Welcome back to Friday Picks! I hope you enjoy these easy-to-make recipes! I’d love to hear from you as to what recipes you’d like to see here – more side dishes, or more desserts, or more pasta? Less meat? Super quick ones, or slow cooker recipes? I’d love to hear about the recipes you might have tried from the Picks, as well.

Enjoy your weekend!


   Lamb Tagine 

    Beef and Cashew Stir fry    

    Creamy Pesto Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes    



 Veggie Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato Mash 

     Eggplant, Ricotta and Parmesan Bake 

  Vegetarian Phad Thai  


I’m really at a loss for words today. I want to write about the dinner we had last night. It was incredibly, fantastically, unbelievably… fantastic. And. It was…vegetarian. (I know, right? And, what’s more, BBQ Man and Little Miss LOVED it). I think that at least for a whole hour after dinner, my tastebuds were still exhilarated. There was a symphony of joy that lingered in my mouth and my brain just could not compute – it kept sputtering ‘But it was vegetarian’, and my tastebuds kept answering ‘ We don’t care! It was fantastic!’

I created this dish with my lovely vego readers in mind, in particular, one who loves Tex Mex (Yes, that’s you, Melissa Erbankle). It’s a variation of that old classic, lasagne, but with an entirely Mexican slant. Diced sweet potato, red beans and corn in a tasty Tex Mex tomatoey sauce, layered with tortilla flat bread and finished with melted cheese, spicy hot salsa and smooth sour cream. Mmmmm…so good!

Oh, I almost forget to mention-this dish is REALLY easy it is to make, as well. The recipe proper is at the end of the blog. I’ve also included a meatatarian version.

First up, make the sauce: cook onions with sweet potatoes, then add mushrooms and tomatoes. Stir in beans and corn and add a pack of Fajita seasoning.

Let it simmer over slow heat while you grate the cheese. Or open your pack of grated cheese. Then, grab a baking dish and layer the sauce and tortilla. I usually make 3 layers of sauce: sauce, tortilla, sauce, tortilla, sauce, grated cheese. I have a square dish that I use for making this, and this is what I do to make the round tortilla sheets to fit a little better – halve the tortillas and place the straight edges against the sides of the dish. (I used to own a round baking dish that fitted round tortilla sheets perfectly, how I mourn its loss…)


Finish building up the layers with the grated cheese on top, then pop in under a hot grill to melt the cheese.

Sometimes when I make this Tex Mex Bake,  I serve the dish at this stage. But if you want to lift it to the realms of the fantastic, pour some tomato salsa over the top, add a generous dollop or two of sour cream, and tuck corn chips along the edges (corn chips are great for scooping up bits of sauce while you eat).


josashimi’s Tex Mex Bake

For the meatatarian version, omit the sweet potato and mushrooms and replace with 200 g mince beef and 150 g diced bacon.

This recipe serves 4-6


150 g sweet potato, diced

150 g mushroom, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 can sweet corn kernels

1 can red beans

1 sachet Fajita seasoning (you can use Burrito/Taco/Chilli seasoning if you like those better)

1 can crushed tomatoes

4 tortilla sheets, cut in halves

200 g cheese, grated

Optional toppings:

2 rounded tablespoons sour cream

1 x 300 g jar tomato salsa

Enough corn chips to line the edge of your dish


Heat oil in pan and fry onions for 5 minutes, then add sweet potato. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan, then cover and allow to steam for 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are done (they’re done when you can easily pierce it with a fork).

(For meatatarians, heat oil and fry onions for 5 minutes, then add bacon and cook until browned)

Add mushrooms (or bacon) and tomatoes, allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes, then add corn, beans and flavour sachet. Allow to simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Heat grill

Layer the sauce, tortilla, sauce, tortilla, sauce and finish with grated cheese. Place under the grill to melt cheese.

For optional toppings, pour salsa over the top of the melted cheese, dollop sour cream on top and push corn chips into the edges.

This post to dedicated to those vegetarians who faithfully read this blog, even though it’s littered with animal body parts. (Yes, that’s you, Jan.) I’ve been trying to think of a dish that I can make that is vegetarian, that will get eaten in this house. We are committed meatararians in this house. Having said that though, we do love vegetables. Honestly. We do. We just like our veggies with meat.

I’ve been experimenting with stir fries, and this one is one of our favourites – pumpkin stir fry. Even the BBQ Man relishes it. Pumpkin is a little unknown ingredient in stir fries, which is a shame because its sweet flesh marries beautifully with a savoury stir fry sauce. This particular stir fry has a tart finish, which balances the sweetness of the pumpkin. It really is deeelicious!

josashimi pumpkin stir fry

This dish is will serve 2-3 as a main dish eaten with steamed rice, or 4-5 as a side dish. When choosing your pumpkin, it’s best to find one that hasn’t got lots of bumps and ridges, so that it is easier to peel. Butternuts are ideal


400g pumpkin, peeled and diced to bite sized pieces

100g capsicum, sliced to thin long strips

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

oil for stir frying

1 cup of water

2 tbs rice wine vinegar

2 tbs Chinese rice wine

2 tbs salted soy beans

1 handful coriander

2 tbs fried shallot


Heat oil in wok or large pan

Fry garlic until slightly brown

Add pumpkin, stir through for 2-3 minutes

Add capsicum

Add abt 1/4 cup water to the wok, enough to cover the bottom. Turn up heat to high and place lid over wok for 3-4 minutes (the water will steam and cook the pumpkin a little faster than just stir frying)

Add the remaining water, rice wine, vinegar and soy beans to the wok. Stir through, lower heat and simmer until the pumpkin is tender. (The cooking time for pumpkin will vary according to variety and ripeness. I usually cook it until the edges go a little mushy.)

Serve with coriander and shallots on top