Friday, September 12, 2008

CORE Beef & Couscous Patties

Moist and tasty beef patties with couscous, tomatoes and herbs
Serving suggestion: on a bed of mash with a dollop of salsa
Pictured with Potato, Cannellini Bean & Yoghurt Mash

Serves: 4 large muffins (the 1 cup "American" style)

Difficulty: Easy


  • 3/4 cup dry couscous
  • 2 tsp powdered beef stock (or 2 cubes)
  • 250 grams savoury mince mix (uncooked weight), or 250g premium mince, cooked with 1/4 onion and garlic and cooled
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup "creamed" style cottage cheese
  • 1 spring onion
  • 2 egg
  • 2 tsp Italian herbs mix (or your favourite herbs/spices)

Add couscous, stock powder and 3/4 cup boiling water to a large mixing bowl.
Allow water to absorb and cool.
Add all ingredients and mix well.
Spray muffin pans with oil.
Divide mix between muffin trays
Bake in preheated oven at 180*C for 35-40 mins.

The easiest way to de-tray these is to run a knife or spatula around edge of pan. Invert a baking tray or chopping board on the top. Flip the whole arrangement and give a firm tap on the kitchen counter and they will pop out easily.

Not on Core? The total of this recipe is approx 21 points (5 pts per muffin/patty)

Recipe modified from Buttermint's couscous muffins

CORE Berry Couscous Muffins / Puddings

Great for breakfast or dessert.
Hot or Cold
Particularly nice with vanilla diet yoghurt and strawberries

Recipe is 9 points - I made 9 muffins so that if I have for "snacks", 1 muffin is 1 pt.
Feel free to make 8 or 10, or whatever.

Makes: 9 small muffins (the 1/2 cup ones)

Difficulty: Easy


  • 1/2 cup dry couscous
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 1/2 TB Splenda
  • 1 x 200 g diet yoghurt in strawberry or other berry flavour
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Add couscous, and 1/2 cup boiling water to a large mixing bowl.
Allow water to absorb and cool.
Meanwhile, microwave the frozen berries for 2 minutes, then lightly mash with a fork. The object is to squish out some juice and break up the larger berries into smaller pieces, not to have puree!
Add all ingredients and mix well.
Spray muffin pans with oil.
Divide mix between muffin trays (they were about 3/4 full in 9 x 1/2 cup trays)
Bake in preheated oven at 180*C for 30-35 mins

Not on Core? The total of this recipe is approx 9 points (1 per muffin)

Recipe modified from Buttermint's couscous muffins

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CORE Cubed Potato Bake

Serves: 2

Difficulty: Easy

  • 300 g potato, peeled diced into 1cm cubes
  • potato sprinkle seasoning
  • oil spray

Optional - diced bacon

Steam potato for about 8 mins (it should be very slightly underdone)
Add half of the potato into 2 small ramekins.
Spray with oil and sprinkle with seasoning.
Put the other half in, spray and season again (if using bacon, add here).
Bake in a very hot oven until golden brown, darker around the edges.

Not on Core? 150 g of potato is approx 1.5 pts

CORE Beef Schnitzel

Serves: however many, quantities listed are for 2.

Difficulty: Easy

  • blade steak that has been tenderised by the butcher (150 - 200g each person)
  • 2 TB corn flour (you won't use all of it)
  • 2 tsp your favourite seasoning (I used 1 tsp of lemon pepper and 1 tsp Italian herbs)
  • olive oil

In a tough plastic bag (like those from the green grocer), add corn flour and seasoning, twist the top securely and give a little shake to mix up and check for holes.
Heat a large nonstick frypan with some olive oil until very hot.
Drop the first steak into the bag, twist off and shake the bag until the steak until evenly coated.
Add into sizzing pan and cook for a few minutes, turn ONCE and serve.

Not on Core? A 200g steak is approx 4 pts and tenderised is HUGE!

Monday, September 8, 2008

CORE "Smokey BBQ" Chicken Breast

Slicing grilled chicken is a good way to control your serving of chicken breast when the fillets are enormous and shows the lovely coloring from the smoky BBQ seasoning.

Serves: 2

Difficulty: Easy

  • 2 medium chicken breasts (about 400g)
  • powdered "Smokey BBQ" seasoning

Put chicken on a plate and sprinkle seasoning over both sides. Allow to sit for at least 10 mins.
Heat a grill or frypan (I used a Foreman grill) very hot and cook chicken until done, turning only once (no need for a Foreman).
Slice and serve with a big plate of vegies.

Not on Core? A 200g chicken breast fillet is approx 4.5 points (raw weight)

The "enormous" serving pictured is 200g on a very large plate.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

CORE Slow Cooker Lemon Roast Chicken

A lovely moist roast chicken with subtle lemon flavour. It will fall off the bone.

Serves: 4+ (I used a 1.6 kg chicken and it served 6)

Difficulty: Easy


  • 2 large lemons (or 4 small)
  • a chicken (or chickens) of size to suit your family


Cut the bumps of the end of the lemons. Cut 1 or 2 thin slices off each end. This will leave you with lemon chunks about 4 cm thick. Cut these in half so you have 2 lemon rings each about 2 cm thick. Put 2 or 3 lumps in the bottom of the slow cooker bowl - we're using these as "legs" to prop up the chicken to dry roast it.
Insert a few of the lemon slices into the carcass, making sure you have 4 slices left.
The chicken will cook better if you close the legs/carcass "hole". You can do this by tying the legs together, or use the "Chicken Shop Crossed Legs" method - stretch one leg away from the body, with sharp knife cut a 1 cm slit in the loose skin, pop opposite "ankle" through, then the other.
Put chicken on props, lay a slice of lemon on each breast, one on the tummy, and half slice each on the leg/thigh.
Put chicken in slow cooker bowl.
Optional - If you have time, put lid on and fridge at least overnight. Take out of fridge an hour or 2 before putting onto heat.
Add a thin layer of boiling water to bottom of slow cooker bowl, about 1/3 -1/2 cup.
Cook on low heat for about 8 or 9 hours or high for about 4.

Optional - if your other family members are skin eaters, you may wish to brown off in oven/grill as the chicken is pale.

CORE Guilt Free Guacamole Dip

Is also lovely spread on sandwiches or as a hot/cold sauce to grilled beef, chicken or lamb.

Serves: About a cup

Difficulty: Easy

  • 1 x 340g tin asparagus in spring water, drained
  • 1/3 jar of mild salsa
  • 1 "clump" of coriander
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • cracked pepper
  • carrots or other crudities (raw vegies) as dippers
Whiz all until mixed. Peel a carrot or 2 and dive in.

Note: If you make the day before, it will seperate a little in fridge overnight. This is fine - it's 2 "wet" vegies :) Just stir it before serving

Not on Core? This recipe is ZERO points

CORE - The Perfect Omelette

Serves: 1
Instructions are for 1 x 2 egg omelette in a bread and butter plate skillet. Double for a 4 egg omelette in a dinner plate sized pan.

Difficulty: Easy


  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil or spray

There are 2 keys to the perfect omelette:
(1) use a non stick pan
(2) for every egg you use a half egg shell of water - thank you year 9 Home Ec teacher! This works for any type or size of egg (I've done with duck eggs)

Spray pan with oil (or use paper towel).
Heat pan on high (eg 8/10 setting) until pan is very hot.
Add 2 eggs and 2 half eggshells of water to a bowl and whisk (or blender or shake) until very fluffy.
Pour into pan, gently rolling the pan to give good coverage (it should look like a weird cappacino).
Turn down to medium-low (eg 2/10) and cook without a lid until only the top 1mm or so isn't set (the fluff will still be there).
Sprinkle with salt/pepper/herbs and spread "filling" on half of the omellet (warm it a little if you are putting heaps in)
Cook a further couple of minutes until egg is set and doesn't look "wet"
With a big spatula (try 2 spatulas for large omelettes), fold in half and slide onto plate.
Serve immediately! Omelettes lose their fluffiness if they sit.

Filling suggestions:

  • grated low fat cheese (family friendly). You could also add bacon or ham
  • ricotta/cottage cheese, tomatoes (deseed), Italian herbs, bacon
  • asparagus, corn, capsicum and salsa
  • cooked mushrooms
  • mince, salsa, baked beans
  • ham, mushrooms, olives, tomato, pineapple, touch of grated cheese, Italian herbs (think like calzone - your favourite pizza flavour is great!)
  • left over roast chicken, and chopped vegies with cottage cheese
  • have a half serve of "left overs"? Many leftovers can be used in omelettes (ask, "would I put it in a toasted sandwich?")
  • MY FAVE - cottage cheese, smoked chicken breast, asparagus, corn, capsicum, spring onion, basil

If you put a decent filling in, you probably won't want toast with it.

Not on Core? The basic omelette is approx 3 points for 2 eggs, plus whatever you use as filling

CORE Perfect Rice, Every Time

Serves: adaptable

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients Ratio:

For every cup of rice, you need 2 cups of boiling water
ie 1/2 cup rice and 2 cup water, 2 cups rice and 4 cups water

Absorption Method:

Add rice and water to a pan, simmer with lid on, stirring occasionally until all water is absorbed.

If you have a pot which "sticks", use an extra 1/4 cup of water and stop when there is a thin layer of 1 or 2 mm of water at bottom and strain off.

  • White rice: 12 - 15 minutes
  • Brown rice: 25 - 30 minutes

You do not need to drain or rinse the rice if you are using straight away.

Microwave : use a large container with a steam venting lid to prevent making a mess of your microwave. If you don't have one, then a microwave jug with plate on top works well. Timing depends on microwave and quantity, but when the water is all absorbed, the rice is done.
Brown rice can be done in the microwave, but I think is better on the stove.

Left overs:

If you cook too much rice, tip into a strainer and wash with cold water.
(Why? It stops from continuing to cook in it's own heat and also stops it sticking together).
Drain and fridge/freeze in sealed container or tub.
To reheat, simply put in strainer and tip over a kettle of boiling water.
You can microwave cold rice, but I only recommend this when there is a sauce on top as it can stick together.

Flavoured rice:

Add stock cubes and/or strong herbs like garlic, parsley, coriander, rosemary to water.

I often add frozen vegies in the last 5 minutes to flavored rice for a quick side dish.


  • If you are cooking a stew or curry and it won't thicken, considering adding some rice and simmering for about 12 minutes. Add about a cup of rice (recipe for 4 or 6) and if it starts looking a little dry before the 12 minutes, add a dribble of water.
  • To make a hearty casserole, add up the liquids you've added and add slightly less than half the quantity of rice.
    eg a can of tinned diced tomatoes and 2 cups of stock would be approx 3 or 3.5 cups, so add 1.25 to 1.5 cups white rice.
    Rice takes close to an hour to cook in a lidded casserole. If your casserole is cooking for a lot longer to
    tenderise the meat, add rice about an hour before end.
  • Rice and slow cookers can equal mush. Add about 2 hours from end and don't stir it.