Ham and Pineapple Pizza

We are definitely in the lover camp when it comes to pineapple on pizza. Have you ever made your own pizza’s with fresh pizza dough? Trust me when I say they are delicious you will be over the moon if you try it. Of course feel free to make your own pizza dough but some of the shop bought ones in the chiller at the supermarket are great.

It’s the easiest thing ever to knock up and tastes so fresh and full of flavour. A great lunch to make with the kids.

Ingredients

1 pack of ready roll pizza dough

1 cup of tomato sauce ( you can use any pasta sauce)

2 slices of ham (cut into small pieces)

3 pineapple rings – chopped into small pieces)

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Half a bag of grated mozzarella

Method

Pre heat your oven to 200c / 180c fan

Take a baking sheet and roll out your pizza dough onto it. Lots of the dough packs have a greaseproof paper under the dough and if so you leave this under the dough while it’s cooking to make it easier to remove from the tray. Check your instructions first though.

Spoon over your tomato sauce, sprinkle over your grated mozzarella and add on your toppings. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Place in the centre of the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven at the end of cooking time when the cheese is bubbling and it’s cooked through.

Slice and enjoy.


Easy Tomato Pasta Sauce

Tomato sauce is the base of many a delicious dish but this version is perfect for pasta, with fresh grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil. A great meal for when you come home tired and want something delicious but also simple.

I make this sauce in batches and freeze some as it keeps in the freezer for a couple of months. This is ideal if you are cooking for one as you can bring out a batch the day you intend to use it.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion – finely chopped

1 clove garlic

Tin of chopped tomatoes

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 finely chopped celery stalk

1 finely chopped small carrot

Pasta – allow 125g per person

Fresh parmesan and basil to serve (optional)

Method

Firstly make your soffritto by placing 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, chopped celery, chopped carrot and salt and pepper in your large pan. Simmer low and slow to soften while stirring all the time.

Now add your chopped tomatoes and stir to combine.

Turn the heat down so it’s on a low simmer and leave to simmer to approximately half an hour.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to your instructions in a large pan of salty, boiling water. Give a little stir now and again.

Once al dente with a nice bite, drain but not too vigorously as a little bit of the cooking water is good. Stir through half a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and add to the delicious tomato sauce.

Swirl to coat the pasta and serve straight away with a good grating of fresh parmesan and more cracked black pepper. Rip up some basil leaves if you are a basil fan like me.

Tip: Buy the best quality Italian tomatoes that you can and if you like a bit of a kick, to make Arrabiatta simply add a couple of whole fresh, red chillis while simmering your sauce and chop them up and add them at the end for your desired heat.


Fajitas

Fajitas is always high on the list when I ask what my family want for dinner. I load up the table with lots of separate dishes and everyone helps themselves. Once you make this spice mix you will want to make it over and over.

If I’ve made this for veggie family members I simply leave out the chicken and add an avocado when marinading the chicken and peppers.

We love heaping on lots of guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese and salsa.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts cut into strips

1 teaspoon garlic granules

1/2 teaspoon onion granules

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Glug of olive oil or 2

1 large onion – sliced

2 pepper sliced into strips – I like red and yellow peppers as they are sweeter

Wraps to serve

Guacamole, Sour cream, Salsa and grated mature cheddar to serve

Method

Measure out all your spices into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Slice your onions and peppers into long strips and sprinkle over a little of your marinade.

Chop your chicken into strips and add them to your bowl of spices, making sure the strips are all fully coated.

Now heat your oil in a large pan and add your peppers and onions. Pan fry until slightly softened, stirring all the time. Once they are almost cooked set them aside on a separate plate.

Now add another glug of olive oil and pan fry your chicken strips. Once the chicken is almost cooked through, throw your peppers and onions back in and cook for a further 5 minutes or so to ensure the chicken is fully cooked through and the onions and peppers have softened.

I microwave my wraps for 1 minute or so and set them on a plate, piled up so everyone can make their own fajitas. Transfer the fajita mix to a serving dish so that everyone can help themselves along with all the delicious dips.

Tip: I serve this with a bowl of couscous or potato skins and carrot and cucumber sticks for dipping.


Easy Peri Peri Chicken Pittas

The kids love a Nando’s, they’d have it every day if I let them. It’s so easy to make your own delicious version at home. I always make sure I buy the best pillowy mediteranean pitta’s I can find. Once your chicken’s perfected on the griddle, just load up with your fresh, crispy lettuce and dollops of creamy, peri spiced mayonnaise or hot sauce if you’re hot and saucy. Reduce the peri peri spice on the chicken if you’re a Lemon and Herber!

No knives and forks needed here, just pick them up and get stuck in. We had corn on the cob too but it didn’t fancy being in the photo.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

4 mediterranean pittas

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried chillis

Tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic – minced

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons peri peri seasoning ( 1/2 teaspoon if you’re a lemon and herber / 3 or 4 teaspoons if you’re an extra hot)

Salt and cracked black pepper

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Lettuce, sliced onion, olives and extra lemon wedges to serve

Method

Mix your spices and minced garlic together in a large mixing bowl.

Chop your chicken in half and then in half again. Now dunk it in the spice mix, coating evenly. I do this wearing latex gloves which I feel is perfectly normal!

Heat your olive oil on a griddle pan, add your chicken and sizzle away until cooked through. Make sure you turn it frequently.

Once your chicken is fully cooked, pop your pittas into the toaster for a minute. Once they pop up split them, steady as they will be full of steam and scorch you if you’re not careful. I hold them individually with a clean tea towel and slice a little with a knife to let the steam escape out.

Once the pittas have cooled slightly, stuff them with your chicken, lettuce, onion and sauce.

Tip: These are amazing with a hot peri peri sauce but if you prefer something a bit more sedate mix up the sauce below which is equally as good and won’t blast your taste buds off!

Creamy Peri Mayo

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon peri peri seasoning

squeeze or two of lemon

Pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.


Hot and Spicy Vegetable Curry – Mum Style

My mum has made this delicious vegetable curry for as long as I can remember, so I had to share it with you. It’s hot, spicy and packed full of flavour and the best thing about it is it’s of a healthier, low calorie nature as the sauce is tomato based.

What one person determines as spicy another might disagree but I’m going with the majority here and the smaller kids who have been brought up eating curry all their lives couldn’t eat it! I’d say this is equivalent to a madras spice if you use a hot curry powder. A great, cost effective recipe with not too many spices to buy that also freezes well.

Serve it with a pint of iced water.

Ingredients

Serves 4

x2 500ml cartons / jars of passata

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

150g of red split lentils

thumb sized piece of ginger – grated

2 sweet potatoes – chopped

1 large onion – diced

Florets of 1/2 a cauliflower

Handful of green beans

Cup of mini sweetcorn

2 teaspoons of chilli flakes

30g curry powder

1 tablespoon light soft brown sugar

Mango chutney – optional

Method

Dice and pan fry your onion in a little olive oil until softened along with your curry powder, ginger, and chilli flakes.

Bring a separate large pan of water to the boil and add your chopped sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, cauliflower, lentils and green beans. You want just enough water to cover these. Let boil for about 20 minutes and then add your onions.

Now add your passata, tinned tomatoes and light soft brown sugar.

I taste and add as I go along so depending on how you like your curry you may want to add a little more curry powder etc. I like to add a dessert spoonful of mango chutney to mine.

Simmer until the veg is fully cooked but still has a nice crisp bite to it. Nothing worse than it being too mushy. Once you’re happy your veg is cooked through you can eat right away or it will taste even better if you allow to cool and place in the fridge over night as all the lovely spices marinate the veg more and the sauce thickens too.

Just add fluffy rice and some soft naan breads or flat breads.

Tip: Serve with mango chutney as the sweetness of the mango against the heat of the curry works perfectly. I always go out in the garden and snatch up loads of fresh coriander to add to mine when I serve but check if everyone likes it as people are either in or out with this. I’d add it to cornflakes if I could.


Pizza Bagels

Under my section ‘Uni Cooking’ on the blog I’ll be adding quick, easy, nutritious and cost effective recipes to feed students to ease some of Mum’s worries.

Cooking is such a great way to make friends and get chatting if you are sharing accommodation. If you are used to fresh, home cooked meals there’s nothing worse than having to resort to a frozen ready meal if that’s not your thing.

These pizza bagels are quick and easy and as bagels usually come in packs of five you’ll get around five pizza bagels, the cheese and tomato sauce for the price you would probably pay for one pizza. Bargain!

Ingredients

1 bagel

Small tub of tomato pizza / pasta sauce

Mozarella – grated ( if you buy 250g it will cover 5 bagels at least)

Half a slice of ham

Salt and cracked black pepper to season.

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 220C / 200C fan

Split your bagel in half carefully and pop in the toaster to lightly toast. You need to do this as it won’t be nice and crispy if you don’t.

Line a baking tray with foil ( makes the washing up easier) and place your toasted bagel on top.

Spread over some tomato sauce making sure the whole surface of the bagel is covered.

Grate over your mozzarella and add some ham if you have some otherwise simple cheese and tomato is still nice.

Grind on a bit of salt and cracked black pepper and pop in the oven for approx six minutes.

Remove from oven and enjoy!

Tip: Serve with a bit of salad to pack in some of your five a day and please Mum.


Mushroom And Cream Cheese Omelette

It’s such a worry for Mum’s, thinking about what our teens are going to eat when they’re at Uni. That’s why I’ve added a section on the blog for ‘Uni Cooking’. This section is especially for students who need to cook something quick, easy, nutritious but also cost effective.

I’ll be adding to this section over time so don’t forget to check back for new recipes.

The simple omelette. Perfect as a brunch, post work-out fuel or a light evening meal accompanied with a fresh salad or that Uni favourite baked beans. You can vary it up in endless ways, mature cheddar and onion, ham and tomato, peppers onion and potato for a Spanish twist.

I like mushroom, cream cheese, a few ripe mini tomatoes on the vine with some basil and lots of salt and cracked black pepper.

Serves 1

Ingredients

3 large free range eggs

Knob of butter

2 tablespoons cream cheese

4 mushrooms of choice – sliced

Salt and cracked black pepper

Optional – herbs of choice and a few tomatoes

Method

Crack your eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them up. Add a grind of salt and cracked black pepper.

Now heat your butter in a small frying pan and swirl about so the butter coats the surface of the pan fully.

Add your sliced mushrooms and pan fry for a minute or two.

Add your whisked egg mixture and allow to bubble in the pan until almost firm. Once the mix is no longer runny quickly add your cream cheese and flip in half with a pan slice.

Once it looks lightly golden you’re done! Quick as anything with at least one of your five a day to keep Mum happy.

Serve with whatever takes your fancy.