Tag Archives: courgette

img_3621

Healthier 15 minute Mac and Cheese

My kids adore macaroni cheese and as a mother I love it- it’s a meal that’s done in the time it takes to cook the pasta. But it’s a bit stodgy and lacking in greenery isn’t it? I’ve used a Jamie Oliver variant of this recipe, but this one’s a lot easier and you can use most vegetables that are lying around. I find that the vegetables that work best with creamy, cheesy sauces are:

broccoli
courgette/small squashes
spinach
peas
sweetcorn
cauliflower

Basically vegetables that cook quickly and according to the list above, don’t have strong flavours.
I use broccoli a lot as I’ve always got it in the fridge and everyone likes it. Here’s what you need for 4 big eaters with at least leftovers for the kids the next day.

500g pasta – (we use rigatoni, but macaroni, fusili etc would all work)
250g Veg
50g butter
a desert spoon of flour
300 ml milk
50-100g grated cheddar (maybe a bit more for the top?)

Get the kettle on and pour boiling water over the pasta (I usually need 2 kettlefuls for 500g- add a tsp salt and allow to boil gently.

Meanwhile chop the broccoli/cauliflower/spinach/courgette into small chunks so they cook quickly. Set aside.

When the pasta is a few minutes away from being ready- throw the veg- it will only take minutes to cook.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. You’re looking for a mixture that is not a liquid. but not a dough either- somewhere in between! Cook very gently, stirring constantly for a minute until the roux is lighter in colour and changes texture. Add the milk a third at a time and keep stirring- use a whisk if it gets lumpy (it always does!) Bring slowly to the boil- the sauce should be thicker now. Turn off heat and add grated cheese.

Drain the pasta and veg and pour over the cheese sauce. Serve straight from the pan or tip into a serving dish, scatter over more grated cheese and bung under the grill for a few minutes until bubbling and golden.

Always a winner.

IMG_3078

Braised Turkey Meatballs with Feta

I almost confused this recipe with the titillating sounding “My Big Juicy Meatballs” which can be found (like this one) in the ubiquitous Joe Quick’s “Lean in 15”. Sadly Mr. Quick’s book does not tell you how to shed 2 stones in 15 minutes but how to cook lean food in 15 minutes.. sounds like a man with a plan. In all honesty, it takes more like 30 minutes to rustle this up if you’re not that keen on your onions retaining a crunch, but is very simple and absolutely delicious. Obviously being lean, Joe Quick doesn’t serve these meatballs with anything, but we like a bit of cous cous or rice to soak up the sauce. Oh and don’t be tempted to leave out the feta- it really makes the dish. I crumble some into the kids’ dinner before they notice.

This little dish could serve up as much as 3 of your 5-a-day, and is incredibly low-fat and nutritious.

For 4 (but we can usually get two meals+ out of this recipe)

Oil
1 red onion, diced
2 red peppers, diced
1 courgette, chopped
2 x 400g cans tomatoes
40g feta, crumbled
500g turkey mince
salt and pepper, minced oregano or parsley to add flavour to meatballs

Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and fry off the chopped vegetables for 10 minutes until softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes adding a little water to stop sticking if necessary.

Meanwhile, season the turkey mince and add the herbs: roll into small balls (wet hands help) you should be left with about 12-15 meatballs. Fry these off gently for a few minutes until golden all over then add to the tomato sauce- allow to braise in the simmering sauce for 10 minutes.

Just before serving, crumble in the feta and stir.

Serve with cous cous, rice or a salad.