Mid Week Brain Mush

Mini Meatloaves In Pastry

Mid week is always tough and today was no exception. On top of a big day of teaching, the administration decided to have an evacuation drill during my only  free period. I had to hold up a sign and wait for instructions…banged my knee on the corner of the wooden bench seat which really hurt and the weather was cold!

By the end of the day my brain felt like mush and the thought of making dinner just did not appeal to me at all. I’m always going on about how cooking relaxes me and is the best cure after a long tiring day…today I wanted to forget all that and just get take away.

However, for some reason the thought of my brain being mush made me think of minced meat and the idea of mini meatloaves in pastry for dinner made me anxious to get home to cook. A simple recipe topped with a tangy BBQ sauce was all it took to bring a smile to my face…now I’m wondering if I should also bake tonight…such is the pleasure I get from my kitchen 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 small carrots, peeled
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 550g lean beef mince
  • 70g (1 cup) breadcrumbs made from day-old bread
  • 1/2 small brown onion, coarsely grated
  • 2 1/2 tbs tomato chutney
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • puff pastry

Method

Use the coarse side of a grater to grate the carrots and zucchini. Use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the carrot and zucchini in a large bowl. Add the beef mince, breadcrumbs, onion, tomato chutney and egg, and use your hands to mix until well combined.

Divide mixture evenly and shape into loaves and wrap in foil that has been sprayed with olive oil.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes and then unwrap from foil and cook for a further 15 mins or until browned nicely.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Glaze each loaf with warmed tangy (or spicy) BBQ sauce and wrap in pastry. Brush pastry with milk or beaten egg and cook in very hot oven until pastry is puffy and golden. Top with more BBQ sauce.

Serve with mash and steamed vegetables.

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Chicken and Leek Pie

Friday Night Chicken and Leek Pie

Yesterday was our annual athletics day which meant herding hundreds of high school kids onto buses and driving out to a cold, bleak athletics track so most of the kids could just sit around and we could freeze our asses off. We don’t tend to take these things too seriously here so most schools are not equipped with their own tracks and so on.

To say that I would rather teach all day, plus have yard duty both recess and lunch time as well as have a meeting after school, is understating how I feel about these days. Having my eyes repeatedly stabbed with hot pokers would be less painful. However, we go and we chant for our houses and we have “fun”.

All I could think of was getting home and putting on my pj’s and fluffy slippers and drinking a hot and strong coffee. I also day dreamed about Friday night. Yes, the beginning of the weekend but my chance to come home and finally be able to make a chicken and leek pie.

I have been waiting all week for this but as I was so tired I decided on making the quick version. That is, make everything in one deep dish that can also be used in the oven and top the whole thing with pastry. It’s easy and quick and tastes wonderful.

I’m full and happy right now. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 750g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, chopped
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, halved, washed, sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup pure cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 sheet frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, partially thawed.

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Heat oil and butter in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned. Add leek. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until leek has softened. Add white wine. Bring to the boil. Add flour. Stir for 1 minute.

Add stock and cream. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Stir in thyme. Season with pepper.

Fill pie dish with chicken mixture.  Top with puff pastry. Trim excess. Press down edges with a fork to seal. Brush with egg. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Serve with a green salad.

Perfect for a Friday night when you are exhausted after a week at work but want something substantial and yummy!