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Posts Tagged ‘freezer friendly’

Helllooooo ūüėÄ

Hope you are all good!¬† How bloody quick are these weeks flying in?¬† I wish time would slow down a bit.¬† Anyone found the formula for squeezing extra hours into the day yet?¬† I’m honestly grudging the hours I spend sleeping, feeling¬†I could be doing something more productive!¬†

“Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror.¬† It’s passing, yet I’m the one who’s doing all the moving.”¬† Martin Amis, Money

(Note – I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s on my To Be Read list after a quote like that!)

But that’s enough about me…

Last week, I spoke about the Honey Mustard Chicken recipe I made.¬† Here it is, in all it’s splendour.¬† It’s an excellent midweek¬†meal, and one I have made twice already (in the space of about a month).¬† I got it from the BBC Good Food Website (see the original recipe here).

The thing I like most about this recipe (apart from the taste), is that I can bung everything into one dish and get on with other things.  The first time I tried it, I used parsnips, as per the recipe, and cooked it on the hob, in my big soup pot.  This time, however, I used carrots (there were no parsnips), and made it as a casserole. 

I only had 2 chicken breasts on this occasion (which was fine, as I was only cooking for two), but kept all the other ingredient measures the same.  I now have a lovely tub of honey mustard carrots in the freezer, which I will serve with the Steak & Ale Pie I intend to make tomorrow (and will post about next week!)

Heres is what I did:

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

3 carrots, cut into even sized sticks

2 onions, diced

300ml vegetable stock (I used a veg Oxo cube)

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

2 tbsp clear honey

1 tsp dried rosemary 

First, I preheated the oven to 180 degrees.

In my casserole dish, I placed the carrots, onions and chicken.  I seasoned well with salt and pepper, and sprinkled over my rosemary.

In a jug, I mixed together the stock, mustard and honey.  The picture goes for your eyes, doesn’t it?

I poured the liquid into my casserole dish and gave everything a good stir.¬† It‚Äôs now ready for the oven; I let it bubble away for 1 ¬Ĺ hours ūüôā

I served this with some potato & swede mash and a helping of marrowfat peas.  Delish.

This is a good, hearty, cheap meal.¬† I’m sure you could serve it with something fancy (like my Boulang√®re Potatoes, perhaps? ūüėČ Or what about couscous?) if you are out to impress.

Oh‚Ķ remember when I said ‚Äúthat‚Äôs enough about me‚ÄĚ?¬† I lied.¬† I just want to thank everyone who wished me luck on my Philosophy exam.¬† I passed! ūüėĬ† Now, when I drunkenly ponder the meaning of life, I can pretend to have substance behind my words. ūüėČ

Have a lovely week everyone x

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Helloooo ūüôā

I hope you are all well!

In my last post, I spoke about how I would blog every Wednesday from now on.¬† And what happened?¬† I missed my first Wednesday!¬† Normal service has resumed, however.¬† I was just too busy last week, getting prepared for the T in the Park festival.¬† Yes, we had a wonderful time, thanks for asking! ūüėÄ

(Everyone apart from my Bro, who is taking the pic!)

Today’s recipe is one that I made up myself,¬†after browsing many (hundred) chilli recipes and deciding which ingredients I liked best.¬† I’m not a big fan of spiciness; this is a nice, tame version that would be good for children!

You may think I’m weird for what I’m about to say… but I’ve only ever¬†eaten chilli once before.¬† Even then, it was only a small bit, with the kidney beans picked out.¬† I’m so sheltered!¬† Colin is a fan of chilli, so I made it my business to get it learned!

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

500g lean beef mince

2 large onions, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 sweet pointed peppers (any peppers will be fine though, I just thought they looked good)

250g mushrooms, sliced

2tbsp chilli powder

2tbsp dried oregano

1tbsp ground cinnamon

2tbsp paprika

3 bay leaves

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes, drained

3tbsp tomato puree

1tbsp dark brown muscovado sugar

150ml (1/2 pint) beef stock (I used a stock cube)

1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

First I browned the mince, then added the onions.  After 5 mins, I then popped the garlic, mushrooms and peppers into the pot. 

Next, I added my herbs & spices, my tomatoes, puree, brown sugar, Worcester sauce and stock. 

I seasoned it well, with salt and pepper.  In went the bay leaves, then I simmered for 1 hour (stirring occasionally).

Next, I removed the bay leaves and put my kidney beans into the pot for 10 more minutes.

I served this with brown rice and a little side salad.  Very healthy indeed!  I could be doing with some healthy food after all that crappy (and hideously overpriced) festival food.

I really enjoyed this chilli, and would recommend it to anyone who is tentative, like me, about spicy food.¬† I have two tubs¬†of it¬†in the freezer, and I plan to have one of them over a baked potato, with a sprinkling of cheddar over the top… mmmh!

Next time, I’m going to replace the kidney beans with normal baked beans, like my big Brother’s girlfriend Lindsay does with her chilli.¬† Aside from that, the recipe will stay the same; Colin said it tastes like chilli, so thats good enough for me!

See you next Wednesday ūüôā x

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Hiya ūüôā

This recipe was discovered as a result of my penchant for those “Daily Recipe” emails I sign up to.¬† Honestly, I get about 20 emails a day from the many¬†recipe sites I browse.¬† So many, in fact, that it’s somewhat overwhelming and I don’t make the time to look at them all.

But this one stood out for me. 

It’s from the Food Network¬†website.¬† Is anyone else addicted to their TV channel?¬† I could watch Barefoot Contessa all day (although Colin now hates Ina, after I told him about her refusal to take part in the Make a Wish Foundation¬†– say it aint true, Ina ūüė¶ ).¬†

This recipe, however, is from another TV Chef, Giada¬†De Laurentiis.¬† She’s sickeningly beautiful and an amazing¬†cook.¬† Not fair!¬† But I’ll forgive her, since this recipe was just too delicious.¬† And after reading all the rave reviews, I just had to try it.

This is my first attempt at using the Americanized “cup” method of measuring ingredients.¬† It was very simple ūüôā

The recipe can be found here, but here’s my step by step account:

Ingredients (Serves 4, but I made dinner for 3 and froze the rest in a tub)

3 chicken breasts

1 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 tomato ketchup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

I preheated the oven to 180 degrees, then roasted my chicken for 25 mins.

Meanwhile, I combined all the ingredients in a pot, brought to the boil then simmered for 20 mins to reduce.

I brought the chicken out of the oven, covered it in the Balsamic BBQ mixture, and returned to the oven for a further 15 mins.

I served this up with some boulang√®re¬†potatoes (which I will post about next time!), and green beans.¬† It was scrumptious ūüôā

Next time, I will¬†definitely¬†marinade my meat in this mixture overnight!¬† I completely understand why there are so many excellent reviews and I’m sure this will be a regular feature in my Meal Planning ūüôā
 
Give it a bash and let me know how you get on!
 
Enjoy ūüôā x¬†

 

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When we were younger, Irene and I used to spend alot of time at our friend Maggie’s house.¬† Her mum made the most amazing Paprika Chicken dish, and even back then (when I was a¬†sulky teenager, with no interest in cooking), I knew I would want to recreate it myself one day.¬†

It’s been so long since I last had Maggie’s mum’s Chicken Paprika; I can hardly remember what it tasted like, but I do remember how amazing I thought¬†it was.¬† So, after extensive research on the many “chicken paprika” dishes that google provides, I settled on¬†a recipe from a contestant of the TV Show Come Dine With Me.¬† The recipe can be found here.¬†

I’ve made a few changes here and there.¬† I cooked mines on the hob, as opposed to the oven, and¬†I served mines with cajun spiced sweet potato chips & sour cream, instead of pitta bread & rice (oh, and despite the presence in the photo, I didn’t use mustard!).

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

3-4 x chicken breasts (I used 3 to feed 3, but theres plenty extra sauce for a 4th)

1 x red bell pepper, chopped

2 x onions, diced

2 tbsp x sweet paprika

2 tbsp x smoked paprika

6 x bay leaves

4 x cloves garlic, minced

250g x closed cup mushrooms, sliced

1 x tin tomatoes

300ml x boiled water with 1 chicken stock cube dissolved

4 x tbsp chicken seasoning

90g x plain flour

1 x tub sour cream dip (I used this one mmmm)

First I mixed the flour, chicken seasoning, salt & pepper into a bowl. 

I then coated each chicken breast in the mixture and browned it in the frying pan, with a little olive oil, for 5 mins or so. 

Once the chicken breasts were sealed, I put them in my mammoth pot, to wait patiently for the rest of the ingredients.

Next up, I fried the onions & mushrooms for 5-10 mins, then added the garlic and red pepper.

After frying for another few mins, I popped them into the pot with the chicken.

I added the tomatoes, stock, bay leaves and paprika to the pan, seasoned with salt & pepper, then gave it all a good stir.

I brought to the boil, then simmered for 45mins, letting the sauce reduce into a nice, thick consistency.

I served this with my sweet potato wedges and some sour cream dip (put on the table for anyone that wanted some).

This was sooooo good, the flavours are incredible.

As I said above, I only used 3 chicken breasts.¬† So I did what I always do with the remaining sauce…¬† froze it, then used as a pasta sauce!¬† Much better than any of the jar sauces, in my opinion!

Enjoy ūüôā

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There’s a terrible rumour going around.¬† One of those rumours that you’re scared to believe, incase it might not be true.

The rumour in question is this: It’s summer.

I can’t comment on the truthfulness of it, since I have yet to see it with my own eyes.¬† However, there does seem to be a hell of a lot of clues to back up this lurid accusation.¬† Everywhere I look, there are advertisements for¬†BBQ kits and recipe’s for “light summer dining”.¬†

Maybe I just love my comfort food a bit too much, but when it’s pouring down outside and the wind is blowing a gale, “summer dining” is the last thing I want.

Each to their own on this one, but I can’t comprehend the logic when people say things like “you can’t have soup, it’s summer” or “It’s the middle of July, have a salad”.¬† My grumbling tummy can’t differentiate between the seasons;¬†it¬†knows what it wants and will stubbornly whine until it gets it.¬† Stodgy, comforting, tasty food.¬†

Like this luscious Italian Shepherd’s Pie, crafted by the ever flamboyant Gino D’Acampo.

I adapted mines slightly to accommodate what I had available, but I am sure the taste wasn’t compromised as a result.¬† Bellissimo (as Gino would say, I assume)!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

500g x lean beef mince

1 x onion, finely chopped

2 x courgettes, peeled and diced

250g x button mushrooms, chopped

1 x red bell pepper, diced

1 x yellow bell pepper, diced

1 x glass red wine

500g x tin chopped tomatoes

2 x tbsp dried basil

2 x tbsp dried oregano

700g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks

30g x salted butter

50ml x milk (I used whole)

150g grated parmesan cheese

My mum made the sweet potato mash beforehand for me, by boiling them for 30 mins until soft, then mashing (combining the milk and 100g parmesan).¬† I find it easier to spread the mash over the mince mixture if it’s cooled.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

First, I fried my onions, mushrooms and courgettes, for 10 mins until soft.

I added my red and yellow peppers, and fried for a further 5 mins.

Then I added the minced beef, separating the clumps of meat with my spoon.  I seasoned with salt & pepper and fried for 5 mins.

I added my glass of wine and stirred until the alcohol evaporated.  I then popped in the tin of tomatoes,  basil and oregano, then cooked uncovered for 30 mins (over a medium heat), stirring occasionally.

Spread the mixture evenly into an ovenproof dish (and try not to eat it all, it is smelling divine by this point!)

Top with the mashed sweet potato, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake for 15-20 mins (or until the top looks crisp and golden).

Serve and enjoy! ūüôā

Next time I do this, I’m going to throw in a¬†couple of¬†normal potatoes with the mash, as I think that would provide a more pliable consistency for spreading etc (it felt a wee bit thin on the top).

I opened a bottle of red wine for this recipe, and I don’t drink red wine (rose and white are a different matter altogether, however!).¬† So I put the rest of the wine into little tubs and have frozen them for the next time a recipe calls for it!

Are there any other Gino D’Acampo recipe’s you have tried?¬† Please share!

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Hi All

Thats¬†me back from Marmaris, Turkey!¬† I had a fabulous time, although unfortunately the food in our hotel left a lot to be desired ūüė¶ (I’ll know to look at hotel reviews BEFORE I book next time!).¬† I was intent on trying authentic Turkish food in some nice restaurants, however, I was struck down with a gut wrenching (literally) tummy bug for the last 3 days and just couldn’t face anything too adventurous!¬† I did have a gorgeous mushroom sauce with a steak one night; I will endeavour to recreate it for the blog!¬† Plus… I took a sneaky photo of a Turkish menu, with the descriptions in them.¬† They will be investigated in the future!

So, what with the tummy bug and a week’s worth of alcoholic indulgences… a major detox was required!¬† What better way to detox than with some lovely, veggie packed soup?¬† Obviously I use the term “detox” loosely (soup aint the same without buttery bread!), but it’s a step in the right direction!

I got this recipe from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book – The Cook’s Classic Companion.¬† This was given to me as a birthday gift from my¬†fellow food loving buddy¬†(thanks Stevo) and my mouth waters with each turn of the page!

The original recipe calls for chillies and tomatoes, however, I decided to omit these, in an attempt to maintain the lovely flavours of the butternut squash and sweet potato.¬† The soup really doesn’t miss either of these ingredients; I personally think it’s utterly moreish!¬† I brought some into work for my friend Jayne’s lunch today and she enjoyed it too… Sweet Mother of Lucifer oh how I love the praise!

Such a simple combination!

Ingredients (serves 4-6 dependant on greed):

1 onion, diced

2tsp ground coriander

1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced

3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1.7 litres vegetable stock (I used 3 veg stock cubes)

Directions:

Fry the onion in a little oil until soft.  Add the coriander and stir.

Add the squash and potatoes and fry for 5 mins.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 20 mins, or until the veg is soft.

Blend until smooth (I used my hand blender), then season to taste.

This soup could not be easier!¬† Please give it a try and let me know what you think.¬† Enjoy ūüôā

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Sorry I haven’t written anything in a wee while; been busy at work + crappy computer blah blah¬†right lets get¬†doon to business! ūüôā

As you know from previous posts, I like to make soup that I can freeze and take into work for lunches.  This one was very easy and ridiculously tasty.  Everyone seems to think that tomato and basil are the perfect partners.  For me, tomato and oregano is far superior. 

Heres what I done to make a flavourful batch of tomato soup (serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp sugar (to eradicate the tartness of the tomatoes)

2 onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tbsp red lentils (thoroughly rinsed)

3 tbsp red pesto

1 litre stock (I used 1 veg & 2 ham stock cubes)

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp dried basil

3 tbsp dried oregano

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Fry the onions & garlic in some olive oil for 5 mins.

Add the chopped tomatoes (then sprinkle sugar over them) and red lentils.

Pour in the stock and stir.

Stir in the red pesto, basil and oregano.

Pop in the bay leaves, then season well with salt & pepper.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 45 mins.

I would take the extra five minutes to shove this through a sieve, for some smooth, glossy wonderment.

As always, tis best served with some buttery, crusty bread.¬† But if you’re watching your figure, you wont feel deprived just having it on it’s own.

You could easily double/treble this recipe and use some for a pasta sauce for another dish (I used one of my wee tubs to make a pasta dish with chopped smoked sausage & broccoli, it was quick and tremendous).

Enjoy! ūüôā

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In my last post, I mentioned that I had to use up some leftover sweet potatoes. 

I was originally going to do some sweet potato croquettes, but I also had half a smoked sausage in the fridge, which I didn’t want to go to waste.¬† So I attempted to make my own little potato cakes ūüôā Even though they were leftover ingredients, I’d definitely go out of my way to buy ingredients in specifically for these.¬† They’re delicious!¬† The finely chopped chilli I added to the mix, gave it a wonderful kick!

I made 3 large potato cakes with this amount of mixture, but it can be easily adapted to make whatever amount (and size) you want.

3 sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed.

Half a Matteson’s smoked sausage, diced into lots of¬†teeny chunks

1 red chilli, chopped finely

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 egg, beaten

50g breadcrumbs & 3tbsp paprika, mixed together in a bowl

I mixed all of these ingredients together in a bowl (apart from the egg and breadcrumb¬†mix).¬† Maybe at this point next time, I will shove the mixture into the fridge to stiffen up a bit, as it was VERY messy and sloppy trying to form the cakes!¬† It looked like this (and yes, I did have a few forkfulls…)

I scooped a third of the mixture into my hand and formed a thick disc shape.  I used my free hand to spread the egg mix over the cake (very messy, but necessary), then plopped the cake into the breadcrumb mix and coated it thoroughly.  I then placed into a large tub, ready for freezing.

I repeated this process with the remaining mixture, then shoved them into the freezer until a few days later, when I brought them out for a midweek meal (accompanied by broccoli and cauliflower mmm). 

I put them into a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20 mins. 

If you’d rather cook them straight away, you could pop them into the oven for about 12-15 mins at 200 degrees, but I would recommend frying them for a couple of minutes on each side instead.¬†

I’m glad I found something to do with the leftovers; they would have just ended up in the bin otherwise, and I’m not a fan of waste.

You can make these cakes with practically any leftover; I would love to hear any suggestions of other leftover “cakes”.¬† Enjoy!

P.S¬†– My internet connection has been driving me up the wall of late, so I’m not able to post as frequently as I would like, OR getting to read all my favourite blogs.¬† I hope to get this fixed soon though! ūüôā

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I’ve heard that chicken soup is good for “all that ails you”.¬† I can’t think of the reasoning behind it, but I couldn’t agree more!¬† Especially this recipe, of which I have reaped the benefits for as long as I can remember.¬† Another of my Mother’s amazing soup recipes mmm.¬†

I used to be terrified of touching raw meat, especially chicken.¬† It just made my skin crawl and I was always far too squeamish.¬† There have been many comedy moments, when I’ve attempted to¬†wash a whole chicken, wearing full length rubber gloves (and still shrieking with terror) and I’ve been known to persuade other people to do it for me, with the promise of a lovely bowl of soup as a reward :p. Thankfully, however, I seem to have grown out of that phase!

This is the easiest soup I’ve ever made, because the preparation is so quick.¬† Heres what I do (serves 6 easily):

1 medium whole chicken

4 chicken stock cubes

1 large leek, chopped as fine or as chunky as you desire!

1 half cup barley (just a plain coffee mug, that’s plenty)

1 half cup white long grain rice

Wash the chicken (hopefully minus any traumatic episodes), put it in your soup pot. 

Fill with water until the chicken is covered. 

Add the stock cubes, leek, barley and rice, and season well!

Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 hour and 30mins.

Remove the chicken from the pot and stir the soup thoroughly, looking for any small bones that may have fallen off.

Cook for another 15 mins then serve, with pieces of chicken.

You could tear apart and put all the chicken pieces back into the soup, but we usually just keep it separate from the soup and add as much or as little chicken to our bowls upon serving.

This soup is so flavoursome¬†and comforting.¬† It freezes amazingly too.¬† Perfect for breaking up a crap day at work, with a steaming hot bowl and some crusty, buttery bread! Mmmmm.¬† Enjoy! ūüôā

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If I could live on only one dish for the rest of my life, it would be my mum’s scotch broth.¬† I’ve never tasted another soup like it.¬† I just had some on my lunch break at work, I had some for my dinner (with crusty buttered bread mmm) last night and I will most likely have some tonight too… if there is any left, that is!¬†

Mum has never given me the recipe before, despite my constant pleading.  So I have this blog to thank for her change of heart; I asked if I could write about it and she agreed to my shock and amazement!  Here she is, hard at work in the kitchen, in her wee adorable apron:

And here is the elusive recipe for the most flavoursome soup I have ever experienced:

250g Broth Mix – mum uses this one

4 large carrots, grated

1 large leek, sliced

1/4 turnip, diced

A cut of Lamb Shoulder – Mum used this one

4 lamb stock cubes

(Alternatively, you can use Beef Hough and 4 beef stock cubes; both cuts of meat will give delicious results.  Try both!)

Place broth mixture in a bowl, steep in boiled water and cover.  Leave overnight.

The next day, place meat in the soup pot and fill with water, to about 3/4 full.

Add the stock cubes and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 45 minutes.

Put the broth mix into a sieve and run under cold water until the water runs clear at the bottom.

Add to the pan, along with the rest of your veg and season.

Cook at a medium heat for at least 1 hour and a half, or until peas are soft.

I hope you enjoy the soup as much as I do.¬† It freezes well, I’ve taken frozen tubs to work and microwaved before (about 8-10 mins).¬† Usually the whole¬†pot is devoured¬†before it can be frozen though!

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