Slow Cooker Meatballs

I don’t know about you, but the memories of summer holiday fun are quickly fading as the term gets back underway. 

The struggle is real for some in our house, as lazy slow mornings have given way to the school morning scramble.

On any given day I find myself at the breakfast bench whispering to myself ‘breathe, don’t yell, stay calm’ as we negotiate getting a sleepy teen moving and talk through the logistics of the day ahead with the family. 

Sigh. I was never a yelling type….until I became a mother that is. And this year, 2018, is the year where I.WILL.YELL.LESS. 

So. Here’s to less yelling in the mornings, making the school bus on time, getting to work not too frazzled and for another year, feeding our families and gathering together at the end of each day, however that looks.  

There are some solutions and shortcuts for this busy season, like prepping lunches and dinner in advance, enter these yummy easy Meatballs!  We can also outsource some house jobs, call in the family and friends cavalry from time to time to help out, but at the end of the day, there is no shortcut to raising our kids. 

It happens one busy, crazy, noisy, messy day at a time. Some of those days we can High 5 ourselves on our patience, wisdom and general awesome-ness. On many many others, we just have to know it’s enough to keep showing up and be thankful for the mercies that come afresh every time the sun rises again. 

Mums, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that we’re not going to get it right every time. I am staring down this new year already knowing it will be filled with imperfect parenting, disappointments and struggles for us and our kids. 

But I stare it down knowing that God doesn’t make mistakes and in Him, I trust and rest in full confidence knowing that I am the best mum for my kids, this season of their life is in His hands, He knows the future and it’s not my job to worry endlessly about all that I can’t control. He loves our kids even more than we do, doesn’t that just blow you away?

So bring on 2018 – less yelling, more breathing, less worry, more trust, less of me and more of the one who holds the world and our kids in his hands. 

E x

Slow Cooker Meatballs
Serves 6
Simple moist meatballs cooked in a rich tomato and herb sauce.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 kilogram pork and veal mince (if using beef mince, use a full fat variety otherwise they dry out)
  2. 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  3. 1 tablespoon dried italian herbs
  4. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  5. 700ml jar of passata (italian tomato cooking sauce)
  6. 1 cup of tomato puree
  7. 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
  8. a generous splash of balsamic vinegar
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. To serve, parmesan cheese, parsley, pasta and steamed greens
Instructions
  1. Combine mince, breadcrumbs, herbs and garlic in a bowl.
  2. Using hands, roll into small, evenly sized balls.
  3. Place remaining ingredients in the slow cooker.
  4. Add the meatballs and fit them in as snug as you can.
  5. It's okay if they are not all submerged, just give them a careful stir 1/2 way through cooking if that's the case.
  6. Place the lid on and cook for 2-3 hours on high or 5-6 on low. Take the lid off with 1/2 hour to go to let the sauce reduce a little.
  7. Serve sprinkled with parmesan and parsley, pasta and steamed greens.
Notes
  1. Look for a passata or pasta sauce that has herbs added in to give the sauce extra flavour.
  2. If you use a plain one, add more dried or fresh herbs like oregano and thyme.
  3. This is the perfect make ahead meal as it's flavour develops in the fridge over a day.
  4. It also freezes well.
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Roasted Veg Salad (vegetarian)

We all have our list of ‘lazy meals’ that we go to when we can’t really bare to think anymore about what to feed the family. 

Although this salad looks a little fancy, it has become one of my ‘what to eat when I haven’t thought about what to eat’ meals. 

The beauty of this recipe, if you can indeed call it one, is that you roast whatever you have on hand or needs using up. The day I took these photos, it was tomatoes, capsicums, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and I threw some asparagus in for the last 5 minutes of roasting time.

But the options are endless – beetroot, pumpkin, leeks, onions, carrot, zucchini – if it’s in your fridge or cupboard, wash it, chop it into even chunky sized pieces and throw it on the tray. 

Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and scatter with  some fresh or dried herbs – rosemary, thyme or oregano are often my choice for veggies like these. 

If you cut them into small-ish chunks they should only take about 30 minutes in a 200 degree oven. 

I like to let them cool for a moment, before tumbling onto a platter of mixed salad leaves. You could leave it at this and it would be fabulous, or to snaz it up a bit, add some goats cheese or fetta. 

It is such a versatile dish – eat it on it’s own or alongside some protein like chicken, red meat or fish. 

I often try to do a little extra, because a container of these veggies, cold the next day makes for a quick and yummy lunch. 

Here’s to finding new inspiration to keep feeding our families without going mad!

E x

 

 

 

Florentines (gluten free)

I created this recipe a few weeks ago when I was asked to bring something for dessert to a friends house, whose family is mostly gluten free. 

As usual, it was after a forage in the pantry where I spied flaked almonds and craisins that needed using and suddenly the idea of a florentine biscuit came to mind. 

Because I have tried to create a refined sugar free version, you will find that the usual ‘toffee-like snap’ of a florentine isn’t there, but my taste testers assured me that it didn’t matter at all. They still taste like nuts and caramel and chocolate!

Putting a plate of these in the middle of the table at the end of big meal was just the perfect, not too sweet way, to finish. 

Florentines
Yields 20
A thin, chocolate coated biscuit of nuts and dried fruit.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 200 grams flaked almonds, finely chopped
  2. 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  3. 1/2 cup craisins, (dried cranberries) chopped
  4. pinch of sea salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
  6. 3 tablespoons gluten free plain flour
  7. 50 grams butter
  8. 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
  9. 100 ml double cream
  10. Coating
  11. 100 grams good quality dark chocolate, (70-85%) chopped and melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat fan forced oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Place butter, rice malt syrup and double cream in a small saucepan.
  4. Stir until butter has melted and bring to the boil.
  5. Once boiling, pour over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Leave mixture to sit for a few minutes.
  7. Place heaped teaspoon amounts on baking trays lined with baking paper. You many need to use your hands to help shape each circle.
  8. Flatten each one with your hand or the back of a spoon. I like mine thin, so no more than 1/2-1cm thick is good. Make sure you leave enough room for them to spread a little.
  9. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until spread a little and golden.
  10. Leave to cool completely on trays.
  11. Once cool, dip one side of each biscuit in melted chocolate and leave on a wire rack (with a tray underneath to catch the drips!) until set.
Notes
  1. Store biscuits in an airtight container for 3-4 days. They will get softer over time. If it's very hot, store them in the fridge.
cook fast eat slow http://www.cookfasteatslow.com/

Polenta & Herb Crumbed Fish Fillets (gluten free)

This recipe may seem a little odd, coming to you on a freezing winter’s day here in Sydney. 

As much as we love the roasts, soups and stews that we live on during winter, there are still days where we want a quick and simple protein and salad meal. 

Taken from an idea found in Delicious magazine, June 2008, this crumbed fish recipe, using polenta instead of your usual bread crumbs, gives people who are gluten free a chance to enjoy a golden crunchy topping on their fish once again. 

I usually like to buy my fish fresh, but for those days when I haven’t had the chance to get to the shops, I keep boneless and skinned firm white fish fillets in the freezer. Whether you simply pan fry them as they are, or put an easy crumb on them like this, it’s a speedy and nutritious dinner option that suits the whole family. 

If you have children who love store-bought fish fingers, then these will surely impress them.

Enjoy x

Polenta & Herb Crumbed Fish Fillets
Serves 4
Fresh herb and polenta crumbed firm white fish fillets.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup polenta
  2. zest of 1 lemon, plus extra wedges to serve
  3. a handful of fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, oregano or thyme, leaves only
  4. 1 egg
  5. 4-5 firm white fish fillets, boneless and skinless
  6. 2 tablespoons butter
  7. 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine polenta, zest and herbs in a food processor and blitz till combined and herbs finely chopped.
  2. Place on a plate.
  3. Whisk egg and place in a shallow bowl.
  4. Dip each fish fillet into the egg on both sides and then coat with the polenta mixture, using your fingers to press the mixture on all sides.
  5. Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan till hot, then cook 2 pieces of fish at a time, 3-5 minutes on one side and 3-4 minutes on the other. Cooking time will vary depending on how thick your fillets are.
  6. Drain on paper towel and serve with lemon wedges and salad.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine June 2008
Adapted from Delicious Magazine June 2008
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