I've been desperately trying not to cook the same old things for dinner every night since the new baby was born almost three months ago - I even bore myself when home-made pizzas roll around for the second time in a week. It's easy to fall back on old ideas even when you're not a little bit sleep deprived and trying to please a highly critical three-year-old. On this basis, I've been trying to slip in something different at least every couple of weeks when I can muster the enthusiasm.
That said, a couple of the new recipes that I've tried recently have been pretty expensive just because of one or two ingredients (salmon, lamb cutlets) so I decided to check out the Women's Weekly "$ Smart Cook" during a recent trip to the library even though it looks pretty lame and mumsy. The good thing about Women's Weekly books is that all the recipes are triple tested and they almost never use ingredients that are hard to find. The bad thing about Women's Weekly books is that they are pretty repetitive (this one has two recipes for fish pies and chilli con carne and three for rissoles) and include some things that you've been served up at school camps and may subsequently choose never to eat again (tuna mornay, sausage casserole).
I haven't actually made any of the recipes from the book but it did at least give me some inspiration. They had a felafel recipe which I thought wouldn't fly with the toddler but it inspired me to invent some new hidden vegie meatballs that turned out to be awesome and were very well received when marketed as "mini burgers". I'd serve them with tzatziki but it seems toddlers may prefer them with tomato sauce (ew).
Lamb and felafel kofte (meatballs)
500gms minced lamb
1 packet felafel mix*
Olive or vegetable oil to shallow fry
Tzatziki and cous cous to serve
Make felafel mixture according to packet instructions (the packet I bought just needed water added and to stand/soak for 15 minutes). Mix lamb mince into prepared felafel mixture and shape into small balls around the size of a golfball - it should make about 16.
Heat the oil over a medium-high heat and fry meatballs until golden brown on the outside and cooked through.
Serve with cous cous (add some sultanas, dried apricot and pinenuts if desired), tzatziki and greens.
*Felafel mix can be found in the health food aisle of supermarkets but is often very difficult to find! It's made up of ground yellow split peas, garlic and herbs.