An Effort to Flavour Ratio Dilemma

After spending a fair bit of time and nearly all my saucepans to make tonight’s dinner, the resulting meal was lacking in the flavour department. Which led me hypothesise an Effort to Flavour Ratio. For example, a bowl of cornflakes. Low in effort, relatively high in flavour. Women’s Weekly Pastitsio, high in effort, unexpectedly low in flavour. Who thought that a big casserole dish full of pasta, meat and cheese could be so boring! It smelt deceptively delicious too! The salt and pepper shakes were called to perform tonight. The raw pieces of zucchini on my plate seemed exciting in comparison.

On the upside, whilst making this fairly flavourless meal, I got to use a nifty kitchen gadget; a silicon sauce whisk. This was a Christmas present. At the time I wasn’t quite sure how I’d use it, but the few times I have needed to whisk a hot sauce, it has been amazing. The recipe tonight called for a white sauce. Quintessential Australian fare. Not something I remember having much of growing up. Very easy to get lumps, but not with my trusty whisk! Not need to smooth the top of the sauce before baking, it smoothed itself!

No photo sorry (I keep forgetting!) plus I can’t find the actual recipe I used on the internet. It was from the big Women’s Weekly cookbook called “Cook”. There are a few other recipes online that look like they’d promise way more flavour, with things like garlic and herbs in them. My Pastitsio turned out like something you’d find at grandma’s house for a special occasion. Except it wouldn’t be at my grandma’s, she can’t have onion.

Pastitsio

Affordability : Moderate. Has a lot of meat, milk, eggs and cheese. The anti-vegan meal to balance out the vegan chocolate mousse from the other day.

Time Factor : MODERATE. Allow close to an hour to get the meal in the oven. Then another hour in the oven.

Complexity : MODERATE. Lots of dishes, lots of bits to bring together. Not much return for effort investment.

Deliciousness : LOW MODERATE. Not bad. But not good either.

Mess : HIGH. Very glad I started with a clean kitchen before making this dinner. 3 saucepans plus a large frypan plus a baking dish plus a pasta strainer plus a chopping board plus utensils.

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. Was full for a fair chunk of time.

Possum Friendly? YES. But the white sauce will be super messy! I offered her some plain pasta while I was cooking but it just ended up being flung over the side of the high chair.

Would I make it again? No. There are other meals to be made.

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Meal Plan 22/3 – 28/3 a Meat Free Week Special!!

This week I am attempting a meat free week for my little family, to raise awareness to how much we over consume meat and how easy and delicious it can be to cut down (or out). When I told Legoman what I was doing with our meals this week his first reaction was “I think I’m working late all week….”. Doubt he will be saying that after he sees what we are actually eating. Check out this for a delicious menu!! I’m hungry already!

MONDAY / shower or two 16

Baked Cheese Ravioli with Broccoli and Spinach

TUESDAY / a few showers 16

Space Curry

WEDNESDAY / shower or two 17

Veggie Fajitas

THURSDAY / shower or two 18

Cashew Curry

FRIDAY / shower or two 19

Frittata with toast and salad

SATURDAY / no weather forecast available

Pumpkin, Tomato and Lemon Baked Risotto

Tomorrow is my first alone shopping day in a couple of weeks and boy am I looking forward to it! Who would’ve thought grocery shopping could bring so much joy. I might even go and have a coffee. On. My. Own.

Misty Mountain Goodness

Today was a perfect Blue Mountains Sunday. Terrible for the tourists who’ve come for the view. Perfect for a lunch of hot pies from the bakery and spending the day at home with my little family.

The view from my driveway today.

The view from my driveway today.

Tonight’s dinner suited the weather perfectly. The baked risotto was delicious, with super tasty crunchy bits around the edge and a zing of lemon zest and fresh oregano on the top. The lamb loin chops grilled to yumminess. The asparagus crunchy with a slight tang of balsamic. I don’t think I came up for air until my plate was empty. Then I stood over the baking dish of rice eating more. That’s when I realised one important question was missing from my nightly rating. “Would I make this again?” Tonight, absolutely!

Baked Risotto

Baked Risotto

Asparagus

Asparagus

Oven Baked Risotto with Lamb Chops and Vegetables:

Affordability : EXCELLENT. Chops are a tasty and affordable cut of meat. Buy seasonal veg which will be tasty and cheap. And rice, a little goes a long way. I love rice!
Time Factor : MODERATE. ~30 minutes prep plus 45 minutes oven time. Thankyou Lego Man for continuing cooking while I put Possum to bed. The risotto was baked in a square cake/slice tin. Worked perfectly.
Complexity : LOW – MODERATE. I managed to time everything well tonight, but it would be the kind of meal where the risotto could sit in the oven a little longer, the chops could grill a little longer. You just don’t want over cooked veg.
Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Simple tasty goodness. Lego Man brought chops back into my culinary life after we got engaged. Sure the first time he cooked them for me they may have caught on fire. But you can’t kill a chop with a bit of flame. It actually makes them taste better!
Mess : MODERATE. A few pots but dishes didn’t take too long after dinner.
Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. I piled Lego Man’s plate a little too much for him, but was not quite enough for my bottomless pit of a stomach.
Possum Friendly? MODERATE. She loves chops, and has already had risotto before. Will see if she likes asparagus tomorrow.

Would I make it again? Absolutely. This recipe is a keeper! I couldn’t find any farro today when I was shopping so I just used arborio rice. Next time I will try farro though (if I can find it!).

Baked Risotto with Chops and Veg

Baked Risotto with Chops and Veg