake
Quick to prepare, and easy on the budget.
  • 60g butter
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup tasty cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to a hot 200°c.

In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until soft. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

In a large frying pan, heat oil and cook bacon for 2-3 minutes until golden. Add the leek and pumara and cook for abut 3-4 minutes

In a saucepan, melt the butter and add flour & thyme and cook, stirring for around 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Gradually whisk in the  milk until smooth. Pop back onto the heat and cook, stirring constantly until them mixture thickens.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes and then stir in the cheese and mustard. Season with salt & pepper. (You just made a white sauce!)

At this point I usually put all of the ingredients into a large bowl to mix together well. So pasta first, then vegetables and sauce. Add the spinach in last – (this does not need to be pre-cooked). Mix all the ingredients well.

Tip the lot into a large baking dish and sprinkle with combined breadcrumbs and grated cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top turns golden and crunchy!

Freezing this pasta dish is another great option for the busy mum – cool it down and then wrap well in glad wrap and foil. It can be in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Now you can make this dish with store bought fresh pasta which is very good, and a jar of ready made pasta sauce. Both of these items are handy and whilst they may save you a few minutes, the cost is not worth it.

I have used pumpkin instead of the kumara (and at the moment that’s a great option – I bought a whole pumpkin for $2.00 last week), and instead of bacon, a couple of pork sausages cooked up and sliced. The younger kids liked this option 🙂

So if you are watching your budget, and have a family to feed, give this recipe a go. Either way it’s a good dish to have up your sleeve with most of the ingredients ‘pantry staples’ making it easy to put together for those last minute dinner guests.

Happy cooking xx