Category Archives: Meal Ideas

Texas Chicken Wing Nibbles



Found in the supermarket recently were these Texan Chicken Wing Nibbles. Perfect for a Sunday lunch served with a salad or a Footie night snack.

Spicy and sticky and full of flavour, a great standby for the freezer.



Spanish Roasted Tomato, Chorizo and Chickpea Soup

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You know you are in Spain when the buffet breakfast showcases salami, chorizo and jambon. Our first breakfast in Madrid made me forget (very quickly) my  standard yoghurt and fruit breakfast as I quickly filled my plate with tasty morsels of pork products.  Many years ago, I was told by cousins that they “the Spanish” use everything from the pig.  This accounts for Paella recipes calling for pig’s ear.  On that holiday 29 years ago Terese, my sister ordered a pork menu item… at least we could translate the word ‘pork’. What she didn’t realise was that she had ordered Pork Cheek – still on the jaw so once she ate the tender meat, a row of teeth appeared.

This soup recipe is not so confronting but chorizo, chickpeas, paprika, tomatoes and capsicums combine to make a  hearty Spanish Style soup.


1 teaspoon olive oil

2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1 cm pieces

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 litre chicken stock

1 cup water

400 g can chickpeas, drained

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Gluten free bread to serve

Roasted vegetables

500 g Roma tomatoes, halved lengthways

2 red capsicums, quartered and deseeded

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Roasted vegetables : combine all ingredients in a roasting dish and cook in a very hot oven (240C) for about 25 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly and then chop coarsely.
  2. While vegetables are roasting, in a large stockpot, heat oil and then add chorizo. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes or until golden.  Add onion and paprika.  Cook, stirring for a further 5 minutes or until onions are soft.
  3. Add roasted vegetables to stockpot together with stock, water, chickpeas and vinegar. Bring to boil.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

(New Idea: from the New Idea Test Kitchen)

Beef Stroganoff



Like most classic recipes there are many variations of Beef Stroganoff. Below is a simple version because I really only have to buy in  mushrooms and rump steak as all the other ingredients are generally in my pantry or fridge.


1 tablespoon olive oil

600 g rump steak, thinly sliced

20 g butter

1 large brown onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

200 g button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 – 1 tablespoon paprika

1 cup sour cream (can reduce to 1/2 cup)

½ cup beef stock

2 tablespoons gf Worcestershire sauce (Spring Valley or Beerenberg)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Gf fettuccine and chopped parsley to serve (I find the strands of GF fettuccine can glug together so I use gf spaghetti or gf elbows or serve it on a bed of rice)


Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook beef in batches for 2 – 3 minutes or until browned.  Transfer to bowl.

Melt butter in pan with pan juices.  Add onion and garlic and cook stirring for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add mushrooms.  Cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Add paprika, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.  Add sour cream and stock.  Cook, stirring, over low heat for 2 minutes or until combined.  Return beef and beef juices  to pan.  Stir to combine and beef is heated through.

Served with fettuccini tossed with chopped parsley.




Risotto has as many definitions as there are recipes but I like this simple one: an Italian dish made with rice and often vegetables or meat

Reality TV programs can make the home cook frightened of trying a risotto  which has been labelled the ‘death dish’  and even restaurants can get it wrong but the important thing is to remember is that you are making a meal for your family and your family might like risotto a little on the dry side or without parmesan  or quite soupy.

So grab a risotto recipe, put your stock on the boil and go for it.  With experience: you might adjust your recipe, you might prepare your meat separately and plate with the risotto and garnishes at the end or you might find your own combinations of meat and vegetables.

Rice is a versatile staple for the gluten free diet so add risotto to your list of favourite gluten free meals.

Step by step to Risotto

  1. In a saucepan bring the required quantity of stock to the boil, then reduce the heat so the stock is kept at a gentle simmer.
  2. In a wide heavy based pan, heat butter or oil, a combination of both, or as per recipe.
  3. Add chopped onion and garlic (as well as other ingredients as per recipe) and cook over low heat until soft, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat with fat. Sauté for 1 – 2 minutes over a moderate heat, stirring.
  5. Add ½ cup simmering stock (and wine if used in recipe) and stir well. Simmer, stirring until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid.
  6. Continue to add simmering stock, ½ cup at a time. Cook and stir until almost absorbed .
  7. Continue adding the stock until the rice is tender but still firm and the risotto is creamy but not runny.
  8. The risotto with take 20 – 30 minutes to cook in total.
  9. For a creamy result, stir in ½ – 1 tablespoon butter at the end.


 Risi e Bisi – Rice and Peas

1 onion chopped finely

1 stick celery chopped finely

60 g butter

2/3 cup Arborio rice

½ cup white wine

3 cups simmering chicken stock

Stir through toward the end

500 g frozen peas

30 g butter extra

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper


Risotto Milanese

60 g butter

1 onion chopped finely

½ cup dry white wine

375 g Arborio rice

3 cups simmering chicken stock infused with ¼ teaspoon saffron


Stir through toward the end

30 g butter

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Leek and Chorizo Risotto


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 chorizo halved lengthways and sliced on an angle

1 large leek thinly sliced (remove outer layer and bottom and top of leek)

2 cloves garlic crushed

6 cups simmering chicken stock

2 cups Arborio rice


1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese


Heat oil in heavy base pan and cook chorizo until cooked and browned.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Chorizo is to be returned as a garnish at serving.


Prepare risotto as normal.


Chicken and Prosciutto Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 slices prosciutto


60 g unsalted butter

400 g chicken, chopped in small pieces

½ onion chopped finely

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

6 cups simmering stock

1/3 cup dry white wine


1/3 cup finely grated parmesan

Parsley chopped to serve


Heat oil in heavy base pan and cook prosciutto until crisp.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Roughly chop  prosciutto to garnish at serving.


Prepare risotto as normal.



Change it Up



I am always on the look out for ways to up-style family favourites and while Spaghetti Bolognese    Pie and Mexican Lasagna are not new,these recipes torn out a Woolworths Fresh Food Magazine, reminded me of simple ways to change up old recipes. If you want to be more adventurous then you will find that Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson also have a few creative variations on this theme.

Spaghetti Bolognese Pie =  cooked gluten free spaghetti combined with 2 whisked eggs and 1/2 cup grated parmesan which has been pressed into the base and sides of a greased pie dish +your favourite spaghetti bolognese sauce layered over spaghetti base + topped with whisked egg and 1/2 cup smooth ricotta + topped with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella + bake for 30 minutes

Mexican Lasagna  = (gluten free corn tortillas + Mexican meat sauce+salsa + grated cheese) layered into a greased round pan + top with tortilla and grated cheese + bake for 30 – 40 minutes

Chickpeas -4 Variations on a Theme

Sherry Glazed Chorizo and Chickpeas 1


We have a family favourite chickpea dish that connects us to our roots in Catalonia Spain: Cigrons. Unfortunately, our recipe has two complications: we prepare dried chickpeas by soaking overnight and then cook them in a pressure cooker and the recipe is difficult to commit in the written form.  The quantities of olive oil, vinegar, bacon, garlic and salt and pepper all rely on taste and feel and sight and smell. Those who have shared house with me always reminisce about Cigrons and it is one of those meals that is prepared for when all the family is home.

You can however make chickpeas your way or try one of the recipes below.  Canned chickpeas doesn’t have to only be used for Hummus.

Be adventurous.

Sherry-Glazed Chorizo and Chickpeas


2 teaspoons olive oil

125 g dried chorizo, sliced

1/3 cup dry sherry* for extra depth of flavour use a Sherry Vinegar

400 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Chopped flat leaf parsley to serve


Heat oil in fry pan over medium to high heat.

Add chorizo and cook, turning for 3 – 4 minutes or until crisp.

Add ¼ cup sherry, then cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until chorizo is glazed and the liquid has evaporated.

Add chickpeas and remaining 1 tablespoon sherry then cook stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until chickpeas are warmed through.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Smoky Chicken, Chorizo and Chickpeas


600 g chicken thighs, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

250 g chorizo, sliced

400 g can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tomato chopped

1 long red chilli, sliced

¼ cup chopped parsley


In a bowl, combine chicken, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, paprika and cumin.  Toss to coat.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan over high heat.  Cook chicken for 2 -3 minutes each side or until golden.  Remove from pan.

Cook chorizo and chickpeas in same pan, stirring for 2 – 3 minutes or until golden.

Return chicken to pan with any juices.

Drizzle over balsamic and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked and heated.

Stir through tomato, chilli and parsley

Louise’s Chickpeas in Spanish Sauce


2 cans drained chick peas

1 green capsicum

1 red capsicum

1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 red chilli

1 tablespoon parsley

2 cans tomatoes


Chop the capsicums, chilli, onion and garlic.

Lightly fry in olive oil for a few minutes.

Add the parsley, tomatoes and chick peas.  Season.

Cool on a low heat for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.


Chickpea and Chorizo Hotpot


4 chorizo, sausages, thickly sliced

100 g jamon Serrano, diced

100 g salami, diced

100 g pancetta, diced

5 pink eschallots, quartered

5 garlic cloves, sliced

1 bunch of thyme, leaves only

2 x 400 g chickpeas, drained

500 ml chicken stock

1 bunch parsley, chopped


Heat a large saucepan. Add all the meats.  Cook stirring occasionally, over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and fat in the meat has started to break down.

Add eschallots, cook stirring occasionally until soft (5 minutes).  Add garlic and thyme.  Cook for a further 2 minutes.

Stir in chickpeas.  Cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes so chickpeas can absorb the flavours of meats and herbs.

Stir in stock.  Bring to boil.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until slightly thickened.

Garnish with parsley.




Sharing – A Box Full of…

El Cielo (3)

Today I received my box full of ….. gluten free Mexican goodies: Totopos (Corn Chips), Tostaditas (Deep Fried Tortillas), White Corn Tortillas, Blue Totopos (Corn Chips).  It is almost three years since I launched my blog so upon opening my box full of gluten free Mexican goodies from El Cielo, I reflected back to our first box full of gluten free goodies  and my first blog post.

My blog was inspired by my friend Mandy’s gluten free box full of goodies she sent  my son when he was first diagnosed. And my blog became my box full of…. gluten free goodies: recipes, experiences, products, travel tips and short cuts.

So today’s share is  El Cielo’s range of gluten free Mexican foods.

While we generally make do with supermarket corn chips and tortillas  my ‘regular eating son’ recently talked about the Tostaditas  I had purchased in Melbourne at Casa Iberica . Cooked in Rice Bran oil, these tostaditas were crisp and crunchy and memorable.  I promised that I would ‘look around’ and see what I could find.  I contacted Latin Taste the makers of the tostaditas and they referred me to El Cielo and their on-line shop . If you live in Melbourne you can go to their pick up points in Port Melbourne or South Melbourne.  Take a look also at their recipes.  Mexican lasagne made with tortillas is a great concept and the Mexican Rice recipe took me back to my childhood and my mother’s ‘Garlic Rice’.

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With a marinated pork shoulder basted and resting in the fridge to go in the slow cooker for dinner tonight, I know that the stars have been aligned and now we can have not only pulled pork but pulled pork on crisp and crunchy tostaditas.

Pork and Sage Cassoulet


Pork: I think roast,  pork belly or spare ribs.

But pork is not a meat I  regularly put in my shopping trolley.

Maybe it is  because I fear its blandness and I don’t know how to enhance its flavours.

I read in a hospitality magazine recently about Australian Pork’s  multi-million dollar campaign to encourage Australians to eat more pork including 6 – 2 – 2 Method for the perfect pork steak. And their recipe catalogue   includes inspiration with recipes for  Plum and Soy Butterfly Pork, Pork Tikka Coconut Curry and Caramelised Chilli Pork Belly.      Food for thought and recipes for future dinners.

The recipe below  is from and uses two cuts of pork.  It is full of flavour and a perfect winter’s dinner.

Pork and Sage Cassoulet 


1 tin cannelloni beans, drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

500 g gf pork sausages

500 g pork spare ribs, rind removed and cut into 3 cm pieces

1 brown onion, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup dry white wine

2 x 400 g can diced tomatoes (1 x 400g pressure cooker)

2 cups chicken stock (1 cup pressure cooker)

2 thyme sprigs

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped sage

2 dried bay leaves


Heat 1 tablespoon  oil in a large oven proof casserole dish over medium heat.

Add the sausages.  Cook turning occasionally for 8 – 10 minutes or until browned all over.  Transfer to plate.  Thickly slice diagonally.

In batches, add ribs and cook for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to plate

Preheat oven to 140 C.

In dish, add onions, garlic and cook until onion softens.  Add the wine and bring to the boil.  Cook for 3 minutes or until wine reduces by half.

Return pork and sausages to the dish together with tomatoes, stock, thyme, sage and bay leaves.  Stir to combine.++++

Remove from heat and stir through drain beans.

Bake, covered in oven for 1 ½ hours or until meat is very tender.

Increase oven temperature to 180C.  Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes.

****Alternatively, you can use a pressure cooker and reduce liquid as above.  Proceed in a pressure cooker to +++++ Pressure for 30 minutes.  Stir through beans and transfer everything to a oven proof dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes in a 180C.  Stir half way through so keep beans moist.  

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Zucchini and Ricotta Bake


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If my ‘foodie’ adult son gives me a compliment, then I know I have done well. And Matthew gave me the thumbs up on this dish. This one is a definite winner for family gatherings especially when you have guests who eat gluten free or who are vegetarian.


6 zucchini, trimmed and grated (750g)

2 teaspoons salt

250 g fresh ricotta

1 ½ cups grated tasty cheese

1 bunch chives

4 eggs, whisked

½ cup gluten free self raising flour

250 g punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)


Preheat oven to 180 C fan forced.  Grease a 26 x 16 cm ceramic baking dish.

Put zucchini into a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Leave to stand for 15 minutes.  Using your hands squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible, then place in a large bowl.

Add ricotta, 1 cup of cheese, chives and eggs and flour.  Stir until combined.

Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Place tomato halves, cut side down, on cheese.

Place dish in oven and cook for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

Leave stand for 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.

(from Woolworths Fresh: Recipe Development by Dixie Elliott)


Robert’s One Pan Chicken Meal

One Pan Chicken

Robert’s One Pan Chicken Meal

(serves 2)


 200 to 300 g diced chicken breast

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

½ brown onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced finely

½ capsicum, cubed

½ cup uncooked rice

½ can crushed tomatoes

1 small can red kidney beans

½ teaspoon cumin (can substitute 1 teaspoon taco seasoning)

Sprinkle of chilli powder

1 ¼ cups chicken stock

1 cup cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to season

Diced fresh tomates

Sour cream



In a large frying pan, saute onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil until they start to soften.

Add chicken pieces and garlic and cook over medium heat until chicken has started to brown.

Move chicken and onion to one side of pan and in the other, add additional olive oil and uncooked rice. Saute rice for about 2 – 3 minutes.

Stir in kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock and spices.

Bring to simmer, cover and reduce to low heat. Stir occasionally.  Cook for about 20 minutes until rice is tender.

Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with cheese, cover and take off heat for a few minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve with fresh tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole: on a plate, in a wrap, with nachos.

On Pan Chicken