Really awesome things to do with leftover bread – Part 1

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*If you are not into grains or carbs, this post is not for you I’m afraid…

Mind you, we don’t eat a lot of bread here. Well, C does actually. He drives a truck for work and he needs food that can be managed easily so sandwiches or wraps tend to be a daily staple for him. J5 loves a toasted sanga, but while R2 will munch on some toast, he won’t eat sandwiches at all. I love bread, I just don’t think the love is mutual…
Anyway, we often end up with half a loaf of uneaten bread. I’m not one for wasting food, to me it’s just like throwing money in the bin, so I thought I’d share a series of posts about what we do with our left over or day old bread. This is part one…

TASTY TRIANGLES

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These are essentially little tarts made from bread and leftovers. You can fill them with anything – bolognaise, savoury mince, tuna mornay, casseroles, baked beans, bacon and eggs etc… This time, I used the rest of last night’s bacon, zucchini and tomato risotto. (made with brown rice though, not aborio)

Step 1
Cut a diagonal slit from the centre to one corner of a piece of bread.
Cut one crust off and fold the bread in to form a triangle cup.
Squish the bread together to seal and line a muffin tin with 12 pieces.

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Step 2
Fill triangle cups with leftovers.
*I drizzled a little olive oil over the empty bread baskets too but it’s not really necessary.

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Step 3
Top with grated cheese and bake @ 180 C for approx 30 minutes.

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Step 4
Such a perfect weekend lunch or quick midweek meal Enjoy 🙂

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Bread Posts Still To Come…

Part 2 – “Savouries”
Part 3 – “French toast, family style”

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Lentil Pot Pie

Before I moved in with and married my husband, I ate very little meat. I suppose I was a student then and couldn’t afford a lot of it. I also lived in lots of share houses over the years with vegetarians, and with communal cooking, it was generally just easier to cook vego. Canned tuna and chicken were probably my main meat source, maybe a lamb kebab after a big night out… although I did waitress at a few cafes and probably had a beef salad here or there and a good weekend fry-up with bacon.
These days, we eat a fair amount of meat. I was seriously anaemic earlier this year and it really knocked me around so I have been more conscious of the amount of iron I’m getting in. That, and I live with 3 meat loving males.
I still aim for about two, sometimes three, meat free dinners per week. Always ‘Meat Free Monday’ and generally an omelette, a frittata or something bean or vegetable based else where. The reality is, organic or good quality, grass fed meat is more expensive but ethically, it is all that I’m willing to buy. I like to think the animals we eat have had a good life and have been treated well. Factory farming is an absolute disgrace and it is pleasing to see the beginnings of a move away from that sort of food production in this country.
Anyway, as I said, my men love their meat so I tend to entice them into their vegetarian meals by making them hearty and with simple flavours. This one is a real people pleaser… Especially if it’s a little chilly where you are!

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Lentil Pot Pie (Serves 4)

4 large potatoes (or sweet potatoes) peeled and chopped.
* I used red potatoes tonight as they were on special and for a bit of a treat. We eat very few potatoes, usually opting instead for the sweet potato for its low GI (slow release energy) properties.
1/2 an onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1.5 cups diced vegetables (I use frozen peas, corn and carrots in this, as they are kid friendly, quick and easy)
1 tin organic tomatoes or 4-6 diced fresh tomatoes
1 tin organic brown lentils, drained and rinsed. (look for BPA free tinned goods. I use the Global Organics brand)
1 tablespoon organic BBQ sauce. (I use the Macro brand)
Cracked sea salt and pepper (use pink Himalayan, Celtic sea salt, or Murray river salt – hasn’t been stripped of all it’s nutrition!)
Optional: butter, milk, olive oil, grated cheese etc… for mashed potatoes.

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Here’s How

Boil your potatoes in a large pot.

Gently sauté onion and garlic.

* if using fresh diced veggies instead of frozen, add now and sauté.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil then reduce heat.

Add frozen veggies, lentils and BBQ sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes.

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Fill individual ramekins (or one large oven proof dish) dividing the mixture as you see fit. I put a little less in the kids ones.

Mash potatoes to your liking – I add grass fed butter, salt and pepper and a splash of full cream, organic milk.

Top each dish with potato and if using, a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Place under a grill or in a hot oven to melt the cheese.

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Enjoy 🙂

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Veggie Wedges With Crispy Bacon Bits

Well, after two days of feeling truly spectacular and energised by the sun, today it’s back to cold, overcast and miserable here. I think at some point down the track, I need to consider moving to a warmer climate. For two days I was so motivated! I woke early, played outdoors with the kids, gardened, went for long walks after dinner, filled my washing line with load after load and generally felt amazing. Now I just want to curl up on the couch under a blanket!
How do the rest of you stay motivated when the weather is lousy? Teach me oh wise ones!

Anyway, here’s some yummy comfort food for you to take those winterish blues away…

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VEGGIE WEDGES with CRISPY BACON BITS

You Will Need:
(To feed 4 with possible leftovers to add to a salad for lunch the next day)

1 kg sweet potatoes
1/2 butternut pumpkin (or 2-3 carrots)
2 large zucchinis
6 – 8 short slices of free range bacon (we use Istra bacon – local, free range, preservative free)
Sea salt and black pepper
Olive or coconut oil for roasting*

Optional to serve: Sour Cream, Greek yoghurt,

* I roasted my veggies using a home made garlic and rosemary infused olive oil.
You could achieve something similar by scattering veggies with dried or fresh rosemary, and 5 or 6 smashed garlic cloves then drizzling with oil. Or you can just leave them plain – they will still be delicious!

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Here’s How

Preheat oven to 200dc (390F)

Line two baking trays with parchment paper

Chop veggies into wedges and arrange in a single layer on your trays.
Note: you can use any other veggies you like – carrots, parsnips, potatoes etc…

Season with salt, pepper, oil (garlic & rosemary)

Bake for 50 -60 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and drool worthy.

10 minutes before you take the veggies out of the oven, slice bacon into small squares and panfry on the stove until crispy.

Plate up veggies and scatter with bacon.

Serve as is or with sour cream or Greek yoghurt.

We also ate a simple garden salad with ours.

Hubby C said it was “the best dinner ever” and Little R2 didn’t look up for a good 20 minutes until he had devoured every last bite. J4 is not as mad for roast veggies as the rest of us but he was easily encouraged with a sprinkle of grated cheese over the top of his.

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Enjoy 🙂

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Additive Free Nachos, with homemade bean salsa

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Often families I know, have either Friday or Saturday nights reserved for take-away meals as a treat and a good excuse to give mum or dad a break from the kitchen. That’s totally fine in my book but two areas of concern for our family are the cost – most meals to feed a family really are not a cheap option in my opinion and then there’s what to get to please everyone…
We all tend to agree that fish & chips sound like a great idea, until we all feel utterly sick and bloated afterwards, vowing to never eat another chip again. And then of course there’s the fact that it is all dripping in highly processed vegetable oils, who knows what’s in the fish with the state of our oceans and really, there’s nothing very nourishing in a meal like that is there? I like to eat colour!
There is of course pizza… Only wheat and I are not great friends and these days I try to avoid it, plus little R2 has never been into anything bread-like, so this is on his “won’t touch” list.
C and I agree that Thai is delicious but the kids aren’t really interested apart from perhaps a mild pad Thai noodle dish.
Chinese is something I rarely entertain the idea of due to the high levels of MSG used in the cooking. (can also be a factor in Thai) That sort of food is an instant migraine to C, tummy troubles for me, and rashes, sleeplessness and tantrums for J4.
Fast food burgers and fries… Well that’s just not food at all is it? There’s nothing in that to do any good for little growing bodies, or big bodies for that matter.
Indian, is quite a good option in terms of being real satiating food, however, locally it’s very expensive and doesn’t seem to go very far.
So… Where does that leave us?
Well, we reserve Friday nights for Friday Favourites. Basically easy meals that we all love and that I can throw together quickly and with minimal effort. But we also like them to feel like a bit of a treat too. Often they are inspired by take away style food such as crispy chicken strips and chips or fried rice in fifteen minutes.
The following recipe is definitely a favourite and a great way to bring the family together around the table and break a bit of convention. Little R2 having mastered his fork was mortified at the idea of using his hands! But really, how else are you going to eat nachos?

ADDITIVE FREE NACHOS with homemade bean salsa.

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You Will Need:

2 garlic cloves, finely diced or crushed
1/2 red onion
I capsicum (Pepper) or roughly a side of each colour- red, yellow, and green, finely diced.
400g of passata or chopped tomatoes. (I prefer passata for this but a can of organic tomatoes will do just fine if that’s what’s in your cupboard)
1 can organic cannelini, red kidney or navy beans, drained and rinsed. (In a pinch, I have actually used a can of Coles brand organic baked beans before, which were delicious though they do contain raw sugar.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional – I leave this out when I’m making this for my little ones)
Salt and pepper to season (I prefer pink Himalayan, Murray river or Celtic sea salt)
1 large packet of organic corn chips. I buy the Macro brand from Woolworths in Aus as they are free of additives and GMO’s.
1 cup grated cheese (I use colby)

Optional To Serve:
Sour cream or Greek yoghurt
Avocado or guacamole
Sliced spring onions
Sliced red or green fresh chillies

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HERE’S HOW
Preheat oven to 200dc (390 F)
Sauté your vegetables in a little olive oil until softened
Add your spices to the pan and gently fry until fragrant
Add your passata or tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then simmer on a medium/low heat for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile:
Divide your chips into two and place 1 layer of corn chips in a large baking dish,
Scatter with half a cup of cheese
Add the rest of the chips
Top with salsa and the rest of the cheese.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is well melted and gooey.

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Now I know, you’re thinking, where’s the guacamole? I know… Sadly I am the only avocado fan here (though I do hide it in the kids’ smoothies and they have no idea!)
Next time I may even bake this in four separate oven safe bowls so that I can top mine separately with all the good stuff like guacamole and chilies! Realistically, I could also cut way down on the dairy by doing this too, which is something else I personally don’t like a lot of. Apart from some questionable ethical issues involved in modern dairy farming, it also really flares up my hay fever and sinus issues. So as much as I enjoy a meal like this, I tend to pay for it the next day.

Anyway, how nuts you go with the toppings is up to you but for an occasional indulgence, this meal is a real people pleaser!

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Enjoy 🙂

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