Category Archives: Non Sweets

Find recipes for yummy dinners, including sushi, roasted chickpeas and a few pasta dishes.

Fettuccine Bolognese

If you live in Australia, you know Coles.  And you may have seen a commercial on TV where chef Curtis Stone takes a woman and her daughter shopping for ingredients for his fettuccine bolognese recipe.  The cost of the ingredients for the recipe is supposed to be under $10.

I’m a Woolies girl myself, and I’m not a fan of Curtis Stone, but this recipe looked easy, cheap and tasty, so I visited Coles, grabbed the Curtis Stone recipe booklet at the front door and bought the ingredients.  Well, it wasn’t under $10 because I bought a bigger package of ground beef (the leftovers I would freeze for later use).  I wasn’t very interested in the cost, however, as I was more interested in how easy it would be, and whether my kids would like it or not!

I started cooking when I got home from the shops and I found the preparation was quite easy and relatively quick, just what I was after.  The sauce cooks up nice, thick and fragrant.  I love the chunky mushrooms and carrots.

The taste was so-so.  Oh, it was good, definitely, but it just seemed to be lacking a little bit of flavor, like it could have used more seasoning (which would have been my fault for not using more) or more basil.  I don’t know, I’m not a cook – I’m a baker!

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Teriyaki Beef Sushi And Green Tea Meringues

Wow, a whole seven days without a post, what am I coming to?  I have been a little busy over the Easter holidays and while I haven’t quit baking, I have had less time to spend on the computer.  Now that the holidays are over, I hope to resume some sort of normality.  To make up for my lack of posting, I did a makeover on my “About” page by adding a lot more information about myself, so have a read over that if you’re curious.

To get back in the swing of things, I have a sort of Japanese-theme for this post.  We’ll start off with teriyaki beef sushi.  If you read my new “About” page, you will learn that sushi is my ultimate favorite food.  I love sushi with raw salmon the best, but this recipe that I found in the March 2010 issue of Australia’s Recipes + is pretty good too.

I’m really sorry for the poor quality of the photo.  The sun had already set and lighting was dim in the house.  I keep saying it’s time to make my own lightbox, but haven’t gotten around to that yet.

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Mango Chicken Wraps

I’ve been trying to expand into other types of recipes, other than just sweets.  I realize this is The Sweetest Kitchen, but I figure that I should include some tasty savory recipes as well, to counteract the sweetness, just a bit.  So I’ve been visiting the library and borrowing some recipe books.  One of my latest ones is the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics.  It is a huge book.

In The New Classics cookbook is a variety of recipes, some of which you’ll find on Martha’s website, including the one I’m going to show you today.  I’ve copied quite a few recipes that I hope to share with you, actually!

Today’s recipe from The New Classics cookbook is chicken wraps with mango, basil and mint.  This one was the first recipe that stood out at me while skimming the book.  It sounded very interesting, and on top of that I just love wrap sandwiches!

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Orange Pasta

We all try to feed our children healthy foods, but I’m pretty sure that most moms would have to admit that just sometimes we let the sweets get a little out of control.  We keep a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in the kitchen and luckily my 4-year-old daughter loves fresh, raw fruits and vegetables.  My 2-year-old son hates vegetables, yet loves fruits!  Occasionally he’ll eat some cucumber or carrot or peas, but you’d mainly see him with a banana, apple or a handful blueberries.

I try to feed my kids healthy foods, but there are those evenings when there’s only time for a frozen pizza, or French fries, or chicken nuggets.  And of course, if I’ve made cupcakes we’ll have those for dessert.  I always feel guilty about it, but if I look over the course of a week or so I realize that they’ve gotten plenty of other healthy lunches and dinners and I don’t feel so bad.  Besides, I’m a firm believer in having a treat every so often!

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, my kids prefer them raw.  If I’ve taken the time to cook any vegetables, they’ll usually always think it’s disgusting.  So you’ll find a lot of chopped cucumber, celery, carrots, apples, etc. in the refrigerator along with various dips such as hummus, or avocado.  Most of the time I remind myself to not waste time cooking the vegetables, but sometimes I’ll find a recipe that just looks too interesting to pass up.

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Parmesan Knots

As an accompaniment to my spaghettti with mushrooms and garlic I decided to try a recipe from the lastest Taste of Home magazine for parmesan knots.  This recipe uses refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough (I used Pillsbury) as the base for the knots, which makes these easy and quick to bake up.

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They taste great, like a crispy garlic bread.  They’d be perfect for appetizers, a snack or a side dish.

Parmesan Knots
Adapted from Taste of Home magazine, August/September 2009
Makes 2 1/2 dozen

Ingredients
1 tube (12oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Method
Cut each biscuit into thirds.  Roll each piece into a 3-inch rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under.  Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; add the warm knots and gently toss to coat.

The only thing I did differently in making these was that I used olive oil intead of canola oil to toss the knots with.

Tomato Relish

I realize I haven’t posted a new recipe in 5 days now, so I apologize for that!  No, I haven’t had my baby yet – I’m currently at 38 weeks and 4 days.  My mom has been staying with us in these last few days of my pregnancy, so we’ve been too busy talking to each other for me to be online!

I did want to update here with a recipe for tomato relish.  This is something I’ve been interested in trying since I heard Gordon Ramsay mention it a few months ago on one of his shows.  I searched for a recipe, found one I liked the sound of from Bobby Flay, then adapted it to my own tastes.

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Making this was so easy; it came together really quickly.  It would be the absolute perfect addition to hamburgers, but we used it on hot dogs!

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Tomato Relish
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; serve at room temperature.

See, it couldn’t possibly be any easier than that!  :)

Sausage & Penne Casserole

I’m a big fan of baked pastas, so when I saw this recipe in my Taste of Home magazine (the June & July 2009 issue) I couldn’t pass it up.  I’m so glad I decided to make this, it turned out really well and gave us three nights of dinners.

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I did have to make a substitution to this, however.  My store must have been out of Italian sausage, one of the main ingredients to this recipe.  So I used regular ground beef and while cooking it I added an Italian spice blend.  I’m sure I’ll be making this again sometime, and I will try to find Italian sausage next time!

My entire family loved this, even my 2-year-old son.  It makes a great family dinner when served with a nice fresh salad.  We had a salad of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and green olives.

The sauce this recipe makes tastes great, and would be nice to use as a regular spaghetti sauce.  I might try this sometime!

The original recipe in the magazine made two full 13×9-inch baking dishes of this casserole, but I divided everything in half (or close to half) when I made this for just one baking dish, and I have posted the recipe for just one baking dish below.

Penne & Sausage Casserole
Adapted from Taste of Home magazine, June & July 2009

Ingredients
3/4 pound uncooked penne pasta
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 cup dry red wine or beef broth, divided
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Minced fresh parsley

Method
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside.

In the same pan, saute mushrooms and onion in oil until tender. Add garlic and oregano; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in 1/2 cup wine (or beef broth). Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, sausage and remaining wine (or beef broth). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Drain pasta. Spread about 1/4 cup sauce in a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Spread half of the pasta on top of the sauce. Top with about 1 1/4 cups sauce and 1/2 cup of each cheese. Repeat the layers once more.

Cover and bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Vegetarian Sushi

It would be safe to say that my all-time favorite food is sushi.  Well, everyone knows that pregnant women shouldn’t eat sushi because of 1) bacteria from being stored improperly and 2) mercury levels in fish.  So you can probably imagine how much I have missed sushi during all three of my pregnancies.  I’m almost done with my third one (about 8 weeks to go!) but I decided I just couldn’t wait any longer – I was going to make my own sushi!

Because I’m pregnant, I wanted to stay away from raw fish, so I made vegetarian sushi.  I was really surprised at how easy it was to make the sushi.  I’m definitely going to be making my own again, and soon!

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To help guide me, I had this 5-star recipe from Recipezaar and this beginner sushi tutorial from And Then I Do The Dishes printed out.

So basically what I have done with my sushi is thinly slice seedless cucumbers and carrots, which was actually the hardest part of making my sushi!  To make it easier, see if you can find matchstick carrots in the produce section of your store, or maybe even grated carrots.  The cucumbers weren’t so difficult.  I also sliced the avocado and extra firm tofu a bit thicker.

Rolling the sushi took a little practice – my first roll didn’t turn out so well, but the second looked better.  I think I overstuffed my sushi a bit, because the seaweed started to rip in some places!  I don’t have a bamboo sushi mat, but I do have silicone pot holders/hot plates, so I used one of those.  It’s about a 6-inch square mat, and it worked really well.

I spread about 1 cup of sushi rice on top of a sheet of nori.  You’ll need to have a bowl of water right next to you to dip your fingers into as you spread the rice evenly on top of the nori, otherwise you’ll end up with the rice stuck to you instead of the nori!  After spreading the rice, I placed the tofu, cucumbers, carrots and avocado in a line down the center of the rice.  Then I started rolling.  Like I said, that takes a little bit of practice, but after the first roll I pretty much got the hang of it.

If you are interested in making your own sushi, I highly recommend doing so.  It’s really not as difficult as you might think.  The post at And Then I Do The Dishes really helped me out with this, so have a read over that, print it out and get to work!  :)

Baked Chimichangas

I get a lot of different cravings, and I blame that on being pregnant!  This time, it was Mexican, and I made chimichangas!

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These were actually much easier to make than I thought they would be, and they tasted so nice!  I left out the chopped green chilies in the white sauce, but if I had to do it over, I think I’d add them after all to give it a bit of extra flavor.

Baked Chimichangas
Adapted from Taste of Home
Serves 6

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup salsa
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
6 flour tortillas (10 inches), warmed
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
1 can (4 ounces ) chopped green chilies

Method
In a large nonstick skillet, simmer the chicken, salsa, onion, cumin and oregano until heated through and most of the liquid is evaporated.  Place 1/2 cup down the center of each tortilla; top with 2 tablespoons cheese.

Fold sides and ends over filling; roll up.  Place seam side down in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Bake, uncovered, at 425F for 15 minutes or until browned.

In a saucepan, heat broth, bouillon and pepper until bouillon is dissolved.  Combine flour and half-and-half until smooth; stir into broth.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in chilies; heat through.  Cut chimichangas in half; top with sauce.

Broccoli Pesto

This dinner was inspired by Not Without Salt.  It’s broccoli pesto.  I’ve never actually had any pesto of any sort that I’m aware of, so I was interested to try this out.

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The “recipe” is posted at the link above to Not Without Salt, but you’ll see it’s not exactly a recipe.  It basically says to throw together broccoli, oil, garlic, lemon juice and puree!  It doesn’t give amounts of anything, so it’s pretty much open to your tastes.

What you do is you steam some broccoli.  You then saute it in dark green olive oil (I don’t have any of this, so I used regular olive oil) along with two minced cloves of garlic until the garlic is soft.  Put this into a blender along with pepper, salt, the juice of half a lemon, more olive oil and puree it.

I have no idea what consistency pesto should be – should it be runny or thick?  Mine came out a bit thick, and I used it on spaghetti.

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I really need to work on my spaghetti plating skills!  But anyhow, I really liked this.  I did something sneaky for the kids though.  I made them spaghetti as well, but knowing that they wouldn’t eat green spaghetti, I mixed the rest of the broccoli pesto into regular red spaghetti sauce and they had no idea they were eating broccoli – they loved it!