Cheats spinach and ricotta cannelloni

This recipe is one of my favourites because it requires little skill and little cooking and it packs lots of flavour.

It’s my cheats version of cannelloni because I’m using jar sauce today (this is not a sponsored blog post nor is it a collab, I simply like this brand and am happy with the ingredients so am sharing it with you today).

Ingredients

2 eggs

1kilo fresh ricotta cheese full fat

100 grams Parmesan cheese (1 packet if you buy from the shelves)

Salt and pepper

1 onion

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

2 x 500’gram packets frozen spinach (defrosted)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

4 jars 400 g barilla Napoletana sauce (or use whatever you like as long as quantity is correct)

600ml full fat thickened cream

2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 packet fresh lasagna sheets (I used Latina but if you like another brand ensure the sheets are the same size or you may need 2 packets)

Method

My method is divided into 4 parts

Step 1 the spinach

1) add oil, butter and chopped onion to a pot and cook on a low simmer until the onion is transparent. Add garlic and cook off until cooked.

2) add spinach and salt and pepper and mix well. It will give off a little liquid but you will cook this off on low until most of the liquid is absorbed.

3) taste for salt and pepper and add if needed. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool right down before mixing with ricotta.

Step 2) the ricotta

1) place ricotta, 2 eggs, Parmesan and salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix really well and place in the fridge to sit until the spinach has cooled down.

2) once spinach is cool mix well with ricotta mix

Step 3 the sauce

1) grab a large mixing bowl and a ladle. Add 4 jars of barilla (or sauce of your choice) to the bowl and mix well with the cream. Set aside

Step 4 constructing the cannelloni

1) open the packet of lasagna sheets. The Latina ones are quite large so I cut them in half to give 16 squarish shaped pasta sheets. If you are using another brand just check the size as you may need to buy 2 packets for this recipe but I found one to be enough with the Latina packet. See image for what it looks like.

2) place one lasagna sheet down and put two heaped tablespoons of ricotta and spinach mixture toward the end and make it into a long sausage shape that goes the length of the pasta sheet (see image above)

3) grab a baking dish and ladle some sauce into the Bottom so it’s enough to wet the cannelloni about half way

4) roll your pasta up into a sausage cannelloni shale and place this into the sauce (see image above)

5) continue to roll cannelloni until baking dish is full

6) top with more cheese and some mozzarella sauce and bake in a preheated oven 200degrees for approx 35/40 minutes or until cheese is melted and gooey

7) serve topped with some parsley or basil and with your favourite side salad.

Note this recipe makes 16 cannelloni some some for dinner and some for the freezer so dinner is done next time

Lunchbox slice times two

I’ve had lots of lovely followers contact me now that school has gone back for another term about different things to pack in kids lunch boxes. I love a mix of healthy food and a little treat. My son is three and we talk about ‘sometimes foods’ and ‘all the time foods’ and how having some of each is a perfect balance. In my son’s lunchbox I always pack a sandwich or piece of zucchini slice (he isn’t into sushi yet otherwise homemade sushi is a great option too) fruit, yoghurt, veggie sticks, dip, cheese and one treat like a slice or cookie for example. Life is about balance and educating our little loves about balance is important I believe.

Here is a recipe for not one but two slices from the one cake batter mix! I call this slice a lunch box lifesaver because it’s quick and easy to make and lasts a while so perfect to have on hand. It can be made ahead of time, cut into 8-10 pieces per slice and if stored correctly can be kept in the freezer ready to remove a piece as you need it. Perfect!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sifted self raising flour

1 cup caster sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

A little sprinkle of salt

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (essence will also be fine)

1/4 cup choc chips (HANDY TIP- I didn’t have any at the time of making my slice so blitzed a left over Easter egg chocolate in my smoothie blitzer and if you had other chocolate you could try this too)

2 oranges (one orange gets cut in half and juiced while the other gets used for rind and then gets sliced thinly for decoration)

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Spray two slice tins (size approx 25cm x 15cms) with cooking spray and line with baking paper

Grab a large mixing bowl and add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, milk, vanilla, eggs, and hand squeeze the juice (try not to get the seeds as this is unpleasant to eat) from one orange and add this to the mix along with the rind from the other orange and add all these to the bowl and mix well to combine. I like to beat together on high speed with an electric mixer for one minute until mixture is well combined and smooth.

Divide the mixture in half into seperate bowls and in one of the bowls add the choc chips and mix through to give you a Jaffa flavour (choc orange) to one slice and then with the other leave as is for an orange delight.

Pour the cake mix into the seperate baking trays and smooth over to ensure the batter is evenly spread. The choc chip is ready to go into the oven but the plain orange one I like to slice some orange slices very thinly, remove the peel by cutting it off and place over the top to give a nice design and extra flavour.

Bake in oven for approx 15-20 minutes. Check slices because they are quite thin and will cook faster than a normal cake. Slices are cooked when a skewer is insterted into the centre and comes out clean.

Leave to cool completely before slicing. Slice each one into 8-10 portions and I like to store mine in an air tight container with baking paper between the layers of slice so they don’t stick together. You can label the container and pop,in the freezer removing slice when you need it portion by portion perfect for the kids lunchbox! I love this because it’s enough for two weeks (depending on how many lunch boxes you put together each day) and is really easy to make. If the kids aren’t keen on one flavour then no need to seperate the mix when adding Ingredients (but make sure you divide to bake) and if you’re not orange eaters you can experiment with your own flavour combinations. Some yummy suggestions I have are:

*Vanilla and blueberry

*Double choc chip (white and milk choc)

*Coconut and dried apricots (slice apricot thinly for this and add about 1/4 cup of each)

*sultanas and dates

Below is an example of how I store in the freezer. Note the baking paper layers between the cake.

Cheesy vegetable triangles

Essentially I created these yummy little parcels as a fast, delicious and easy meal you could make for children’s lunches at home. They’re a great “meat free Monday” meal and served with a side salad are a great light lunch for the whole family.

But then I got to brainstorming and thought how wonderful these little parcels are for using up leftovers too! The recipe below would be perfect with some shredded chicken mixed through the filling that’s left over from last nights roast dinner or you could change it up completely and fill the parcels with whatever you have left over from last nights dinner. Imagine some butter chicken in the middle of these little crispy triangles! Yum! Or even your roast lamb with veg and some gravy would be amazing all mixed up and popped in the centre too. Even with the chicken you could leave out the vegetables I’ve used today and use asparagus instead, I love the combination of chicken, cheese and asparagus! Yum!

The sky is really the limit and the idea is to make meal times cost less (where possible), reduce the amount of waste we are putting out there and making meal times easy where we can and these cheesy vegetable triangles tick all the boxes!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup plain flour

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup grated tasty cheese

1 cup cooked frozen veg (or whatever you have to use up)

3 sheets store bought frozen puff pastry, defrosted

A sprinkle of sesame seeds

Olive oil spray or cooking spray

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Take your sheets of pasty from the freezer and leave out somewhere flat to thaw.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees

Cook veg to packet directions (if using frozen), I normally just steam them in the microwave to make it faster and set aside

Grab a small pot and put butter and flour into the pot on a low heat to melt.

Once butter is melted story the flour and butter to combine for about a minute, this cooks off the flour a little too

Slowly mix or whisk in the milk until it becomes a thick sauce

Stir in vegetables, cheese and salt and pepper (add as much salt and pepper to suit your taste remembering this gives you added flavour. Make sure you taste and add if needed. Always easy to add but hard to disguise if you’ve put too much.

Set mix aside and now to the work on the pastry

Grab once sheet of pastry and cut into 4 equal squares

Place a small tablespoon of cheese and vegetable filling in the centre of one of the squares and fold over in half

Unsung a fork, press around the open edges to seal closed and place triangle onto a baking tray lined with baking paper

Repeat until you have used all pastry and filling.

Spray triangles with oil spray and sprinkle with sesame seeds

Bake in oven 180 degrees until golden and crispy

Caution filling will be hot so let them cool before serving to children

Christmas Granola

I’m not sure about you but my home is well and truly buzzing with Christmas cheer. We have trimmed our trees (we have two, one for mr three to go crazy with and decorate in his own style and then my more colour co-ordinated tree 🤣). We have filled the home with festive decor and we have shopped til we have dropped trying to find the perfect gift for everyone. Sometimes the perfect gift isn’t something you can buy but instead something you make from the heart. This Christmas granola is definitely one of those gifts. Its delicious, crunchy, smells divine and is literally Christmas on a spoon. Just perfect over some natural yoghurt too!

I am absolutely delighted to share this recipe with you all as it is part of a very special collaboration with one of my all time favourite products Brushwoods Oats and Olive Oil. As part of my role as recipe developer I get to work and develop recipes for some amazing companies that produce some wonderful products and Brushwoods is no exception. Their incredible products speak for themselves and I am so very excited to share the next delicious recipe in a series of recipes using Brushwoods products with you today.

“Brushwoods is a family operated Australian business bringing 100% Australian grown, processed and packaged products to you. They support local businesses and believe that reconnecting with food is important to the health of all Australians. Historically, the vast majority of people were either farmers themselves or knew many farmers, food was sourced directly from the grower and a true of appreciation of real food prevailed. By bringing Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Freshly Rolled Oats to the market they want people to experience fresh and real food that is natural and healthy. Brushwoods products will always be fresh and real. With no preservatives, no additives and no sneaky marketing ploys, you can be assured that you know exactly what you are buying (either for your home or for your business). They want you to be reassured that ethical food production is as important to them as it is to you” (exert taken from Brushwoods website).

Their products can be purchased directly from their website or alternatively you can check their website for a list of stockists. The website is http://www.brushwoods.com.au/

Ingredients

Makes enough for 1 large jar or 2 smaller sized

1 cup brushwoods rolled oats

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup macadamia halves

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (if you want to try it with olive oil, I did and thought the olive oil gave it a stronger olive oil flavour so in the end went with vegetable because it was milder and for breakfast but happy to do what you like)

1/4 cup goji berries

1/2 cup chopped dried apple

1/2 cup pecan nuts

Sprinkle of ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon

Method

Mix together the honey and oil and set aside

Grab a big bowl and add the oats, cranberries, coconut, macadamias and then add the honey oil mixture to this and mix really well.

Place on a large baking tray lined with baking paper and place in a preheated oven 150 degrees to slowly cook and go golden. Make sure you have spread your mixture all over the tray and it is as thin as you can get it.

At the 12 or 13 minute mark take the mixture out of the oven, mix well and spread evenly and thinly again and place back into oven to cook for another 10 minutes.

Check on your mix while it’s cooking as every oven varies and when it is golden (not necessarily crunchy as it goes harder when you cool it down) it’s ready. All up mine took 35 minutes as a guide but again every oven varies.

Now add the goji berries, chopped apples, pecans and mix well. Sprinkle with some nutmeg and cinnamon (amount up to you depending on your taste but as a guide I did about a teaspoon of cinnamon and half of nutmeg) and mix well to combine.

Its now ready and goes so nicely over some fresh vanilla or natural yoghurt for breakfast, perhaps on Christmas morning.

If you are giving this as a gift it looks beautifully displayed (and stores well too) in a glass jar with an air tight lid. Tie some ribbon around it and voila you have an easy and thoughtful gift for the person who has everything! Merry Christmas xx

Christmas stars (the easiest biscuits you will make)


These delightful looking biscuits are the easiest biscuit you will ever make! Perfect for when those unexpected guests phone and say they’re 15 minutes away and you don’t have anything to serve them because these babies can be easily whipped up in no time at all!

They make a scrumptious snack for afternoon tea and use only three ingredients! 

Here’s the recipe, I hope you love them as much as we do.

Ingredients

1 sheet defrosted puff pastry

16 pitted dates or pitted prunes (I prefer prunes so have used prunes for mine today)

1/4 cup Icing sugar for dusting on the biscuits once cooled
Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line 2 trays with baking paper

Remove puff pastry from freezer and defrost

Cut puff pastry into 16 equal square shapes and cut a slit that goes almost to the middle on each corner of every square. See image below


Place a prune (or date) in the centre of one square and fold every second corner into the middle and press down to seal the pastry together each time you fold in. Image below will show you each fold step by step.


Place folded star biscuit onto lined baking tray and repeat process until you have used all of the squares (8 stars to a tray). You will now when finished have 16 Christmas star shaped biscuits.

Place trays into oven and bake until stars are crispy and golden. This should take 6 to 12 minutes depending on the force of your oven. Be careful not to over cook.

Once cooked leave on trays to cool.

Dust stars with icing sugar using a sifter and sit back and enjoy one (or two) with a cuppa!
Recipe note: best made fresh and consumed within a day or two so only make what you think you will need.