Beef Stroganoff Recipe (you’ll never buy packet mix again!)

You can thank Amanda from Simple home cook for another brilliant recipe to help you with the dinner time madness this week. Here is it.


Beef Stroganoff Recipe - EASY

Beef stroganoff is a family favourite recipe that many people make using a recipe base from a packet.  Well… you don’t have to do that anymore with this simple and absolutely delicious recipe.  You probably have all these ingredients ready to go so add it to your menu list this week and I promise, you will never cook from a packet again.   

Just a note – the key to getting your meat juicy & tender is to use a cut such as rump steak, toss it in flour and brown it over high heat in batches.  Do not throw all your meat into the pan at once as it will start to boil and become tough. Buying rump steak and slicing it yourself is a much cheaper option than buying beef strips.   

Enjoy, 

Amanda x 

Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Prep & cooking time: 30 mins 

Serves 4 

Ingredients

2 Tbspn olive oil
650g rump steak, thinly sliced
2 Tbspn flour
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
300g button mushrooms, sliced
Salt & pepper
1 cup beef stock
2 Tbspn tomato paste
150ml sour cream (¾ cup)
2 tsp paprika 

Beef Stroganoff Recipe

 Method

  1. Toss the steak in the flour to coat it. Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. 
  2. Brown steak in 2 batches & remove from pan. Set aside. Do not take a short cut here.  It is really important that you brown the meat in 2 batches as if you put all the meat in the frying pan at one time, it will start to stew and become tough. 
  3. Sauté onion. Add garlic & mushrooms & cook over medium heat for 2 mins. 
  4. Add salt, pepper, stock, tomato paste & paprika.  Stir to combine & bring to the boil.     
  5. Return meat to the pan.  Simmer for 10 mins or until meat is tender.  
  6. Remove from heat & stir in sour cream.    
  7. Serve with noodles or steamed rice. 

Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Beef Stroganoff Recipe
Serves 4
You'll never make packet mix again
Write a review
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbspn olive oil
  2. 650g rump steak, thinly sliced
  3. 2 Tbspn flour
  4. 1 large onion, sliced
  5. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 300g button mushrooms, sliced
  7. Salt & pepper
  8. 1 cup beef stock
  9. 2 Tbspn tomato paste
  10. 150ml sour cream (¾ cup)
  11. 2 tsp paprika
Instructions
  1. Toss the steak in the flour to coat it. Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat.
  2. Brown steak in 2 batches & remove from pan. Set aside. Do not take a short cut here. It is really important that you brown the meat in 2 batches as if you put all the meat in the frying pan at one time, it will start to stew and become tough.
  3. Sauté onion. Add garlic & mushrooms & cook over medium heat for 2 mins.
  4. Add salt, pepper, stock, tomato paste & paprika. Stir to combine & bring to the boil.
  5. Return meat to the pan. Simmer for 10 mins or until meat is tender.
  6. Remove from heat & stir in sour cream.
  7. Serve with noodles or steamed rice.
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

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Recipes from Amanda

Creating a Lunch Box System

I’ve become a somewhat expert at school lunches after doing them for 8 years (so far).  My lunch boxes started out looking a lot like the picture below, with a lot of processed, pre-packaged food. I’m not here to make anyone feel guilty for throwing together pre-packaged lunches!  It’s just over the years, I’ve focused on what’s important to me in regards to food for my kids, and have refined the processes over time to achieve that, and I want to share my tips with anyone who wants to know.

lunch box

Here’s a snap shot of the lunches I make for my kids at school these days.

Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch boxes used to stress me out but I’m surprised to say that, while I wouldn’t say I enjoy doing school lunches, I find it quite easy now, plus I do find myself thinking about creative ways to fill the lunch box with nutritious food my kids will enjoy.  This transformation comes down to this: you need to have a system. 

1. Have goals

It’s important to have a sense of direction when it comes to what sort of lunch boxes you want to create for your kids.  You don’t necessarily need to achieve them straight away but it’s good to have goals and work your way towards them.  For me, I strive for mostly rubbish-free lunch boxes that contain wholefoods, including a fresh fruit and vegetables. I also like to provide variety, and a bit of fun sometimes.  I’ve come a long way in my goals, and next on my agenda is to experiment with healthier baking options.

2. Invest in great products

I’ve tried many different lunch boxes over the years.  To achieve what I want with my children’s lunches, the lunch box needs to have compartments.  I like the Bento Laptop Lunch boxes which I review in detail here.  They aren’t cheap but do last well. Another more affordable way to achieve this is to buy an insulated outer case and simply fill with different sized containers which are filled with food (like Decor and Sistema containers you can get from the supermarket).  

Lunch Boxes

The drink bottles I buy for my kids are the Contigo brand.  I reviewed them here.

Drink Bottles

Another product I have found REALLY fabulous for the lunch box are silicone muffin cases.  I use them to cook bakery items. Then, I freeze them in the cases, and they go straight into the lunch box of on a school morning.  Anther way I use them is when they are empty, they are a great way to section small food in the lunch box (there are examples at the end of the blog post).

silicone patty cases - great for the lunch box

Using the freezer is imperative to my lunch box success (which I go into further below) and so I have dedicated containers to store lunch box food in.  These Sitema containers are great, and they are clear so I can see what is in them easily.

Create a lunch box system

I also have a few fun things to include in the lunch boxes to make things interesting. My favourites are the eye food picks I bought from Lunch Boxes With Love.  However, I don’t do fun stuff all the time, maybe about once a week or fortnight. If you head over to my Instagram @beafunmum and search for the hashtag #BAFM_Lunchbox you will see many examples of the realistic lunch boxes I make for my kids. Sometimes they are fun, and sometimes they are boring!

Creating a lunch box system

My Lunch Box Product List

3. Have a dedicated lunch box storage section

The system I use requires the need for containers. This is a bit of a pain, but it really makes it quick in the mornings.  I have lunch box items stored in my pantry in baskets.  One for drink bottles and lids, one for the containers and one for the lunch boxes and other bits and bobs I don’t use everyday.  

Creating a lunch box system

Creating a lunch box system

Of a school morning, I line up four lunch boxes, fill with containers and then throw in the food.  Last step is to place a lunch box size freezer brick in the insulted case and place the entire lunch box inside.

Lunch Box System

4. Use the freezer

My freezer is my best friend when it comes to the lunch box.  Food items can be taken out of the freezer in the morning and put straight in the lunchbox.  They will be thawed and fresh by eating time. The following items will keep for 2 weeks in the freezer. 

Sandwiches:

I tend to make sandwiches fresh, because I prefer to do that, but if you have a mad busy week ahead, it’s good to know you can freeze them ahead of time.

Make sandwiches with fillings like cheese and ham, vegemite, jam, tuna or egg.  It’s easy to include some fresh salad in the morning if that’s a preference.

Other Food:

Cakes and slices, muffins, canned fish, baked beans, zucchini slice, quiche are some snack ideas that are able to be frozen.

Organising the freezer:

  • It’s helpful to have dedicated draw in the freezer for lunch box items.
  • Separating portion size is easy with zip-lock bags. For a more environmentally friendly option, use individual containers or freeze in batches and place directly in the lunch box of a morning. For layering in containers, use a sheet of baking paper.

This is a heap of food I prepared ahead of time to freeze. 

Creating a lunch box system

5. Pre-Prepare

To aid the morning rush, much of the lunch preparation can be done the night before and the weekend.

Night before:

  • Cut up fruit and vegetable pieces
  • Portion yoghurt and crackers. I also make custard the night before sometimes and let it set in the containers that fit into the lunch box. Then in the morning, they get slotted in.

Weekend:

  • Make a batch of sandwiches and place them in the freezer
  • Bake home goods and freeze in portion size

6. Break it down

Instead of thinking morning tea/lunch food, I break the lunch box down into food types. So in each packed lunch I aim for this balance:

  • 1 x Fruit 
  • 1 x Vegetable
  • 1 x Snack Food (baked goods, energy balls, crackers, egg, cheese, yoghurt)
  • 1 x Lunch Item 
  • 1 x other (if needed, depending on the child)

This system allows for seasonal variety and helps me to shop smart. I’m fairly consistent with this system and so my kids are used to seeing vegetables in their lunch box.

7. Lunch box staples

It’s great to have your lunch box staple foods you can fall back on (like the humble sandwich). I have certain foods that I know work well in the lunch box and here are some of the items on my list:

Vegetables: corn on the cob, cucumber, mushroom, snow peas, carrot, celery sticks, baby corn, tin corn, avocado, cherry tomato

Fruit: small apple, tin fruit, stone fruit, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, kiwi fruit, small pears, watermelon pieces, pineapple pieces

Snacks: muffins, nut-free choc energy balls, apricot balls, rice crackers, popcorn, trail mix, muesli slice, corn & cheese muffins, coconut bread

Protein: ham, salami, salami sticks, bean dip, cheese, boiled egg, hummus, yoghurt

Lunch: sandwich, mini quiche, zucchini fitters, meatloaf, pizza scrolls, zucchini slice, wraps, pizza, salad, flat bread 

Lunch Box tips

Lunch Box tips

7. Make it safe

I have a guest post from a dietitian you can read which gives great tips on making the lunch box healthy and safe: Lunch Box Tips

8. Make it fun

Once you have a good system down, it’s easier to find ways to make lunches fun. Try new foods and different ways of presenting them.  Below are a few links:

9. Lunch Box Examples

Below are a few lunch box examples and you can find even more ideas by looking through the lunch box tips on the blog under Lunch Box Ideas or on my @beafunmum Instagram feed.

Lunch box ideas

Tip: Depending on what is on the wrap, I separate the fill ingredients from the wrap in the lunch box and the kids make it up themselves fresh at lunch time.  

1-_DSC1035

Tip: Energy balls are fabulous in the lunch box and they freeze well.

1-_DSC1034

Tip: Silicone muffin cases are great for separating food in the lunch box.

1-_DSC1030

Tip: Leftover rice or pasts can be turned into an easy lunch box food.

1-_DSC1028

Tip: Food picks work well with cut up fruit and veggies. 

1-_DSC1025

Tip: You can make a big batch of pizza and freeze in small square portion for the lunch box (if kids like cold pizza)

1-_DSC1022

Tip: Try growing cherry tomatoes in a pot in the backyard. They are so easy to grow and it’s wonderful to be able to include food you grow yourself in the lunch box. Here’s a guide: Plant Pot Garden.

1-_DSC1017

Tip: Make sandwiches a bit more interesting by cutting them in different shapes sometimes, or make soldiers.

1-_DSC1014

Tip: Try new foods! The kids may not like it, but they might too, and it’s all about building your lunch box repertoire.

1-_DSC1009

Tip: Make quiche in muffins trays so they are in individual sizes.  This make it easy and quick to use in the lunch box. This is the recipe I use: Quiche Recipe.

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Tip: Think outside the box! My kids love it when I put plain corn chips and dip in their lunch box. The bean dip recipe is here.

If you have any questions or your own tips, leave them bellow.

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How I encourage my kids to eat veggies

5 Breakfasts You Can Make the Night Before

A few weeks ago, I asked this question on the BAFM Facebook page: Do you make time for breakfast for yourself?

The responses varied, but there was a constant theme regarding the challenges of making time for breakfast amongst the busyness school mornings.  It got me thinking about what I could share here on the blog that may help.  Then I remembered my Insta friend Jenny from @HelloGreatHealth.  She is the Breakfast Queen and developed the yummiest, easiest and healthiest breakfasts you can prepare ahead of time so in the morning, it’s ALREADY DONE! I dropped her an email to see if she could share her top 5 favourite overnight breakfast recipes and here they are.

overnight breakfast recipes

The weather is warming up, summer is just around the corner and it’s time for some easy-to-prepare breakfast that are delicious and nutritious.

Overnight puddings. My favourite. A brilliant way to get some variety going at breakfast time. They only take a few minutes to prepare, minimal ingredients and easy to double so you have a few days of breakfasts on hand to get your mornings running smoothly.  

As a health coach I see lots of women not eating enough protein first thing in the morning. Getting adequate protein for breakfast gives you energy to get through your morning and makes it so much easier to steer clear of the vending machine or office morning teas.

Here are five of my favourites, I hope you enjoy. Jen x

For more recipes please check out my ebooks available for instant download here: Hello Great Health Cookbooks

1. Banana Bread Breakfast Whip

Overnight breakfast - creamy banana whip pic

Ingredients [serves two]

1/3 cup buckwheat (soaked in water overnight)
2 bananas (approx.) peeled, chopped and frozen overnight
1 tablespoon flaxmeal
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon almonds (toasted lightly in the oven until browned) optional (you could top with toasted shredded coconut, more banana, a drizzle of honey, walnuts, etc.)

 Method

In the morning:

  1. Blend buckwheat in food processor until creamy, add remaining ingredients and blend until a thick creamy consistency.
  2. Top with almonds or desired toppings.

2. Raspberry Coconut Pudding

Overnight breakfast - raspberry coconut

Ingredients [serves two]

1/2 cup rolled oats
1.5 cups (330ml) coconut water
1 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons chia
Topping: plain yogurt, berries, shredded coconut

 Method

  1. Mix all ingredients (except toppings) into a large bowl.
  2. Place in fridge overnight.
  3. Before eating give your pudding a stir, add more liquid to get to desired consistency if necessary.
  4. Add toppings and enjoy.

3. Lemon Delicious Pudding

Overnight Breakfast - lemon delicious pudding pic

Ingredients [serves two]

1/3 cup buckwheat (soaked in water overnight)
½ cup plain or coconut yogurt
2 tabs flaxmeal
2.5 tabs lemon juice
1 teaspoon stevia or honey
Toppings: shredded coconut, macadamias, a drizzle of honey, etc.

 Method

  1. Mix together flaxmeal and yogurt, leave to thicken for 15 minutes.
  2. Blend buckwheat in food processor until creamy, add remaining ingredients and blend until a thick creamy consistency.
  3. Top with desired toppings.

4. Peanut Butter Banana Sundae

Overnight breakfast - Peanut Butter Pudding

Ingredients [serves two]

1/4 cup raw buckwheat (50g)
1 ripe banana mashed
2 tabs rice milk
1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 tab flaxmeal
2 sachets (4g) stevia or other sweetener (honey, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, etc)

Method 

  1. Soak buckwheat in water overnight.
  2. In morning, drain and rinse buckwheat. Blend with all ingredients (except for ½ banana, reserve for topping).
  3. Add blended pudding to a small glass, later with extra toppings if desired including remaining banana.

5. Banana Cake Pudding

Overnight breakfast - banana cake batter pudding pic

Ingredients [serves two]

1/3 cup rolled oats
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup oat milk
2 tablespoons chia
1 tablespoon honey

Topping

1 tablespoon hulled tahini
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon rice milk
Extra topping: shredded coconut

Method 

  1. Grind oats and chia in a small blender (optional).
  2. Mix all ingredients together using a spoon or a small blender.
  3. Spoon into glasses and refrigerate until ready to eat (preferably overnight).
  4. To prepare topping: mix honey, tahini and rice milk together in a small cup, refrigerate and pour over pudding when ready to serve (then top with shredded coconut).

Note: You can get buckwheat from Woolworths supermarkets in the health food section and at dedicated heath stores.


 Set yourself a challenge! Do overnight breakfasts for a week and feel the difference.

Jenny has heaps more recipes like this in her ebooks: Hello Great Health Cookbooks

More

My 2014 Health & Fitness Goals and Results

Pasta with Avocado Sauce

I’m trying to make more effort with the lunches I make for myself. I want to share one of my favourites at the moment. So, so good! I usually make this when I want to use up left over pasta.

Pasta with avocado sauce

Ingredients

Cooked pasta (I think spaghetti works best)

Half avocado

1 tablespoon cream cheese

Salt & Pepper

Drizzle lemon or lime juice

Optional: If you want a small kick, a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce is a nice addition

I haven’t tried this one with the family yet, but I will. I would adjust the recipe accordingly and use 2 avocado and 4 tablespoons cream cheese.

Method

1. Cook the pasta as per packet insturctions and set aside.

2. Throw all other ingredients into a food processor or mash it together with a fork. If you find the cream cheese too hard to mix, heat it slightly in the microwave or on the stove top.

3. Toss the avocado sauce through the hot pasta.

Serve: I like to eat it with shavings of parmesen cheese and freshly cut up tomato.

So yummy and easy to whip together in a jiffy.

Pasta with avocado sauce

Another one of my favourite is an easy 2 ingredient flat bread with avocdo slices. Recipe here.

Easy Flat Bread Recip

Crumbed Chicken with Bacon, Cheese & Macadamia Stuffing

Crumbed chicken dishes are among my favourite and this one tops the list. They are simple to prepare and is a fantastic make ahead meal to pop into the fridge to bake at dinner time.  It not only is a great weeknight meal, it also doubles as a special meal for a dinner party.

Don’t stress about completely sealing in the stuffing as during cooking, it doesn’t leak out too much.  You can’t go wrong with this recipe as it will taste great no matter how it looks!

Stuffed Crumbed Chicken Recipe

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 40mins 

CRUMBED CHICKEN WITH BACON, CHEESE & MACADAMIA STUFFING

Ingredients

1 kg chicken breast fillets
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
120g bacon, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
250g cream cheese
¼ cup macadamia nuts,  finely chopped (optional) 

Stuffed Crumbed Chicken Recipe

Method 

  1. Place breadcrumbs & parmesan in a flat tray & mix together. 
  2. In a small bowl, beat eggs.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, add bacon & microwave on high, covered, for 2 mins. Add garlic, cream cheese & macadamia nuts.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Slice thick chicken breasts in half, lengthways.  Pound chicken breast fillets until thin (approx. ½ cm).  This doesn’t need to be exact but you don’t want them too thick.  Swipe one side of the breast through the beaten egg & lay (egg side down) onto the breadcrumbs, crumbing only one side of the breast.
  5. Place a scoop of bacon & cheese mixture onto the upturned side of the chicken breast. Roll up the breast & secure with toothpicks.  You may also need to secure the sides of the breast to stop the filling from leaking out.
  6. Place in baking dish & repeat the process with the remaining chicken breasts.  Cover & store in the fridge until required. 

Cooking

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.   Bake, uncovered for 40 mins or until chicken is cooked through. 

Stuffed Crumbed Chicken Recipe

Crumbed Chicken With Bacon, Cheese & Macadamia Stuffing
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 kg chicken breast fillets
  2. 1 cup breadcrumbs
  3. ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  4. 2 eggs, beaten
  5. 120g bacon, diced
  6. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  7. 250g cream cheese
  8. ¼ cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place breadcrumbs & parmesan in a flat tray & mix together.
  2. In a small bowl, beat eggs. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, add bacon & microwave on high, covered, for 2 mins. Add garlic, cream cheese & macadamia nuts. Mix until well combined.
  4. Slice thick chicken breasts in half, lengthways. Pound chicken breast fillets until thin (approx. ½ cm). This doesn’t need to be exact but you don’t want them too thick. Swipe one side of the breast through the beaten egg & lay (egg side down) onto the breadcrumbs, crumbing only one side of the breast.
  5. Place a scoop of bacon & cheese mixture onto the upturned side of the chicken breast. Roll up the breast & secure with toothpicks. You may also need to secure the sides of the breast to stop the filling from leaking out.
  6. Place in baking dish & repeat the process with the remaining chicken breasts. Cover & store in the fridge until required.
  7. Preheat oven to 180oC. Bake, uncovered for 40 mins or until chicken is cooked through.
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

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Browse Amanda’s Recipes

Recipe by BAFM Contributor Amanda Arnold

Author of Food Before five: Food before 5 is only $19.95 (free post) and available from www.foodbefore5.com.au.  Please also check out my Facebook page www.Facebook.com/foodbefore5

Meatloaf Recipe (with rich glaze)

Meatloaf Recipe (with delicious glaze)

This is the meatloaf I’ve been making for many, many years.  It’s the glaze that makes it so delicious! I made it again the other night (I haven’t made it in a while) and my husband was absolutely thrilled. Ha!  This recipe makes enough to feed 8 people. It can be frozen and leftovers work well in the lunch box.

Meatloaf Recipe

1 kg lean mince

1 egg

1 onion (diced)

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 bacon rashes (diced)

1 cup breadcrumbs (I use fresh)

1 dessert spoon curry

Salt and pepper

½ cup milk

½ cup water

Glaze

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon instant coffee (I don’t worry about the caffeine because it’s such a small amount but decaffeinated works well too)

¾ cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

½ cup water

½ cup lemon juice (optional)

Meatloaf Recipe

Meatloaf: Combine all ingredients in a bowl (you may need to use your hands).  Press the mixture into a loaf shape in the middle of a roasting tray with small sides (to hold the glaze).

Glaze: Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until butter is melted and easy to combine. Pour half the glaze over the meat and cook in the oven 180°C for 30 minutes.  Pour over the rest of the glaze and cook for a further 30 minutes, basking occasionally. Check the meatloaf is cooked through by opening at the centre.

meatloaf recipe with glaze

Meatloaf Recipe (with glaze)
Serves 8
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 kg lean mince
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1 onion (diced)
  4. 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  5. 2 bacon rashes (diced)
  6. 1 cup breadcrumbs (I use fresh)
  7. 1 dessert spoon curry
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. ½ cup milk
  10. ½ cup water
  11. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  12. 1 tablespoon butter
  13. 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  14. ¾ cup tomato sauce
  15. 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  16. ½ cup water
  17. ½ cup lemon juice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine mince, egg, onion, parsley, bacon, breadcrumbs, curry, salt, pepper, milk and water in a large bowl (you may need to use your hands).
  2. Press the mixture into a rectangle loaf shape in the middle of a roasting tray with small sides (to hold the glaze).
  3. Place all the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and heat until butter is melted and easy to combine.
  4. Pour half the glaze over the meat and cook in the oven 180°C for 30 minutes.
  5. Pour over the rest of the glaze and cook for a further 30 minutes, basking occasionally.
Notes
  1. Check the meatloaf is cooked through by opening at the centre.
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

Leftovers Lunch Box Idea

Lunch: Snow peas & cherry tomato with mini meatloaf with tomato sauce as a dipper

Baked: Mini coconut bread

Fruit: Pear

Snack: Corn on the Cob

lunch box recipe ideas

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A less decadent meatloaf recipe I also use is here: Winter Meatloaf Recipe

More Easy Dinner Ideas

Easy Stir Fry

Stir Fry is one of my favourites.  It’s packed full of delicious rainbow vegetables and it’s quick and easy to whip up.  This is how I make it.

Ingredients 

Easy Stir Fry Recipe

500 grams of beef, chicken or pork (sliced in thin strips)

- Tip for beef: I tried the regular stir fry beef you can buy but it always tastes tough.  Instead, I get rump and ask the butcher (even at Coles or Woolies) to trim the fat and slice it thinly for me. Tastes so much better!

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon garlic paste (or fresh ginger cut up finely)

1 teaspoon of ginger paste (or fresh ginger cut up finely)

1 onion cut into slither lengths

Vegetables of choice, cut into even size strips (my favourites are broccoli, carrot and capsicum)

Packet of vermicelli or Singapore noodles

Sauce

2 teaspoons of soy or oyster sauce

2 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce

2  tablespoons of lime or lemon juice

Instructions

1. Heat oil in frypan or wok.

2. Add meat and brown, and then set aside.

3. Add a drizzle of olive oil into the frypan and then ginger, garlic and onion and fry for a minute.

4. Add remaining vegetables and cook for 2-4 minutes until warmed through but still firm.

Easy Stir Fry Recipe

5. Add cooked meat to the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes.

Easy Stir Fry Recipe

6. In a small bowl, mix together the soy or oyster sauce, sweet chilli sauce and lemon or lime juice. Add this mixture to the stir fry mix. 

Easy Stir Fry Recipe

7.  Prepare noodles as per pack and either toss the cooked noodles through the stir fry or place noodles in a bowl and add vegetable mix on top.

Easy Stir Fry Recipe

Easy Stir Fry
Serves 4
An easy stir fry to whip up for the family. Make it with beef, chicken or pork (or skip the meat for vegetarian)
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 500 grams of beef, chicken or pork (sliced in thin strips)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic paste (or fresh ginger cut up finely)
  5. 1 teaspoon of ginger paste (or fresh ginger cut up finely)
  6. 1 onion cut into slither lengths
  7. Vegetables of choice, cut into even size strips (my favourites are broccoli, carrot and capsicum)
  8. Packet of vermicelli or Singapore noodles
  9. 2 teaspoons of soy or oyster sauce
  10. 2 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
  11. 2 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in frypan or wok.
  2. Add meat and brown, and then set aside.
  3. Add a little more oil into the frypan and then ginger, garlic and onion and fry for a minute.
  4. Add remaining vegetables and cook for 2-4 minutes until warmed through but still firm.
  5. Add cooked meat to the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the soy or oyster sauce, sweet chilli sauce and lemon or lime juice. Add this mixture to the stir fry mix.
  7. Prepare noodles as per pack and either toss the cooked noodles through the stir fry or place noodles in a bowl and add vegetable mix on top.
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

Muesli Slice

This is an easy one for the lunch box.

Muesli Slice Recipe

Muesli Slice Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sultanas
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup self-raising flour
½ cup brown sugar
125 grams margarine, melted
2 tablespoons honey

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add Margarine and honey.
  4. Press into greased 25cm slice pan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  6. Cut into squares when cool.

More

Lunch Box Ideas

Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

Here’s another great recipe from Amanda.  Her recipes are designed family friendly to help take the edge off the evening strain. 

_______________

ONE OF THE BEST PASTA BAKES YOU WILL EVER MAKE!!  It is not the healthiest but the flavours are a match made in heaven and I can’t wait for you to try this.  I would eat this every night if I could and my family wouldn’t complain (well…. initially they wouldn’t but they might after 2 weeks of it LOL!).

Kalamata olives are a great addition but you can use whatever ingredients suit your family. 

This recipe is one of many from my cookbook ‘Food before 5’.  Please check out my blog for other great recipes – www.foodbefore5.blogspot.com.

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 25mins or 40mins

Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

CHICKEN PASTA BAKE

Ingredients

400g dried pasta
500g chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
100g bacon pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
120g baby spinach leaves
600ml cream
3 Tbspn tomato paste
150g semi-dried tomatoes,  diced
2 cups grated cheese
salt & pepper 

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to packet directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, fry chicken, bacon & garlic in a frypan over high heat until chicken is just cooked through.
  3. Drain pasta & return to saucepan. 
  4. In a jug, add tomato paste & cream together.  Stir to combine.  Add this to the pasta along with the chicken & bacon mixture, spinach, semi-dried tomatoes & 1 cup of grated cheese.  Toss until combined.  Season with salt & pepper.
  5. Pour mixture into a large baking dish & top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  6. Cover & refrigerate until required.

Cooking

  1. Preheat oven to  200oC. Cook, covered for 30 mins. Then uncover & cook for a further 10 mins. If cooking immediately after preparing, reduce cooking time to 20 mins covered, with a further 10 mins uncovered. 

Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

Chicken Pasta Bake
ONE OF THE BEST PASTA BAKES YOU WILL EVER MAKE!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 400g dried pasta
  2. 500g chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
  3. 100g bacon pieces
  4. 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  5. 120g baby spinach leaves
  6. 600ml cream
  7. 3 Tbspn tomato paste
  8. 150g semi-dried tomatoes, diced
  9. 2 cups grated cheese
  10. salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to packet directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, fry chicken, bacon & garlic in a frypan over high heat until chicken is just cooked through.
  3. Drain pasta & return to saucepan.
  4. In a jug, add tomato paste & cream together. Stir to combine. Add this to the pasta along with the chicken & bacon mixture, spinach, semi-dried tomatoes & 1 cup of grated cheese. Toss until combined. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. Pour mixture into a large baking dish & top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  6. Cover & refrigerate until required.
  7. Preheat oven to 200oC.
  8. Cook, covered for 30 mins. Then uncover & cook for a further 10 mins. If cooking immediately after preparing, reduce cooking time to 20 mins covered, with a further 10 mins uncovered.
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

More Easy Dinner Ideas

Easy Dinners

Post written by Amanda Arnold

My name is Amanda and I am mum to 3 young kids and author of a new cookbook called ‘Food before 5’. 

‘Food before 5′ is a cookbook with 85 recipes that are easy, affordable and realistic for any home cook. It includes lunch boxes, starters & sides, main meals and desserts that can all be made ahead of time. It is the perfect tool for busy families with that afternoon school rush, people that like to cook in bulk and freeze, students learning to cook and basically anyone who loves simple, tasty recipes. 

‘Food before 5’ is only $19.95 (free post) and available from www.foodbefore5.com.au.  Please also check out my facebook page www.Facebook.com/foodbefore5.

Black Forrest Cookie Cake Reicpe

Another recipe from Be A Fun Mum contributor, the Wonderful Amanda from Food Before 5.
(If you haven’t checked out her book, you should! It’s so mum friendly!) 

This is the ultimate chocolate ripple cake but with a BIG difference – cherries and jam! Whack it all together and you have an absolutely delicious dessert. It doesn’t need to be perfectly assembled as it will all be hidden under the mountain of cream. You can also make a smaller cake by using only 1 packet of biscuits but if you are making for a group of people – use 2 packets.  Enjoy!

Black Forrest Cookie Cake

Ingredients

600ml thickened cream
½ cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup pitted black morello cherries
2 x 250g pkt chocolate ripple biscuits
1 cup raspberry jam

Black Forrest Cookie Cake Ingredients

  1. In a large bowl, beat cream, caster sugar & vanilla with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in cherries.

Black Forrest Cookie Cake instructions

  1. Spread a biscuit with a generous amount of jam & a heaped teaspoon of cream.
  1. Sandwich 2 biscuits together & place upright on your plate. Repeat process with jam & cream, sandwiching biscuits together to make a log of approx. 14 biscuits long.

Black Forrest Cookie Cake

  1. Repeat process to make 3 logs, leaving 5 biscuits aside.

Black Forrest Cookie Cake

  1. Cover entire cake with cream. Crush remaining biscuits over the top of cake.
  1. Refrigerate overnight until set. Slice diagonally to serve.

Black Forrest Cookie Cake

Black Forrest Cooke Cake
This is the ultimate chocolate ripple cake but with a BIG difference – cherries and jam! Whack it all together and you have an absolutely delicious dessert.
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 600ml thickened cream
  2. ½ cup caster sugar
  3. 2 tsp vanilla essence
  4. 1 cup pitted black morello cherries
  5. 2 x 250g pkt chocolate ripple biscuits
  6. 1 cup raspberry jam
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream, caster sugar & vanilla with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in cherries.
  2. Spread a biscuit with a generous amount of jam & a heaped teaspoon of cream.
  3. Sandwich 2 biscuits together & place upright on your plate. Repeat process with jam & cream, sandwiching biscuits together to make a log of approx. 14 biscuits long.
  4. Repeat process to make 3 logs, leaving 5 biscuits aside.
  5. Cover entire cake with cream. Crush remaining biscuits over the top of cake.
  6. Refrigerate overnight until set. Slice diagonally to serve.
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

More Recipes by Amanda

2 Ingredient Scones

Apricot Chicken Hurry (in a hurry)

Lemon Cheesecake

Chicken Stew

Post written by Amanda Arnold

My name is Amanda and I am mum to 3 young kids and author of a new cookbook called ‘Food before 5’ and the Facebook page Aldi Home Cook.

‘Food before 5′ is a cookbook with 85 recipes that are easy, affordable and realistic for any home cook. It includes lunch boxes, starters & sides, main meals and desserts that can all be made ahead of time. It is the perfect tool for busy families with that afternoon school rush, people that like to cook in bulk and freeze, students learning to cook and basically anyone who loves simple, tasty recipes.

‘Food before 5’ is only $19.95 (free post) and available from www.foodbefore5.com.au. Please also check out my facebook page www.Facebook.com/foodbefore5. 

2 Ingredient Scones

This is another recipe post from Be A Fun Mum contributor, the Wonderful Amanda from Food Before 5. I made the scones myself and they were a huge success with the kids. Here they are!
2 Ingredient Scones

2 INGREDIENT SCONES

I am very serious when I say that “this recipe really works!”

I shared it on my ‘Food before 5’ page a little while back & ended up having women from all over the world baking them & sending me photos.   It is a recipe that has been passed down generations in my husband’s family and now I am sharing it with you.  Get started now & these soft & fluffy scones will be ready within 25 mins!

Enjoy!

Amanda 

Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2 cups + 2 Tbspn thickened cream (550ml)
Jam and cream for serving

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.  Line an oven tray with baking paper.
  1. In a large bowl, sift flour.  Pour in cream. With a bread & butter knife, quickly mix to a soft sticky dough.
  1. On a floured surface, turn out the mixture & knead gently. Press out dough to approx. 1 ½ cm thick.
  1. Cut scones & place on tray with scones close together.
  1. Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins.  Remove from oven & cool on wire rack.
  1. Serve with jam & cream.

2 Ingredient Scones

2 Ingredient Scones

2 ingredient scones

Notes

If you don’t havea scone cutter, press out dough into a rectangle 1 ½ cm thick & cut out 18 squares with a knife. 

Storage

  • Best eaten the same day as baking.
  • Freeze immediately after cooling on rack.  Thaw prior to eating.

This recipe is from my cookbook ‘Food before 5’ & can be purchased from my website www.foodbefore5.com.au for only $19.95 (free post).

2 Ingredient Scones
Yields 18
I am very serious when I say that “this recipe really works!”
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  2. 2 cups + 2 Tbspn thickened cream (550ml)
  3. Jam and cream for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour. Pour in cream. With a bread & butter knife, quickly mix to a soft sticky dough.
  3. On a floured surface, turn out the mixture & knead gently. Press out dough to approx. 1 ½ cm thick.
  4. Cut scones & place on tray with scones close together.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins. Remove from oven & cool on wire rack.
  6. Serve with jam & cream.
Notes
  1. Notes
  2. If you don’t havea scone cutter, press out dough into a rectangle 1 ½ cm thick & cut out 18 squares with a knife.
  3. Storage
  4. Best eaten the same day as baking.
  5. Freeze immediately after cooling on rack. Thaw prior to eating.
Adapted from Food Before 5
Adapted from Food Before 5
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

More Recipes by Amanda

Apricot Chicken Hurry (in a hurry)

Lemon Cheesecake

Chicken Stew

More

Over 60 After School Snack Ideas

Post written by Amanda Arnold

My name is Amanda and I am mum to 3 young kids and author of a new cookbook called ‘Food before 5’.  

‘Food before 5′ is a cookbook with 85 recipes that are easy, affordable and realistic for any home cook. It includes lunch boxes, starters & sides, main meals and desserts that can all be made ahead of time. It is the perfect tool for busy families with that afternoon school rush, people that like to cook in bulk and freeze, students learning to cook and basically anyone who loves simple, tasty recipes. 

 ‘Food before 5’ is only $19.95 (free post) and available from www.foodbefore5.com.au.  Please also check out my facebook page www.Facebook.com/foodbefore5.

Cookie Dough Recipe (for Ice Cream!)

I’m not a huge ice cream fan. If I’m eating dessert, I like a proper dessert with ice cream as an accompaniment. My husband is different.  A bowl of ice cream makes him very, very, very (VERY) happy.  He’s easy to please. And the kids love ice cream too.

I have been playing with an cookie dough recipe for ice cream so we could have a ice cream night at home for a treat. And this is a rare treat because it’s horribly unhealthy! But soooo good so everyone tells me! Part of the fun is you get to smash the cookie dough into the ice cream.

This would be a fun idea for birthday parties too.

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

Ingredients

40 grams butter

100 grams (1/2 cup) white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

150 grams (1 cup) plain flour

75 ml (1/3 cup) milk

100 grams choc chips (optional)

Instructions 

1. Cream butter and sugar together with a beater. (I used Thermomix Speed 6 for 6 seconds).

2. Add vanilla, salt and flour and half the milk and combine. (I used Thermomix  Speed 6 for 6 seconds).

3. Add the remaining milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is a dough (you may not need all the milk).

4. Stir in choc chips if desired at this point. (The stir function on the Thermomix works well.)

5. The dough should be well formed but still quite sticky.

I recently made 2 batches: one with choc chips and one without.

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

6. Place cookie dough on a section of glad wrap or baking paper. Cover and press down so the dough is quite flat (1-2 cm).

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

7. Freeze for at least half an hour.

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

8. Remove dough from plastic and cut into small sections on a board (roughly 1-2cm cubes).

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

9. Place cookie dough bites in a plastic container and rerun to the freezer for whenever you want to use them.

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

10. When serving, it’s fun to smash it all together. I used a sturdy plastic plate. Add ice cream, a few cookie dough bites and smashed it together with a spoon before serving in a bowl or cone. Keep unused cookie dough pieces in the freezer.

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

Everyone was very (very) pleased.

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

Edible Cookie Dough Recipe for Ice Cream

Edible Cookie Dough for Ice Cream
Serves 10
Make your own cookie dough to add to vanilla ice cream.
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 40 grams butter
  2. 100 grams (1/2 cup) white sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. Pinch salt
  5. 150 grams (1 cup) plain flour
  6. 75 ml (1/3 cup) milk
  7. 100 grams choc chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar together with a beater, food processor or Thermomix.
  2. Add vanilla, salt and flour and half the milk and combine.
  3. Add the remaining milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is a dough (you may not need all the milk).
  4. Stir in choc chips if desired at this point.
  5. The dough should be well formed but still quite sticky.
  6. Place cookie dough on a section of glad wrap or baking paper. Cover and press down so the dough is quite flat (approx 1-2 cm thick).
  7. Freeze for at least half an hour.
  8. Remove from plastic and cut into small bite size sections on a board (approx 1-2 cm cubes).
  9. Place cookie dough bites in a plastic container and rerun to the freezer when required.
  10. When serving, smash ice cream and cook dough together with a spoon on a sturdy plastic plate or board.
  11. Serve in a bowl or cone.
Notes
  1. Note: Keep unused cookie dough pieces in the freezer.
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

Lunch Box Idea: (Nut-Free) Trail Mix

I have my lunch box staples: stuff I know the kids like. I also like to mix things up sometimes and try new things I can (hopefully) add to my lunch box food repertoire.  I found another one winner with my kids: a lunch box friendly (and nut free) trail mix.  

Just three things in it:

  • Pretzels, Popcorn & Sultanas

It’s a nice sweet/salty snack. Not amazingly nutritious but neither is it really nasty either.

Lunch Box Ideas - Trail Mix (nut free)

Lunch Box

Ham & Cheese Sandwich on multigrain

Date loaf

Carrot sticks

Apple

Popcorn, Pretzel & Sultana Trail Mix

Other Variations

I found this helpful article about building trail mixes with many different combination ideas (some with nuts, some with out).

  • Pretzels, Popcorn & Cheerios
  • Pretzels, Popcorn & Craisins
  • Shredded Wheat Cereal, Sunflower Seeds & Goji Berries
  • Brand flakes, Oats & Dried Apricot (cut up)

Lunch Box Ideas - Trail Mix (nut free)

Sometimes I do only popcorn, or pretzels, or sultanas and sometimes all together.  It all counts as lunch box options. Variety!!

Lunch Box Ideas - popcorn

Lunch Box

Mini Quiche & Salad

Mini Muffin

Popcorn

100% Fruit Juice

* The lunch boxes are Bento Laptop Lunch Boxes and you can read my review of them in the link below.

More Posts

How I Encourage my Kids to Eat Veges (and other good food)

Bento Laptop Lunch Box Review

6 Dinners and How to Turn the Leftovers into Lunch Box Food

More Lunch Box Ideas

Funny Face Biscuits

Post by Be A Fun Mum contributor, Amanda from Food Before 5
Basic Biscuit Recipe - great for decorating funny faces

This is one of my favourite recipes that my children and I have fun cooking & decorating together. If I want the faces to look perfect, I’ll do them myself but most of the fun comes in seeing what the kids themselves create. They also make a great (& inexpensive) party favour for little ones, a fun birthday party activity (have the biscuits made and have kids decorate them they way they like) or special school holiday/weekend fun.

Basic Biscuit Recipe Ingredients

125g butter, melted
¾ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbspn icing sugar (for decorating)
Lollies, teeth, licorice, sprinkles (for decorating)

Basic Biscuit Recipe - great for decorating

Method

  1. In a large bowl, add melted butter, sugar, eggs & vanilla & whisk until combined.

Basic Biscuit Recipe - great for decorating

  1. Stir in flour & baking powder until a soft dough forms. 

Basic Biscuit Recipe - great for decorating

  1. Wrap dough in plastic wrap & freeze for 30 mins.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap & freeze for 30 mins.

  1. Preheat oven to 200oC. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
  1. Roll out dough onto a floured surface approx ½ cm thick. Cut out circles using a cookie cutter or rim of a glass (approx 7cm diameter).

Basic Biscuit Recipe - great for decorating

  1. Place on baking trays & bake in preheated oven for 6 – 8 mins or until golden. Remove from oven & allow to cool completely.

Decorating

Basic Biscuit Recipe - great for decorating

  1. Mix icing sugar with a little water to make a thick paste. Use this paste to stick lollies & sprinkles onto biscuits to make funny faces.

Basic Biscuit Recipe - great for decorating funny faces

This recipe is from the eBook Kids Party Food and can be purchased from www.foodbefore5.com.au for only $5.95.

Basic Biscuit Recipe
A great basic biscuit recipe. Great for decorating!
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Print
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
48 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
48 min
Ingredients
  1. 125g butter, melted
  2. ¾ cup caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  5. 2 ½ cups plain flour
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 2 Tbspn icing sugar (for decorating)
  8. Lollies, teeth, licorice, sprinkles (for decorating)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add melted butter, sugar, eggs & vanilla & whisk until combined.
  2. Stir in flour & baking powder until a soft dough forms.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap & freeze for 30 mins.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  5. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
  6. Roll out dough onto a floured surface approx ½ cm thick. Cut out circles using a cookie cutter or rim of a glass (approx 7cm diameter).
  7. Place on baking trays & bake in preheated oven for 6 – 8 mins or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before decorating with icing or melted chocolate.
Notes
  1. Decorating
  2. Mix icing sugar with a little water to make a thick paste. Use this paste to stick lollies & sprinkles onto biscuits to make funny faces.
Be A Fun Mum http://beafunmum.com/

More Recipes by Amanda

Apricot Chicken Hurry (in a hurry)

Lemon Cheesecake

Chicken Stew

About Amanda Arnold

My name is Amanda and I am mum to 3 young kids and author of a new cookbook called ‘Food before 5’.  

‘Food before 5? is a cookbook with 85 recipes that are easy, affordable and realistic for any home cook. It includes lunch boxes, starters & sides, main meals and desserts that can all be made ahead of time. It is the perfect tool for busy families with that afternoon school rush, people that like to cook in bulk and freeze, students learning to cook and basically anyone who loves simple, tasty recipes. 

 ‘Food before 5’ is only $19.95 (free post) and available from www.foodbefore5.com.au.  Please check out my facebook page www.Facebook.com/foodbefore5