Veggie Quesadillas

Veggie Quesadillas

What’s great about it?

These quesadillas make the perfect leftover lunch for your kiddies and are great eaten cold! With six different kinds of veg and each serving providing 1 and a half serves of veg, you can rest easy knowing the kids are getting the nutrition they need to help them succeed throughout the school day.









Serves: 4 (makes 8)               Prep Time: 15 minutes               Cook Time: 25 minutes

Fruit & Veggies: 1.5 serves per portion


8 multigrain tortillas

1/3 cup tomato salsa

11/3 cups tasty cheese, reduced fat, grated

400g can red kidney beans, reduced salt, drained

1 cup carrot, grated

1 cup baby spinach leaves

Olive oil cooking spray

1 avocado, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice



1 medium tomato, diced

½ medium red onion, diced

1 medium red capsicum, sliced

½ avocado, diced

1 lime, juiced



LAY 4 tortillas on a clean surface. Spread with tomato salsa and sprinkle with half the cheese.

TOP each tortilla evenly with kidney beans, grated carrot and spinach leaves. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Cover with the remaining 4 tortillas.

HEAT a large non-stick frying pan or an open sandwich toaster grill and grease with cooking spray. Add one filled tortilla, cook over a medium heat for about 3 minutes or until golden underneath. Using an egg slide, carefully turn and cook other side until golden. Remove from pan or toaster grill.

REPEAT the above step with remaining filled tortillas to make 4 quesadillas. Cool then cut each into 4 wedges.

MASH avocado with lemon juice in a small bowl. Serve with quesadillas if desired.


Recipe Courtesy of Healthy Kids NSW

Time as a social and environmental determinant of health for rural women

Time as a social and environmental determinant of health for rural women

We are excited to have another paper published on the QCWA Country Kitchens program. This paper presents research that was led by the team at Central Queensland University or CQUniversity during March – June 2018.

The team travelled with the Country Kitchens Health Promoters (Nutritionists/Dietitians) to communities in the Maranoa and North Western Divisions of the QCWA. The participants and Branch Facilitators they met participated in the research project whilst also attending our Hands on Nutrition Workshops.

You can read more in the Journal of Health Education & Behaviour.

Authors: Wendy Madsen BA, MSc, GCFL, PhD, MPH (1)  Jenni Judd DHSc, MPH, MEd, DipHPE (1) Sue Williams PhD, GDHN, GCSN, BHSc (1)

Fiona McKenzie BSc (Biol/Health), GCHSM, GCHP, Cert IV WAT (2), Jay Deagon PhD, MEd, BEd (Secondary) (1)

Kate Ames BBus (Comn), GCTertiaryEd, MLitt(CultStud), PhD, Cert IV TAE (1)

(1) CQUniversity, (2) Queensland Country Women’s Association

Acknowledgements: The authors wish to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the QCWA Country Kitchen’s Nutritionists – Chloe Dyce, Alice Cameron and Connie Conyard – for engaging with the communities and helping facilitate this research.

Funding: CQUniversity Merit Grant.

Conflict of interest: The authors confirm there is no conflict of interest.


Background: Time insufficiency is frequently cited as a reason for poor dietary habits. This does not adequately explain the variations in how time is perceived as a factor in healthy eating.
Aims: This study placed the eating behaviours of rural Australian women within the contexts of their stories to understand the factors that influenced healthy eating and how rural communities could enhance their health and well-being.
Methods: A three-phase sequential multi-mode narrative inquiry was used within four communities in rural Queensland, Australia. Each phase used a different mode of data collection: photo elicitation focus groups; narrative interviews; participatory workshops. Data were thematically analysed iteratively to inform subsequent phases.
Results: Nine final themes were identified. This paper explored the theme of time and two contrasting perceptions of time sufficiency regarding healthy eating within a rural context during a drought.
Discussion: Exploration of “time as a commodity” and “time as a duty” allowed a deeper understanding of time as a social and environmental determinant of health.
Conclusion: Time’s influence on healthy eating is much more than the minutes it takes to prepare a meal. To fully appreciate its impact, time should be considered as a social and environmental determinant of health.

Honey Soy Noodle Salad

Honey Soy Noodle Salad

What’s great about it?

This is a great option for school lunches, packed full of vegetables. You can substitute almost any vegetable you have into the recipe. If sesame is on your school exclusion list, omit the seeds and use olive oil instead.









Serves: 4          Prep Time: 20 minutes          Cook Time: 1 minute

Fruit and Veggies 1 1/2 serve per portion


100g noodles, Singapore or Hokkien

1 carrot, grated

½ shallot, sliced

½ cucumber, sliced

¼ red cabbage, shredded

1 teaspoon sesame seeds


1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce, salt reduced

½ teaspoon sesame oil


PLACE noodles in large bowl, cover with boiling water for 1 minute, drain and refresh in cold water, set aside.

ADD carrot, shallot, cucumber and cabbage to noodles. Gently toss to combine.

COMBINE all dressing ingredients in screw top jar, shake well.

POUR dressing over noodle mix and sprinkle sesame seeds on top


Recipe courtesy of Tallebudgera State School, Queensland

Valerie Stevenson, Quilpie Branch

Meet our Fabulous Facilitator from Warrego Division of the QCWA

[caption id="attachment_7276" align="alignleft" width="300"] Fabulous Facilitator Val Stevenson (left)[/caption]

Mrs. Valerie Stevenson, QCWA Quilpie Branch

My name is Valerie Stevenson. I am a member of Quilpie Branch in the Warrego Division. I have been a Branch Facilitator for just over 12 months now. My other hat within QCWA is Branch Secretary. When I am not wearing my Fabulous Facilitator hat, I occasionally like to write poems when I’m in the mood.

I really like the idea of trying to encourage people of all ages to enjoy eating healthy food. I believe that fast foods play too big of a role in our world today and we need to reduce this. The five key messages are a great idea, especially for our young people. I would like to see people of all ages eating and enjoying more vegetables, we have such a wonderful selection these days, fresh or frozen.

I am a background person. Michelle Donohue and I work well together as she is excellent with front of house. My likes are cooking and knitting. Together with Michelle, I have facilitated several Country Kitchens Showcases at our Cent Auctions, Soap Making Day, Biggest Morning Tea and our Pop-up Market which went for 18 days. We have connected one on one with hundreds of people of all ages. We have had many discussions about our cookbooks and quite a few sales! Our branch members have been very supportive and have lots of fun with sit less, move more! We have taste testers for recipes promotions at meetings and all events.

[caption id="attachment_7274" align="alignleft" width="300"] Country Kitchen’s Facilitators Michelle Donohue (front) and Val Stevenson (back) setting up their pop-up shop.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7275" align="alignright" width="300"] Country Kitchens Showcase by Quilpie Branch[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7277" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Pop-up shop featuring Country Kitchens[/caption]

Feta and Oregano Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Feta and Oregano Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Whats great about it

Just in time for all your festive platters this Silly Season! These Feta and Oregano stuffed tomatoes will add a bit of colour and veg to your plate. You can mix things up and experiment with your favourite herbs and spices.

Serves 8        Prep Time 15 minutes        Cook time 10 minutes

Fruit & Veggies: 1 serve per portion


24 round cherry tomatoes

100 g Danish feta, crumbled

2 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Micro herbs to garnish



PREHEAT oven to 200oC. Line oven tray with baking paper.

PLACE tomatoes, stem side down on chopping board. Cut a small cross into each tomato about 1/3 of the way through, using a small sharp knife. Arrange on prepared tray.

COMBINE feta, oregano, black pepper and zest in small bowl. Spoon into small zip-lock bag and cut corner. Pipe into the cross of each tomato, to fill.

DRIZZLE with oil and ground black pepper.

BAKE in oven for 10 minutes or until tomatoes begin to blister and feta is light golden.

SERVE garnished with micro herbs and extra olive oil.


Recipe courtesy of Country Kitchens Team

Janelle Reeves, Kingaroy Branch

Meet our Fabulous Facilitator from Gympie & South Burnett Division of the QCWA.

[caption id="attachment_7192" align="alignleft" width="300"] Janelle Reeves (first on left) with other branch members at CK lunch catering[/caption]

Mrs Janelle Reeves, QCWA Kingaroy Branch

I first heard about Country Kitchens in a branch meeting. I have always been interested in cooking and leaning about new flavours and techniques. Since having children, the nutrition aspect of food has become more important also. I have been a branch treasurer for 4 years also. I’d like to see our branch engage with the community more. There are many in our area that would benefit from the message the Country Kitchens program is promoting. My strengths are that I like to help people, I like to cook. I was a mathematics teacher at high school before dedicating time to my children. I hope to go back to it one day. I enjoy teaching people new things, so the Country Kitchens program came at the right time for me to be involved. I like working with branches in our division and have met some wonderful people that would not normally cross my path.

In 2016, our branch was involved in a pilot version of the current CK program. We have continued our involvement since then with activities such as a walking group, our 5 key messages presented to a Mums ‘n’ Bubs group, partnering with local organisations to demo/cater for events such as Women in Ag days, we have promoted CK at local cattle sales too. This year we have helped children at the local school of distance Ed improve their cooking skills so they can help cook more at home with more fruit and veg and leaned about the amount of sugar in their drinks. We now have 2 more members keen to help with Country Kitchens. We also demonstrated some of the healthy lunchbox recipes to 100 employees at a local organisation as part of their professional development.

I like combining cooking and gardening – growing the food we eat. I’m interested in making our food choices sustainable and teaching my children the importance of learning where their food comes from and understanding what ‘real’ food is and how it makes our bodies feel better and function properly when we eat it. As farmers, they see some of the processes it takes to grow crops. Much of my time is taken up with farming and the children, though I do enjoy reading with a good coffee or hanging out by the pool with my family.

[caption id="attachment_7187" align="alignleft" width="300"] Back to Basics cooking workshops[/caption]










[caption id="attachment_7189" align="alignleft" width="300"] Back to Basics workshops with School of Distance Education Kingaroy[/caption]











[caption id="attachment_7190" align="alignleft" width="300"] Healthy cooking class at Kingaroy Branch with home-schooled children.[/caption]

Paula Hetherington, St George Branch

Meet our Fabulous Facilitator from the Western Division of the QCWA.

[caption id="attachment_7125" align="alignleft" width="300"] Paula (4th from the right) at Focus on Food & Fibre Conference.[/caption]

Mrs Paula Hetherington, St George Branch, QCWA

I’ve been a CK facilitator for probably 3 years. I signed up to become a facilitator after our branch completed their series of Hands on Nutrition Workshops. They sort of brought our branch to life again and we have grown stronger and bigger these last few years. I am also currently the President of St George branch. When it comes to food I would like to make people aware of how important it is to follow the 5 key messages from Country Kitchens. They are simple but can be hard to follow at times when life is so busy and we have gotten in to bad habits.

My strength I think, is that I can delegate and like to delegate and share the workload. I also enjoy working together with the other branches in our division and feel that we are all stronger when we work together. I cook but it is not my favourite thing, but I do like to try new recipes. I love being in the garden and I enjoy learning new things, I’m learning French at the moment!

We have been getting much support from our local paper Balonne Beacon and have featured a few times with pictures which has been great for us. The last one was when we did the catering for a Food and Fibre Conference in St George. This time we worked together with Thallon, Dirranbandi and Bollon QCWA branches. We do work well together. We have stalls at the show, International Women’s Day, Christmas markets and others. Each time we have Country Kitchens recipes to give away and we talk to people about QCWA and what Country Kitchens is about.

I am also a member of the Toastmasters Club here in St George and would encourage anyone to join if you’ve got one in your town. I also try to play golf. But I do love my time at home when I can be out in the garden.

[caption id="attachment_7124" align="alignleft" width="300"] Paula (right) Showcasing Country Kitchens at International Women’s luncheon.[/caption]











[caption id="attachment_7123" align="alignleft" width="300"] Hands on Nutrition Workshops done in partnership between St George branch and Bond University Nutrition Students with local children.[/caption]

Beef Teriyaki Balls

Beef Teriyaki Balls

Whats great about it

Celebrating the QCWA’s 2020 Country of Study Japan, this recipe will be a hit with the kids. You can substitute any leftover veges you have in the fridge such as capsicum, beans or zucchini, just make sure they are diced finely. Perfect served with brown rice and a side of salad, why not try our Oriental Coleslaw!

Serves 4 (makes 12 balls)         Prep Time 10 minutes        Cook time 10 minutes

Fruit & Veggies: 1/2 serve per portion


250g lean beef or lamb mince

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1/2 carrot, finely chopped

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon soy sauce, salt reduced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1/2 egg

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon potato or corn flour

Cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon peanut oil


Teriyaki Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce, salt reduced.

2 tablespoon sake

2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon mirin

2 tablespoon water



COMBINE all ingredients except the peanut oil in large bowl.

GRAB a small chunk of mixture in one hand, squeeze the meat out and scoop with a spoon in other hand. Repeat for all of mixture.

HEAT oil in pan over medium heat and add balls, fry until golden brown, remove and set aside. Repeat for all balls.

PREPARE teriyaki sauce. Combine all ingredients in small saucepan, heat until it becomes a slightly thick consistency.

PLACE meatballs in bowl and coat with teriyaki sauce.

SERVE with side salad, try our Oriental Coleslaw.


Recipe courtesy of Chopstick Chronicles

National Nutrition Week: Try for 5!

This year National Nutrition week is all about how to try for your five serves of veg each day by embracing your food “waste”! Trying to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in landfill is good for our health and the health of our environment. Did you know that food waste costs the Australian economy $20 billion each year? It can cost the average household up to $3800 per year, and if that is not enough to shock you, we waste enough edible food to fill 17,000 747 jumbo jets. Here are some tips to try for five serves of veg a day while helping your wallet and the environment:

  • Eat more parts of your vegetables; such as skins, stalks and leaves. You would be surprised with how tasty some of the more overlooked parts of fruits and vegetables can be. Cauliflower leaves are a great side dish and pumpkin seeds roasted in the oven make the perfect snack. Other parts of your vegetables can be stored in a container in the freezer and used as a base for your own vegetable stock.
  • Use up your ageing vegetables that would otherwise go in the bin. We love getting experimental with our leftovers. So many leftovers can be repurposed into something different but are just as tasty for a quick weeknight dinner or meal. Casseroles, soups, dips and stews are great dishes for using up ageing veg.
  • Choose “ugly” and “imperfect” vegetables to prevent them going to landfill. 25% of farmers crops do not leave the gate simply because they are deemed “ugly”! These imperfect vegetables are just as nutritious, and often cheaper. By selecting “imperfect veg” you are keeping money in your pocket, trying for your five serves and reducing food waste.
  • Extend the life of vegetables by freezing. If your vegetables are starting to deteriorate cook them prior to freezing to retain flavour and nutrients. This will also halt any degradation and the heat will destroy any bad bacteria prior to freezing.

For more Country kitchens Tips on how to “Waste not, Want not”, look to page 26 in our Healthy Cooking Guidelines and check out our recipes at To learn more about this year’s nutrition week topic and for some eat more, waste less recipes head to We especially like their Summer Table recipe for Roast Veg and Quinoa Salad… see below!

Roast veg and quinoa salad


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
50g sugar snap peas or snow peas
400g roasted pumpkin (or other roast vegetables)
4 handfuls rocket
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 handful mint leaves, chopped
1 handful flaked almonds, toasted
50g feta, crumbled

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
6 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon of honey


  1. Heat saucepan and add quinoa to toast for a few minutes until it starts to crackle. Remove, rinse and then place back in the saucepan.
  2. Add stock and bring to the boil. Place a lid on the saucepan, reduce heat to medium–low and simmer for 15 minutes. Don’t lift the lid. When time is up, remove from the heat and stand for a further 5 minutes (without lifting the lid). Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Steam peas for 1 minute until they are bright green but still crisp. Drain, fill pot with cold water and drain again to stop them from cooking.
  4. To make dressing, shake ingredients in a jar until combined. Taste and adjust to your liking.
  5. Toss cooked quinoa, peas, pumpkin, rocket, onion and mint leaves together in a large bowl.
  6. Pour dressing over salad and combine. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and feta. Serve cold or warm.

Tip: Quinoa should be rinsed before cooking as the seeds are coated with saponins which, if not rinsed, gives the quinoa a bitter taste. When cooked perfectly, the quinoa will be slightly translucent, with a visible ‘tail’, which is part of the hull.

Variation: Quinoa comes in a range of colours, so experiment a little. White quinoa is softer, while red and black quinoa are slightly crunchy and don’t stick together as much.

Recipe courtesy of Summer Table by Jodie Blight



Nutrition Australia. 2018. Try for 5. Available from

National Food Waste Strategy: Halving Australia’s food waste by 2030, Commonwealth of Australia 2017. Available from

Susann Ranson, Charleville Branch

Meet our Fabulous Facilitator from the Warrego Division of the QCWA.

[caption id="attachment_7051" align="alignleft" width="300"] Susann Ranson (second from the right).[/caption]










Mrs Susann Ranson, Charleville Branch, QCWA

I became interested in the program at the first workshop I attended. My strengths are communication and action. I do not ask members to do anything I would not do myself. I am ‘front of house’ as well and collaborate with other community groups for an opportunity to assist / showcase Country Kitchens during their activities. I do take photographs at most CWA activities and provide video’s and power point presentations for members and Facebook. I enjoy cooking, new recipes and eating with friends and family.

I have provided hands on Country Kitchens experiences at the Charleville Healthy Ageing Centre, Thargomindah School of Distance Education Sports week, Charleville School of Distance Education Sports Week, Quilpie CWA workshop and Foodie Talk and Cooking demonstrations at the Charleville Show (2017 – 2018 and 2019).  Photographs are of these activities are available on School of Distance Education website and Facebook pages. Branch members are aware of the role I have taken in Country Kitchens and frequently thank me for my commitment.

I am also the current Warrego Division International Officer and Photography Convenor. I have also been responsible for organising any catering and street food opportunities. I enjoy reading and gardening. I have recently completed art works to include in the Mental Health Weeks Exhibition and Fractured Frames Exhibition in October at our local art gallery, Mulgar Lands Gallery.

[caption id="attachment_7054" align="alignleft" width="300"] Mini Pizzas being prepped for a Back to Basics workshop with the School of Distance Education in Thargomindah.[/caption]











[caption id="attachment_7049" align="alignleft" width="300"] Susann Ranson running a Back to Basics workshop with the School of Distance Education in Thargomindah.[/caption]











[caption id="attachment_7052" align="alignleft" width="300"] Our healthy rice paper rolls prepared for Tambo Stock Show Country Kitchens Showcase.[/caption]











[caption id="attachment_7050" align="alignleft" width="300"] Cooking workshops with Charleville School of Distance Education.[/caption]



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