Archive for July, 2014

July 25, 2014

Ground Beef Rice Vegetable Bake

Ground Beef Rice Vegetable Bake 1

So I just made some random thing tonight again. It’s a casserole. I don’t know how else to describe it. I LOVE baked pastas and rices, so the starting idea was definitely there. I’ve now budgeted about $50 a week for food, and since I went shopping already on Sunday and yesterday, I’m done for the week. I also figured $50 because then I could get 2 Fly Buy points a week. 😀

So I used what was in the fridge, really. I had some pasta bake sauce, cauliflower, mushrooms that were on sale ($8.99/kg…….), defrosting ground beef, garlic, and cheese. I’ve had the cheese for almost two weeks now, so I figured I’d either have to eat it now or it will just go bad like my landlady’s cheese. I saw a little bit of mold on it, and I don’t know what to do with it. If my EHO kicked in, I’d just throw it out, but because it’s not mine, and I know her habits are quite out there compared to mine… She might just eat it.

Anyway, the way I put it together was a real mess and I measured nothing, so I’ll try to line it all up here. I really wish I had a program to make a flow chart like I do as a health inspector.


  • 1 cup of uncooked medium grain white rice (cook as directed)
  • 4 white mushrooms, diced, uncooked
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 500g beef steak mince, pan fried thoroughly (0.482kg says the package! I dug it out of the garbage…)
  • 7-8 spoonfuls of your favourite pasta sauce
  • 300g Colby cheese (a mild white cheese. I’ve never seen this in Canada, so I don’t know where else this is available. Might just be a New Zealand thing)
  • Sprinkle of garlic salt (or table salt)
  • Sprinkle of Italian spice mix (optional)
  • Pepper

Directions: (The hardest part to write for this recipe. I had 3 pots/pans going at one time)

Heat the oven to 350F.

Put together the rice, garlic slices, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cook the rice as directed. At the same time, simmer the cauliflower florets until tender. Set aside. Stir fry the ground beef until thoroughly cooked, and season with salt, pepper and spice mix to taste. (Here, my ground beef was a bit dry, so I added some oil, and 2-3 spoonfuls of pasta sauce and mixed it.)

In an oven-safe dish, add a little bit of oil on the bottom to prevent sticking. Layer in the meat, then the rice (I didn’t use all of it because my dish was a little smaller than expected), then diced mushrooms, and cooked cauliflower.

(Here I messed up a bit. I put the cheese on before the sauce, but I fixed that.)

Layer on as much cheese as you like.

(This step can be completely skipped. I only did this part because my pasta sauce was waaaaay too thick: Now in a bowl, put the other 3-4 spoons of pasta sauce and add some water and stir. It shouldn’t be too watery that when you pour it over the dish, it’s not going to run straight through to the bottom. It should easily be spread over the dish without there being any chunks.)

Spoon the sauce over the cheese, and then add a thinner layer of cheese on top of the sauce.

Put the whole dish in to the oven for about 30 minutes (I think….??), or until the cheese has turned a golden brown.

This is a step I NEVER do: allow to rest for 10 minutes before eating. I just eat it straight out of the oven after I’ve taken pictures! It is pretty hot though, and quite delicious.

Ground Beef Rice Vegetable Bake 2

July 18, 2014

Soy Sauce Chicken


Being away from home and Mom means having to prepare Chinese food on my own. Not that I can’t cook, I just haven’t made actual specialty Chinese dishes. So I tried it today because I had a craving, and because I had chicken labeled “Use by or freeze within 24 hours.”

It came out amazing!! Of course, I had some help from my Chinese flatmate. She gave me some ginger I didn’t have.

– 6 chicken wings (the whole wing, the 3-piece bit)
– 2 chicken legs (because I was going to stir fry it but decided just to throw it all in)
– 1 cup light soy sauce
– 3 cups water (or less or more to cover the chicken)
– 2 chunks of ginger (just cut off a piece)
– 5 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced
– 2 tablespoons white sugar

Put chicken, soy sauce and water in a pot and bring to boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and add the ginger, garlic, and sugar.

Let simmer for 45 minutes (or more). I have to admit, I let this cook over dinner. It was a almost an hour.

The chicken should fall off the bone. I think I could have had dinner #2 consisting of only soy sauce chicken. So happy tonight…

July 16, 2014



Tzatziki is one of those wonderful foods that can go with anything. I’m a bit lactose intolerant, but I really couldn’t care less, because the gassy stomach is just not bad enough to pass it up. At this moment, I am eating it with a piece of bread because pita here in Wanaka (as with everything else in Wanaka) is far too expensive. And tzatziki is so easy to make!

So I might have the recipe down now, since I’ve been play with it for a bit (30 minutes yesterday trying to balance the yogurt and dill). I found a recipe but ended up discarding it altogether and trying to remake what a friend and I had done at her house a few weeks before I left for New Zealand. It’s pretty simple. I eyeballed most of it, so here’s what I got:

Serves: 1-2
Prep time: 15 minutes

– 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
– half a telegraph cucumber, shredded and with the water squeezed out of it
– 1 tsp dried dill tips (you can use fresh dill, and/or not the tips. Dried dill tips is all I could find here when I needed it)
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– a few drops of lemon juice

Mix it all together.