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Posts Tagged ‘onion’

I am a big fan of the MoneySavingExpert site (although I’m a silent lurker), and I could honestly spend HOURS on their Complete Cooking Collection .  Ok, I admit it. I already have spent hours on the cooking collection, plenty of them.

There’s a forum thread where people post recipes that cost no more than 50p for two people*.  You’d think that would be quite difficult, but nay, there are 16 pages worth of suggestions!  That’s where I found the recipe for this potato, bacon and onion bake.  You can find the original recipe here, but I have scaled up my recipe to feed 3 greedy potato fiends:

Ingredients:

4 baking potatoes, sliced thinly

8 rashers bacon, unsmoked (I cut the fat off cos I hate the texture *boak*)

2 onions, slices thinly

200ml milk, I used semi-skimmed

As you can see, I went to town with my Mandolin slicer; it’s BETTER than sliced bread, I tell ye.

I layered them in the following order: Potatoes (season with salt & pepper), onions, bacon.

I done that twice, then finished with a layer of totties:

I poured over the milk, seasoned, then baked this at 170 degrees for about an hour and 15 mins.  I would recommend the slower baking, as it really intensifies the flavour!  I covered it with foil about half way through as it was getting burnt on top (next time I’ll cover it with foil from the start, then remove for the last 15 mins or so):

So, do I serve the delicate purple sprouting broccoli?  The medley of Julienne vegetables?

Of course not.  This type of dish deserves baked beans, and plenty of them.

This is cheap, cheerful, extremely easy and utterly tasty.  There’s a time and a place for fancy food.  This is comfort food at it’s best.

You could substitute the milk for cream if you want to increase the richness, or top it with cheese to make it more indulgent.  It doesn’t need it though.  The salty bacon seeps through and flavours everything beautifully and the potatoes are deliciously moreish with a light crispiness.  I salivate in remembrance. 

Next time, I’m making enough leftovers for lunch the next day.  I’d never tire of this.

Try it :) x

*The thread was started in 2006, so 50p probably wouldn’t apply these days with the inflation.  But still great value for money!

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Amongst the plethora of blogs nestled within my Google Reader RSS feed, there are plenty of vegetarian blogs.  Even blogs written by fellow carnivores seem to have Vegetarian themes, such as the lovely Wendy’s Meat Free Monday’s.  Apart from my soups, it dawned on me that I really struggle to prohibit meat from my meals. 

So when I found myself with some courgettes, spring onions & sweet potatoes that needed using up, I realised I had an opportunity to make… gulp… a vegetarian main meal.  I have absolutely no desire to become vegetarian, but it would be nice to know I don’t need to rely on meat to complete my meals.

Sadly, I’m still waiting for that lightbulb moment, as I sit here craving a quarter pounder cheeseburger meal from McDonalds. 

All is not lost, however.  The dish is lovely, but I’ll be keeping it as a side dish from now on!

I took inspiration from this recipe for potato & courgette casserole.  I would call my dish more of a gratin than a casserole though.  When I hear the word casserole, I automatically envision sausages or chunks of pork, with meaty gravy’s and such.  Lllarrrrrrrrrr.

Anyway, here’s what I did:

 

Ingredients

4 x sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices

2 x courgettes, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices

1 x onion diced

5 x spring onions, chopped finely

1 x sachet cheese sauce (I used this one)

300ml x milk (I used whole)

1 x tsb dried parsley

50g x grated parmesan cheese

50ml x cream (optional, I only used it as I had some leftover)

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees.

I made the cheese sauce by mixing my sachet with the milk; I brought it to a boil then simmered for two mins, stirring continuously. 

Meanwhile, I also lightly fried my onion and spring onions, adding my parsley.

 

I layered my sweet potatoes till it covered the bottom of the dish.  I then added my courgettes and a layer of cheese sauce.

 

I topped with my onion mix.

Next I added more courgettes, the rest of my sweet potato, then the remaining cheese sauce & cream.

I topped the whole thing with 50g grated parmesan cheese, covered with foil then popped in the oven for 1 hour.

I removed the foil and let it bake for a further 15 mins, letting the top turn golden and bubbly mmmm.

I could tell mum wasn’t particularly impressed with this as a main dish.  “It’s nice, but it’s missing something”, she said.  I knew exactly what she meant… the dish is just crying out for an accompanying juicy pork chop/chicken breast.

I would definitely make this again, if I ever find myself with these leftover ingredients.  I’ll also be happy to experiment making gratins with whatever else I have to hand.

:D

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When I made the grande announcement that I was going to make couscous, I was met with confused stares, followed by… “what is couscous?”

I thought I was the only one ignorant to the ways of couscous, so the blank looks were fairly comforting.  Trying to answer their question, however, was a different matter.  So I did what I always do.  I Googled it.

According to Wikipedia: “Couscous is a grain dish of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour.”

I simplified this explanation by saying “it’s a semolina thingy that you can use as an alternative to pasta or potatoes (got the last bit from the packet :P).  Just wait and taste it”.

It all started with a trip to Tesco to pick up some red lentils last week.  I saw the couscous next to it for 67p for 500g!!!  Most individual portions of 100g are the same price, if not more expensive!  So I figured I’d compete with the likes of Ainsley Harriott and do my own version :)

I’ve tasted couscous only once before, and that was ages ago.  So I was relying on my twinny to tell me if I’d made it correctly.  Heres what I did:

I chopped up:

250g closed cup mushrooms

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 onion

And I measured out 200g couscous (serves 4)

I put 1 veg stock cube into 250ml boiled water and kept aside till needed.

I fried the onion and mushrooms for around 5 mins, added the peppers, then fried for another 5 mins.

I then added the couscous, followed by the stock.  I added some crushed black pepper and a few tsps of sweet paprika at this point too.  I gave it a good stir then removed the pan from the heat.  The packet says to leave for 5 minutes, but I’d left it for half an hour (till my sis got here), then reheated it quickly.  I added about 50ml of water at this point, so it wasn’t too dry. 

I’d originally planned to add a smoked sausage to this and have it as a main dish.  But mum had made a “salad”, so I just put small amounts on our plates and there was plenty leftover for lunch the next day (the packet says you can’t freeze it though, only refrigerate then heat up in the microwave for a couple of minutes).

I used inverted commas to describe the salad, as I’ve yet to meet anyone else who puts waffles and piles of grated cheese on theirs.  But it was damn tasty, and the addition of the couscous made it very filling indeed!

Eat your heart out Ainsley (what a weird phrase).

What do you like to have couscous with?  I need more ideas, now that I have 300g lurking in my cupboard…

:D

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Lately I’ve been indulging in what can only be described as a heart attack on a plate: chicken, stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon.  It’s utterly delicious and deserves to be enjoyed on occasion.  However, my love affair with mushrooms is getting more intense by the day.  I think my brain is being tricked into thinking mushrooms are meat; I have an almost carnivorous desire for them!

I looked for a mushroom stuffed chicken recipe on allrecipes.com and ended up taking hints and tips from the many “tweakers” comments on the recipes.  This is my take on it all (and it was scrumptious):  Chicken stuffed with mushroom, onion & garlic, coated in a breadcrumb and parmesan cheese crust.  Served with some mashed neeps and broccoli & cauliflower.

Ingredients (Served 2 although there’s probably enough mixture for 3 here)

2 chicken breasts

500g closed cup mushrooms, chopped finely

1 onion, chopped finely

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 egg, beaten

100g breadcrumbs (I used these)

 50g grated parmesan

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

Fry the mushrooms, onion and garlic in some oil, for 5-10 mins.  Set aside.

Slit a pocket in each of the chicken breasts, trying to have the same thickness at the top and bottom.

Fill the chicken with the mushroom stuffing; you can pinch them shut with cocktail sticks if you like.  I tried this and it didn’t work AT ALL.

Mix the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan together in a bowl.

Brush the chicken all over with the beaten egg, then plonk it into the breadcrumb mix and coat thoroughly.

Place on an oven tray (I lined mines with tin foil).

Bake for 40-45 mins, or until the juices run clear when a knife is pushed through the thickest part.

Serve with a side of your choice; I recommend the mashed neeps and broccoli & cauliflower, twas lovely!

Enjoy :)

 

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Today was a loooong day at work.  Infact, my eyes are half closing with sleepiness; which I’ll succumb to once I’ve shared my comforting midweek meal with you. 

Everyone has their food vices; for some it’s chocolate, for others, it’s cheese… the possibilities are endless.  For me, it’s potatoes.  I LOVE potatoes and get stupidly excited about trying out different methods (I was unnaturally overjoyed with my dauphinoise on Saturday night).  However, when it’s been a dull day and I want something quick, easy and soothing, nothing beats plain, buttery mash.  Mmmmmm.

In keeping with my comforting theme, I wanted something rich and creamy to accompany it.  Something quick, easy and uncomplicated; containing ingredients that I had to hand.  I opted for chicken breast with a cheese, onion and mushroom sauce to marry my mash.  This would also be sublime with sauteed leeks or spring onion.

This fed me and my mum :)

I rubbed a little olive oil and seasoned my chicken breasts, popping them into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes (check that it’s cooked through, by making sure the juices run clear when inserting a knife into the fleshiest part – or you could be clever and use a meat thermometer!)

2 chicken breasts

1 medium onion

button mushrooms

80g mild cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp mustard powder

3 tbsp butter

4 tbsp flour

300ml milk

In a separate pan, cook the onion and mushrooms for about 10 minutes.

Melt butter in a pan, then stir in flour, mustard powder, then milk.  Keep stirring , let it come to the boil, then simmer until it has a thick consistency.  Add cheese and stir until it all melts together into a wonderful gooey sauciness.  Pour in the mushrooms and onions and spread over your chicken breast.

Serve with some buttery, fluffy mash.  I also had a side of marrowfat peas.

 

It’s almost worth having a crap day for.  Enjoy!

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