Thursday, 9 January 2014

Introducing... my Renew the Menu project


One of the goals on my ‘To Do’ list for 2014 is to breathe new life into our weekly family dinners. In the last few months of 2013 it wasn’t just the TV shows that were in constant re-run mode and although I attempted to describe the 5th showing of tuna bake in a month as a ‘special encore’ appearance it didn’t seem to entice the audience. Considering we eat 365 dinners a year and most of us probably cook the same 15 meals on rotation that is a lot of re-runs!!
Even though I love to bake, I do not really like to cook that much. Planning, shopping for, preparing and cooking meals takes a lot of time and energy and just when you’ve got one covered another one is looming around the corner! So I have decided I will set myself a goal of cooking two new dinners a week, now this doesn’t sound like that much of a challenge but I had to set a goal I thought was doable since I still have other things to do around here!

Twice a week I will create a meal that I haven’t ever cooked before. I’ve dubbed this my “Renew the Menu" project and will post the recipes and how they were received here on my blog. As time is a precious commodity all my dinners will be quick and easy as well as healthy and family friendly.

I hope that if you have been suffering from the same affliction as me and need some inspiration you might find some here in the coming weeks and months. Maybe you might like to take on this project in your household! Make sure you share your winners here or on my Facebook page.

Now for the first of my Renew the Menu meals: Sugar-free Satay Chicken with Cauliflower mash and Crunchy salad.
 
One of the things I miss being sugar-free is Thai takeaway satay chicken and when I first tasted Mayver’s Peanut and Coconut Spread that is the first thing that sprung to mind. So here I have made a simple satay sauce, it isn’t as spicy as I would normally make it as my kids are too young for anything too hot but if your family like the hot stuff feel free to add more chilli flakes or use a small red chilli instead.

Cauliflower mash with coconut milk was a real winner in our household. Even husband who is not a real fan of cauliflower and reluctantly put the first serving on his plate went back for more. Simple and easy way to encourage kids of all ages to eat some more veggies!
 
The crunchy salad was a bastardised version of a Coles Crunchy Asian Salad recipe and added great crunch to the meal. I didn’t make a dressing for it as I didn’t want to confuse the flavours and the satay sauce is the real hero here. Overall (apart from the expected mess) this was a hit and will definitely make it into the dinner rotation!
 

Sugar-Free Satay Chicken with Cauliflower mash and Crunchy salad

(Serves 4)

Sugar-Free Satay Chicken

½ tbsp olive oil
500 g free-range chicken breast fillets

Satay Sauce

1/3 cup Mayver’s Peanut and Coconut Spread (love this stuff!)
½ cup Coconut Milk
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp chilli flakes (you can increase this if your family likes it hotter)
1 tbsp rice malt syrup

Cauliflower mash

1 small cauliflower
½ cup coconut milk

Crunchy Salad

¼ purple cabbage, shredded
50 g snow-pea sprouts, cut in half
1 small carrot, peeled into ribbons
½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
Handful of cashew or peanuts

 

Method

1. Shred cabbage, cut snow-pea sprouts in half, peel carrot into ribbons, slice capsicum into thin strips and chop coriander leaves

2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and top with cashews or peanuts

3. Slice chicken fillets into large strips (or smaller for younger children)

4. Using a fork mix all satay sauce ingredients in a jug (adjust consistency of sauce to your liking my adding more coconut milk)

5. Heat oil in frypan and cook chicken pieces until done

6. Whilst chicken is cooking cut up cauliflower and put florets into microwavable container with vented lid, add ½ cup water and microwave for 6-8 minutes or until tender

7. Drain water from cauliflower and add coconut milk, mash or blend together until smooth

8. Spoon bed of cauliflower mash onto plate, place chicken strips on mash and top with satay sauce, serve with side of crunchy salad.

 
Tip: Any leftovers are great in a wrap for lunch the next day

 

I would love to hear from any of you that have tackled a new family dinner recently, was it a hit or miss?

 

 

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