A time to end...

After 6 months of blogging my dinners I'm going to stop posting on this blog. It was a useful tool for me for a time, to motivate me to make good dinners for my family, and I got a few new ideas along the way. But I think a blog should be way to make your real world life better, not worse. So when this blog stopped being a fun and useful tool and became a burden, "I need to post! Ahhh!" type thing, I knew it was time to stop.

Thank you for all my readers, followers and subscribers, especially those three who have been clicking through every day for the last 2 and half weeks even though there haven't been any fresh posts for that long.

I am working on how to archive my 6 months of dinners, for now you can access them here still. I will occasionally post exceptional dinners on my other blog, thethingsthatilove.blogspot.com.

Thank you, and good night!

Curry to go

Friday night take out.

Nat got Chicken Masala (bottom). It was alright. I got a lamb in spinach gravy (bottom - forgot the name of it). It was alright. I realised I like my curry sweet, because this one was not!

Vegetable Marzetti

I set out to make something I thought the kids would eat, since we're all just getting our appetites back and have tender tummies. When I started eating it I realised it was pretty much Marzetti but with veges instead of meat.

I cooked the pasta and then stirred the sauce through. To make the sauce I literally just put all these ingredients in a pan: can of tomatoes, diced onion, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, peas, grated carrot, chicken stock cube (so technically not vegetarian), tomato paste, water. I let that reduce down for a bit then added cheese.

It was great. But would probably be nicer if you took the time to saute onions and garlic and be thoughtful about your other ingredients as well. But as it was, chucking it all in worked pretty well too.

Midnight Spaghetti 7 (with a twist...)

I added sliced and diced ham, white wine vinegar and "Cream for Cooking" (a new product, thank you James at The Food Show for the free samples!) to the sauce, and omitted the chili. It was nice, but I was FAR too heavy handed with the cream!

Fresh Terakihi fillets with homemade chips and salad

... a la Nat. He's great at this meal.


Sorry, no photo, I knew I said I wouldn't do this anymore, but just in case any of you really care to know, I won't be posting for the next week because we're going away. But we're taking a lasagna that will last us around 3 days, so there's something for you. Back to posting (semi) regularly again in a week!

Pizza 3

This is fast becoming a fave. I make it as often as I feel I can justify.

Nachos 3

Quick, easy, delicious. Don't forget the sour cream.

Zinger Burger, Zinger, Zinger Burger

*Blush* Honesty's the best policy, right? I felt like I deserved it.

Bean Salad 2

Too many cookies during the day again today made me feel like something light. I ended up having poor mans bean salad - a can of four bean mix with dressing of equal parts vegetable oil, white vinegar and sugar. Missing chickpeas, corn kernels, chopped, blanched, fresh green beans, diced capsicum.

So if you want the REAL, family recipe bean salad, then put it all in. It's a winner!

Cookies and Vegetable Curry

Seriously. I ate so much dough and so many straight out of the oven (you know, "testing") I decided to eat a full dozen (or so) and make it a meal.

But I fed the kids something decent. This DELICIOUS vegetable curry. When I ate it earlier today for lunch I kept hoping that the next chunk would be chicken, even though I knew it wasn't. But it was good. My base sauce: a can of tomatoes, coconut cream, cashew milk (made by blending cashews in water. I don't know if other people do it, but I know that's how you make almond milk so I gave it a shot), regular milk. Then a ton of spices that I'll never be able to replicate, but it was good. Yummo! So glad there's leftovers!

Tomato and Basil Spaghetti 6

Still good on the third day :).

Pizza 2

My sister and her kids came for dinner tonight. Pizza night!

Pizza Base - for 2 pizza's (I think this is from my mum's JOY of Cooking cookbook, with some of my own modifications)

3 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup semolina (or just use 4 cups flour, I do all the time)
1 Tbsp of yeast in
1 1/3 cup of warm water
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

1. Add yeast and oil to water and stir briefly. Leave for 10 mins or until foamy.
2. Mix all ingredients.
3. Knead.
4. Optional: Rising time. The dough can stretch to make two, cookie tray sized pizzas even if it doesn't have time to rise.
5. Roll out on a greased tray, turn up edges and add toppings.
6. Bake at 200 degrees Celcius for 15 (no rising time) -25 (risen to twice the size) minutes or until done.


Pretty simple and easy! Can anyone tell me how to insert a degrees symbol on here?

Savoury mince and veges

I thought about just calling this "dinner" but I've learned from experience if I can't give something a definite name then it's not going to be good.

And this was good. Even though it's a bit-of-a-mess looking. I was focussing my energy somewhere else today.

Chicken Drumsticks

a la Jamie Oliver. Cooked with potatoes, tomatoes (meant to be cherry tomatoes), garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and chili flakes/chopped chili. And there are meant to be basil leaves, I used dried basil. Really you shouldn't make that substitution unless you absolutely have to. So simple and so delicious!

We had some other veges as well but they were freezer veges and didn't look good on the plate, so didn't make it into the photo shoot.

Stir fried vegetables

I'm really not making anything that flash lately, am I?

Spaghetti Pie

This is a good one. A friend made it for Erika post-partum baby #2 a year and a half ago, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time. It's been included in my family meal arsenal ever since. Don't give it a miss just because it's a bad photo.

Spaghetti Pie

500-600g Vermicelli
50-75g butter
2 small/1 large egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
250g cottage cheese
Prepared tomato sauce
Grated cheese

Cook your vermicelli in salted water (I used regular spaghetti in the photo above. But vermicelli is just so much nicer for this). Cook your tomato sauce how you like it (mine: oil, onion, garlic, mince, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, salt, pepper, dried mixed herbs, canned tomatoes, tomato paste). When vermicelli is cooked, drain and immediately put in the butter, egg and parmesan cheese and stir to mix. Press the vermicelli into a dish, cover with the cottage cheese, then the tomato sauce, then the grated cheese on top. Bake in oven till heated through.

Tortilla Pizza 2

This has got to be the fastest meal start to finish.

Pan-fried Duck Legs

Nat spent his last voucher from Christmas yesterday on luxury food items that he will lord over me as he consumes them one by one over the next FOREVER. He's one of those. He makes things last for AGES.

Tonight he made duck legs with his own invention of berry sauce and salad. Looks good! But I wouldn't know how it tasted.

Pasta Salad 2

My secret to a good pasta salad: Paul Newman's Balsamic vinaigrette. I use that and mayonnaise as my dressing and it always turns out well. I just throw in whatever pasta I have on hand, anything else that looks like it could work, and stir through the gold. But actually another tip I have is to stir through little cubes of cheese and eat the salad warm. Some cheese will be melted and some not and it's just a nice surprise every now and again while you're eating it to get a little cheesy bite.

What's in this salad? Penne - cooked; oil, onion, garlic, ham, mushrooms, salt, pepper - all fried in a pan; tomatoes, spring onions, cheese - all fresh/raw/uncooked; corn - cooked separately, mayonnaise and Paul Newman's Balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious!

Pork and Bok Choy 2

Nat made this delicious meal again tonight. I think I'll have to post the recipe next time because it's SOOO GOOD!

Penne with Peas

A variant of Midnight Spaghetti tonight worked well.

Oil, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper in pan as usual. Skip the chili, add rosemary and butter instead. After a few minutes add some cream (1/4 cup maybe) and stir to combine. Add peas and then cooked penne. Yum! It was nice and subtle, and really good.

The kids loved it and ate it really well, the penne is perfect for little hands and they've always loved peas.


I don't normally make pizza because I'm always lacking in toppings I thought. Then I asked a friend what she was putting on her pizza and she said she just does tomato and cheese. And for her tomato she just whizzes up a can of tomatoes*. How simple is that? It's so liberating to know that I can do something that simple, because if she can, I can. So I tried it tonight, and it was good! I whizzed up a 400g can of tomatoes with a bit of salt, pepper and oregano in the blender, topped with chopped ham and grated cheese. I really could've gone without the ham though. Yum! And the kids liked it too! We had some cooked carrots on the side as well to ease the mother guilt.

So one can did two full tray sized pizzas nicely, but probably could do three.

*My friend said she also uses canned tomato soup or even plain old tomato sauce/ketchup when she's really going it easy.

Meat and two veg 2

Somehow, when Nat cooks the steak it's "Beef Porterhouse Steak with....". But when I make it, it's just "Meat and two veg". I lack finesse I think.

I did manage to make delicious onions to go with it though: Onions in half rings, cooked with a splash of both Worcestershire sauce and white wine vinegar, and a little salt. Yum!


I don't know the technicalities of calzone, but this was pretty nice. It was nice to have something different. I used my Nice Buns recipe and rolled it out and filled it, next time I'll use a heavier dough maybe? Don't know.

Quote from Nat: "There's definitely room for improvement, but it's good". Which is pretty much spot on.

Room for improvement:
- Find a way to make sure all the dough on the bottom is cooked
- Make the sauce more tomatoey
- See if we can get more filling to bread ratio, even though I think it was pretty perfect, Nat would like more filling.
- Some sort of glaze on the bread would be nice
- Do it all much, much faster

Pork and Bok Choy

Nat stir fried up this simple number tonight. I go nuts for it because it uses oyster sauce which is DELICIOUS. That's how people make delicious stir fry.

This 'n' That and Lasagna

My friend Johanna recently reminisced that one of her favourite dinners growing up was what her mother called "This 'n' That": a plateful of leftovers and whatever was left in the kitchen pretty much. This is what the kids had for dinner,

(broccoli, water, yoghurt, peaches, cracker, rehydration liquid for Sadie. She got pretty sick)

(Sadie finishing off a piece of cheese)

(the reject bowl: spaghetti, for the 4th(?) evening this week (the meatballs got eaten), banana, peeled pear, plum)

because the main event wasn't ready in time.

This is the first lasagna we've made at this house, so that's AT LEAST 6 months! It was so good!

But I overdid it with the cream.

Cream in the lasagna? Oh yes we did! After it's all assembled (with uncooked pasta) we bake for 10 min, pour over cream, 10 min more, more cream, 10 min more, more cream, 10 minutes more. Well those were my instructions from Nat. He normally does the "creaming". But I didn't fully understand his description of how much cream to put in. So after baptising the lasagna (by immersion) after the first 1o minutes it took another 40 minutes for the cream to absorb. Or look like it was absorbed.

Lasagna with your cream anyone?

Spaghetti and Meatballs 5

Sorry about the lack of posting recently. We haven't really been eating anything original is the thing. But I thought I'd better post something so here's what we had tonight.

Remember, the best ever meatballs recipe is Rachael Ray's. Give it a whirl.

Corned beef hash

Corned beef (from a can)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp mustard
Salt and pepper

Boil and mash potatoes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Fry in oil or butter in a pan in patties until you've got a nice brown on each side. Done!


Pretty easy really, it's all to taste. But that's what I use to bind it together. We had this with brocolli and tomatoes on the side, but it would fit with almost any vegetables. We also eat it with tomato sauce and mustard.

Nat's steak and mushrooms

Nat made delicious steak tonight with sauteed mushrooms and shallots, fresh/parbaked sour dour and rice as sides. We ate it like an open sandwich, topping the bread with the mushrooms/shallots, then the steak and then mustard. It was really good! Nat sure is good at cooking his steak, I'll tell ya. (With brocolli and carrots also not pictured)

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

3 Tbsp oil
50g butter
2 small onions
3 cloves garlic
8 large button mushrooms (250g ish maybe?)
5 slices of shaved ham
3 rice cups of rice (how much is a rice cup? Much smaller than a standard/metric cup)
6 standard cups of water
4 tsp chicken stock/4 stock cubes (dissolved in the water)

Put oil and butter in the pan and melt the butter. Add chopped onions, crushed/chopped garlic, chopped mushrooms and diced shaved ham and saute until they're all looking yummy (10 minutes maybe?) Add the rice to the pan and "brown" it a little bit. Add more butter if you need to. Make sure the rice gets nicely coated. Add 2 cups of water. Cook on high for 5 minutes or until the water is about 3/4 absorbed/cooked off. Add the rest of the water with the stock. Cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes.


This was pretty nice but you may want to consider making some changes to adjust to taste. My suggestions:
-Add peas. Lots of them. 1-2 cups of peas.
-Scrap the ham. Or use less. It affected the flavour a bit too much.
-Use less stock, maybe half the amount, and add a bit of salt instead.

I also don't know if this is the correct way to cook "risotto". But it works for me.

Stir fry with prawns 3

The prawns were extremely sparse tonight and I added strips of cooked scrambled eggs. I've got the flavour right though, so we're on the right track.

Midnight Spaghetti 6 (with a twist...)

I added to our classic recipe tonight about 200g of tinned tuna in oil (with the oil), fresh tomatoes (quartered or eigthed) and fresh basil. It cooked up a treat! (Nat wasn't eating with us because of work etc. so I was spared any bad feedback)

If making it again I would add a squeeze of lemon juice just to finish it off. Yum!

Beef porterhouse steak with creamy mushroom sauce 2

Nat made this tonight so I'm not sure the recipe he used but it was GOOD. I heart creamy mushroom sauce. (Peas and corn included in our dinner too, not pictured)

Tomato and Cheese "Risotto"

My sister Erika's recipe. More or less. Over Christmas she made this for the big family gathering. My nephew said "Dad, when I throw up, it looks like this". But he still ate it and liked it (I think...?).

Tomato and Cheese "Risotto"

2 slices middle bacon (I actually use shaved ham. WAY cheaper!)
1 onion, chopped
50g butter
2 1/2 cups rice
1 400g (ish) can tomatoes
4 cups water
chilli powder
1 cup (or more) grated cheese (like Edam)

Cook onion and bacon/ham in oil. Add butter. When melted add rice and stir while cooking for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, water and seasonings and cook, stirring occasionally until rice is tender. Stir in cheese until melted.


Did I leave anything out Erika? Is that even right? That's what I did the other night when I made it anyway. Is that what you do?
Also, it's named "Risotto" because I'm sure that it's not cooked right to be a risotto, but that's what I call it.

Burritos 6

I felt like burritos this morning. I got mince out of the freezer. We had taco sauce which was unusual for us. And avocado. This was going to be great. When I came to making it I cooked up the mince, then realised I didn't have anything else that we normally stuff burritos with other than the taco sauce and avocado. SO a little different tonight, I added plenty of corn to the mince mixture, and chopped up some capsicum (really small so that the kids would eat it) and that was us! Sour cream, mince with corn, cheese, capsicum, avocado, taco sauce.

Tuna Casserole

250g penne or other dried pasta
5 eggs
200g tinned tuna in oil (or thereabouts, whatever you've got will do. I forgot to check the can for weight and now it's out of the house)
1 cup corn kernels (from frozen, canned or fresh)
1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 capful Paul Newman's balsamic vinaigrette

Boil your pasta and eggs. Slice the eggs and add everything to a bowl and stir to mix. Add a crumb topping and gill if you'd like, or eat warm or cold as a pasta salad.

Crumb topping

2 pieces bread
Lemon pepper seasoning

Whizz bread in a blender and add seasonings to taste. Spoon pasta salad into ovenproof dish and sprinkle over top. Grill until golden.


As you can see my crumb topping got a little bit darker than "golden". I thought this was SUPER good, the kids liked it pretty well, and Nat ate it but didn't like it because he doesn't like tuna or eggs (generally). So it was a success I think! I definitely liked it enough to make it again, and it was really quick and easy.

Tasty Sausages with Polenta Chips

My first time cooking polenta! It thought it was alright, but it was also my first time eating it so I'm not sure if I missed the mark or not.

Tasty sausages (finally!)

8 sausages (sliced diagonally into 4)
2 onions (sliced into wedges)
4 mushrooms (sliced in half. Feel free to use more)
2 tomatoes (sliced in half. Feel free to use more)
Good splash olive oil
Generous drizzle worcestershire sauce

Combine everthing in a roasting pan and mix with your hand to make sure everything is coated nicely. Bake at 200 degress Celcius for 20 minutes or until cooked.


Polenta chips

2 cups polenta
4-5 cups water
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
pinch thyme

Boil water and gradually pour in polenta, constantly stirring. Stir as it cooks until it is done (tender, also a spoon should stand up in the middle). Add more water if you think you need to. It should be sort of porridgy when it's done, but not too wet, so don't add too much water. Stir in the cheese and thyme. Spread out flat on greaseproof paper on a baking tray/in a brownie tin/other flat tin and refrigerate overnight to set OR cover and put in freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and turn out onto a baking tray (it should just fall right out of tin without help). Slice into chip shapes, spread out on the tray and grill until beginning to brown, 15-20 minutes.


I loved the sausages, they were a bit dry because in my hurry I turned the oven off and left them in there rather than taking them out, but the flavour was good. I wasn't too hot on the polenta, but I liked it well enough. It's good to have another option for a side dish. Maybe polenta is just not my thing. I only cooked/had it because it was passed on to me from a friend moving overseas emptying out her cupboards. Still. It was ok.

Spaghetti and Meatballs 4

Spaghetti and courgette meatballs - after making the stuffed courgette the other night I had tons of leftover filling and froze a tray full of meatballs. They didn't turn out the best, because courgette flesh that I'd included in the meatball mix became watery as they were cooked and so a few fell apart. But other than that it was a good meal.

The sauce tonight: a large splash of olive oil, 2 onions, 4 cloves garlic, 1 can tomatoes, 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 3/4 can of water, salt, pepper, generous shake of worcestershire sauce, 2 pinches dried sweet basil.

It turned out quite nice! A little bit different than what I normally make for a tomato pasta sauce.

Steak and chips 2

We actually had KFC for dinner tonight. But it's pretty much impossible to make that look good, and I'm quite embarrassed about it actually (even though it was real tasty). Here's steak that Nat made sometime last week served with roast cherry tomatoes, chips, brocolli and bread.


Pork Chops

Camera = found. It's embarrassing where it was.

We used to eat pork chops all the time. It was the first meal Nat cooked for me. We haven't had it for AGES because Nat advises me it got real expensive there for a while there. So tonight's dinner was a real treat.

Pork chops with crackling, rice and roast tomatoes.
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