Chicken and Apple Meatballs

These meatballs are a tasty alternative to the traditional.  Whilst it is great to follow the recipe, I definitely recommend adding in your own favorite flavours to change it up a little bit each time.  Use different herbs and spices, add nuts and seeds, oats instead of breadcrumbs etc.  This is the beauty of cooking from scratch, you get to make recipes your own just by tweaking a few ingredients.  My suggestions are included in the instructions.

Originally I made this for my wee boy who was just starting to discover different foods and flavours, as they make great finger food and can be kept really simple to begin with.  However, now that he is older it’s also another way to add different textures and flavours.  It’s a great family food when teamed with a homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti, and also good in the lunchbox the next day.

When putting together a food for an infant, keep in mind not to add salt to their meals if they are under 1 years of age (sodium can overload their kidneys), so leave out the stock until they are older than this.

Whilst I think cashew nuts are the perfect addition to this recipe (plus fresh coriander!), hold off on adding larger sized nuts until they are older, and stay vigilant when you introduce a new nut to their diet, to keep an eye on any adverse reactions.  After a few taste tests with no side effects cashew nuts are a perfect healthy source of protein and good oils, and soft enough for them to cope with (unlike whole peanuts which can be a too hard for a little one to bite, and are considered a choking hazard until 4-5 years).

Chicken and Apple Meatballs

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts (cut into chunks)
  • 1 Large granny smith apple (roughly chopped)
  • 1 onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Small sprig of fresh parsley
  • 1 pinch dried mixed herbs
  • 1 cube chicken stock (for over 1 year olds)
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • plain flour (for rolling)

Note

A great addition to this recipe is to include cashew nuts, which can be processed to a coarse breadcrumb-like consistency prior to mincing the chicken.  Fresh or ground coriander also works really well, as does adding a vegetable by grating them in before mixing (eg. carrot or zucchini).

Goes well with a tomato sauce and spaghetti!

Directions

1. Place the chicken breasts in a food processor and blitz until they turn into mince. Remove and place in a separate bowl.
2. Process the apple, onion, parsley, dried herbs and chicken stock until they resemble a paste. Transfer to the chicken mince.
3. Add the fresh breadcrumbs and thoroughly combine.
4. Roll the mixture into large tablespoon size balls, using the flour to prevent any overt stickiness.
5. Spray a non-stick pan with oil and cook the balls until firm (around 15 minutes), moving them around the pan occasionally. Alternatively you can bake them in the oven.

Toasted Muesli

When choosing a breakfast cereal the best one to look for is one that is high in fibre and low in sugar, however this is easier said than done as many breakfast products on the market may appear healthy and yet actually have more sugar than we expect/need, either in the form of too much added dried fruit or refined sugars for that crunchy texture.  One way to get around this is to make your own, as well as giving you the opportunity to personalise your breakfast to your liking.  Our toasted muesli recipe is so moreish that you’ll want to have it as an afternoon snack as well, and being jammed packed full of healthy fats curtesy of all the nuts and seeds it would certainly be a great snack option too.

This recipe doesn’t have any quantities as we have found it is best to choose your container first and fit the quantities around that.  The hero of this recipe is of course oats, which are not only heart healthy, but full of fibre and protein.  Feel free to omit any ingredient you are not keen on, and if you like dried fruit then they can be added once cooled.

Toasted Muesli

Ingredients

  • wholegrain oats
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • walnuts
  • flaked almonds
  • shredded coconut
  • canola oil
  • honey
  • an orange

Directions

1. Choose an airtight container you wish to store your muesli in.
2. Fill the container to about a 3/4 height with the oats.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, minus the coconut, so that when mixed together they are appealing and nearly fill the container (leaving room for some coconut).
4. Add 3 tablespoons of oil and a tablespoon of honey to a large oven tray and place in a 160 degree oven to warm through.
5. Tip the muesli ingredients onto the warmed tray and mix with the oil and honey. Place back in the oven for ten minutes.
6. After ten minutes stir the mixture with a spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom, then place back in the oven. Repeat this two more times or until ingredients begin to look like they are taking on some colour.
7. Now add the shredded coconut, mix through and place back in the oven for another ten minutes.
8. Once the coconut has begun to colour pull out the tray, then add the zest of the orange and mix through.
9. Allow to cool and then place in the container for storage.

Chia Seed Crackers

These crackers are a great healthy alternative to the store bought variety.  Most brands have an over abundance of salt in them, as well as saturated fat, so making the decision about which ones to buy pretty tricky.  These are low in both of those, but with the added bonus of being really tasty.  Chia seeds are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, protein and calcium, as well as other vital minerals.  For those who are sensitive to gluten the binding properties of chia seeds works really well here, and if you also can’t tolerate oats then just omit those from the recipe and replace with another favourite seed.  These are great for snacking, and go well with a slice of cheese, avocado or hummus. Enjoy!

Chia Seed Crackers

Serves 36 crackers
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 40 minutes
Meal type Snack

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Ground Chia Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Whole Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Flax Seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon Iodised Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Oil

Directions

1. Place all the seeds and dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the water and oil.
2. Combine well and leave for 30-40 minutes to let the chia seeds swell and the mixture to thicken up.
3. Tip the mixture onto a tray with baking paper and spread out thinly over the entire tray. The thinner you spread it the less time is needed to bake it.
4. Score through the mixture, using a knife or pizza cutter, to make your desired cracker shape.
5. Place the tray in an oven heated to 150C. Bake for 30 minutes then take out and flip the crackers over.
6. Return the tray to the oven and bake on this side for another 30 minutes. Keep an eye on how quickly they are drying out, as it will depend on the efficiency of your oven (fan baked vs non-fan) and how thin you spread the mixture (which can be spread really thinly). You could use two trays.
7. The crackers should be crisp after cooling out of the oven for a minute or so. Let them cool completely on the tray before transferring to an air tight container.

Super simple flatbreads

I like to call these flatbreads, but you can also call them Roti. Essentially they are a super easy, cheap and fresh way to make a type of wrap that goes so well with curries, stews, sauces, dips and grilled falafel or other protein. Give them a go and you will be surprised at just how easy they are to make yourself!

Super simple flatbreads

Serves 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups plain flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (approx)

Directions

1. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl then sprinkle over oil and salt.
2. Add in water slowly whist mixing until dough comes together and is soft but not sticky.
3. Knead until soft, then rest covered in a greased bowl for about 30min.
4. Split mixture into 6 and roll into small balls. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin and fry in a very hot non-stick pan. When they starts to bubble and brown they can be flipped.
5. Serve warm with falafel, curry or use as wraps.

Healthy Teriyaki Sauce

So many of the shop bought Teriyaki Sauces are full of sugar and not much else. This is a super simple way of doing your own at home! We used ours to marinade chicken legs and then baked them for 30 mins and served them with sesame seeds, steamed vegetables and rice. YUM!

Healthy Teriyaki Sauce

Serves 1
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (grated)

Directions

1. In a small pot whisk together soy sauce, water, and cornflour until smooth. Then add all other ingredients.
2. Heat over medium heat until honey is dissolved.
3. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a medium heat and whisk constantly until desired thickness is achieved. Do not leave unattended as it can burn.
4. If too thick, it can be thinned with additional water to a preferred consistency.

Mango, Corn & Coriander Salsa

This yummy summer salsa is fresh and tasty and makes the most of the seasonal fruit and veg! We had it with grilled jerk chicken and brown rice, but it goes well with wraps, mexican or a classic kiwi BBQ meal.

Mango, Corn & Coriander Salsa

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 6 minutes
Total time 16 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 corn cobs
  • 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes)
  • 1 mango
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 handful fresh coriander
  • 1 lemon (juices)

Directions

1. Leaving the corn in the cobs, steam in the microwave for 6 minutes. Leave to cool whilst prepping the other ingredients.
2. Dice tomatoes, cucumber and mango and roughly chop coriander.
3. Cut the corn off the cobs and then mix with the other ingredients. Dress with lemon juice and enjoy!

Banana Bran muffins with Walnut Cinnamon topping

This is a yummy back to school muffin recipe that’s lower in sugar and high in fibre to help keep those little busy bodies busy!

Banana Bran muffins with Walnut Cinnamon topping

Serves 12
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 1 cup bran
  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 bananas (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup apple puree (to make it easier just use babyfood)

Topping

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk, banana, oil and apple. Then mix with dry ingredients until just combined.
4. Spoon into greased muffin cases.
5. To make topping mix together cinnamon, walnuts and sugar and sprinkle over muffins.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Coconut Oat Slice

It seems nowadays coconut oil is either ‘in’ or ‘out’.  Whilst it is not the next Superfood that is going to fix everything, and we certainly wouldn’t recommend you add it to your coffee or cook with it every day, it can be a lovely addition to baking, and with a little less saturated fat than butter it can be a very flavorsome replacement.  This slice uses coconut oil and shredded coconut, and with some heart healthy oils from the nuts and seeds, minimal sugar, and lots of fibre, this is a great slice to have instead of a bought muesli bar, or as a shared snack.

Coconut Oat Slice

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (or replace the seeds and water with another egg)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup dates (packed tightly)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cups desiccated or shredded coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 weetbix (crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

1. If using chia seeds, soak them in the water for 10 minutes. Also, in a separate bowl, soak the dates in some boiled water until soft.
2. Whilst the seeds and dates are soaking, melt the coconut oil, add the golden syrup and whisk in the egg(s).
3. Process the almonds and sunflower seeds until they look like bread crumbs. Mix them in with the coconut, oats and crumbled weetbix in a large mixing bowl. Add in the flour and baking powder.
4. Drain the dates, roughly chop them up and then add to the dry ingredients.
5. Add the chia seeds to the wet ingredients and then finally combine both mixtures together.
6. Press the mixture into a lined 20cm x 20cm tray and bake in a 180C degree oven for 20 minutes until slightly golden on top.
7. Allow to cool in the tray and then slice.

‘Creamy’ Cashew Nut Pasta

Nut butters are a great source of protein and healthy oils, and are really great to use as part of a dish.  This recipe starts from scratch, with the whole cashew nuts, which are great for turning into a really creamy sauce for pasta dishes.  You have to persevere with the blender to get the nuts to release the oils, but it’s well worth it.  This is also a very quick recipe to make, with minimal ingredients.

‘Creamy’ Cashew Nut Pasta

Serves 2
Prep time 15 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups unsalted cashew nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic (skins on)
  • 1 cup trim milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • seasoning
  • 3 cups cooked pasta

Directions

1. In a frying pan dry toast the cashew nuts and whole garlic cloves (still in their skins), by tossing them in the heat. Allow them to get slightly golden, but not too dark, around 5 minutes.
2. Remove the skins from the garlic cloves and add along with the still warm nuts to a food processor. (Keeping the nuts warm will help release their oils).
3. This next part can take anywhere between 5-15 minutes, depending on the efficiency and sharpness of your blender. Process the nuts and garlic until they form a paste. To start with they will resemble fine breadcrumbs, and depending on your blade it may take a while for them to reach the next stage. You will also need to stop the blender to scrape down the sides. Keep persevering, it does happen! Don't be tempted to add a little oil or water; this is not needed and may turn the mixture gluggy. Eventually the nuts will start to form an oily paste on the sides of your blender and move around the bowl; keep going until smooth. You have now successfully made garlic cashew nut butter!
4. Add the milk to the processor and blitz one more time to make a 'creamy' sauce.
5. Transfer the cashew sauce to a pan, add the parsley and spinach and warm through until the spinach has wilted. Season to taste and then add the cooked pasta and stir through to completely cover with the sauce.
6. Serve warm with any other vegetables you desire!

Quinoa and Green Bean Salad

This is a lovely summer salad that goes well with any bbq or roast. It is done with a colourful white, red and black quinoa mix, creamy feta and fresh crunchy green beans. Quinoa is a complete protein and a great option to give salads a bit of body.

Quinoa and Green Bean Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon Ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • drizzle Olive oil
  • juice One lemon
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1/2 Block of feta
  • 250g Round green beans

Directions

1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a sieve and add to a pot along with 2 cups water, spices and a pinch of salt. Cover, and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes.
2. Whilst the quinoa is cooking, trim the end of the beans and cut in half. Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
3. When quinoa is cooked add to a serving bowl along with the green beans. Crumble in feta, dress with olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste.