Barilla Family Favourites Red Wine & Garlic Sauce


This was a surprisingly excellent hit with the mister. We’re very particular with our after work weeknight dinners, because I’d like to think we work extra hard during the day at the office and at the gym, and therefore deserve a rewarding meal at night. This dish was also a complete pantry raid: bacon, parmesan cheese (eventhough it was the pre-grated packaged kind, it still did ithe job), sun dried tomatoes. Mixed with my most favourite pasta in the whole wide world Barilla (seriously, their pasta is outrageously delicious!) and this jar of Barilla’s Red Wine & Garlic pasta sauce in their new family favourites size.

I’m almost tempted to not call this a recipe. Bacon, garlic, onion, sun dried tomatoes, the pasta sauce, poured over a bowl of freshly cooked pasta. Easy peasy.

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Five Taste’s Pad Thai (Chicken)

Short cuts? Pre-made sauces? Pad thai sauce in a jar?

Why not?

Thank you to my dearest friend Larissa for letting me use her Five Tastes Pad Thai, Green Curry Paste and Laksa Paste, and try out the sauces. I never thought I’d be cooking Thai food, since it’s a cuisine that I love to eat (but can never cook!), so I was grateful to have discovered Five Tastes because it basically made cooking Thai food so much more accessible for me.

I tried the Pad Thai sauce, added my favourite fresh vegetables and chicken and was astounded at how close it tasted to what I believe is my own perception of Pad Thai. It was easy to make, and with the right fresh vegetables (and meat), it was an easy 15 minutes from wok to a hot plate of chicken pad thai.

Thank you to my friend Larissa & Five Tastes for the generous Five Tastes sauces.

Chicken Pad Thai with Five Tastes Pad Thai Paste

Makes approximately 3 – 4 servings

250g chicken thighs, cut into strips
100g green beans, cut into small pieces
100g bean sprouts
250g rice noodles or vermicelli noodles
Fried tofu
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 250g jar of Five Tastes Pad Thai Sauce
1/3 cup of water
2 eggs, beaten lightly
Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
Lime or lemon wedges
Crushed peanuts

  1. Place rice noodles or vermicelli in a deep bowl, and pour boiling water enough to cover all of the noodles. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok. Sear the chicken until just lightly brown (about 2 – 3 minutes).
  3. Set aside the chicken. Pour the beaten eggs, and stir once the eggs have softened.
  4. Add the tofu, a whole jar of pad thai sauce, water and fish sauce in with the chicken. Simmer for a minute or two.
  5. Add the green beans, bean sprouts and coriander. Ensure you set aside a little bit of the bean sprouts and coriander for later.
  6. Drain the rice noodles. Add to the simmering wok of chicken and vegetables and stir until the pad thai noodles have absorbed all the sauce and slightly dried.
  7. Serve on a plate, top with a handful of bean sprouts, coriander, crushed peanuts, and lime or lemon wedge. Serve warm and enjoy.

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Ikea Meatballs Revisited

Ever since ChocolateSuze blogged about the Ikea meatballs, gravy and mash that she made a few days ago, I have been eyeing that bag of frozen meatballs in my freezer for days. It was perfect timing one Saturday night when I was just feeling really lazy to come up with anything creative, so to meatballs land I went!

Easy, tasty, and a quick hearty meal. And very minimal washing!

Ikea Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, and Gravy

Makes approximately 2 servings

20 meatballs

1/2 packet of Ikea gravy

3 medium sized potatoes


1. Boil the potatoes in a saucepan.

2. Microwave the meatballs as per individual directions.

Ignore the cream - didn't even need to use it! Less calories too.

3. Make the gravy as per packet directions.

4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water, and mash the potatoes like you’ve never mashed them before! Add a couple of tablespoons of butter, salt, and pepper to taste.

5. Plate up the meatballs, drizzle some gravy, and voila! Enjoy.

NB. I do have some lingonberry jam in the cupboard but I prefer my meatballs without it.

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