Cookbook 85: Family Favourites

My husband bought the Family Circle Healthy Eating, Family Favourites cookbook while shopping once, and I wasn’t hugely inspired by it, so never cooked from it.  I rectified that recently, and remain uninspired.  The main dishes I made weren’t bad, but the dessert was a disaster.  I don’t think I’ll be keeping this beyond this project, as the recipes it has are all done better elsewhere.  I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

No photos at time of publication as the camera with the photos on it, is currently in Germany with my husband.  I’ll upload the photos later

Spicy Bean Casserole with Cornmeal Topping


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 500g pumpkin, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 3 zucchini, cut into large pieces
  • 425g can tomatoes, crushed
  • 440g can corn kernels, drained
  • 440g red kidney beans, drained


  • 1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal – polenta
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives


  1. Pre-heat oven to moderate 180C.
  2. Place oil in a large pan.  Add garlic, onions, chilli and cook over low heat until onions are soft.  Add pumpkin, zucchini, undrained tomatoes, corn and kidney beans.  Stir to combine.  Transfer mixture to ovenproof dish. Cover and bake 45 minutes.
  3. To make dumplings: Sift flour into a medium mixing bowl, add cornmeal and chives; mix.  Make a well in the centre; add milk and mix with knife to a soft dough.
  4. Remove bean mixture from oven and top with spoonfuls of dumpling mixture. Return to oven uncovered.  Bake another 15 – 20 minutes or until topping cooked and golden brown.

Note: If you prefer a soft dumpling, simply cover the dish after adding the dumplings and cook for the same length of time.

Notes on this recipe:

  • If you leave the lid off the casserole the dumplings get very dry.
  • Ignore the second ingredient item of “onions” which aren’t defined in the recipe at all.  We added one onion, but this is a major typo that should have been picked up by the editor.
  • I didn’t end up tasting this dish, as I had a massive serving of the following recipe to make it photogenic.  Everyone who tasted it agreed that the dumplings were dry, but the dish was tasty.

Spaghetti and Meatballs


  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste, no added salt
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 500g lean minced veal
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped basil leaves
  • 500g spaghetti


  1. To make sauce: Place garlic, onion and carrot in a non-stick medium pan.  Cook over low heat until onion is soft.  Add tomatoes, paste, wine and stock; bring slowly to the boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Puree mixture in blender or food processor.  Return to pan.
  2. To make meatballs: Place veal, cornflour, egg white and basil in medium mixing bowl.  Mix well, using wetted hand.  Roll mixture into walnut sized balls.  Place balls into simmering sauce; cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. To cook pasta: place spaghetti in large pan of boiling water and cook until just tender.  Drain.
  4. Place pasta on serving plate; top with meatballs and sauce and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Meatballs were good, though this is really WAY too much pasta.  The whole cooking the dish without any fat or oil at all worked quite well.
  • You don’t have to peel the tomatoes if you don’t want to – it’s irritating, but given you’re going to puree the entire thing anyway, not actually necessary.
  • I have better spaghetti and meatball recipes though, so I’m not going to suddenly start using this one.

Lemon Meringue Pie

This recipe was such a disaster that I’m not going to share it with you.  Instead I’m going to point you towards this recipe which is far superior.  Pretty much any recipe you find online, or in almost any other cookbook is going to be better than this recipe.  I also made one here using an AWW recipe.